Delia’s Grotto, Bath: [1. Elizabeth A. Linley, 2. Richard B. Sheridan, 3. The Grotto for Scandal, 4. History of Delia's Grotto 5. Design and Brief Context]
Delia’s Grotto seems to be designed around the proportions of a contained separate bench, which fits two comfortably. At a human level, it offers minimal protection from the elements, with a depth that barely protects the legs of sitters from a straight downpour. The grotto’s riverside façade is composed with vermiculated rusticated blocks, executed in the finest quality. The arch spanning the façade is rusticated in this style but launched from protruding untextured ashlars. The protruding dropped keystone is also not rusticated but connects to the top of the pediment. Lacking a cornice, the molded pediment rests on ashlar blocks and is surmounted by a statueless Paladian pedestal, which is aligned with the keystone and resembles a chimney.
[Below: Stowe's Grotto before and after alteration that transformed it from a formal folly into a more naturalistic ruin...]
In the American state that lays claim to the world’s smallest church, the Iowan town of West Bend features the world’s largest grotto. This not only continues a nineteenth-century religious-themed tradition of Marian grottos but also demonstrates the folly legacy of such structures. Although many famed grottos are naturally formed caves, the grotto as an architectural folly, though shown in numerous guises throughout England and the continent, shares two common characteristics: intimacy and rustication. The rustication may be created either with whimsical classical architectural ruin details or sometimes with simple facades of natural stone.
All grottos are exposed to the elements, and many feature water in their design. The grotto in the Boboli Gardens, Florence, which was begun by Vasari and completed by Ammanati and Buontalenti between 1583 and 1593, features an apse of natural volcanic rock enclosing a fountain and water-themed statuary. Stourhead’s deliberately dark and dank cavernous space features Neptune presiding over a pool and a nymph reclining over a cascade [immediately above]. The originally symmetrical Dido’s Cave (built in the 1730s and renamed in the 1800s as the Marchioness of Buckingham’s Seat) at Stowe had its original façade removed in the 1800s and its structure transformed into a ruin by being partially buried under rubble and clad in tufa stones bolted on over the original 1730s classical details with metal clasps.
The vermiculated rustication on Delia’s Grotto is of the finest nature [pictured above], being of a much higher quality in Bath then at Baldwin’s Guildhall or Baldwin and Palmer’s Pump Room ground stories, and also Wood’s hidden rustication behind the Hospital of St. John’s doorway. Such a high quality of rusticated treatment indicates the classical garden building’s ruined state within nature. Similarly the unusual protruding dropped keystone evokes the image of a time–worn, loosened arch.
Below: Protruding dropped keystones in descending formality of Delia’s Grotto, Stowe’s Temple of Friendship, Stowe’s Dido’s Cave, and Stowe’s Grotto
These architectural peculiarities and higher degree of quality in particular areas fits well into the genre of folly architecture, which “with their whimsical pertinence and contemporaneously fashionable design were often constructed in avant-garde styles.” Often times these structures were the architectural innovations of their day since their modest size, cost, and design effort favored novelty. The low cost of garden buildings lent themselves to experimentation since “new styles could never attract the same financial commitment as buildings in an established taste.” The after effects of low budget and experimental designs often meant that few of the successful designs survived. Great variety exists in all forms of garden buildings, in part because flops could be “easily demolished with little financial loss,” and new construction could commence with an enlightened design. 
 Stowe: A Description of the Magnificent House and Garden, etc. (Buckingham: B. Seeley, 1783), 17. See also James Elliott, Visit to Stowe Landscape Garden, Information Packet (MSc), (Bath: University of Bath, 2003), 9.
 Alistair Rowan, Garden Buildings (Feltham, Middlesex: Country Life Books, The Hamlyn House Group, 1968), 2, 3, 11.
 Ibid, 11.
[Apart from original condition of Dido's Cave, all drawings in this post were by the author...(me).]
Delia’s Grotto, Bath: [1. Elizabeth A. Linley, 2. Richard B. Sheridan, 3. The Grotto for Scandal, 4. History of Delia's Grotto 5. Design and Brief Context]
Although it is in back of John Wood the Elder’s well ordered 1740s North Parade houses, the grotto looks older. Scenic in nature, its alignment is to the path that runs along the river and under the North Parade Bridge (begun 1836) suggests it was not built in tandem with the North Parade houses, nor was it meant to be so completely overshadowed by the taller houses or the much more imposing and nearby bridge. Like finding modern alignments that correspond to ancient Roman roads, such as the south side of the Abbey, the path along the Avon was part of an early eighteenth-century development called Harrison’s Walk. Originally constructed in the early 1700s as a gravel extension northeast of the now demolished Lower Assembly rooms, the path connected to the Parade Gardens, constructed at the level of the site’s seventeenth-century orchard. As such, the Grotto may have been part of Harrison’s Walk as early as 1734. 
