"The Sibyl"

PhotographerNichol Elliot

ArtistAlice Elliot

CountryEngland, Scotland


VolumeSome Memories of a Scottish Photographer

AtelierThe Vandyck Printers Ltd. (Bristol & London)


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Allegorical, Mythology, Portrait: Woman, Texts, Warfare


Image Dimensions: 17.7 x 12.5 | 18.5 x 13.3 cm glued along right margin
Support Dimensions: 24.8 x 19.0 cm

Portrayed, possibly by author Alice Elliot, as Sybil. Making direct eye contact with the viewer, the final plate in this album is meant to convey the symbolic gesture and commentary that war is futile along with mankind’s involvement in it: “Divinely rash” Elliot writes in the following poem marking the end of the album. In a purely literary sense, Sybil was a woman able to foretell the future; historically, she was “a woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god.


The following poem by Alice Elliot appears full-page opposite this photograph by Nichol Elliot, “The Sibyl”:


The Gamesters.

WHILE eyes the story read, ⎯though time run fast;
While hearts heroic beat, ⎯though life flow strong,
May we remember how that glorious throng,
Beyond all record of sublimest past,
Their life before God’s altar freely cast
To be His weapon and avenge His wrong,
Divinely rash; ⎯delights for which men long
Staking as nought on far-off issues vast:


God’s willing gamesters for immortal gain!
The soundless trumpet calling to the wars,
The viewless banner floating to the stars
Drew them, like homing birds, o’er land and main, ⎯
To write in blood across the martyred sod
Through fight unflinching: “Death or Life ⎯for God!”

"The Sibyl"