Purchased from Oronzio Lelli in 1884 for £83 6s 8d


Benedetto da Maiano (1441-97)
About 1474
Marble with gilding
In the church of S. Croce, Florence, Italy

On the base: Faith, Hope, Charity, Temperance and Justice. Above: 1. Pope Honorius confirming the Rule of the Franciscan Order; 2. St Francis undergoing an Ordeal by Fire before the Sultan; 3. St Francis receiving the stigmata; 4. The Death of St Francis; 5. The Martyrdom of the Franciscans at Cueta.

This pulpit was commissioned by Pietro Mellini, for whom Benedetto da Maiano also executed a marble portrait bust dated 1474, now in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), Florence, and shown at the V&A in a cast (museum no. 1885-137). The inventory of the contents of Benedetta da Maiano's studio, taken after his death, lists six terracotta models for the S. Croce pulpit. Three of these, representing scenes no. 1, 4 and 5 above, are in the Victoria and Albert Museum. A scene representing the Vision of Pope Innocent III was formerly in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. This scene was omitted from the final design of the pulpit.