Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grotesques and Gargoyles

My husband is participating in a workshop in Oxford this week (the main reason we are visiting the UK)  and I am free to wonder around and entertain myself!  I love antique architecture so wondering around Oxford is a dream come true!
Today I took a walking tour of the central part of the city and I learned the difference between a "Grotesques" and a "Gargoyles".  I always thought that any grotesque figure ornamenting a building was a Gargoyle but the guide said "not so".  Only ornaments that function to channel water away from a building are technically gargoyles and all other grotesque figures are just "grotesques"!  The buildings of Oxford have no shortage of either variety here's a small sampling!
Some of the Grotesques don't really seam very Grotesque, like this lovely lady.
This cute fellow with the book adorns a window outside Balliol College Library.  
This stern Sister is just keeping an eye on things!
And this fellow is just popping out for a bit of Ale?!
Merton College was Tolkein's college and the exterior is heavily decorated with gargoyles and grotesques.  You can see some of where he took his inspiration from?!  
It's a good thing I have a digital camera, I couldn't stop taking pictures of these wonderful sculptures!
cheers, CW


  1. Wonderful pictures - I'm glad you are having a good time over here:-)

  2. I enjoyed these photos! I always wondered why they made those sculptures so scary looking. I like the one with the little guy reading the book!

  3. aak.. my comments arent sticking for some reason. Maybe this one will?

    Anyway, I am SO enjoying your virtual tour of London! You have a keen eye for pattern, and I love the gargoyles and other statuary (?) Not everyone would pick these items, but I'm very glad you did. Thanks for sharing, and have a great time!

  4. Great study in gargoyles, Claire!! I hope you're having a great time while Jimmy studies away!!!