“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 It has been replaced by a replica but the theft strikes deep into the faithful.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.

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

  1. Just found this photo – what a great title! Those of us who have had small children will recognise this pose immediately. I also do wonder what the sculptor’s subject was meant to be. Surely someone will find out one day. I wonder if there are any modern postcards showing this pillar?

    1. Elizabeth, one of our very favorites. I think that these are usually meant to show how the lower class carries the weight of the church on their shoulders … they are often seen and usually comic, but seldom with the effect that we see at Mailhat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.