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Paul Withypool, who commissioned this altarpiece from the Venetian artist Antonio Solario, was the son of a Bristol merchant. He traded largely from London and was to own much property in Suffolk. He is depicted kneeling in prayer in the central panel and near him is a Latin inscription, reading 'Pray for the soul of Pauli Withypole' and on the book is 'Mother of God remember me'. It is in this spirit of piety in anxious anticipation of an afterlife that donors' portraits were often included in medieval altarpieces.
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Withypool Triptych, Virgin and Child with Saint Joseph and Donor
oil on canvas on panel
H 78.7 x W 91.5 cm
purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund, 1937