A very short post. The migraine is dancing on my head.
Though the devil continues to dance on my shoulder. Those who have been reading for a while will know of my obsession with a figure which appears like a vein through art and architecture here in the UK, and though I know who he is, I can’t yet fathom his origin.
Give me time.
First spotted as a grotesque on the outside of Christ Church College, Oxford, he made a startling appearance on a piece of silverware bearing the crest of The Champneys, an English noble family, dating from 1740 and shrouded in mystery. The piece sits in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.
From Oxford to Winchester, and the strange Lady Chapel where you can find ancient wall paintings, featuring miraculous stories of the Virgin Mary. Here, at last, the creature bears identification: he appears with an unequivolcal name. He is the Prince of Darkness himself.
Read about my search so far- and have a look at the pictures of previous sightings – here.
Construction of the parish church of St John The Baptist, Cirencester, in the South of England, began in 1115. The Romans had long upped and gone by then, though they left their traces. This cathedral-like church, made in golden Cotswold stone, is deeply, engagingly, uncompromisingly mediaeval in so many ways. I popped in for a three-minute stroll and stayed for a couple of hours; and towards the end of my walk, who should I spot, there in the tower, snarling down at the unsuspecting tourists?
It’s him again. Same snout, same claws, same wings.
Is there anyone else out there who has met him in this 900 year old incarnation? Where did he begin, and how far has he travelled? And how did he endure, from early mediaeval symbolism, to perch on the elaborate sauce-boat possessed by a noble English family in the 17th century?