Height: 25.200 cm
Width: 28.200 cm
Room 40: Medieval Europe
Carved stone capital
Medieval, about AD
From Lewes, Sussex, England
Scenes from the life of St Peter
This capital is a remnant from the priory of Lewes in Sussex. It is carved with four scenes from the gospels relating to the life of St Peter: the miraculous draught of fishes (Luke 5:5-9); the calling of Saints Peter and Andrew (Matthew 5:18, Mark 1:16-17); a church representing Christ's instruction to St Peter to build His church (Matthew 17:18); the giving of the keys to St Peter (Matthew 17:19).
Why were scenes from the life of Saint Peter chosen to decorate the capital? Lewes was a Cluniac priory dedicated to St Pancras. The Abbey of Cluny, however, was dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. This relationship between the Cluniac order and St Peter is likely to have suggested the subject of his life as a decorative motif. It was also expressed by the papacy who placed the Abbey at Lewes under its special protection.
J. Robinson, Masterpieces: Medieval Art (London, British Museum Press, 2008)
H. Poole, Lewes Priory, the site and its (Lewes, 2000)
T. Holland, J. Holt and G. Zarnecki (eds.), English Romanesque art 1066-12 (London, Hayward Gallery, 1984)