Beakheads started out as a blog about medieval sculpture, named after one of my favourite carvings – the beakhead. These are heads with beaks or snouts, of human, animal or indeterminate form, usually found carved in stone around twelfth-century doorways or windows. Old churches, castles and cathedrals are where you’ll find them. They are a repeated motif, like a lot of architectural sculpture, but look closely and you’ll notice that, often, each one is individual, never fully replicated.
The more I headed out to look at medieval sculpture the more I got interested in the landscape itself, as well as the stories connected to it. The remit of Beakheads (the blog) began to change as my writing and research changed, and now it is a place where all manner of things end up, from medieval to contemporary sculpture, the use of stone in urban and rural landscapes, the landscapes themselves, book reviews and related topics.
My background is in archaeology, in which I wrote my PhD (on medieval sculpture and the grotesque). Some years later I trained as a stonemason and worked for six years at Exeter Cathedral. I write about sculpture, materials, interesting artists and all kinds of other things … have a look at the books/articles bit to get a better idea of my published work. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy what you find.
Top: Beakheads at Shebbear, Devon, c.1180s (Photo: Alex Woodcock).
Below: Me at Poltesco Serpentine Works, Cornwall, c.2014 (Photo: Jay Armstrong).