Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jonah and the Big Fish

Would you believe it? St Barbara is the patron saint of architects abd is one of several saints depicted on the magnificent rood screen of St Helen's, Ranworth in Norfolk. We have known this church for many years through our dear friends, the Forsters. It is sublimely unspoilt, not only with this screen which is exceptional, but also a tower you can climb to view Ranworth and South Walsham Broads and further afield.

Another treasure is the Ranworth antiphoner which is kept under lock and key with protected glass and green baize cover. Under this is the perfectly preserved manuscript with its fine illuminations such as this one of Jonah and the Big Fish. Don't you just love that 'big fish'? 

Do follow the link in the heading to see many more of these exquisite images.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Ivory Towers and Warm Baths

An ivory tower, as symbol of Mary, in a "Hunt of the Unicorn Annunciation"

The term 'ivory tower' has become a mildly critical expression referring to academic pursuits which Wikipedia calls 'a wilful disconnect from the everyday world'. That'll do for me - I like that 'wilful'. 'Warm baths' refers to something said to a friend who was at university - 'it is time to get out of the warm bath of research '.

When an assignment is due in, and there are penalties for not submitting on time, the imperative becomes to deal with it, legitimately ignoring more troublesome, difficult, day-to-day truths and duties. But it occurs to me that we can create our own havens of curiosity and calm away from academia.What shall it be? William Scott appeals, Romanesque architecture maybe, the Renaissance in Northern Europe, take up my paints, start gardening again for my head's sake. Read novels, yes really!

Having just finished several years art history study, I now find myself facing practicalities which have been neglected. Difficult things, painful but necessary.

Now it is time to rethink, redraw my days giving them structure, but never losing the desire to research and explore. And to get out of that warm bath into the cold shower of real life. How good I will feel after that.