Details have been announced of the latest phases of Canterbury Cathedral’s rolling exhibition of important late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century figures from the south-west transept windows.
The figures originally filled the choir and trinity chapel clerestory windows and were part of an eighty-six figure scheme depicting The Ancestors of Christ, largely based on the list of names contained in the Gospel of St Luke (III, 23–28) and interpolated with additional names from the Gospel of St Matthew (I, 1–17). When installed it was the largest known series of the genealogy of Christ in medieval art (not just in stained glass). Forty-three figures of the original series survive: nine in the choir clerestory, twenty-two in the south-west transept window (sXXVIII), and twelve in the west window (WI). The figures currently being exhibited have been removed for safe-keeping and cleaning while the masonry in the south-west transept window is repaired.
The figures currently on show are Phalec, Ragau, Jonan and Joseph [Figs 1 – 4]. From mid- January 2012 these will be replaced by Thara & Abraham, Jose & Er. From May 2012 the exhibition will feature Joanna & Juda, Salman & Booz.
Leonie Seliger, Head of Cathedral Stained Glass Studios, said “These exhibitions are unmissable opportunities to see some of England’s greatest medieval treasures in close-up. Visitors literally look the figures in the eye. Once the figures have been returned to the transept it is unlikely that they will be removed again in our lifetimes”.
Thanks: We are grateful to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral for permission to use these © pictures.