Dec 18, 2012

Abbot's Stall

Abbot's Stall

c. 1500-1515


Overall: 329.6 x 336.3 x 83.8 cm (129 3/4 x 132 3/8 x 33 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1928.657


This elaborate chair most likely belonged to an abbot, the spiritual head of a monastery. The seat was built high in order to raise the abbot above those surrounding him as a symbol of his rank and authority, while the canopy above accentuated his importance and dignity. The stall would have been likely placed in a monastic chapter house where the entire community of monks would have held their daily meetings and deliberations. The linen-fold panels, the intricate ribbed vaulting, the open work tracery, and the many pinnacles are characteristic of the flamboyant Gothic style at the end of the Middle Ages in France and the Low Countries. The decorative profile heads suggest some knowledge of early Renaissance models. The fine relief on the seat back with the Tree of Jesse shows the ancestry of Christ. The stall has received some replacement parts in recent centuries, but the seat and canopy are entirely original.

See also
MED - Gothic
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Furniture and woodwork

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