Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Plumbing the medieval mind

click photo to enlarge
The gargoyles on a medieval church, such as this one at Aswarby in Lincolnshire (see yesterday's post), are pieces of sculpture that form part of the medieval plumbing system. They are designed to carry rainwater off the roof and other coverings, then out from the walls, and deposit it on the ground below. However, despite this rather prosaic purpose it sometimes doesn't pay to look too closely at them. Why? Because amongst the grimacing, devilish faces, weird beasts and elephants you might spot something a little more earthy.

When you've worked out just what today's photograph shows you might wonder, as I did, precisely what was going on in the mind of this particular sculptor, what the priest was thinking of sanctioning the design, and why in the middle ages people thought toilet humour appropriate for the decoration of a church!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 110mm (220mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On