Description & Technical information

This superb set of medieval corbels, carved with the stylised heads of a man and woman and sections of moulded column to the rears, was originally part of the chapel of Saint Nicholas in Wykeham, a deserted medieval village in the parish of Weston in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire. This chapel was built in 1311 for the Prior of Hatfield of Spalding as the private chapel of his country house. The chapel was desecrated during the dissolution under Henry VIII. Attempts were made to repair it during the 16th century. The roof collapsed in 1782 and it was not until 1838 that some clearances were undertaken. The building remains a ruined shell, the font serving as a makeshift birdbath. 

The style of the heads of our corbels is reflective of the playful humour of English early 14th century stone carving. They are worked with deep recesses accentuating expressive facial features. The male, with high pronounced cheek bones, furrowed brow and parted lips, wears a skull cap suggestive of a position within the clergy, curls of hair falling at the sides, his extended neck protruding from a folded robe, the underside revealing an incised triskele mason’s mark. The female, with long wavy hair, gazes at the viewer with a titled head and broad open-mouthed smile, her expressive face also accentuated by high cheek bones and deeply set eyes.

Period:  14th century
Medium: Limestone
Dimensions: 20 x 26 x 43 cm (7⁷/₈ x 10¹/₄ x 16⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: Chapel of Saint Nicholas, Wykeham, Lincolnshire
With Tomasso Brothers, Leeds

Categories: Sculpture