Stone Faces

September 18, 2011

Garden Smile Plaque

Garden Smile Plaque cast in stone

Too Much Fun Cast Stone Plaque

Too Much Fun Cast Stone Plaque remains George's Favorite

Washington National Cathedral gargoyle whistler

This gargoyle whistles at people below from the National Cathedral

I’m probably overdue for a new face plaque. The very first face plaque was the Garden Smile. So far, it has remained the most popular of all the faces. After all, smiles and laughter are contagious.

From our variety of smiling plaques, my favorite is still Too Much Fun.  Not only does it make me smile, it has an architecturally historical feeling about it, reminiscent of something carved above the doorway on an old stone building.

Like most old buildings with multiple carvings on the exterior, there is usually one quirky carving hidden among the rest.
Usually these uncharacteristic images are placed around the side or discretely moved up to a higher position.  Historically, the carved images on a building were carefully thought out. Cathedrals, government buildings and libraries would all have sculptures that portrayed what might be going on inside. Occasionally the sculptors were given just a little bit of creative freedom on the less important areas. Anyone who has visited the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. has witnessed the creativity of the master sculptors.  Some of the gargoyles high on the Cathedral are ”unusual”, like Darth Vader, a stone camera, a young girl with braces on her teeth or the playful likeness of one of the stone carvers whistling and flirting with the young women passing below. You will also find two unflattering portraits of carvers ex-girlfriends.

Stone Camera carved high on the National Cathedral

Stone Camera high on the National Cathedral

Even on the most prominent commercial and religious structures, somewhere hidden among the carvings that portray power or spiritual enlightenment, you might find something a little less serious, like Too Much Fun.

(To see the gargoyles sculpted on the National Cathedral seek out Guide to Gargoyles & other grotesques by the Washington National Cathedral Guidebooks.)


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