Looking Glass Ape
‘He who looks at Martyn’s Ape,
Martyn’s Ape shall look at him.’
The Iron Age Portesham Mirror of Dorset is believed to have offered its Celtic viewers a ritualistic escape or vision into otherworldly realms. This painting echoes its swirling pattern to emphasize the Ape’s use of the looking glass in the Martyn family crest. With historical perspective it is interesting to connect Martyn’s Ape to Darwinism and the current ecological emergency. The Ape’s looking glass could be compared to our use of handheld electronic devices today, which enable us to see a pixelated version of ourselves and connect us to the world of virtual reality - which itself further blurs the idea of who is looking at whom.