'Two lubberly preposterous figures': medieval giants in modern London

Monday 24 February 2014, 4.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr Alixe Bovey (Kent)

The Guildhall Giants

In 1699, the satirist Ned Ward described his ‘great Astonishment’ when he saw the pair of giants set up in London’s Guildhall.  Asking what the ‘two Lubberly preposterous Figures’ meant, his companion supposed that ‘they were set up to show the City what huge Loobies their Forefathers were’. This paper traces the history of the Guildhall giants through texts and images, from their invention by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the mid-twelfth century to their survival in the 21st. As a preliminary report on a work in progress, this paper poses questions about how these giants might contribute to debates about the agency of artefacts, the place of play and imagination in civic institutions, and the reception of medieval mythic history in the modern age. 


Location: The Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building