September 4th, 2019

The Faces

St Mary, Dennington is a beautiful church, but none of the accounts of it I've read make as much fuss as I would want to do about the faces.

Old churches are full of faces- faces of angels, saints, devils, kings, queens and plain ordinary folk. They peer from capitals, window stops, fancywork of all kinds. I make a point of searching for them.

But the ones at Dennington are peculiarly arresting. I have no reason to suppose they're anything other than 14th century- and faces in the art of that period (think Giotto) are usually formulaic, idealised, generic- but look how lively and individualised these are! Whoever made them was a great master. His people look outwards, reacting to the world; they're intrigued, dismayed, startled by what they see.

PS. The last of these faces is accompanied by a very fine Green Man. The one it above has an image I don't believe I've ever seen before- a woman with roses growing out of her breasts.