The Wild Man of Orford
The origin for these images was the story of the Old Man of Orford.
Ralph of Coggeshall wrote one of the earliest accounts in Chronicon Anglicanum in 1200:
In the time of King Henry II, when Bartholomew de Glanville was in charge of the castle at Orford, it happened that some fishermen, fishing in the sea there, caught in their nets a merman…The creature was totally naked and of human form in all his limbs. He had hair but, on top, this was all tattered and torn. His beard was long and pointed and his chest extremely shaggy and bristly…Whatever was put in front of him he ate greedily. He ate raw as well as cooked fish, and the raw ones he squeezed powerfully in his hands until he had drunk all the juices and this was how he ate them…They happened to take him to the sea, after setting up a triple row of nets in front of him. The merman soon swam down to the bottom of the sea and so crossed under all their nets. Again and again he would emerge from the depths of the sea and look for a long time at those watching him on the shore.
I first discovered it through a beautiful adaptation with poetry and woodcuts by Drummond and Dodds Wild Man of Orford 2015
My own images were inspired by textures in an old wooden board propped up behind one of the fish shops. As I explored different croppings of the marks a rather different story emerged - one of shipwreck, abandonment and betrayal. The Wild man here is both scary and also guardian against dangerous of dreams of castles and princes.