Gargoyles and Grotesques
By Alex Woodcock
(Shire, Paperback, 9780747808312, 64pp.)
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
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Gargoyles are an architectural feature designed to throw rainwater clear of the walls of a building. Widely used on medieval churches, these water spouts were often richly decorated, and fashioned as serpents' heads and other fanciful shapes. Today, the term gargoyle is also popularly applied to any carved decorative head or creature high up on a building and this book is an exploration of all of these enchanting features. Written by an academic and stonecarver, it is the perfect introduction to this fascinating subject.
Gargoyles aims to provide a concise introduction to the stone carvings often found on religious and secular buildings in Britain from the medieval period to the modern. It will explore the typical imagery, some of the theories put forward to explain them, as well as consider the carvings within their architectural and social contexts. Incorporating recent and current research, the book will nevertheless be accessible to the general reader.
Alex Woodcock is an academic and a craftsman. Awarded a PhD for his work on medieval architectural sculpture, he is now Assistant Stonemason at Exeter Cathedral. He has published a number of articles as well as a book on the subject of medieval sculpture.