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A readable and well-illustrated guide to these musicians, mermaids, monsters and mouth-pullers
on 28 September 2011
Glowering and grimacing from church walls, gargoyles (which acted as waterspouts) and grotesques (which had no practical function) are examples of medieval carving which are often overlooked because of their out-of-the-way locations. Comical and satirical figures mingle with terrifying monsters and fantastical beasts, even depictions of violent or obscene acts. At Lacock in Wiltshire, for example, is a chained beast devouring several figures; a sow suckles piglets at Bloxham, Oxfordshire; and at Adderbury are a pair of human-headed, hoofed quadrupeds. Alex Woodcock traces the history of gargoyles and grotesques, explains their subject matters and describes the best examples, in this readable and well-illustrated guide to these musicians, mermaids, monsters and mouth-pullers that still fascinate church visitors.