Project Gargoyle was founded in 2009 to photograph and medieval carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland’s churches. The photographs and associated information form part of the Leicestershire County Council’s Heritage and Environment Record.
The word ‘gargoyle’ is really a misnomer as we are recording all figural sculpture inside and outside, not just gargoyles. But the word ‘gargoyle’ catches the imagination so the name has stuck. The instruction given to the photographers is ‘If it has eyes – shoot it!’ (Although there is an exception for sepulchral effigies as these were photographed previously.)
The main focus of Project Gargoyle is carvings of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries but earlier carvings and those from the nineteenth century Gothic Revival are included.
Photography of the carvings is carried out by amateurs equipped with high-specification digital cameras whose main interest may be photography rather than medieval carving. It is not necessary for volunteers to know anything about medieval carving or art. Training in using the documentation required to go alongside the images is given to each photographer.
When a church is completed the images and the documentation are sent to the Project Gargoyle Coordinator who adds additional information to the data before sending a complete copy to the Heritage and Environment Record (HER) database which is managed by the Historic Environment Team at Leicestershire County Council. The images and information are added to the database and many images (but not all) are also provided to the Heritage Gateway national database. In addition the images will also eventually be publically accessible on the LARC database.
A presentation narrated by the Project Coordinator provides a short introduction to Project Gargoyle.
Introduction to Project Gargoyle (link to YouTube video) (8.19 minutes)