Grail II, 2016
Carved Egyptian porphyry with gold leaf details
Height 11cm (4 1/4") Width 16cm (6 1/4") Depth 16cm (6 1/4")
This work is currently being shown by Adrian Sassoon, London.
This special stone has a special place in my work since being given permission to extract stone from the Imperial quarries in Egypt nearly 30 years ago to make sculpture for the new Opera House in Cairo. With its transition from Roman Imperial exclusive use to its use after Constantine in Christian contexts, its symbolism is assured.
Using the rich symbolism that has shaped our western culture, I draw from its well for inspiration. I was inspired by a claim that the Holy Grail was brought near my home in Herefordshire, England by Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene in their, perhaps, mythic refuge from persecution. There are hundreds of claims of the existence of ‘Grails’, many debunked by scientific proof of age, especially wooden examples. I have used here a stone that may have found its way to a special usage from the Imperial representative in Judaea. I have used other materials too that would confound analysis, having age that cannot be questioned. The form of this grail is from a painting by Juan de Juanes.