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Tony Grist

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A Saracen's Head [Oct. 9th, 2015|10:25 am]
Tony Grist
Our iconoclasts- who came in two waves- one might (very inaccurately) call them Cromwell 1 and Cromwell 2 for ease of reference- were religious extremists not class warriors- so they smashed roods and stained glass windows but spared tombs. In France- where the iconoclasts were class warriors- it was the other way round. So the French have more medieval stained glass than us, but we have more medieval tombs.

Lingfield has a very fine, early 15th century tomb of the Cobham family. Ailz doesn't always come into the churches with me but I insisted she see this because it's a considerable piece of sculpture and she loves sculpture. "Look,"she said. "You can see all his buckles," And so you can.



But the tour de resistance is round the back. The Cobhams had as their crest a Saracen's head- symbolising their crusading zeal. And here, on top of  the knight's helmet (which he is using as a pillow) is the grimmest, goriest Saracen's head you could hope to be repelled by. The word that comes to mind is Donatello. One wonders what else this sculptor did. What were his John the Baptists like? His Mary Magdalens? Just suppose Donatello's votive statues had fallen to the hammers of Cromwells 1 and 2.


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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2015-10-09 11:19 am (UTC)
Fabulous- the de Cobhams have connections hereabouts too- Cobham village is just up the road.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-10-09 11:29 am (UTC)
Yes, I know Cobham. The church has the biggest collection of brasses in the country and another very fine tomb. Also the pub features in The Pickwick Papers.

The Cobhams were mighty tomb builders.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2015-10-09 02:12 pm (UTC)
Oh my....that really IS magnificent! How I love poking into churches and discovering things like this.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-10-09 02:49 pm (UTC)
I think we take things like this tomb very much too much for granted. It's a tremendous work of art.

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[User Picture]From: splodgenoodles
2015-10-10 01:07 am (UTC)
That is brilliant.

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From: artkouros
2015-10-10 01:25 am (UTC)
That face says, "be glad you weren't me."

Edited at 2015-10-10 01:25 am (UTC)
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From: artkouros
2015-10-10 01:26 am (UTC)
But still - all we get over here are rectangular blocks.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-10-10 08:44 am (UTC)
This is a rectangular block too- only with things on top.
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