St Hilda and snakestone ammonites

St Hilda (614–680 AD) was the daughter of Hereric and Breguswith and the great niece of Edwin, King of Northumbria (616–633 AD). In 657 AD, Hilda came to Whitby, North Yorkshire to administer the abbey. As the abbess of Whitby, she managed one of the most important religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world. Today her known feast days are commemorated on the 17th, 18th or 19th of November.

My illustration above was inspired by Hilda’s associations with the ammonite fossils found in the cliffs of Whitby. The legend goes she cast out the serpents in Whitby in order to clear the ground for a new convent. In response to her devout praying the snakes coiled up, turned to stone and fell off the edge of the cliffs after she cut off their heads with a whip. A 15th-century Latin manuscript found in the Durham University library indicates this ammonite legend goes back to at least late medieval times.

Ammonites collected from the cliffs of Whitby were reshaped with snake heads and examples of these snakestones are found in the Whitby Museum (see above). Moreover, Victorian geologists named one of the local species after her – Ammonite hildroceras.

The Whitby town coat of arms features three coiled serpents and they are also depicted underfoot in the stela sculpture of St Hilda found on the cross erected in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church high on the cliffs near the remains of the abbey. You can click to view a 3D model of the stela below.



St Wite’s Feast Day

st_wite_sketch.jpgToday my sketch commemorates St Wite’s feast day which falls on the 1st of June. In the Dorset village of Whitchurch Canonicorum during the 16th-century there was a local custom of offering her cakes and ale on this day.

She is also known as St White, Whyte or Witta. Not much is known about her and she could have been an Anglo-Saxon, Welsh or Breton saint (she is known as Candida or Blanche in Brittany).

She is one of two saints (the other being Edward the Confessor) whose shrines survive the English Reformation intact. Her 13th-century shrine is located in the north transept of St Candida Church, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset (England). It was opened in 1900 and fragments of bones and teeth were found as well as a leaden casket with the inscription Hie Reqeset Reliqe See Witey containing even more bones. The shrine has three oval openings which handkerchiefs and other small articles were traditionally placed to gain healing properties and then given to the sick.

More details are found on the Dorset County Museum website.

A contemporary statue of St Wite has been set high upon the exterior of St Candida Church, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset. And this is 3D photogrammetric model of it is for those who can’t make the pilgramage to west England today.

Ice Age Horse in 3D

h o r s e

In order to keep warm these cold winter nights, I have slaved over a hot computer screen and worked upon rendering my Ice Age horse illustration into a 3D model. He has lost a little weight in the transition, but he is still grassfed and now roams free range in the void of cyberspace. To receive the full 3D experience click the Sketchfab portal below and spin around it.

Adding depth to my Dodo


In my last blog I featured my dodo illustration that was created in Photoshop.

A couple months ago I discovered the Smoothie-3D website which can transform 2D images into 3D models. I was intrigued in what it could do and decided to add some depth to my dodo. It has been a fun experiment for me as I dip my toes into the world of 3D modelling.

Visit my dodo model by clicking on the Sketchfab portal below and have fun taking my dodo for a spin !