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Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster

Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster
Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster
Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster
Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster
Carved Oak Morris Dance Panel from Lancaster Castle
Anne Geddes Gilchrist
This photograph of a carved oak panel from Lancaster Castle accompanied an article by folklorist Anne Geddes Gilchrist in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society in 1933 (Vol I Issue 2 December) entitled "A Carved Morris-Dance Panel from Lancaster Castle".
The panel (measuring about 14 inches) depicts a group of Morris dancers and the figures carved on the panel are extremely similar to a set of figures found in a stained glass window from a hall in Betley, Staffordshire (now at the Victoria and Albert Museum) which the V and A suggest is from the 1560s onwards. Queen Elizabeth I had remodelling work carried out at Lancaster Castle around 1580 which is when the panel may have been installed, making both very contemporary and presumably drawing on the same source and are two of the earliest known depictions of morris dancing in England.

The figures from left to right are:
The Maid Marion - a grotesque figure of a man dressed as a woman and holding a ladle for contributions.
The Tamborer with his pipe and drum
A Nude girl dancer (or possibly a curly haired boy impersonating a girl, with the aid of artificial female characterics).
Three Morris men,on the middle one knee bells can be clearly seen.
and finally The Fool with cap, bells and bladder.

In the introduction to the article Anne Geddes Gilchrist clearly states that the panel "was removed from Lancaster Castle when certain rooms were dismantled at an unspecified date and is now in private hands" However, she does not state who or where the owner is, although must have has access to obtain the photograph (taken by C. M. Clark of Fayrer Holme, Windermere).

Anne Gilchrist OBE FSA (8 December 1863 – 24 July 1954) was a British folklorist and folk song collector. She was born in Manchester and spent much of her life at Sunderland Point near Lancaster. She was awarded the OBE in 1948 for her services to folk song and dance and her last scholarly article was written at the age of 79. Her papers are lodged in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
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