Gargoyles…….these mystical creatures have existed since the dawn of time. They are a part of our imagination and culture, that we hardly blink an eye as they crouch and lurk watching over us as we hurry in our daily lives. They haunt drain pipes, door ways, roof tops and fence pillars.
What is their story anyways?
Gargoyles capture the imagination and if you pay close attention, you will see and recognize them on many buildings in our modern society.
In medieval times buildings had a grotesque animal face or figure projecting from the gutter by the roof or lower down the wall to carry water away from the building. If you notice carefully, today many Gothic buildings have survived to our modern times.
The word Gargoyle comes from the French “gargouille” which means throat.
In the 7th Century there was a legendary dragon called La Garouille living in the River Seine, and this dragon was ravaging a town called Rouen. It is said that the Archbishop of Rouen named St Romanus slayed the dragon. They burned the dragon’s body but the head and neck survived and so the townspeople mounted the dragon’s head on a building.
The most famous medieval cathedral is Notre Dame in Paris, France. Its renowned Galerie des Chimeres added a number of gargoyles and chimeras during its restoration in the mid-19th century.
Many contemporary building designs incorporate gargoyles today. Some notable examples include the steel gargoyles on the Chrysler Building in New York and the gargoyles at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
What is the difference between a Gargoyle and a Grotesque?
A Gargoyle has an opening where the rain water can drain down a wall and away from the building. In the modern decorating scheme of things today, Gargoyles are not just for diverting rain water. They are now fashioned as statues in different poses and different sizes.
A Grotesque does not have any openings to carry water away from the building. If the figure is positioned on a fence pillar or on stone steps or any place other than the wall, it should be called a Grotesque, but many use the term Gargoyle for both.
If you have a very large home with a reinforced roof, Gargoyles can be added up top looking out over your property. If you can find light statues, that maybe would be best as to not add extra weight to the roof.
What about other unique places for Gargoyles? How about in among a rock garden? climbing a birch tree or other tall tree, or hiding among an evergreen tree?. Sit them anywhere you want and it’s sure that they will add a wonderful decorating element to your environment.