Online Lecture: ‘Eagles, dragons, griffins, and angels: Netherlandish brass lecterns in context’ with Dr Douglas Brine, Courtauld Institute of Fine Art, 10 March 2021, 17:00-18:00 (GMT)

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One of the most common types of ecclesiastical furniture from the Burgundian Netherlands that survive today is the brass eagle-lectern. Many remain in churches and continue to function much as originally intended, as supports for the books used during services. Indeed, there is perhaps no other medieval artwork still in active use that exists in such numbers as the brass lectern. Most extant examples feature eagles clutching dragons in their talons, but there is clear evidence that lecterns also took the form of pelicans, griffins, or standing figures of angels, saints, or even Moses. This paper considers Netherlandish brass lecterns, in their various guises, from various perspectives – as metal sculptures, as liturgical fixtures, and as vehicles for private commemoration – and argues that they constitute a significant, if overlooked, category of early Netherlandish art.

Dr Douglas Brine completed his BA, MA, and PhD at The Courtauld and was the Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow in 2006. He is now Associate Professor of Art History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. His research focuses on the visual arts in northern Europe during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance with a particular emphasis on sculpture, painting, and metalwork in the Low Countries. His book Pious memories: The wall-mounted memorial in the Burgundian Netherlands was published by Brill in 2015.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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