Since I was small, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of a demonic black hound, the size of a yearling calf with eyes the colour of hell fire, haunting the dark, lonely moors and lanes of England. Also, the fact it’s a legend most commonly associated with my home county of Yorkshire is something that makes me extremely proud!
It was by reading the Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle that I was first introduced to the black hound of death. Doyle was apparently inspired by the story of a huntsman from Devon who sold his soul to the devil, and, after he died, would hunt with a pack of black dogs.
When I was around eight years old, my Granddad went to a carboot sale and bought me home The Hound Of The Baskervilles in the form of a small hardback pocketbook. I kept it close to me for years.
Any literature that I could find with even just a mention of the Barghest – that can also be spelt Barguest or Bargest – held me captivated, including A Warlock in Whitby by Robin Jarvis and Dracula.
The legend of the black dog is one that’s told far and wide across England, and it has different names depending on which part of the country you’re from. In the North, we call it the Barghest. In the South, it’s known as Black Shuck. Other names it goes by include: Padfoot, Churchyard Beast, Grim, Hairy Jack, and Skriker.
The art I’ve collected here was found by typing #barghest and #blackshuck into Instagram. Using hashtags on Instagram has, in recent years, become one of my favourite ways to gather art.
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