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Item number: 4233

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Three 15th Century, English ‘Green Man’ Limestone Architectural Heads
Ex English Private Collection

With its origins deeply rooted in ancient pagan culture the image of the ‘Green Man’, the human face amidst or sometimes merged with foliage has been known, used and adopted by a huge variety of people for hundreds of years. From churches and tombs to public houses, it has featured in many carvings both crude and sophisticated in wood and stone. Often the subject of debate, the definitive meaning of the ‘Green Man’ appears to have been lost in antiquity, although interestingly, left open to personal interpretation its broad relevance, appeal and popularity as an image remains constant.

When acquired the three heads were covered in a variety of decaying plaster embellishments as well as the vestiges of others already lost, such as large protruding human style noses and eyes, smoothed over forehead areas and mouths with teeth. These additions were created sometime during the 19th century, motivated by the desire to emphasise the human features of the carvings perhaps by someone who found the striking presence of the heavily stylized faces rather disturbing.

Dimensions (Approximate)

1: Height: 41cm,  Width: 21cm,  Depth: 11.5cm,  Overall Height: 53cm (Including stand)

2: Height: 33cm,  Width: 19cm,  Depth: 11.5cm,  Overall Height: 45cm (Including stand)

3: Height: 41cm,  Width: 21cm,  Depth: 11.5cm,  Overall Height: 53cm (Including stand)