French 17th Century Oak Lectern with Revolving Double Sided Top
This truly wonderful 17th Century Oak Ecclesiastical Lectern Ambo1 from France has so very many features to wax lyrical about and is a wonderful example of changes within Church History2. These are sometimes referred to as a revolving Lectern Ambo3 or Pigeon Coop Revolving Lectern, although this is a reference to the style of dove cotes rather than any functional purpose.
This beautiful historical Lectern Ambo would have been used in a traditional French Roman Catholic community Parish Church in the 17th Century and is steeped in history. It is of excellent quality, solid and sturdy and made from oak and is in good condition with no major damage. The signs of age and use are entirely appropriate given the time period it dates from but there is nothing of any significance or which would prove to be detrimental. Overall it has a lovely time worn and aged patina. The photographs are an excellent reference to its many attributes and best show the detail of the shaped column above the four shaped legs and the finial below but if you have any questions please contact us.
This rotating double sided Lectern Ambo allows for easy access to both sides of the lectern without having to move around it and for situations where multiple readers/speakers need to share the same lectern. The triangular double-sided lectern slope can be rotated and would have originally been used for the reading of the Epistle and Gospel4. It is now an excellent way of displaying two particularly special items or books.
1The word “ambo” has its origins from Greek and means step or elevation. Some feel there is also a spiritual connection with the New Testament Gospel of Matthew where the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ is retold. Ambos were always designed to be reached by 3 levels of steps, with each level being consecrated to a particular and special part of the Mass.
In the Roman Catholic Church the Ambo is the formal name for the stand from which the Gospel is read and is considered to be part of the altar. In Parish or Parochial Churches the Ambo is usually in the form of a lectern located near the front of the chancel which is the area used by the Clergy and Special Ministers during worship. The Chancel is raised above the area where the congregation gather in the Nave and in years gone by the areas were separated by railings or screens.
The word Chancel derives from French ‘chancel’ and from the Latin ‘cancelli’ meaning lattice, a reference to the screens or rails. In church architecture the Chancel is the space around the altar in the sanctuary at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian Church building.
2 In early times the ambo took the form of a portable lectern but by the 6th Century it became a stationary church furnishing solely for use by the church ministers of the word. Whereas the lectern was moveable and was used for readings other than the Gospel. By the 14th Century there was a steady decline in the use of stationary Ambos.
3The Lectern Ambo combines the features of the fixed Ambo and moveable Lectern as a liturgical furnishing historically used as the stand for holding a copy of Scripture and which evolved to become moveable and intended for readings other than the Gospel.
4 As the Christian Church and Liturgy developed double ambos were introduced on either side of the choir to distinguish between the Epistle and the Gospel. The Epistle Ambo was placed to the south side of the Sanctuary and the Gospel Ambo to the northern side.
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