A Reliquary BustFemale Saint, Spain, Seville, first half 16th century

A Reliquary Bust
Female Saint

A Reliquary Bust
Female Saint

Walnut, with original polychrome and gilding 
Spain, Seville, first half 16th century


63 cm; 2 ft. ⅘ in.
44 cm; 1 ft. 5⅓ in.
20.5 cm; 8 in.


Private collection, Seville 
Private collection, Madrid

With extensive original polychrome and gilding, this superb reliquary bust was made in Seville in the first half of the 16th century. Curled golden locks of the unidentified female saint frame her enchanting sweet face, her shoulder length hair emerging from beneath her veil. Designed to be viewed from height, she gazes down at the viewer, porcelain faced, rose cheeked and dimple chinned. 

She appears swathed in richly gilded costume, comprising a gold dress clinched at the waist and robe with sweeping drapery, a four pointed broach adorning her underdress at the base of her elegant neck. Sitting on her original base, this rare work was almost certainly made for private devotion, candle light reflecting off the golden surface to create heavenly ambiance.

SOLD: Private collection, United Kingdom