Sunday, 5 December 2021

Don't eat baby Jesus



Here is the lead (as in the metal) wolf and the lower photo shows his position in the hierarchy of mantlepiece animals. H.I. had him at the lead (as in the front) of a procession of three, but I turned him around to face the dog and sheep in a fittingly confrontational and wolf-like, Jack London-style posture.

The sheet iron dog was made in India (not Victorian England as one unscrupulous antique dealer tried to tell me when she wanted to sell one of hers) and the lamb was made by the old trick of squeezing the clay through a tea-strainer for the fleece. The first time an amateur ceramicist learns that trick they make all sorts of furry animals and each one is unique. That is what I like about this one, plus it reminds me, now I  come to think of it, of a Craigie Aitchison rendition of a sheep - or was it a Bedlington Terrier? Either will do.

This time of year they also put me in mind of those out-of-scale nativity scenes which are cobbled together by children and the child-like, with disparate and disproportionate creatures all huddled around a grotesquely large, swaddled plastic Jesus.

I saw a lead farmyard collection for sale in the market yesterday and I almost bought it so that we could create one of the very few nativity scenes to include a ravenous wolf.

19 comments:

  1. I adore that metal dog, I really do
    Beautiful shape

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    1. It was made from one single piece of metal, artfully cut and bent. The Indians are masters of metal snipping.

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  2. I think you should go back and buy it. We have a large Christmas village that gets put up every year. Last year I placed a small godzilla in there, amongst the villagers to see if someone noticed. -Jenn

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  3. Love the metal dog ….. go and get the lead farmyard if it’s as good as your dog. Comment on your last post …. have you seen that ariel black and white photograph of thousands of workers/commuters from the early 1900’s ? …… pretty much every person is wearing a hat . …. if it was taken now, there would hardly be anyone wearing a hat ( maybe a few in Winter ) XXXX

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    1. Yes, I know about men with hats in the 1930s/40s. Trouble is it is now 2021.

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  4. When my son was small he used to like making scenes and tableau on his model railway - he never cared about relative scale or what was gaudy and what was tasteful. So we'd have as signalman as big as house, and car that was bigger again. It was very refreshing in its way

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    1. I am more than willing to overlook relative scale when it comes to fantasising. Think Alice.

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  5. They used to put nativity scenes outside churches. They were respected for years until some time in the 1970s, not wolves but vandals started to smash them.

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    1. The Bath Abbey nativity in a glass fronted wooden shed was vandalised about 20 years ago, so now it now longer happens. Criminals and vandals drastically reduce the quality of ordinary people's lives, but there again, so do politicians these days.

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  6. I would have liked the lead farmyard animals. I had a farmyard that I played with over and over and then when we cleared mum's things I didn't keep them. I did a lot of silly things then. Now I have a crib that I have added to, which you have seen on my blog, and it has animals and shepherds and three wise men, all of different sizes. and the majority of them come from the Azores where lots of Catholics and men make them during the long winter evenings. I bought several when I was there. I have added other animals from toy shops and the Catholic cathedral here where I bought another crib a few years ago. I like the wolf and the dog and the sheep. The sheep would fit with my animals, the wolf would not.

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    1. I have had a desire to create a reliquary to an unknown saint for years now. I would make the windows from water-clear rock crystal and the fittings from gold or ormolu. I have the bone already.

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  7. English and its homonyms and homophones!!
    Nice metalwork, but isn't that sheep a Herdwick?!

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    1. Homonyms and homophones I am not sure of, but you may be right about Herdwicks.

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  8. This made me laugh...only you would come up with a blasphemous nativity scene! If I saw a lead farmyard animal set, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I like bronze too. I'd take either or both!!!

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    1. Isn't strange how they made toys for children from lead. The danger is that lead is very sweet on the tongue. It has the same molecular structure as sugar.

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  9. Well in this household my daughter has a fascination with Mary, mother of Jesus! We have glass domed compilations of scenes, and pictures on the wall that would make you groan, which I often do. She is not religious by the way. But no reproduction of 'Light of the World' now there is an idea for Xmas ;)

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    1. The Italians are very fond of Mary too. I think it is a mother thing amongst the patriarchy.

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