Ashtead Art Lovers Monthly Talks

11 a.m. and 7.30 p.m.

£10 inc refreshments. The same price since 2007. Numbers limited.

Tel: 01372 272235 to book, or email.

Friday 1st November: There be Dragons. An examination of images of this mythical beast & other grotesques in the margins of illumination manuscripts

Carta Marina 1539 (Wikipedia): Marine map and Description of the Northern Lands and of their Marvels, most carefully drawn up at Venice in the year 1539 through the generous assistance of the Most Honourable Lord Hieronymo Quirino.

Often written in Latin as a warning that there were unexplored, unknown lands or seas beyond a certain point on a map, this phrase has come down the centuries and is still used today in the same context. However, dragons and other mythical beasts are also documented in the medieval bestiaries and seen in the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts. In this talk, we will explore various ancient images of dragons from around the world and how they were regarded by the medieval mind.

The 14th and 15th centuries saw a flowering of manuscript illumination and the margins of these documents are also littered with various mythical beasts, odd half human beings and weird demons. What were their purpose? Were they warnings against any of the seven deadly sins? Or were they where the artist could let his imagination wander free? We will also take a look at the demons seen in larger art works by artists such as Bosch and Memling. We may even catch a glimpse of the Titivillus – the demon who was always ready to catch the errors of the unwary scribe. I’m sure he’s sometimes in my study causing chaos.

In the meantime, this is the link to the map (seen above) where you can have a better look at all the sea monsters this artist had included in the seas off Norway.

Telephone 01372 272235 or email  to book.

£10 inc refreshments. The same price since 2007.

The morning session for 1st November is fully booked.