There is usually something a little strange about disembodied hands (or arms or legs or other extremities). My husband has a habit of managing to sleep with one arm thrust under his pillow and a hand dangling over my head. Many a time I have been alarmed at the sight or touch of this disembodied hand in the night! Thankfully though I am not disturbed by knockers with hands.
The little hand clutching a ball (or occasionally an apple) is called The hand of Fatima. A symbol of protection, it is a common door knocker in Mediterranean countries but originated in Muslim countries where Fatima was the Prophet’s daughter. This ancient symbol was called Miriam’s hand in the Jewish faith. Sometimes the hand wears a ring or two, sometimes a cuff or bracelet. There are some that are flat and very stylised, hardly recognisable as hands at all.
Other hands on your knockers (sorry, I can’t help myself) include what I think of ‘hand and laurel’ but apparently is actually called “The Wellington”.
Apparently the creation of it has been credited to a London ironmonger called David Bray in 1814, celebrating the Duke of Wellington’s victories in Spain and Portugal. The hand of the “immortal hero” grasps a field Marshall’s baton and a wreath of victory. Until I read about it on Shannon Selin’s wonderful blog post about its history I hadn’t really noted the lion at the base, which apparently represents British valour overpowering tyranny.
Though I love my fish door knocker this is the one I really wanted to find when I started my search. This is the first fish knocker I ever snapped and was exactly what I wanted from a fish knocker (something I had never even realised I wanted until seconds before I took this last year in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire).
I have since seen quite a few marine-themed knockers, so maybe that should be the theme of my next post
It seems logical to start a new blog about door knockers with my very own door knocker. Meet the little brass fish who lives on our front door. He has a cheerful smile that can’t quite been seen until you pick him up to use him and he is loose in his movement, wobbling more than he probably should.
He isn’t exactly the fish knocker I really wanted. When I decided that it had to be a fish door knocker I discovered that there weren’t actually many fish door knockers available (especially when you live in the middle of the country, hours from the seaside). All the ones I found were a bit same-y with of dolphins which were nice but weren’t really what I was looking for. Eventually I found this little fella on eBay, hand-made in India and located there too. Less than £18 and a surprisingly swift 5 days later he was mine.
But why door knockers?!
Yeah I don’t really know why. My husband and friends might be walking and talking before suddenly realising that they have lost me, I have stopped to look and photograph some knocker or knob.
All I know is I get excited by seeing unusual door furniture and when I started sharing the pictures on Instagram it seemed other people liked them too. So I decided to group them together instead.