Walnut carving of St Roch in characteristic pose exposing a plague wound on his thigh and with a dog and an angel by his side, decorated with gilt and polychrome on gesso. Spain, late 18th/early 19th century.
Saint Roch was born in 1295 at Montpelier, France into a noble family. At the age of twenty he gave away his considerable fortune to become a pilgrim. He devoted his whole life to the service of those who fell victims to the plague; consequently his intercession is invoked in times of pestilence. St. Roch was himself stricken by the plague and banished. Alone in the forest he was fed every day by a dog bringing him bread.
He is the patron Saint of dogs, and guards against Plague and Pestilence.