Eagle Lectern

South Netherlandish | Possibly Brabant
Late Gothic | Fist quarter of the 16th Century, ca. 1500/10

Oak | Sculpted in high relief | On later metal base
H. 75,6 cm. (excl. base) W. 67 cm. D. 54 cm.


Private collection | United Kingdom


Huymans, A. (1999). La Sculpture des Pay-Bas mériodonaux et de la Principauté de Liège, Xve et XVIe 0siècles. Musée royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, pp. 136-137, nr 64;
Tracy, Ch. (2001). Continental Church Furniture, A Traffic in Piety. Woodbridge, pp.162-171;
Williamson, P. (2002). Netherlandish Sculpture 1450-1550. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 24


This impressive Eagle, the symbol of Saint John the Evangelist, with outspread wings, standing on a globe, originally formed the top of a lectern which was used for reading from the Gospels. From the about 1300 until after 1500 relatively wealthy churches might use a lectern in the form of an eagle. Such lecterns could be made of cast brass or in carved wood. Tracy stats that wooden eagles, such as the present example, imitate the important brass lecterns cast in the 15th Century in Dinant and Namur (2001, pp. 162-171). Malines would eventually become the most important centre for the cast brass industry. Examples of eagle lecterns produced in Malines can be found in the collection of Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, which dates to ca. 1500 (inv.nr. 3709) and in the Sint-Amandus Church in Geel (Kik/Irpa.nr. 69156). The comparable conventional medieval treatment of the carving and the rather fierce hieratic pose indicates a date at the beginning of the first quarter of the 16th century around 1500/10 and a possible origin in the Brabant region.