Schr. 608. Christ, depicted with a nimbus of rays and displaying the five wounds, his naked body partially wrapped in a cloak which falls from his left shoulder, his right hand raised in blessing, is shown seated on a rainbow, his feet resting on the orb of the world. He is flanked by two angels emerging from the clouds and blowing trumpets to which banderoles are attached, displaying instruments of the Passion, the five wounds, and a bleeding Sacred Heart. Two small figures are shown rising from the ground, resurrected from the dead. In the foreground, occupying the full width of the picture, a corpse lies wrapped and tied in a cloth on a black ground, buried without a coffin, and surrounded by worms, bones, skulls, and gravediggers’ tools. Immediately behind the corpse, at the centre of the picture, a cadaver, representing Death, runs across the black earth holding a gigantic arrow in both hands. To the left a tonsured monk kneels in prayer, his face raised to Christ. To the right a devil gestures with a black book, which we might suppose to contain a list of the dead man’s sins, evidently demanding his condemnation. The picture is surrounded by a double-lined frame. A majuscule ‘S’ (= ‘Syon’?), to the right of the devil, was printed as part of the woodcut. At the top, outside the frame, there is a typographic inscription: ‘Surgite Mortui. + Uenite ad Judicium.’, and below: ‘Arma Beate Birgitte: De Syon. +’, accompanied by a coat of arms bearing the rampant lion of Sweden (of which the lower part has been cut away). Unique copy. The typographic text, which need not be a later addition (as has sometimes been suggested), indicates that the woodcut may have been produced at, or at least printed for, the convent of Syon Abbey. Nicholson, in his unpublished handlist, states that the majuscules B and D, both very rare, point to Wynkyn de Worde or Pynson, whereas he associates the A, B, and U with Caxton’s no. 6 type. Hodnett suggests a date of c.1510 and attributes the printing to Richard Pynson (with question mark); Hind considers William Fawkes more likely.
ills. Dodgson, ‘English Devotional Woodcuts’, pl. XXXVI (a); Dodgson, English Woodcuts, fig. 15; Illustrated Bartsch (Supplement), 162.608; Duffy, Altars, fig. 100; Driver, ‘Bridgettine Woodcuts’, fig. 1; Bodleian Filmstrip Roll 245, no. 2.
refs. Schreiber, Manuel, I 170–1; Schreiber, Handbuch, I 196; Dodgson, Ashmolean, 34 (Bodl.22); Dodgson, ‘English Devotional Woodcuts’, 96 and 100 (no. 6); Hind II 738; Dodgson, English Woodcuts, 9–10; STC 14077c.18; Hodnett no. 1356a; Driver, ‘Bridgettine Woodcuts’, 239–41; Nicholson no. 119.
Binding: See XYL-13.
Provenance: Syon Abbey, Middlesex, Birgittines. Richard Rawlinson (1690–1755). Bequeathed in 1755. See XYL-13.
shelfmark: MS. Rawl. D. 403, fol. 3v.