Delia’s or Sheridan’s Grotto was thought for a time “to have been built in the Spring Gardens, on the other side of the river.” The popular belief was almost certainly based upon the well-read biography of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), in which author Thomas Moore (1779-1852) speculates the playwright’s famous verses about Elizabeth Linley to have been set in a Spring Gardens grotto, “then a fashionable place of resort.”  This assertion was widely copied down as fact. However, the 1904 discovery of “Grotto and North Parade, 1772,” by Emanuel Green established that the grotto had always been on location at Harrison’s Walk and that it was the site of the Sheridan-Linley Affair, as affirmed by common tradition.
Green writes: “In the topographical collections in the Bodleian Library at Oxford there came up a drawing entitled —A north-west view of Bath—dated 1773, and here reproduced (pictured above). Made actually at the Sheridan time it shows the elevated North parade, ‘one of those noblest walks in Europe,’ with its abrupt ending and the river passing beneath, and shows also exactly for the present purpose, the grotto, standing exactly where it stands to-day, exactly stone for stone, looking damp enough on Avon’s sedgy bank, surrounded and almost covered by foliage, and secluded enough to suit any pair of clandestine lovers. In other drawings from a different point of view trees large and small are shown here on the river bank which appears as a public spot, not as attached to any house. The arboreal surrounding and the possible seclusion have now disappeared, but,—the bridge being removed from the mind’s eye,—the early scene can be at once plainly realised and the conclusion stands out clear, that our tradition is confirmed, and that we have still here with us the veritable original Sheridan grotto.” 
The copy provided by Green of this drawing titled “Grotto and North Parade, 1772,” is reported by him to have been dated a year after. The date inconsistency is not a typed error since it was transmitted and reported on by the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. Green’s own published copy of his lecture notes, presented to the Bath Central Library, has several corrections in his handwriting to the text but leaves the dates untouched. The most likely cause for the date to be changed in the title of the drawing reflects on Green’s own romanticism in more readily connecting the grotto to the single year Sheridan was connected to it. Nevertheless, it is a fine drawing, featuring the Parades as viewed from the north from the Recreation Grounds across the Avon and focuses on a beached small sailboat being pulled by four visible men. Needless-to-say, the view is impossible today due to the North Parade Bridge. And it is worth mentioning that the picturesquely overgrown landscape depicted in the 1770s drawing of the grotto and path matches the scene engraved by W. Watts in “South Parade,” created and dated: London: March 1, 1794. (Pictured Below)
In the 1730s, Harrison’s Walk was incorporated into Wood the Elder’s St. James’ Triangle and Parade housing block development. The walk is visible in an engraving in that architect’s Essays Towards a Description of Bath (1749). Titled “A Plan of the New Buildings at the South East Corner of the City of Bath,” the engraving is centered on the Parades and incorporates the Walk into Wood’s design of St. James’ Triangle and also into his Parade developments, where the walk runs along the river toward his proposed Royal Forum.
Although the Royal Forum in the Ham district of Bath never came to fruition, the Parade houses were realized. Constructed near the end of the architect’s life, after he had succeeded with Queen’s Square and before he had begun the King’s Circus, the Parade buildings were quite fashionable and reflected the importance instilled in them by the city’s master architect. And where the North Parade and South Parade block between Pierepont and Duke Streets enclosed their own courtyard garden, the development east of Duke Street looked out into the River Avon with Harrison’s Walk in its backyard. Wood incorporated the Walk but did not include it in plan in his 1749 engraving. There is no indication of the grotto but this does not rule out its existence since Wood did not necessarily capture the exact site in plan. An ornamental folly could easily have been missed in plan but deliberately kept on site as an additional fashionable lure.
Wood’s construction came at the time when the garden’s popularity, based on the Assembly Rooms and alfresco entertainments, was ebbing. Social scenes for entertainment began migrating around 1735 to the Spring Gardens in Bathwick. Later, John Wood the Younger’s Upper Assembly Rooms (1754-1758) transferred the social scene above to the New Town, closer to the fashionable housing of the Circus and Royal Crescent, from Simpson’s (now Lower) Assembly Rooms.
