A Little Book Of DEVILS & DEMONS
Before Cromwell’s Revolution our churches would have been full of Hell and damnation. Humanity has always believed in an underworld – a ghastly warning to miscreants and reprobates of the eternal consequences of sin – and enough paintings, carvings and statues have survived the smashing of the altars to preserve a vivid, even lurid picture of this Manichean world. Mike Harding has sought out Britain’s remotest churches and its finest cathedrals, as well as travelling as far afield as India, on a quest for the most remarkable devils and demons still to be found. Here, in his magnificent photographs, are mischievous little imps and gargoyles peering down at us from chathedral tympanums; here are magnificent Mediaeval Doom paintings of the Day of Judgement from Suffolk and from Coventry; here are Leviathan, Hellmouth and the snub-nosed devil Tutivillus, and Jacob Epstein’s twentieth-century sculpture of Satan. But this little book is as much a celebration of the wild, subversive energy of these weird, otherworldly creatures, just as diabolically mesmerising to behold as they were back in the Middle Ages.
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (1 April 2008)
Mike Harding’s first four Little Books for Aurum, published nine years ago – Gargoyles (9781854105615), Green Men (9781854105639), Misericords (9781854105622) and Stained Glass (9781854105646) – have each sold between 20,000 and 30,000 copies and reprinted numerous times. Now at last, as Aurum also re-jackets and re-launches these original books, Mike Harding publishes four new titles, with a stunning new cover treatment. Devils & Demons is a gallery of often luridly diabolic carvings, statues and wall-paintings from churches and chapels both across Britain and in Europe. Here are the flying demons of Great Malvern, the Hellmouth on a misericord in Shropshire, Buddhist demons in Nepal and India, not to mention diabolic cats carved in mediaeval churches in Devon and Derbyshire and Lucifer, prince of darkness, his skin turning into scrolls of leaves. Impish, leering, scary, outlandish, here are a fascinating and astonishing collection of stunningly-photographed devilry and dooms. As with all Mike Harding’s little books, this is a beautiful little gift book as well as an erudite like monograph, at a superbly competitive impulse-buy price.