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Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Coventry (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870 -1876 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Skidmore's Art Manufactures Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print on paper mounted on card

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Friends of the National Libraries

  • Museum number:

    E.428-2006

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case M, shelf 80

This albumen print from a glass negative, a type of photograph dating to the 1860s to 1870s, is of a lectern for Durham Cathedral were it was photographed in situ in about 1870-1876. The brass lectern was made by the firm of Francis Skidmore (1817-1896). The photograph is thus a record of the work done and comes from an archive of designs and photographs from the firm. The lectern is decorated with a pelican 'in her piety'. The pelican wounded herself and fed her chicks with her blood. The bird thus became a symbol of Christian charity. This lectern was described by Nikolaus Pevsner and Elizabeth Williamson in their publication on Durham as 'laboriously ornate and highly dangerous to the shins.'

Skidmore made a number of these elaborate lecterns. One of them was in St. Michael's Cathedral, Coventry but was destroyed when the cathedral was bombed during the 2nd World War. Lecterns were reintroduced into churches in England from the 1840s and they were used to read the Bible from at morning and evening prayer.

There are printed designs for lecterns in a pattern book lettered 'Skidmore's Art Manufactures Co. Book of Designs' in Coventry Public Library which dates from 1865 when the firm was called 'Skidmore's Art Manufactures and Constructive Iron Comapny'. In 1872 Skidmore's firm went into liquidation and was taken over by Winfields of Birmingham.

Physical description

Albumen print (brownish) of a lectern decorated with an eagle within Durham Cathedral.

Place of Origin

Coventry (made)

Date

ca. 1870 -1876 (made)

Artist/maker

Skidmore's Art Manufactures Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print on paper mounted on card

Marks and inscriptions

'MASSIVE BRASS LECTERN : DURHAM CATHEDRAL'
Lettered on the card beneath the photograph.

Dimensions

Height: 24.3 cm, Width: 16.7 cm

Object history note

The provenance is the grand-daughter of Francis Skidmore.

Descriptive line

Albumen print of lectern in Durham Cathedral made by Francis Skidmore's firm, 1865-1872

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Campbell, Marian. An eagle lectern of the Gothic Revival at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. In Lauren Gilmour, ed. Pagans and Christians - from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Papers in honour of Martin Henig, presented on the occasion of his 65th birthday . BAR International Series. 2007, 1610, pp.337-343, ill.
Pevsner, Nikolaus and Williamson, Elizabeth. County Durham. 2nd rev. ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983. 199.p.

Production Note

This lectern is mentioned and illustrated in an article by Marian Campbell (see references).
Annette Wickham stated in her research into this archive that 'The photograph of Durham Cathedral shows an eagle lectern. Skidmore made a number of these elaborate and colourful lecterns. One of them was in St. Michael's Cathedral, Coventry but was destroyed when the cathedral was bombed during the 2nd World War. As far as I know Durham still have this lectern in storage.' (RF 2001/1166). The Durham lectern is in fact decorated with a pelican in her piety.

There are printed designs for lecterns in a pattern book lettered 'Skidmore's Art Manufactures Co. Book of Designs' in Coventry Public Library which dates from 1865 when the firm was called 'Skidmore's Art Manufactures and Constructive Iron Comapny'. In 1872 Skidmore's firm went into liquidation and was taken over by Winfields of Birmingham.

There is a brass lectern in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford which was made by Skidmore in 1873 (see references).
In addition, there are stair handrails and balusters leading up to a pulpit that are still in Holy Trinity Church, Coventry dating from the renovation work that Skidmore did there with Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1856 which are different but can be compared to the ones leading up to this lectern.

Materials

Albumen; Paper; Card

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Albumen process; Lecterns; Pelican in her piety; Brass (alloy); Albumen prints

Categories

Architectural fittings; Metalwork; Photographs; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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