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ulysses black

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Shrine to the black earl
Prop for A House of Horror 2015


Comissioned to be a centrepiece of the Dr Ravenscrofts House of Horror as part of the Alderney Week celebrations 2015.

The function of the shrine is to allude to the various strands of Island fable that allude to the myths of the 'Black Earl', Thomas Deveroux, the alleged 'black magician' who dwelt in Essex Castle, and who formed a historic Klingsor, looming over the Nunnery within which was supposedly held the Spear of Destiny. The 'nuns' did not in historical fact dwell in the Nunnery, but in the small Chapel of the Beguines (a heretical sect, whose small convent was located on Mannez Hill), since demolished by the Occupying German forces during WWII.
   The Shrine would then be venerated by ghost-house styled 'nuns' within the so-called 'murder room' amidst the chilling vaulted granite sepulchre that is the basement of the Island Hall. 

The shrine contains a relic of the pock-scarred face and heart of an individual presumed to be the Thomas Deveroux, the Black Earl. Hooks and sinew suspend these items upon an aged frame, itself surmounted by small card butterflies - symbolic of the hideous transformation allegedly undergone by the Black Earl during some infernal pact.
   About the shrine is a canopy of stained aquamarine blue cotton recalling the classical depictions of St. Mary, mother of Jesus. Upon these are stitched in gold, white and bronze, tiny stars. At the apex of this canopy is dolls head painted to depict a skull, and upons whose diminutive head sits a childsized Fez. From this tiny head, and covering the front of the shrine like an iconostasis is a slashed black lace veil. 


The picture frame: Arcitrave, based frame. Black undercoat, gold finish. Staining with browns and oxides. Grime added according to the secret recipe.