Jun. 23rd, 2012

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And now...

The moment you've all been waiting for!  The carved stones!!

Yes, they're classy.  They're really classy...

There are, of course, typologies which detail the evolution of carved stone crosses in Scotland.  Unfortunately, I'm no expert, though I can tell you that they start way back in in the earlier medieval period and they carry on being made until quite late on.

This particular example is known as Macdougalls's Cross. The Macdougalls were dominant players within the priory throughout much of its history: the last Macdougall prior, the exquisitely named Eugenius MacDougall (ah, those classical allusions!!) commissioned an Iona sculptor named John O'Brolchan to carve this cross.  The name of the artist is very rarely featured on these objects (more's the pity!) but this example is evidently a rare exception to the rule.

Macdougall's display of piety did nothing to win him any favour amongst his order - he was evidently deposed in 1506. But at least his cross remains:-

One side features the Crucifixion, the other a portrait of the Virgin and Child.  No prizes for deciding which of the two images is featured here!

Some beautiful grave slabs, again of medieval date, take cover beneath the stone shelter.  Here's one, featuring some snazzy beasts flanking a mean two-handed sword:-

And one last example, which I suspect is not a gravestone, but a free-standing cross.  As I said earlier, I'm no expert, but I would guess that this example pre-dates Macdougall's cross by a century or two...

It's a gorgeous example of this kind of monument, and in amazingly good nick, too.  Here's a detail, just to add to its 'Ahhh!!' factor:-

Some day I'll have to go back to Islay, so I can introduce you to the Kildalton and Kilchoman Crosses...  Because they're really something, and I KNOW you'd like them!!


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