John the Baptist, who recognized Christ as the "the Lamb of God,… who taketh away the sin of the world,"(John 1:23) was beheaded on Herod's orders. This relief depicts the relic of John's head, which was kept in Amiens Cathedral. Doubling as a halo, the charger stands against a flowering meadow, an evocation of Paradise. Other English alabaster carvings with this subject survive as the centerpieces of triptychs. The well-preserved original paint of this relief suggests that it too was originally part of such an ensemble.
Inscription: Caput -----s Baptiste
Falvy(sold 1913, through [Partridge, London])
Nelson, Philip. "Some Unpublished English Mediaeval Alabaster Carvings." Archaeological Journal 82 (1925). p. 33, pl. 1, fig. 2.
Hildburgh, W. L. "Iconographical Peculiarities in English Medieval Alabaster Carvings (Part 2)." Folklore 44, no. 2 (June 1933). p. 143 n. 63.
Tavender, Augusta S. "English Alabasters: An Informal Study in Medieval Sculpture." Art in America 34, no. 3 (July 1946). pp. 129, 137, fig. 1.
Tavender, Augusta S. "Mediaeval English Alabasters in American Museums." Speculum 30, no. 1 (January 1955). no. 42, p. 68.
Cheetham, Francis. English Medieval Alabasters: With a Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Oxford: Phaidon Press, 1984. p. 317.
Cheetham, Francis. Alabaster Images of Medieval England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2003. p. 156, (as Type B, no. 1).
Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. no. 80, pp. 194-195.
Carr, Annemarie Weyl. "The Face Relics of John the Baptist in Byzantium and the West." Gesta 46, no. 2 (2007). p. 170, fig. 10.