Key to the Sacred Pattern

20 December 2007

Rosslyn Chapel to Ban Photography

According to a Scotsman article Tuesday, the officials at Rosslyn Chapel are banning all types of photography inside the Chapel beginning 2 Jan 08. According to the article: “Colin Glynne-Percy, the director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: "I would hope that people come to see the chapel, not just to video it, so I would expect visitor numbers to be unchanged. The problem is one we have had for quite a while, because the chapel is quite dimly lit and there are cracked and uneven slabs.”

Huh? The problem with this explanation is that visitors will be at the same risk of tipping while looking at the ceiling, or photographing it. While there are areas of the Chapel that has, what I would consider, uneven slabs. Around the Apprentice Pillar, there is a small step up behind pillar. You’d have to be a pretty big klutz to trip over this small step up.

I would think the scaffoldings around the outside of the Chapel would be more of a safety concern. The steps up to the top of the scaffolding are quite steep and can get slick when it rains. There has to be a greater risk of someone falling off this while taking pictures that stubbing their toe on something inside the Chapel.

The Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn Chapel taken on 15 Oct 07
with a cordoned off area behind the Pillar.

The article goes on to say, “"In the past we have used tape to cordon off some of the worst areas…” When Laura and I were there in October, there was a cordoned off section right behind the Apprentice Pillar. The section had yellow and black caution tape around a piece of plywood behind the Pillar. When I ask the on site tour guide about the area, she had told me “Repairs or some such work going on over there.” After going back through photos other visitors had posted on line, I was able to ascertain that the section was corroded off sometime between 22 Sept and 3 Oct 07. I have not seen any photos of the area dated any later than mine on line, so it still could be there.

This area is also the perfect spot for conducting any type of unobtrusive studies of the Pillar. One could dig down, bore a hole from underneath the Pillar, and insert a file optic camera into the Pillar itself. No one would be with wiser. This would be a rather easy way to put the speculation to rest that he Pillar was hollow and contained that magical treasure everyone is looking for at Rosslyn.

Speculation that the Pillar is hollow generally relates back to a Masonic legend. The story is that before the Flood, Enoch placed a book containing all the antediluvian arts and sciences, and laws of the universe either beneath or inside two pillars. Some have tried to make the connection that this story is a veiled allegory to what is hidden at Rosslyn.

Somehow I think there is more going on at the Chapel than just a concern for safety. Signs posted that said, “Uneven steps proceed at your own risk.” would pretty much release the Chapel of any liability in a lawsuit. So what’s the real motive behind the photography ban? You and I may never know.

1 comment:

corbie41 said...

Photography has always been of importance at Rosslyn Chapel. The Scottish photographic pioneers Hill and Adamson took a number of paper negatives of the Chapel in the 1840s. These can be accessed at Glasgow University Archives and a CD of them purchased.What they do show is that the medieval stone tracery of the East Window was quite different in the 1840s to what we see today. In the 1860s the Chapel's windows were restored and new stained glass inserted. In the East Window the medieval stone tracery was taken out and replaced by the 'engrailed' stone and new coloured glass visible today. So the red 'light-box' did not exist before the 1860s. You can read the full story in a new book, 'Rosslyn Chapel Revealed' (Sutton Publishing Ltd.)which also shows the Hill and Adamson pictures.