Blackwell Arts & Crafts House: Book Covers


Many of the makers associated with the Arts & Crafts movement wrote highly imaginative novels and they often had beautifully decorated covers littered with motifs in the Arts & Crafts style. Dating to circa 1900, the above books are on display at Blackwell Arts & Crafts House and were designed by the decorative artist Talwin Morris. The book spines feature stylized flowers with swirling grass motifs and are stored in a similar richly decorated bookcase.


Caerlaverock Castle: Carved Stone


On display at Caerlaverock Castle are a selection of carved stones which show the diversity and skill of the mason’s art. All of the fragments are from the castle and are carved from soft red sandstone. Most of the stonework is from the ‘dainty fabrick’ of the new lodgings built by Robert Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale from 1634. Robert was well travelled and cultured and used the very latest in design for his classical house. The decoration was drawn from the literary world with illustrations from Francis Quarles Emblems, published in 1635, reproduced on the first floor while the second floor has carvings taken from an earlier book of emblems by Andreas Alciatus.¬†The above deeply carved demon face would once have occupied a prominent position on the castle walls and is an example of a strong medieval carving.


The above stonework is a heraldic panel bearing a fleur-de-lys below an earl’s coronet. The panel may be a device used by the Countess of Nithsdale’s family, the Beaumonts.


The above carved female figure, or caryatid, once formed one side of an elaborate fireplace in the Nithsdale lodging.


The above is a small part of a tympanum from the Nithsdale lodging. Human Love is seen trying to take honey from a wasps nest in the shape of an orb, but representing the World. On the original drawing in Quarles’ book, Divine Love can be seen alongside holding a honeycomb but this has been lost from the carving.


The above is a section from a carved panel from the Nithsdale lodging and thought likely to be part of the crest and supporters on a heraldic panel. Below is a stone corbel decorated with a crudely carved face.