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