Thursday, 23 April 2015

Some 'new' strycsitten illuminations

 I have gathered some additional strycsitten images from medieval illuminations and paintings. They can be divided in French type strycsittens and the German type.

French strycsittens

 January, folio 1r. The table is curious and seems to consist of a square dressoir with a round table top.
 February, folio 1v. The wife seems to be sitting on a footstool.
Both illuminations are from the same book illuminated by Jean Poyer in Tours, France around 1500. Both strycsittens are situated in front of the fireplace. The Hours of Henry VIII, manuscript MS H 8, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, NY, USA.

Servants serving the master in a book of hours. BNF NAL 3116 folio 1v. Dated at the end 15th century. 
Assuming a similar set-up as the previous image, this could be February.

I have shown this image before, but only in grey. It is still unknown to me from which manuscript it originates. 
Also this strycsitten is in front of the fireplace.

Feast of Esther. Folio 129v in Fleur des histoires, BNF Fr 55. Second half of the 15th century.

Jehan Froissart kneeling before the count of Foix. Chroniques of Froissart, British Library manuscript Royal 14 D V folio 8. Last quarter of the 15th century. The strycsitten beneath the canopy is decorated with animals (lions?)

Tristan and Dinadan at the house of Pelinier. Manuscrit du Tristan en prose, BNF Fr 102 folio 179v. dated around 1465-1480. It is a bit difficult to see, but  they are sitting on a strycsitten in front of a fireplace.

The king is sitting at a strycsitten. 
Facta et dicta memorabilia BNF Fr 43 folio 1. Dated  mid 15th century.

The translator reads the Latin text in the library of a noble. A grisaille illumination with a strycsitten in front of the fireplace. The strycsitten swinging backrest is more of a Flemish type. The bench is covered with a cloth and a cushion. Roman de Jean dÁvesnes. Paris, Arsenal MS. 5208 f. 1r. 15th century.

German strycsittens

Cardinal Albrect of Brandenburg as St. Jerome. Painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526). The painting is in a private collection. A special long green cushion is made for the strycsitten. The table is set on a wooden platform; perhaps to protect it from the animal dung?

Detail of the high altar painted by Friedrich Herlin (1466) showing a strycsitten.  
St. Jacob Church, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

St. John with eagle on a strycsitten. Painting by Gabriel Maleskircher (1478). 
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain.


  1. This comment is in regard to the picture by Lucas Cranach der Alter. I think the frame around the base is just a wide stretcher which seems to have been common on late medieval and early German renaissance Tables. I have a book by Sigrid Mueller-Christensen called Alte Moebel. In it, there are two tables which have this type of stretcher. One of them was actually designed by Albrecht Duerer. This stretcher seems to be a way of incorporating a functional joining mechanism with the equally useful Fussbank (foot bench) which was prevalent throughout the Middle Ages, and served to keep peoples feet off the cold tile or stone floors. Interestingly, I have a couple manuscript illustrations which seem to show wooden floors, and the sitters at table in these pictures do not have a foot bench.

    Also a question; Have you ever come across an Italian or Spanish version of this Strycsitten?

    1. The strycsitten seem to be a French-Flemish-German type of seating. I have not seen any Spanish, Italian or native English ones

  2. Oops! That should be Tilman Riemenschneider, Not Albrecht Duerer, sorry