December 9th, 2009

He Shares My Initials

I got a Christmas card yesterday from my friend Stephen the art historian. He apologizes for the mess up on the envelope (a street name had been crossed through and ours substituted) saying his eye had skipped a line as he was going through the list and he briefly confused me with another A.G.- the sculptor Anthony Gormley.....

Which gives me an excuse to post some pictures of Gormley's Angel of the North, which I took as we were passing through Gateshead the other day.


Ailz won some stuff on eBay- and we trekked over to Ormskirk to pick it up.

The church at Ormskirk is unique in having a tower and a spire side by side at the west end. The tower is late- built in the 1520s to accomodate a set of bells that had been looted/salvaged from Burscough Priory. There are Stanleys buried inside- including the fucker who betrayed Richard III at Bosworth.

Is this Dickon's betrayer? Could be. The costumes look like they belong to the right period.

P.S. An extract from Draper's House of Stanley. 1864.

—An old sexton, Mr. John Hankin, was wont to narrate to persons visiting the Derby Chapel during his time the particulars of a very singular robbery from the vault. In those days the Ormskirk Free Grammar School and house stood in the churchyard, on the north side. The robbery was attempted by a woman dressed in deep mourning, who, affecting great distress of mind, succeeded in gaining the sympathy and commiseration of the sexton’s wife, who allowed the apparently distressed widow to go into the church alone, and whenever she required. On the occasion of one of these lonely visits to the church, however, the strange conduct of the woman attracted the curiosity of the school boys, and they watched the widow’s proceedings through the church windows, and saw her coming out of the Derby vault carrying an entire hand and arm belonging to one of the bodies interred in the vault. The boys immediately gave the alarm, and the completion of the theft was prevented, but not before the widow had concealed her strange booty under her clothing. The coffin from which the hand and arm were extracted is supposed to contain the remains of a foreign ecclesiastic, who died during the sixteenth century at Lathom House, and whose body had evidently been embalmed, as the flesh thereby had acquired hardness and a dark brown colour, which was seen when the vault was closed in 1851, the wood coffin being then almost entirely decayed away,. and the lead one, which was shaped to fit the head and neck, had several openings in it, laying bare the body and the cloth in which the body had. been tightly wrapped at the time it was embalmed. This coffin is under the one containing the body of the seventh Earl of Derby. In consequence of the attempted robbery above noticed, for several years visitors were not allowed into the Derby Chapel, but the privilege was again conceded on the condition of the sexton being personally present with all future visitors.


And then there's this, also taken in Ormskirk...

I believe it's a picture of my right leg, but I'm not entiely sure.

I guess I was holding the camera pointing down with my finger on the button, but I've no idea quite what I did to get that creepy ectoplasmic effect. l've tried to duplicate it, but the results- see next entry- are quite different.