The best-published illustration of this piece of garden architecture is “Delia’s Grotto, North Parade” in Walter Ison’s Georgian Buildings of Bath (1980). The perspective drawing showing the grotto featuring a more substantial bench and is surrounded by planting with a dead tree to its left and a young willow planted at its right side. Most importantly, however, the pavilion stands independent of any garden wall, which now occupies the space of both trees. This suggests that the wall was either added after Ison’s drawing was completed, or that Ison had access to an older image.
 Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 208.
 Thomas Moore, Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1825), 52.
 Emanuel Green, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Thomas Linley, Their Residences at Bath with a Notice of the Sheridan Grotto (Bath: Herald Office, North Gate, 1904), 21-23.
 Green, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Thomas Linley, 27-28, 26.
 Green, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Thomas Linley, 19.
 Somersetshire Archaeological & Natural History Society Proceedings of Bath & District Branch 1904-1908 (Bath: J.B. Keenr and Co., “Journal” and “Bladud” Works, 1909), 108.
 Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 209.
 Walter Ison, The Georgian Buildings of Bath from 1700 to 1830 (Bath: Kingsmead
Press, 1980), 80.
 Ison, The Georgian Buildings of Bath, 25.
So who was there?
It’s hard for me to break down and categorize the individuals at the Hedge, due in large part to the vast diversity present. I’ll rely on my old undergraduate dissertation crutch and conform the myriad of groups into three relatively irrelevant entities: the devout (authentic Druids, New Age-inspired magicians, and the heavily intoxicated, most reverend at these events), the conventionally pious (LARPers, Aging Hippies), and the worldly (flat-out tourists). Since I’ve been out of the liberal arts loop for over a year, my classifications are not up to snuff. For the official, if now outdated, list of terms, check out the various joke guides that all play on the pseudo-scientific classification of subgroups   , but I’m just breaking down the groups to decide the order to post my photos.
First, a brief word that the “stewards” of Stonehenge, the security detail there that searched bags at the entrance and confiscated any glass bottles really controlled events brilliantly. The only serious incidents that occurred resulted from people accidentally falling from stones and suffering mild concussions. They were all quickly attended to. From my vantage point toward sunrise, I saw the security detail go into overtime and escort numerous people out for various infractions, including perching on higher stones….
Unfortunately, there were many people dressed like stewards who were not in fact stewards or had anything to do with security.
There didn’t appear to be any serious theft at the site, personal property was reasonably secure and there were few, if any, altercations between individuals.
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“This is a once in a thousand years event! (Even though it’s every year…)”
-Druids [see previous post]
-Possible Druids/ New Agers/ Grieving Family Members Illegally Disposing of Human Remains. Not sure what type of ashes these women were scattering over the crowd, but they got them on hundreds of people, and then proceeded to sprinkle them on the rocks too.
-Musicians in the Sacrificial Mosh Pit
-Industrious People on our former rock who raised a crystal rod to try to catch the sunbeams…sadly, there was no sun.
-the Disabled, this might be a bit un-PC to single them out, but I was shocked and impressed at the number of people there in wheelchairs and with walkers at the site. These people were camping out like the rest of us and I saw them touching the stones, making me wonder if they made this pilgrimage expecting something. That’s intense, especially because I often mistaked their walking canes and gray hair for cheesy wizard costumes.
-Long Distance Tourists/ and the extreme version: long distance tourist families.
-Witches burning basil/other herbs and shoving it into natural holes in the stones. Is it legal? This is a Grade I Ancient Monument – defacing it is a criminal offense.
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“So what do you think? Yeah, I guess it’s cool, kinda like a rave without electric.”
-Those surrounding the musicians in the Mosh Pit who cheered and snapped their fingers like they were at a lame poetry reading. I don’t know what they should have been doing, I was nearby and trying to sleep…
-Photographers going to the extra length standing on others shoulders, climbing the large post sarcens for the excellent picture while risking expulsion, bringing your own tripod… (I saw others who climbed great heights just to drink…maybe that’s in devout category, but it’s also stupid, should have brought a camera up there…)
-Artists of various sorts, their paintings and other work might not be spectacular but they can claim they did it from life and up close.
-Families: it takes guts to allow your kids to jump around on crowded slippery wet rocks over five feet high, while among the craziest members of society.
-Roving bands of costumed musicians, or simply the processional possessed.
-Political Message Mongerers, a***oles who brought banners to unfurl in the center of the Hedge at sunrise….they didn’t make it to the core, I think they were driven out in fact. “Save [Something]…” No idea what there message was since it was too packed.
