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The Martyrdom of St Bibiana: M.14-1996

Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Martyrdom of St Bibiana


Unknown (Probably)




The Martyrdom of St Bibiana. Wax coloured blue, green, flesh pink, red, brown and black and gilt. The Saint stands with her hands tied behind her back against a tree trunk. Her gown has been pulled down to reveal her body above the waist, which is pierced by six bleeding arrow wounds. She stands on rocky ground with two small rocks on the right and two larger rocks on the left. The background is black. Rectangular ebonized wood frame with glass front.


History note: Probably Prince Stanislaus Poniatowski, Florence. Miss Colyear (?) Dawkins.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Edward Joseph Pyke

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1996) by Pyke, Edward Joseph


Late 18th-early 19th century
Circa 1775 - 1825


Continental, probably Italian

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Model composed of wax ( coloured)
Frame composed of ebonized wood glass Depth 5 cm Height 28 cm Width 23.6 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 2473
  • Location: On the back of the case
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in brown and crossed through in red
  • Text: 126
  • Location: Stuck to the top left of back of frame
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in black
  • Type: Label
  • Text: 'From the Poniatowski Gallery/at Florence./Santa Caterina in .../eseguito da Benvanuto Cellini' and in another hand 'XVIII century'.
  • Location: Stuck to back of frame
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in faded black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: Miss Colyear (?) Dawkins
  • Location: Stuck to back of frame
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in faded black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: S. BIBIANA or VIVIANA (?)/2nd December AD.363/Bibiana is recorded after having been in vain solicited to evil to an old woman to whom she was confided, was tied to a pillar and scourged to death. Pope Urban VIII discovered the body and placed it in a porphyry shrine with the high altar near the Licinian palace. The pillar at which she was scorged (sic) is shown at Rome in the Church bearing her name./(Lives of the Saints, by Rev. S. Baring-Gould) MDCCCXCVIII
  • Location: Stuck to back of top of the frame over the inscribed no.
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: the entry for Bibiana from James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, 1987, pp. 67-8

  • Location: Stuck to back of top of the frame
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.14-1996
Primary reference Number: 30488
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 21 March 2023 Last processed: Tuesday 21 March 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "The Martyrdom of St Bibiana" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-05 19:09:18

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