St. Catherine

WAG 1013


St. Catherine holds the sword with which she was beheaded. This is one of a pair of folding wings from an altarpiece. The other (WAG 1012) shows Saint Mary Magdalene. The top of WAG 1013 has been cut off and its top right corner has been made up to form a rectangle. The panels were possibly painted by the workshop of the prolific artist Pieter Coeck van Aalst (1502-1550). He worked first in Antwerp and, from 1546, in Brussels. Much of his work was destroyed in the anti-Catholic riots of the 1560s. William Roscoe thought that this painting was the work of the 15th-century Flemish artist Hugo van der Goes (about 1440-1482). In the past the painting has also been attributed either to the workshop of another 16th-century Flemish artist, Bernaert van Orley or to the unidentified South Netherlandish artist known as the Master of the Female Half-lengths. This is one of the artworks presented by the Liverpool Royal Institution. Liverpool’s economic development grew directly from Britain’s involvement with transatlantic slavery: the kidnapping, enslavement and forced migration of people from West Africa to the Americas and many to the Caribbean. Many members of the Royal Institution made their fortunes directly through the trade or indirectly through the wider economy. This wealth was largely how they were able to bring rare art and treasures, such as this, to the city.