Art: The Forgotten Alabastermen

No English art has vanished more completely than that of the Nottingham alabastermen. Once, throughout Europe, their work was literally worshiped; today, London's man-in-the-street finds it less familiar than Congo carvings, Chinese jade, or Henry Moore's pinheaded women. Now a wealthy U.S. expatriate, Dr. Walter Leo Hildburgh, has set out to remind England of its alabastrine past.

Hildburgh, a shy, spry antiquarian who has the jutting, chiseled features of a grandfatherly Dick Tracy, has spent 30 years astride his hobbyhorse, hunting English alabasters, recently presented some 200 of them to London's Victoria and Albert Museum on his 70th birthday. They were on...

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