08. Madonna Candelabrum

This lustre or candelabrum used to hang in the Shoemakers’ Gallery of The Middle Church. There is a similar candelabrum at Bois le Duc, in Lower Holland. In the 15th century Bois le Duc belonged to the Province of Li├Ęge. The candelabrum was presented to the people of Bois le Duc for bravery at the siege of Bains le Compte, which took place in 1440. The date of the lustre would then fall somewhere between 1440 and 1450. This gives an indication of the approximate date of the example in Saint John’s Kirk. There is a similar lustre at Bristol.

In this connection it is worth recalling that Mary of Gueldres, wife of James II, may have taken a particular interest in Saint John’s. The Church had been severely damaged by fire in 1385, and in the first half of the fifteenth century the Choir and the North wall of the Nave were largely rebuilt. Mary’s own Architect and Master of Works may have been employed in this undertaking, and as a gesture to the restored edifice the Flemish lustre may have been a gift from a Flemish Queen.