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Title A Miraculous Mass; The Elevation of the Host
Collection Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Artist Italian (Central Italian) School
Attributed to Italian (Florentine) School
Attributed to Italian (Pisan) School
Attributed to Italian (Umbrian) School
Previously attributed to Byzantine School
Date Earliest probably about 1300
Date Latest probably about 1400
Description

A tonsured ecclesiastical saint (unidentified) in red chasuble is depicted before an altar raising the host. The saint is assisted by a kneeling monk in a white habit with black cowl, bearing a ceremonial candle; behind them are kneeling monks who wear black habits (possibly Benedictine, Augustinian, or Dominican). The scene takes place in a small chapel, in the background are the cloister and monastery church. The efficacy of saying masses for the soul is demonstrated - at the top right an angel bears male souls heavenward. The saint and the exact subject of the miraculous mass remain unidentified.

The panel is a fragment of a larger object - perhaps a piece of ecclesiastical furniture. The bottom and right edges of the panel have a decorative border, black, red and white, which was sliced through when the panel was cut from the object of which it was part. The decorative border continues from the top right corner along a third of the top edge, rising diagonally perhaps delimiting the springing of a gable (possibly now truncated). The top is also decorated with punching. The location of the decorative border indicates the panel was set to the centre right of the object, just below its apex. The handling is unsophisticated.

Current Accession Number TRURI:1924.58
Subject religion (Eucharist, ); buildings and gardens
Measurements 26 x 43.5 cm (estimate)
Material tempera (?), gold on gesso (?) (laid on canvas, laid on panel)
Acquisition Details Given by Alfred A. de Pass 1924.
Publications Penrose, G., Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Miniatures in the Alfred A. de Pass Collection, Truro, 1936, cat. no. 31, p. 9, ill.; Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Paintings Executed Before c. 1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, p. 96, as Italian school (Florentine), fourteenth century.
Notes

label (noted in museum record as that of Mr de Pass.) 'Byzantine - about 14: century'; label fragment '58'1924'

Remarks on accession form: ‘Mr Edward Hutton (friend of Mr de Pass) says this is Florentine School - early 14 century'.

The present dating and attribution is made on the advice of Dillian Gordon, National Gallery curator and expert in early Italian art, who suggested an attribution to the central Italian fourteenth century, as the work could be Florentine, Pisan or Umbrian.

Alfred A. de Pass (1861-1953) was born in South Africa, where his father and grandfather had established a business empire which included interests in shipping, guano, copper mining and sugar farming. After retiring from the family firm at age 36, Alfred pursued his interest in art collecting. For a period he lived in Cornwall, where he took an active interest in the Truro museum, then called the Royal Institution of Cornwall. In 1917 he was elected Associate of the Institution and in 1920 became its Vice-President. His gifts to the museum between 1914 and 1947 included many works of Western European fine and decorative art, including an important collection of old master drawings, as well as Oriental paintings, ceramics, metal work and textiles. For a list of Mr de Pass' donations of Western European paintings and drawings to the Truro museum up to 1936 see G. Penrose (cited below). He also donated to a number of other museums, including the National Gallery, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam, and the South African National Gallery.

Biographies and discussion of Mr de Pass' interests and donations may be found in: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The De Pass Collection: Paintings, Furniture, Ceramics etc., Illustrated Catalogue, Bristol, 1936; Popham, A.E., An Exhibition of Drawing from the Alfred A. de Pass Collection belonging to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, London, 1957; Walker, R., The De Pass Family, unpublished dissertation, Bristol Polytechnic, 1979; Price, B.D., Biographical Notes on Alfred Aaron De Pass (1861-1952) Art Benefactor Extraordinary, Falmouth, 1982; Nail, N., ‘The Cornish curator and the cosmopolitan collector: a note on George Penrose, 1876-1951, and Alfred de Pass, 1861-1953', Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993, New Series II, I, 3, pp. 277-89; Berriman, H., ‘Introduction' in M. Joannides, Exhibition Catalogue of Master Drawing from the De Pass Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, London, 1994, pp. 7-11; Tietze, A., The Alfred de Pass Presentation to the South African National Gallery, exhibition catalogue, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, 1995; Irvine, G., and T. Daniel, Japanese Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall, 2001.

Rights Owner Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro
Author Dr Susan Steer
 

 

 

 

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