“Potty Boy” and the Eglise de Mailhat, Mailhat (Puy-de-Dôme)


The little Auvergnat church of Mailhat has experienced a violation common to many churches in France – the theft of a revered vierge romane, Notre Dame de Mailhat. It has been replaced by a replica but the theft strikes deep into the faithful.

Replica of Notre Dame de Mailhat (Photo by Dennis Aubrey)

There are two images from our shoot at this church that we love. The first is “Potty Boy”, perhaps the single most popular image in our collection. This figure is a carved capital on a pillar on the left side of the chancel, immediately above the altar. We love this picture and have spent much time speculating on how it came to be placed in such plain site and exactly what it was supposed to represent.


"Potty Boy" Capital at Notre Dame de Mailhat ((Puy-de-Dôme) Photo by PJ McKey

The second is this shot of the door in the south side of the church leading down into the nave of the small church.

Eglise de Mailhat, Mailhat (Puy-de-Dôme) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Despite the violation of the theft, the church still welcomes visitors to a peaceful and tranquil setting. Perhaps one day Notre Dame de Mailhat will be recovered like her more famous cousin, Notre Dame de Saint Gervazy, which was recovered after almost thirty years. This shot of the doorway always makes me cling to that hope.

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