Monday, August 15, 2016

The Horror In Clay

"The bas-relief was a rough rectangle less than an inch thick and about five by six inches in area; obviously of modern origin. Its designs, however, were far from modern in atmosphere and suggestion; for, although the vagaries of cubism and futurism are many and wild, they do not often reproduce that cryptic regularity which lurks in prehistoric writing. And writing of some kind the bulk of these designs seemed certainly to be; though my memory, despite much the papers and collections of my uncle, failed in any way to identify this particular species, or even hint at its remotest affiliations."

- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu

This tableaux featuring the "Horror in Clay" from Lovecraft's story comes to us from Hall Baltimore. It's a wonderful presentation of the sculpt from artist Girhash Angbandskaya.

1 comment:

CoastConFan said...

That is really a nice tableau all right. I like what appears to be a slight amount of wear on the tablet, giving it a bit of softness and age in this photo. There’s a pretty interesting melding between the renaissance and a bit of the style of ancient Greek monumental relief work. There’s a lot of detail in that small tablet – very well done. In black and white, the piece looks even better than in color. It almost fools the eye into believing its unglazed terracotta.

The simulated glass plate photos are pretty good, although gelatin dry plates are a little earlier than the period the tableau represents, but it still lends a nice mood to the assembly. I can only presume that these glass plates were very roughly stored to have endured such scratching since the late 1920s. Then again Photoshop plug-ins can often overdo a treatment.

I have to say that I was pleasantly distracted by the Judean area oil lamp from the early Byzantine period, 5th to 8th century CE. These slipper shaped lamps are not rare, but still quite nice archeological remains, although in the past two decades the prices on them have risen quite steeply. They were mold cast with menorah motif, and were pretty much the light bulbs of the ancient world and treated as such contemporarily. Some nice reproductions exist, a few of which are being passed as original, so beware you buyers on eBay and elsewhere.

The Caldwell’s Rum bottle is a nice touch and the company goes way back to 1790. It was bottled in Newburyport, Mass, made from West Indies molasses originally. It and Newburyport is a historical part of the Triangle Trade*. So having the newspaper and a bottle in the assembly is a nice touch. In 1919 they were closed down by Prohibition, but I’m sure there were enough bottles in cellars to have a nice stash to make it through to 1933, with a bit of luck and careful sipping. BTW, eBay has some nice embossed Caldwell bottles available reasonably that would work well for a photographic vignette as well.

*The slave trade was fueled by money and lubricated with rum.
According to the above article they also bottled Moxie!

HPL has a nice association with Newburyport – see this link for some nice information about Newburyport and Lovecraft.