Monday, June 28, 2010

Project Gargoyle begins in Leicestershire

An unusal project in Leicestershire, England, is hunting down gargoyles in order to help understand the region's gothic art. Project Gargoyle has been set up to create a brand new resource capturing Leicestershire's wealth of medieval sculpture.

The first of its kind in the country, a 50-strong team of volunteers is now in place and busy taking photographs of figurative church carvings such as gargoyles. Around 300 churches locally feature stylised or caricatured human heads and weird and wonderful imaginary beasts which so far, have failed to attract the interests of art historians or specialists.

The information collected through Project Gargoyle, led by volunteer Bob Trubshaw and supported by the County Council, will become a digital resource offering fascinating insights into medieval minds.

Mr. Trubshaw said, "Leicestershire has a wealth of wonderful medieval art decorating its churches but to date, no one knows exactly what we have. Many of these carvings are superb examples of medieval art and deserve to be much better known and understood.

"At this stage we simply do not know how many carvings there - we think there are around 10,000 ranging from gargoyles which are pulling faces or poking their tongues out, to ones depicting fantasy entities such as green men or dragons."

Byron Rhodes, County Council Cabinet Member for the historic and natural environment, added, "This innovative project is run entirely by volunteers and I'd like to thank them for helping to record an important chapter in Leicestershire's art history.

"When complete, it will be a tremendous addition to the county's archives and hopefully inspire other areas to document their medieval carvings in a similar manner."

The Diocese of Leicester, the Diocese of Peterborough and Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society are involved in the initiative which was first set up last year.

For more information on the project, please visit the County Council's website - or contact co-ordinator Bob Trubshaw on 01509 880725 or email

Source: Leicestershire County Council