We stopped dead in our tracks while strolling through Senlis when we came upon this remarkable graffiti carved on the south exterior wall of the église Saint-Pierre. I know of people who take along a pair of binoculars when they visit gothic churches and cathedrals so they can search for carved markings, called historic graffiti, left by stone cutters and builders high up on the walls. That these were at eye level and of such an unusual nature seemed significant. Note the Jansenist crucifix.
As it turns out, these inscriptions were the ones that in 1969 caught the attention of Serge Raymond and sparked his interest in historic graffiti. After years of searching for, photographing and imprinting ancient graffiti, he created in 1987 France's first museum of historic graffiti in Verneuil-en-Halatte, grouping more than 3500 molds taken from across the country and covering 10,000 years of history.
Raymond described these Senlis figures which he dated to be from the 19th century as "personnages à caractère équivoque."
The gothic church building was abandoned during the French Revolution, then later used as a covered market and community hall until it was condemned for use in 2009. Senlis is a medieval town 45 km from Paris.
Read more: Un Patrimoine Culturel Oublié: Les Graffiti by Serge Raymond
©2012 P.B. Lecron