Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Downing College griffin sculpture
I discovered this griffin in Downing College. The plaque reads: 'This griffin was discovered in Sussex and presented to Downing College by [various people] to mark the golden jubilee of the Downing College Association, founded in [illegible].' (It was 1922.)
A griffin rampant appears on the crest of Cambridge's Downing College. Hence the connection to the alumni association.
It is covered in lichen. It looks like something out of an Elizabeth Goudge novel. There it crouches, clasping the scroll without script, poking out its tongue at passers-by. It has wings; lion-like claws, paws and haunches; dog-like ears; a curved eagle's beak; and sternly-staring eyes that are holes bored into the stone.
Griffin, griffin, wilt thou speak?