The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 14, 2024

Figure of the Pietà

Figure of the Pietà

c. 1761
(Flemish, 1715–1766)
(Britain, London, 1745–84)
height: 38.5 cm (15 3/16 in.)

Did You Know?

Only three examples of this figure by the Chelsea Porcelain Factory are known to exist.


The distinctively Roman Catholic subject of Mary cradling her son, the crucified Christ, suggests this figure was probably made for one of the aristocratic English families forced to practice their Catholicism in secret during the mid-1700s. Because of the laws banning Catholic worship in England, grand houses were often modified to include private chapels or rooms in private quarters where visiting priests delivered the sacraments in defiance of the laws favoring Protestant worship. A figure of this size and type likely would have served as an important devotional focal point within that context.
  • 1991
    (Christies, London, February 11, 1991, no. 90)
    (Robert Williams, Winifred Williams, Ltd., London, 1991)
    Private collector, Australia, 1992
    (E. & H. Manners,Ltd., London, 2018)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Mathew Martin, “The Chelsea Pietà,” in Fire and Form: The Baroque and Influence on English Ceramics, c. 1600-c. 1760 (London: English Ceramic Circle, 2013) Mentioned: pp. 82-3
    Harrison, Stephen. “Acquisitions 2019: Decorative Art and Design.” Cleveland Art: Cleveland Museum of Art Members Magazine 60, no. 2 (March/April 2020): 27. Reproduced and Mentioned: P. 27.
  • British Gallery Reinstallation (June 2020). The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer).
    No existing exhibition history
  • {{cite web|title=Figure of the Pietà|url=false|author=Joseph Willems, Chelsea Porcelain Factory|year=c. 1761|access-date=14 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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