Local Heart, Global Soul

May 20, 2013

I Wanted So Badly To Break All The Rules And Jump Over The Barrier…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes as an amatur photographer in a public place, you come across something you really really want to photograph but are severely limited by the location, available space and light.

Such was the case when I saw these amazing heraldic shields inside the south transept of  Sint-Romboutskathedraal (St. Rumbold’s Cathedral) in Mechelen.

The skies were leaden and outside it was bucketing down with rain so the light quality was probably about as bad as it could get, but even so I could see the  quality of the detail in these shields.

My next obstacle was that the entire alcove that contained these was roped off and so I was forced to try and photograph these at a distance and at strange angles.

It’s frustrating to be completely captivated by the thought of how good these images could look, but to be so restricted to trying to achieve them.

Wikipedia’s only note on the shields is that they are “small heraldic shields dating from the Thirty Knights of the Golden Fleece chapter meetings presided in the church by young Philip the Handsome while his Burgundian inheritance was still under guardianship of his father” and my general searching in the Dutch language only kept turning up repeated images of the heraldic images pertaining to the city of Machelen itself.

Since these are some of the oldest items in cathedral and date before 1566, I am dismayed to not find out more about their history, but I suspect that there might possibly be some separate local dialect Vlaamse (Flemish) search terms that I don’t know and this might be why my searches have been unsuccessful so far.

My first photograph gives you a fairly good idea of the kind of light conditions I was facing, and reality can not be more stark than it is here: the human eye picks up a hundred times more detail than the camera lens ever can and these,  even in low light and bad angles I can guarantee that these contain masses more detail than I managed to capture with the camera.

I also use the phrase “jump over the barrier” in a figurative manner… as you can guess, a lady two years on crutches after an accident is probably in quite enough trouble already, and the phrase “if you are in a hole, …stop digging” was a phrase that sprang to mind. (expect I wasn’t “springing” either).

On the “fair weather” visit we made a few weeks afterwards, I simply didn’t have time to go back inside the cathedral, but if we manage a third visit here then I will make a point of trying to do so… and will pray too that the weather will be on my side next time round.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2 Comments »

  1. The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of chivalry founded in 1430. Today there exist two branches of the Order: the Spanish and the Austrian Fleece. Beatrix is a member.The order held regular meetings.
    See http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordre_de_la_Toison_d%27or

    In 1491 the meeting was held at Mechelen. At that time the number of knights was limited to 30. I assume that the heraldic shields are from those members.

    Some search terms:
    Dutch: Gulden Vies, wapenschild.
    French: Ordre de la Toison d’Or, Malines (Mechelen)
    English: Golden Fleece

    Comment by reservebelg — May 22, 2013 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

    • reservebelg,
      Thank you for the links and additional information: I had no idea that there were so many of the Order still living, and I learned a lot about the history. Thanks again!!!

      Comment by kiwidutch — May 25, 2013 @ 10:00 am | Reply


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