Thursday, 30 May 2013

Flowers of a Forgotten Hand

Last night, sorting out photos for a post about the fifth and final plate in the 'double' series, I came across these photos which were taken about a year ago.  The post about that etching will come soon, but first, just for now, I thought I'd take a minute to share these details from the ceiling of the crypt in Saint Mungo's Cathedral.

Looking back on the photos, the ceiling is not that low, but in my memory the arches seemed to flower vividly only just beyond my reach.  I don't even know what name to give to these wonderful faces, flowers, skulls, vines and dragons which delighted me so as we wandered the crypts last May, though I am sure there must be a word for them.

How lovely to find, under a church, a lamp-lit forest of squat, many-armed stone pillars reaching up into tight arches.  And then how exquisite to move through that into this one perfect room where the ceiling blooms brightly all the year long, where stained glass gleams and jeweled light marches daily across the perfectly pointed white walls!

If I lived in Glasgow I think this would be the place I'd come to on sunny winter afternoons.

But today is a day to be out of doors.  The air is sweet, chestnut trees are blooming, bluebells and yellow poppies are pushing up in abandoned gardens, and there are still fat red tulips beaming in window boxes.  I am longing for a weekend of forests, rivers, and ocean.


  1. ah, i am very glad your weather has cleared up and you're feeling better!
    and what a lovely discovery...

  2. What a nice place! Those carvings are beautiful, very well kept or well restored. I had a look at some churchy terms as I thought there might be a very old and complicated word for them, but what it said was: 'a boss - an ornamental knob covering the intersection of ribs in a vault or in a ceiling.' I also really like the light in the cathedral, almost rose-coloured; unusual.

  3. Thanks Zoe! Scotland is full of little treasures it seems. Glad you liked them too!

    Hita, a boss... well that makes sense! (Though I guess I thought there would be a more complicated word too... oh well, I guess there is no need really.) It's true, the light there was wonderful. You don't expect that when you go down below into a crypt!