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‘Our Angel and Lady of the Dance’
I love St Nicks, a beautiful, ancient, sacred place and a fab space in which to boogie. we are blessed
It’s fun, at the start of the evening to unlock, then swing back, the old wooden door… Church as a place of Sanctuary
else last thing at night, by the light of a single candle, hollering a solitary Ommm up into the vaulted ceiling above
It’s a church of many marvels, rich in objects and stories, from numerous ages
for today tho i want to center stage this beautiful and occasionally overlooked statue (well technically i guess it’s a relief)
apologies i had to teeter atop a chair to take this snap with my phone
It’s from 1830, a memorial of a wealthy aristocrat to his dead wife… and hey, thats all i know
1830 tho, the year also that the Prince Regent (George IV) died, the domes of the pavilion are still fresh, the smell of wet plaster… and brighton is swinging, in the pomp of it’s first and most preposterous heyday!
whats more, tho a country of horrendous inequality… the Chartist movement will rise up within 10 years… it’s a land burgeoning with confidence and power. the Railways are coming. swagger. not a place that would entertain the notion of kitsch. so why should we
Our Aristo had probably been on the grand tour to the eye opening wonders, the classicist glory of Rome and Italy… in fact I’d guess the marble was carved in Italy, seems too delicate and exquisite for the more artisan efforts of contempoary English carvers?
I feel he probably loved his wife, and was geninely mourning her, that she was young, beautiful and possibly died in child birth
The sculpture is also profoundly influenced by Romanticism… Keats, Shelley and Byron are all also dead… but it is they who hold sway on the imagination of the day… ‘half in Love with easeful Death’
the ethos is very much one of beauty, eroticism and yes death… to the modern mind, it’s a curious blend… look at the diaphonous nature of her gown… that sensuality probably won’t be seen again till the 1970’s
ponder too the mastery of the carving, how do you tap away and create transparent garments in reluctantly yielding stone?
the poise, mastery and focus to create such a piece… one wayward chip and the whole thing crumbles to catastrophic ruin… no payday then
ha! so much of context, what do i feel? Is it about transformation? the angel is female, mbe our heroine is like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, the transcendance of flesh into spirit
but no, for me, of course, it is a dance… yes, the woman is rightly reluctant and fearful of her death, yet there is a softness of touch, the way the angel reaches her hand to linger gently on an arm, a supple intricacy of movement… but mostly it’s the yearning… in their faces, reflected, as i dance, here in my soul
i sat by the pillar the other day, a little bored, it happens sometimes, and watched the statues from a distance, through the cheerful turmoil and press of bodies
so yes usually in my stodge plod movements i am clodhoper, quagmired in earth, marooned in the dreary realm of judgements and thought… but for all of us, sometimes we catch the breeze of spirit and soar high above
yep yep plump plum lavish of words, poesy… but hey they’ve stood there nigh on 2-0-0 years… world flows through us, hopefully they will remain when we, and all that we cherish and love, are but cheerful worm fodder
wah gwaan! a sculpture languid with obdurate beauty

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