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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Medieval Capital and Corbel Head from the Priory of Moutiers-Saint-Jean

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LOT 0405

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,780 - 7,170
USD ($) 4,870 - 7,310

Bid History: 16   |   Current bid: £1,010 (+bp*)

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Bid History: 16   |   Current bid: £1,010

A white limestone corbel-capital probably from the destroyed Cluniac priory of Moutiers Saint Jean, composed of a capital on the left decorated with deeply undercut crockets, corbel with a carved head on the right; from a carved doorway or window which carried a pointed arch. 17 3/4 in. (22.8 kg, 45 cm). [No Reserve]

Salles des Vantes Pillet, 1 July 2007, lot 168.
Ex central London gallery.
Accompanied by a copy of a previous four page typed and illustrated report.
Accompanied by scholarly note TL05442 by Dr Ronald Bonewitz.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11411-192174.

The capital would have supported an innermost voussoir above, whilst the corbel would have supported the innermost voussoir. The base of the capital has a small diameter which would have been echoed in the column below. This relationship with the slender shaft and the capital base is characteristic of architectural carving from Moutiers Saint Jean.
The carving is closely related to a group of twenty five extant sculptures, now held in American museums, which recent scholarship has demonstrated are from the priory of Moutiers-Saint-Jean, which suffered extensive damage over the course of the Wars of Religion and the French Revolution. In 1797 the remains were sold into private hands.
The closed crockets on our capital suggest that the sculpture could be dated earlier than the Duke University capital; parallels between this sculpture and an additional sculpture associated with the Moutiers group dated to 1225-1250 A.D. are striking in relation to the carving of the eyes, stylised hair and 'v' shaped face. A string indication that this is another piece from the ruined abbey.
In a medieval text dating from 996, Moûtiers was called Monasterium (root of the word "monastery").