070727.Walcot, Conservation Students Graduating in a Complete Restoration? No Thanks.

July 27, 2007 at 4:11 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Light and Shadow, Restoration, somerset, Walcot | 4 Comments

I was originally to be graduating here in the Assembly Rooms, once one of Bath’s Georgian wonders but sadly destroyed in the Second World War. The rooms were rebuilt. They appear historic, but it is not actually a historic building. It is still listed, of course, and it still contains the shell of the rooms — but it’s a complete restoration. Most students graduate during the summer here and in Bath Abbey. Now that is a place to graduate in – and I want in! So I’m happily postponing graduation and trading up into the better space.
061029.041.Somset.Bath.Walcot.Assembly Rms

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070719.Bath, Are You There God? It’s Me, Dead Dean

July 19, 2007 at 9:16 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Columns, Corinthian Order, Monuments and Memorials, Sculpture, somerset, Tabernacles | 3 Comments

061002.164.Somset.Bath.Areyoutheregod.itsmedeadBishop Montagu
OK, actually dead Bishop Montague, d. 1618…

Monument designed and built by William Cure, mason. Nicholas Johnson was the carver.

070714.Bathwick, “Explicit hoc totum; Pro Christo da Mihi Potum”

July 14, 2007 at 12:11 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Museums, people, somerset, University of Bath, Window | 2 Comments

From the archives now: last day of class party in front of the Holborne Museum. The first day of class also ended in the Holborne Museum for drinks. It was quite enjoyable but with cases of champaign, one must remember that the grades aren’t all in yet and to just keep it to one social glass. The faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.
Either way, a nice coda to the end of the academic year, as the above title’s eighth-century manuscript postscript line-inspired suggests:

The job is done, I think;
For Christ’s sake, give me a drink.

I should do a post on this excellent Georgian structure, the Sydney Hotel by Thomas Baldwin, now the museum redesigned and added to during all periods. The last changes occured early in the 20th C and now there is a controversial modern extension that has planning consent.
070601.002.SO.Bath
A great skit from December 2006 by Rico Galliano of Marketplace from American Public Media (and Public Radio International)

KAI RYSDAAL, HOST:
Cross fragile office politics with the social minefield of a party, douse liberally with spiked eggnog, and voila: [you have] a recipe for disaster, otherwise known as the annual holiday office party.
But not to worry, the Marketplace Players are here to help with an educational primer they call:
[cue Fifties-style music and Fifties-styled Announcer:] “Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts”

ANNOUNCER:
Meet Herbert.

HERBERT:
Hi.

ANNOUNCER:
My, Herbert, don’t you look spiffy!

HERBERT:
I’m off to the Office Christmas Party!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
Ow! You blasted my ears with a foghorn!

ANNOUNCER:
That’s because you just made a big faux pas, Herbert. Never call it a Christmas party; call it a holiday party.

HERBERT:
You mean to show respect to all coworkers of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds?

ANNOUNCER:
You got it!

[At party, sound of background chattering.]
ANNOUNCER:
Boy, this is a swell party but hey, where are you headed?

HERBERT:
The open bar!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
Oww. What now?!

ANNOUNCER:
You’re not drinking on my watch, Herbert. Not at an office holiday party.

HERBERT:
…But…isn’t that the point?

ANNOUNCER:
No, the point is to put in an appearance and leave with your job and reputation intact.

HERBERT:
That’s true. Can I have just one?

ANNOUNCER:
Well alright.

HERBERT:
Bartender, give me a scotch straight up—make it a double!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
…I mean a single.

ANNOUNCER:
That-a-boy. Wow, Herbert, there’s that coworker you’re keen on.

HERBERT:
You’re right! Hey, hot mamma!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
[angrily] Look, you have no right meddling in my love life.

ANNOUNCER:
It’s your career I’m worried about, Herbert. Now that coworker thinks you’re creepy. If you must flirt, be a gentleman.

HERBERT:
OK, I’ll try with someone else.

ANNOUNCER:
Herbert…

HERBERT:
Excuse me, but…that’s a lovely dress.

LADY:
Why thank you.

HERBERT:
I haven’t seen you around the office. If I had, I would have asked you to lunch.

LADY:
Oooh-la-la.

HERBERT:
What do you do for us?

