Limewood lectern stand in form of an eagle
An extremely rare George II period carved and gilded limewood lectern stand in the form of an eagle circa 1730.
The eagle, sculpted in the round, with vigorously carved plumage, perched on a foliate crest with traces of original oil gilding and lemon-coloured bole with some old supports added to the wings, which show the original placement holes for the lectern bars.
The eagle’s form follows the Roman generic type, typified by the first-century Romano-British sculpture recently found near Aldgate Station, London (of a similar size to the present work), which formerly crowned a mausoleum.
The eagle is the symbol of John the Evangelist, and the opening of John’s gospel (‘In the beginning was the Word …’) explains its choice to support Biblical literature.
The eagle was also associated with the Divine since it could, according to legend, stare into the sun, explaining Dante’s dream that he is hunted by an eagle that lifts him to the heavenly sphere of fire.
This stand would undoubtedly have once been part of an ensemble of baroque elements in a rich church interior.