Statue of St Roch

Statuette of St. Roch, wood, northern Germany, 15th century

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Statuette of St. Roch, wood, northern Germany, 15th century
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Statuette of St. Rock, wood, northern Germany, 15th century

St Roch is the Catholic saint who has traditionally been invoked against the plague. He was said to be a Christian, born in the late 1200s, who went on a pilgrimage at the time of a plague epidemic. He helped nurse those with the disease and was believed to cure them of plague until he caught the disease himself.

To prevent the spread of the disease, he went to the woods alone. The story describes how a dog looked after him and brought him bread. As such, St Roch is almost always shown accompanied by a dog and pointing towards a plague bubo, which is clearly visible on his own leg.


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
oak, ? material
overall: 834 mm x 255 mm x 160 mm, 9.5 kg
Loan, Wellcome Trust