Font bowl, W face, central lion

Image of the feature "Fonts: Font" at Ipswich.

by Ron Baxter.

Located at the W end of the nave. A font with a 12thc. bowl of polished black Tournai marble on a 15thc. base. The bowl is box-shaped with low sides, each face carved in relief with three lions statant gardant separated by fictive shafts carved in relief with flat-leaf capitals and bulbous bases, both with roll neckings. There are similar shafts at the corners of the bowl. The outer lions on each side face the angle, while the central lions face to the right, except on the E side where he faces left. All twelve lions are similar, showing all four legs standing on the groundline, their feet with long claws. Their tails curve down between their hindquarters and up across the body before broadening and continuing to curve backwards to terminate above their starting point. The bodies are smooth with no manes shown. Heads have pointed, fluted ears sticking up, oval bulging eyes under a double-curved brow-ridge, a nose with a bulging tip and another bulge halfway down it, and horizontal wrinkles across the snout. The bowl is carried on fluted capitals at the angles, carved from the same block. Between the capitals, a fat roll, circular in section and with a central horizontal ridge, completes the evidence for the original support. This must have consisted of a central thick shaft and thinner angle shafts. The inner basin is circular, and the upper surface of the bowl is decorated as is usual with Tournai fonts. In this case the basin is surrounded by a flattened roll between fillets, and each spandrel is carved in relief with a palmette flanked by fluted, multilobed leaves. The font previously stood near the W respond of the S nave arcade.


ext. w. of bowl (E-W) 1.11 m
ext. w. of bowl (N-S) 1.11 m
h. of main faces of bowl 0.29 m
int. diam. of bowl 0.83 m
overall h. of bowl 0.46 m
present h. of bowl and support 1.19 m