Exhibitions/ Art Object

Phalec

Date:
1178–80
Culture:
British
Medium:
Pot-metal and colorless glass with vitreous paint
Dimensions:
a: H. 83.7 cm (32 15/16 in.); W. 70.5 cm (27 3/4 in.) b: H. 67.5 cm (26 9/16 in.); W. 70.8 cm (27 7/8 in.)
Classification:
Glass-Stained
Not on view
Phalec is the son of Heber and the father of Ragau and represents, depending on the source, either the fifth or the sixth generation after Noah. According to the Bible, the world was divided during Phalec’s lifetime—a reference to the aftermath of the Flood, when the descendants of Noah presided over the gathering of peoples in different lands. Composed more frontally than the other figures, he holds a scroll—a generic symbol of authority and prestige rather than a specific attribute. The ornamental details of the costume and the throne are more simply rendered than details of the other figures. This less-detailed painting may indicate a need for haste in finishing the last windows, as the first phase of new construction was finished by 1180.

Phalec was originally in the top half of a clerestory window in the northeast transept at Canterbury. As the windows in this part of the cathedral were somewhat larger than those in the choir, Phalec is slightly larger than the choir figures. It was probably moved to the Great South Window in the 1790s.