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Preliminary remarks

The supports for the choir stall sculptures do not always have the same form and may be carved in different shapes, varying not only by individual workshops but by region and by date. Several photographs are therefore needed to illustrate each definition in this lexicon.

Most English misericords have side scenes called supporters and these may be of different types.

The continental misericords have no supporters, except at Barcelona Cathedral, the Abbey of Celanova and a few in Albi Cathedral. The curved partitions on English stalls result in open spaces between the stalls. Continental stalls provide more privacy; the early partitions had small columns behind the arm-rest, while later ones follow the form of an S. In addition to variations in the shape of parts of choir stalls, the type of decoration varies on each segment. The nose for example, may be plain, carved with a floral design or a complex narrative or figurative frieze.

In some cases it bears an inscription. An early misericord is either floral or consists of a simple form. Later misericords are more intricately carved until the mid-sixteenth century when their composition may be compared with Italian or Northern engravings.

Texts and illustrations are protected by Copyright: F. Billiet and E. C. Block - From the Lexique des Stalles médiévales, to be published.