I mentioned that I was much taken by the down-to-earth faces which look down from the masonry at St Cross Hospital, Winchester.
I also let slip that there was one notable exception to those which simply made one feel comfortable.
I walked through the arch under the gatehouse and her eyes were upon me; so much so that I felt compelled to turn and meet her gaze.
She was no mediaeval grotesque, and no Renaissance gargoyle. She appeared to be relatively recent, though her son has not worn so well.
She has the magnetism of the Mona Lisa, but the enigmatic smile is missing. Instead, there is something steely about this madonna. One would not choose to cross her.
I did not ask after her that day, and have drawn a blank on her since. My guess? 19th century. Pre-Raphaelite, even.
Whatever she is, wherever she came from, I find her rather disturbing. Because she looks alive, though she is grey. That gaze could lock you, standing there beneath. She is a formidable figure.
See what you think.