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When the great storm of 1987 raged across the country, one of the old trees in the grounds of Barton Manor on the Isle of Wight, blew down. The then owner, film producer and impresario, Robert Stigwood, best known for theatrical productions like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, and film productions like Grease and Saturday Night Fever, asked the local marine carver and expert in wood, Norman Gaches to make something from the remains of the tree. As Barton Manor was then producing wine, it was decided to go with the theme of Dionysus the Greek God of wine (or Bacchus if you are looking at the Roman version) and his family, and here is part of the result, a golden Dionysus (Bacchus) rising from the tree.
And here is a picture of the talented Norman Gaches working on the tree at the time.
Bacchus was the Roman name for the Greek god Dionysus, the god of agriculture and wine and the son of Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology). He wandered the earth, showing people how to grow vines and process the grapes for wine, until he took his place as a God on Olympus. Somewhere along the way the name – and the God – Bacchus became associated with intoxication and around 200 BC a wild and mystic festival, The Bacchanalia, notorious for its sexual character, was introduced in Rome. Stick to the Greek version, the story of Dionysus, and you have a less decadent young god, more interested in the production of wine than in wild women and song.
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