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Shrine: C.2064-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Production: Unidentified Westerwald pottery




Pale buff salt-glazed stoneware shrine decorated with skulls, putti, and angels, supported by rampant lions with gaping jaws, standing on a rectangular base bearing small vases and candle holders

Pale buff stoneware, hand-built, with moulded and incised decoration, applied moulded figures, and salt-glaze. The shrine is in the form of a central cone-shaped mound flattened on the front and back. At the bottom it has a leaf-shaped opening on the front and a much larger one on the back, leading into a space inside for relics, or an incense burner. It stands on a rectangular base whose sides resemble balustrades, and stands on a larger rectangular base, whose sides are formed by half figures of men wearing tricorne hats and women holding fans, with pierced spaces between them. On the lower right front corner there is a low candlestick, originally matched by another on the left, now missing, two small vases are set on the corners of the upper base. On the back lower left corner there is a small vase, originally matched by one on the right, now missing, and above on the smaller base, a small vase on either side. The central mound has lost a feature from its apex, probably a Crucifix, as it is flanked by standing figures of the Virgin and St John the Evangelist and between them, lower down, a priest kneeling in adoration. The sides of the shrine are decorated with an arch of skulls and putti, and horizontal bands of putti playing musical instruments, and smaller putti, with a large central cone. On the upper part of the back there is a pyramidal arrangement of skulls with two angel musicians below, and below them, a cone, from which incised stylized foliage and flowers branch on either side to cover the surface. On the right and left of the angel musicians there are areas of restoration. On either side of the mound, standing on the smaller of the two bases, there are large rampant lions with gaping mouths and shaggy manes, made of shredded clay.


History note: Puttick & Simpson London, 6 June 1919, lot 117; sold for 23 guineas; Mr Newton who sold it for £35 to Mr Stoner, who sold it for £50 on 19 June 1919 to Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 54.6 cm

At the moment, this record does not display units or type of measurements. We will rectify this as soon as possible.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


18th Century, first half#
Circa 1700 - 1750


Rackham, 1935, considered that this was a shrine, and that the interior space at the bottom was intended to hold relics. However, it could equally have bee used for an incense or perfume burner, whose smoke would have issued from the open mouths of the lions. .

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Surface composed of salt-glaze
Base Depth 21 cm Width 31.5 cm
Figures, Skulls, Etc

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2064-1928
Primary reference Number: 73064
Old object number: 4872
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 October 2022 Last processed: Tuesday 17 October 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Shrine" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-11-30 00:57:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=Shrine |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-11-30 00:57:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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