Witches and Old Women


Mention witches, walks, wolves, midnight, nature, madness, superstition … and my ears grow instantly, changing into wolf’s ears…that made me think, just now, of the one who pretended to be a grandmother to that little girl an a red cap. So when I discovered that Goya’s mini masterpieces of his Album D, The Witches and Old Women Album, were to be exhibited at the beautiful Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House, I knew I had to see it…and just in time, I managed to go and am really glad I did. Goya, already an older and deaf man, created the beautiful, powerful and strangely modern sketches between ca. 1819-1823.

old women fight too

Francisco Goya, Old women fight too, c. 1819-23

Coincidently, when googling long distance walks in England, I

content with her lot_Goya

Francisco Goya, Content with her lot, ca. 1816-20

found this witch walk in Lancashire (about 50 miles) which features Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘The Lancashire Witches‘  along the way…now that is one I have to do, yes, it is already on my (growing) list of things to do … I better get my broomstick out of the cupboard.

Here’s a short taster of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem:

One voice for ten dragged this way once
by superstition, ignorance.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Witch: female, cunning, manless, old,
daughter of such, of evil faith;
in the murk of Pendle Hill, a crone.

Heavy storm-clouds here, ill-will brewed,
over fields, fells, farms, blighted woods.
On the wind’s breath, curse of crow and rook.


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