Local Heart, Global Soul

September 25, 2013

The Art of Hiding Something In Plain Sight… The Trick Is Knowing Where To Look.

Filed under: ART,Canterbury Cathedral,ENGLAND,Funny — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s considered completely normal for artists to sign their work and many have gone a step further and quietly incorporated their own self portraits into one of the members of a crowd scene, but it’s usually harder to to find a signature on a stonemasons work.

I heard once that often there would be the practice of leaving a signature, or a particular identifying mark or initials in the base of a statue or on the backside of a wall carved piece of stone.

But here in Canterbury Cathedral, in Canterbury Kent, England, one stone mason in 1908 went a step further and left his initials right on the front of the commemorative plaque he had worked on.

Naturally, probably knowing that the person paying the bill for the stone would appreciate this rather less, he decided to be discrete about it and so neatly inscribed his initials “JLL” and the date “1908” in millimetre high letters within the letter “G” of the word “Wynberg” third row up from the bottom. The position of the plaque and available light help hide the evidence too…  and make photographing it difficult. It really blends into the colour of the stone.

The sneaky trick of “hiding something in plain sight” was never more true than here… his initials are literally on the front page, but only visible to those in the know. Second class vandalism or a masterful and cheeky  first class artistic licence? You decide.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission





  1. Naughty, naughty 🙂

    Comment by The Laughing Housewife — September 25, 2013 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  2. I know Tilly… but didn’t you smile at his ingenuity?
    Clearly nobody noticed at the time or it would have been erased or the stone redone at JJL’s expense, with considerable risk to his reputation and possible huge loss of work since he would be marked out as untrustworthy… but now he’s immortalised himself (in literally a very tiny way) so his audacity paid off.
    (not that I’m condoning what he did mind you… he was paid to do a job for a client and not to add his “2 cents worth” to the text).
    Even if I think that what he did was ethically wrong, I do have to admire that fact that he hid his naughtiness so skilfully.

    Comment by kiwidutch — September 25, 2013 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  3. I vote artistic license. It reminds me of all the company logos which “hide” things in plain site. You have to be in the know or quick on the uptake to catch them. (I do agree with kiwidutch, that it aught not be done, but this is well done) Who is to see it in the photo of the entire piece. If photos and closeup looks didn’t catch it, how is it different than a patron asking an oil painter for a piece, which is then signed in much plainer view, to the increased value of the work. My 2.5 cents. Shalom.

    Comment by johnklompmaker — September 26, 2013 @ 2:44 am | Reply

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