Week 34: Muzzle

Back in 1994, I first learned what a “scold’s bridle” is from a mystery book by Minette Walters called The Scold’s Bridle. It’s a creepy contraption, made from crude iron and usually locked. Some of them have a tongue depressor gadget that goes over the woman’s tongue too.

I suppose we are to believe that women who scolded or complained to their husbands deserved to be bound up and locked into this device. In actuality, it’s just another way to be cruel, to  control and suppress, to abuse, and I find it rather chilling. I can almost feel that crude iron in my mouth, the taste of it, the way it smothered. Apart from the emotional hurt and resentment this would engender, it is appalling that using this was considered a legal right of a spouse.

This particular one is in the Tower of London, and below it I put a stylized silhouette of an African Thorn Tree to denote the cutting cruelty of this hunk of manufactured iron. The text I did in ombré shading to make it more interesting, and to suggest a shiver.


Materials I used:

Faber-Castell HB pencil
Van Gogh watercolours
Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils




This entry was posted in Sketch 52 for 2015 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Week 34: Muzzle

  1. Beverly King says:

    Good grief, that contraption is creepy! Leave it to humans….


    • Humans are the most dangerous predators that ever lived. Rose did a similar picture, but of a slightly different device. I never forgot that mystery book and this thing for 21 years it was so creepy. When I reminded my husband of the book (we often read the same mysteries) he said “You told me not to read it.”


  2. Roseanne Dix says:

    when I looked up ideas for muzzles I was thinking only of those we put on naughty dogs, but I was disgusted and horrified to read of other uses…horrific images which were really hard to reproduce.
    Thank you, dear Jude, as always for opening up new corridors of learning –
    HOWEVER….looking ahead – please enlighten me re CHICKASAW . ??? Wait til next year, Im going to throw some local obscurities at you.!!!


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