-Stay still, you have Merlin on your neck! The beard here was real. It’s debatable if full beards and pointy hats should be added to the devout, I doubt that he grew it to fit in with this crowd…
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“Could all of you just bend your necks to the right, I NEED this photo…”
-Casual photographers, I can’t stand seeing so many people taking pictures with their cell phones. This ticks me off. They’ll claim they don’t have the cash to get a real camera, but then they’ll spend the rest of the day calling international talking about trivial things. These are people who need to have cell phones with them at all time, they need to be in touch at all time. Where’s the fun in camping out at the Henge and not being isolated from modern society. The photos is not going to come out, either, so why do they try?
-Posers, tourists who posed near the costumed folks…like this guy next to a warlock with a dead ferret on a stick.
-Tourists more interested in getting a group photo up close than with anything substantial in the background. A photo isn’t a photo unless it has a good structure somewhere in it. Why don’t these people wrestle back in their suburban homes?
-There’s nothing better than having reserved great spots and then contently sleeping through sunrise while occupying triple the ground area needed. It was so packed with people trying to get this close, that no one woke any of the multiple sleeping couples up out of spite for the space they continued to take. Who suffered there?
-People who quit the wait around the stones for the allure of the charcoal fire (no questions on how I have a photo of said fire.)
Camped out last night/this morning for the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. It was quite an experience as there were thousands of people (as tomorrow’s post will detail) there and it was actually chilly. Normal visitors are not allowed to go near the stones while we camped out on them, so it was worth it to go just for that reason — I have now touched all the stones (and others did much worse). Below, an image the Druids might think was magic — all the cell phone cameras and digital camera screens glowing amidst the twilight and the ancient monument.
Tomorrow they will close the public toilets in Ham Garden! Ahhh. That therefore will be my post tomorrow.
(Above:) The twentieth century Churchill House office building (boarded up) on Dorchester Street is currently (as you can see below) partially demolished but the main swooping corner elevation has been protected in scaffolding.
Designed in 1931 by local architect W.A.Williams (see architect’s elevations) on the site of a demolished structure that had been built after 1727 but before 1776, its curving corner parapet originally read “Terminus,” an assumable connection to the nearby Bath Spa Great Western Railway Station on Dorchester and Manvers Streets. The steel-framed structure served as the Electricity Board’s HQ from 1932 to 1966. It was also one of the nicest buildings in the area on Dorchester Street. It’s quite ridiculous to demolish one attractive building to build the exact same building in its place in a style that imitates this mock-Georgian since the SouthGate.Bath ‘scheme’ (there is a rendering of the new bus station here) seems to be consciously imitating Churchill House’s “municipal Georgian” (it appears to be a 20th Century combo of Bath’s Georgian Palladian and Baroque Revival–essentially a sum of all parts of Bath’s Guild Hall, the arms of which were completed around the same time as this structure) See more images here.
There was a petition to save Churchill House from demolition online. Below are the firm details from a surveying project in 2005 (I believe) that discusses documenting the building. In some circles, it is acceptable to demolish a building after it has been fully documented. They used to do this even by videotaping the interior but now attempt computer models. As Churchill House will be demolished to make way for the new bus station, the site with the House’s history proposed the structure simply be converted into the new Bath Coach Station (the current 1960s one is to be demolished with little fanfare.) The site also somewhat vindictively lists the names of councilors who voted for its demolition. There were large protests to save it. It’s all quite interesting, really.
I found this online:
“Churchill House, Southgate, Bath : Morley Fund Management – CGNU
: Sarah Jones
: Nathalie Cohen, Dave Mackie, Cordelia Hall, Catherine Drew and Andy Chopping
“The first part of MoLAS’ Southgate project in Bath involved the measured building survey and integrated photographic survey of Churchill House. The Churchill House site had housed a late Victorian coal-powered electricity generating station, from which the original engine shed survived. The power station was expanded and redeveloped in the 1920s and 1930s when the office areas were extended, forming a good example of neo-Georgian municipal architecture prevalent at the time, and this part of the complex was the main focus of the standing building survey. The survey will use rectified photography to produce elevations, in addition to surveyed floor plans, and an interpretive building report. The next phase of the project is scheduled for January, and will include the recording of a former dairy and milk-factory on the Southgate site.”
Not the final post, just saying goodbye to the Southgate Mall.
Originally, I would have had an uninterrupted series of South Gate Mall but I lost internet for a while. This is just a preview of what’s to come. These five boards cover the remains of the former Merchant’s Passage.
I will be going to Windsor Castle for the final day of class. We’ll be given a tour of the conservation working going on there. I’m excited to see as much as possible.
*The one thing I won’t see is the Queen. She’s in Richmond and Jameston today for the 400th anniversary commemoration. Jameston’s importance is that it was the first English colonial settlement of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States of America, and in effect, began the process of spreading the English language across the planet.
