From the late 1300s to the Reformation, alabaster carving was a major activity in the English Midlands, in an area centred on Nottingham. Altarpieces and panels were produced for the home market, but also for export; the sculptures have a distinctive style, dictated by the religious subjects and by the material, and were usually painted and gilded. At the Reformation, such items were hidden or destroyed, and it is the survival of numerous continental examples, particularly in France, together with the remaining examples from England, that enables the history of alabaster carving to be documented. This book catalogues some 2,400 carvings, with their location and published references, coupled with a Geographical Index. It is the fullest catalogue yet compiled on these exquisite small-scale sculptures, incorporating much new information, particularly relating to the iconography of the carvings.
The late FRANCIS CHEETHAM was also the author of English Medieval Alabasters, containing a catalogue of the collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.