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Waltham Abbey

East of England

Abbey Gardens


Helena Stylianides

Waltham Abbey /  Ancestor   Waltham Abbey /  Ancestor


Wooden sculpture of an an Augustinian Canon wearing a working habit, on the back of which are a series of shallow, reliefs arranged hierarchically from the bottom up.

Waltham Abbey - Ancestor Waltham Abbey - Ancestor

The artist explains:

"A double snake writhes around his heel, a symbol of original sin; the grimacing head conveys agony and pain; the winged lion is a fantasy creature, a symbol of transformation and change; the face above it is a frightening mask with sharp teeth and bulging eyes; a monkey clings to humankind as a reminder that man is descended from the apes, our wild ancestirs directly linked to the earth; victorious over all emerges the skull, a symbol of death and physical mortality of all livings things. In his quest for spirit, the Canon has turned his back on the things he fears; earthly things, weakness and sin. Yet his stance is meditative and humble. If he can own the aspects he is at pain to ignore, then he can move towards integration and harmony."


Ancestor by Helena Stylianides
with assistance from Brian Pattenden

Opened by J.W.E. Jackson J.P.
Chairman of the Lee Valley Park
23rd November 1992

Commissioned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
The Oak is from Epping Forest and was kindly donated by the Corporation of London.
Studio space provided by Waltham Abbey Centre for Community Studies.


Sources & Information


  • Country: Great Britain
  • Augustinian Monk
  • Man in cloak
  • Mask
  • Monkey
  • Sculpture (wooden)
  • Skull
  • Snake
  • Stylianides, Helena
  • Location (N 51°41'19" - W 0°0'11")

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    Item Code: gbee122; Photograph: 17 March 2019
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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