I: However, Jameston wasn’t the first colony in the US: Spanish Florida was! Why is St Augustine, FL historically ignored when discussing the US origins? A) The canon of US history was formed in the early 20th C by Protestants. Catholics should not be a prominent part of US history. B) More obviously, it wasn’t part of the original Thirteen Colonies. C) It raises the contemporary approaches to the treatment of Native Americans. The Spanish have been appropriately demonized for first enslaving the natives, and then after freeing the survivors forcibly converting them to Christianity but oppressing them as second class citizens. In contrast, the British…. um, they received gifts from friendly natives, such as Pocahontas (married and died in England) and Squanto (kidnapped by English in 1605, worked there for seven years and then sailed to Virginia in 1613 before making it back to Massachusetts in 1614, etc.). What ever happened to their tribes? Oh, right…the reason why this is mostly omitted form textbooks.
II: The second issue that comes up with US history is its continual celebration of Plymouth Rock, as the origins of the modern USA. WHY! Jameston, Virginia was founded first! Not only that, Pilgrims on the Mayflower basically hijacked the ship (by endangering the supply of ale), which was sailing FOR Virginia and steered it far north, to avoid the existing Dutch colonies in what would become New York and the existing French colonies in Canada. So why is Plymouth and everything that goes with it (Thanksgiving) so American?
A) Again, when the canon of US history was written, Virginia was (and is) associated with the racist rebellious South. Plymouth was safe in Union territory.
B) Plymouth was founded my “moral” religious folk [zealots] who were fleeing religious persecution (only to help create a theocratic colony and return to the Old World.) The Jameston colony was founded by “gentlemen adventurers” who were there to grow cash crops and return to their old homes with a quick handsome profit. Ironically, the descendants of these entrepreneurial immigrants would later blast every other immigrant group during the four hundred years that have followed who attempted to do just that.
C) Cannibals. I cannot stress how important it is (when seeking to be immortalized in bronze) to not eat a human cadaver, no matter how tempting. Apparently, gentlemen adventurers seeking quick profits plant mostly tobacco and not food. Where’s the profit in food when you can feast on the free flesh of your starved colleagues (and they did). In contrast, starving pilgrims at peace with God’s will accepted their 50% mortality rate.
Diverse European Settlement in the United States Before the 18th Century
1559 -Spanish-Pensacola Colony, NW Florida (destroyed weeks after being founded by a hurricane and deserted due to famine and native unrest)
1562-French-Charlesfort on Port Royal Sound (formed with twenty-seven men in southern South Carolina was abandoned after a year. Four died and one was left behind as the mutinous colonists built a ship and sailed to Europe, landing in England with seven survivors after cannibalizing at least one of the colonists). The Spanish burned and smashed every trace of the abandoned colony in 1564 to remove any legal claim before finally establishing the colony of Santa Elena on its site to prevent any future French incursions. It was settled with a few hurricane survivors from Pensacola and was itself immediately hit with a hurricane. Abandoned a third time (twice by the Spanish) twenty-one years later, it had served as the Spanish colonial capital of Florida for a decade.
1564-French Huguenot-Charlesfort (abandoned in favor of) Fort de la Caroline (but both named in honor of French King Charles IX, the latter deserted but now location of Jacksonville, Florida). The French attempted to attack the newly founded St Augustine’s in September 1565 but failed, forcing the Spanish to capture Fort de la Caroline and kill its male inhabitants before renaming it Fort San Mateo and eventually abandoning it.
1565-Spanish-St. Augustine, Florida (established as a Spanish beachhead to drive the French out of North America and thus the first permanent non-native colony in the U.S./North America, and where the first child of European ancestry (Martin de Arguelles) was born, hence the BBC doesn’t know jack.)
1607 -British-Jameston, Virginia Colony, (founded by a London joint stock company)
1614 -Dutch- Fort Nassau, New Netherlands (now Albany, New York)
1620 -British, (who had recently returned to England from exile in Leiden, Netherlands and departed from the Barbican section of London)-Plymouth Colony, (now in Massachusetts)
1638 -Swedish-Fort Christina, New Sweden (now Wilmington, Delaware)
1671- Danish-St. Thomas, Danish W Indies (now US Virgin Islands)
1699 -French- Biloxi, Louisiana (now located in Mississippi)
Yesterday, I believe I was displayed at the ICIA Arts Gala. (I’m posting early so I don’t really know.)
Above: View of Bath Abbey through the demolished Southgate Shopping Mall, Bath
Below: Hokusai’s “Honjo Tatekawa”