Kildalton Cross

Aided by by Hamish Haswell-Smith’s excellent book on the Scottish islands, we decided to make our way to see the Kildalton Cross. On the way we spotted this yacht, which had found a nice little anchorage.

The bluestone cross dates from the 8th century, and it beautifully detailed.
It’s thought that the artist is from Iona, as it looks like it’s by the same hand as three crosses found there.
The metalwork like (OK that’s not good English) bosses are fabulous…
…but I was most taken with this Mother and child, quite lovely.

Turkey 2008 – Hagia Sophia Mosaics

One of the things that makes the Hagia Sophia so amazing, are the Byzantine mosaics.

Some are easy to find…

…others are a little more difficult.

The detail is quite astonishing – but what I found most moving was the faces.

In particular, that of Jesus.

The art historians amongst you, will be able to comment on the perspective, lack of realism etc. etc. – but I could have looked into these eyes for ever.

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος

The remaining mosaics aren’t just set pieces – there’s lots beautiful pattern work.

My favourite? This one with Christ, the Empress Zoe and her third husband. It rather tickled me, that she had the mosaic remodelled each time she remarried :-).

St Boltoph’s

When I was in Cambridge, I stumbled into St Boltoph’s – a church I’d never visited before. As a lover of Victorian Gothic, I was in seventh heaven.

Here is the roof detail.

I was very taken by Gabriel, annunciating to..

Mary. In religious art, the large gap between Mary and Gabriel in annunciation scenes is symbolic of the importance of the news. here they have the whole aisle between them!

And if that wasn’t enough – there’s this magnificent Laudian font.

We’re all Doomed! A Visit to South Leigh Church

Why is it that we neglect the treasures on our doorstep? South Leigh is only three miles away and until this afternoon, I’d never been to the church.

This lovely Arts and Crafts inspired tower clock was installed in 1905.

This is the reason I visited – the amazing wall paintings. Now,before one gets too excited, one has to bear in mind that the paintings were HEAVILY restored in 1872 by Burlison and Grylls. But they can give you a fair idea of what churches looked like before those Puritan, iconoclast vandals got their hammers and whitewash on them!

Here is St Michael weighing souls with the Virgin interceding.

I was rather taken by these devils. Do you think the one that has the ‘stick’ in its mouth is playing fetch?

The Last Judgement – Doom – extends over the chancel arch onto the nave walls.

Painters always seem to have a more lively and colourful view of Hell than of the Celestial City. I guess they felt that they really had to hammer the point home.

Look at that red maw – that’s where YOU’RE going if you scrump any more apples!

See – Heaven looks really dull doesn’t it? And it looks like only red heads will get in!

These are lovely little birds…coming to a Victorian bathroom tile near you…

I ADORE Mary’s little canopy.

I’m glad that St Clement has one too, or he’d be jealous I’m sure!

This is the only unrestored painting, of The Seven Deadly Sins. In this state I think it has an abstract beauty.

As well as the paintings, there is this rather nice altar.

And the pulpit where John Wesley preached his first sermon, in 1725 – I wonder what he’d have thought of the restored paintings?

Madeira Day 4 – Câmara de Lobos

On Wednesday we hired a car – our first stop was Câmara de Lobos .

It was the first place that the discoverer of Madeira, João Gonçalves Zarco landed. Apparently, he saw the sea cliffs at Cabo Girão (of which more later) and turned back. Winston Churchill stopped off here in 1950 and did a few daubs.

As you can see from the terracing on the hillside, no land in Madeira is wasted. If there’s a patch of earth, they’ll get a banana tree or some vines in it. It’s quite inspiring, but it makes you realise, just how hard life still is for many Madeirans.

Câmara de Lobos is a thriving harbour – although when we were there, the fishermen were all busy playing snooker, cards and expectorating.

As you’d expect – I was very keen on the different blues of the fishing boats. I’ve cropped this to get rid of street ligts and all those other nasty modern things :-).

The bar where we had a coffee, had a big football scarf collection. As I was discussing with Lorna, yesterday – it’s always interesting to see collections of things.

The BVM is very popular in Maderia.