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SAINT ROCH, early 17th Century Flemish









£375

 

  SAINT ROCH, early 17th Century Flemish £375  
A very rare early 17th century carved oak figure of a gentleman. Although dressed in the costume of the period it represents Saint Roch and his dog, seen at his foot either licking his wounds or feeding him with a biscuit.
Total height including stand, the bottom piece being 19th century is 44.5 cm.
Good deep colour.
Condition as expected with some ware and minor age related splits.

According to his Acta and his vita in the Golden Legend, he was born at Montpellier, at that time "upon the border of France," as the Golden Legend has it, the son of the noble governor of that city. Even his birth was accounted a miracle, for his noble mother had been barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary. Miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his breast that grew as he did, he early began to manifest strict asceticism and great devoutness; on days when his "devout mother fasted twice in the week, and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day."
On the death of his parents in his twentieth year he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi—though his father on his deathbed had ordained him governor of Montpellier—and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome. Coming into Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena, Rimini, Novara,and Rome, and is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer and the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand. At Rome, according to the Golden Legend he preserved the "cardinal of Angleria in Lombardy" by making the mark of the cross on his forehead, which miraculously remained. Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill. He was expelled from the town; and withdrew into the forest, where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that arose in the place; he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them. Count Gothard, following his hunting dog that carried the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.
On his return incognito to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy (by orders of his own uncle) and thrown into prison, where he languished five years and died on 16 August 1327, without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory. (Evidence suggests, as mentioned earlier, that the previous events occurred, instead at Voghera in the 1370s.)



 

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