Friday, 10 August 2012

Carlisle misericords

'Its laugh can only be wicked' is what the guidebook says of this human headed winged beast.  Carlisle was a first stopping point on our holiday and we enjoyed these carvings in its Cathedral's choir stalls dating from about 1415.

Biblical scenes are always in a minority among such carvings, but this is St Michael (beautifully feathered as Mystery Play actors in this part often were) subduing the devil (taking the  form of a dragon).

Mythical beasts are much more common, although this hyena may well be unique to Carlisle.  Mediaeval 'beasteries' catalogue these creatures and the hyena is characterised in them as having a rigid back and a diet of human corpses.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.