LADY:
I’m your boss’ wife! [cackles]
[FOGHORN!]

ANNOUNCER:
I tried to warn you, Herbert. Better cut your losses, circulate a little and then high-tail it home.

HERBERT:
OK, right after I finish this shrimp cocktail.
[FOGHORN!] HERBERT: [muffled curse]

ANNOUNCER:
Oops. You got cocktail sauce all over your shirt.

HERBERT:
[angrily] Only after you blew that insane horn in my ear!

ANNOUNCER:
That sauce makes it look like you got stabbed. Leave. Pronto.

HERBERT:
This is the least…fun…Christmas….
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
…h…holiday…party…ever.

ANNOUNCER:
Oh silly Herbert, when will you learn: It’s not a party, it’s work!

070705.Bath, King’s Circus

July 5, 2007 at 1:36 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Columns, Corinthian Order, Doric Order, Ionic Order, somerset, Walcot | 8 Comments

061029.042.Somset.Bath.Walcot.John Wood the Elder's Circus.1754-1758

Littered with Druidic and Masonic symbols, John Wood the Elder’s final masterpiece was the King’s Circus, built on Barton Fields outside the old city walls of Bath that enclosed the Bimbery. Here, uniform facades and rhythmic proportions in conjunction with classical principles of unerring symmetry were followed throughout the city.

070314.068.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus

The orders are stacked, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, paying homage to the Coliseum, which is in fact what the structure aims to be…and inverted Coliseum. Naming it a circus denotes his lack of a classical education, as circuses were elliptical. Similarly, his theories on Druidic culture were equally wrong. Nevertheless, this first circus was copied throughout the world, and has been referred to as the model for all urban roundabouts.

070213.18.Somset.Bath.Bath At War 061029.059.Somset.Bath.25 Gay St.Jane Austen Centre.Watercolor by SH Grimm.1773 070314.193.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus 070314.192.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus

posted by JosyC

070605.Bath, God Is in the Details

June 5, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Columns, Corinthian Order, doorways, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, somerset, Stained Glass | 5 Comments

Mayoral Procession Part 3 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
Bath Abbey welcomes The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Mrs Sharon Ball — the city’s 780th mayor! 070603.31.SO.Bath
I was going to title this “Take a Picture, I’ll Last Longer” and bring attention to the other digital camera screen in the lower left hand corner but I thought again about bringing attention to that off center screen. This scene is special for me since I’ve never seen these wonderful sixteenth-century doors opened (or looked directly into this fine Perpendicular Gothic structure from the outside) — but note that I am in the center and therefore I got the better picture when compared to the camera screen in the lower left hand (right?). What does that say about me — I live here and I took the prize spot away from a passing tourist (I presume the people near me were tourists since they seemed to only speak Japanese). I didn’t stay in the spot after I had taken this shot, so at least I wasn’t overly greedy….still maybe I should have just cropped or photoshopped the camera screen out. In the end, I kept it in because it fascinates me! I can see someone else’s picture…maybe even before they saw it! Considering the focus of this photo was the traditional mayoral procession from the historic Guildhall into the Abbey, and in historic costumes no less, the camera screen adds an almost anachronistically presence to this composition! It surprises even me and I’m not old. Honest.
070603.23.SO.Bath
I really love the costumes and the characters in them. I’m sure they’re all prestigious city councilors but something about wigs, stockings, and funny hats really brings out a caricature in a person — especially if they’re English. What I like about the above photo is the total disregard of the two girls in the rear, sitting against the abbey facade and painting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” ad on the pavement. You’ll see them better tomorrow.
070603.26.SO.Bath070603.29.SO.Bath

070323.Widcombe, Fell Off a Dock in the Fog

March 23, 2007 at 12:23 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Foggy & Misty, Gardens & Parks, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Sculpture, somerset, Widcombe | 4 Comments

This is the Bath Abbey Cemetery Mortuary Chapel (Grade II Listed) and the Grade II Listed Jane Weeks Williams (of 6 Claremont Place, Walcot, c.1848) Memorial,
Mini Temple in the Greek Revival style- (signed by White, monumental mason)
061216.031.Somset.Bath.CombeDown.RalphAllenDr.BathAbbeyCem.WilliamsMemorial
“The Williams Memorial is a magnificent white marble miniature open Greek temple raised up on a penant stone pedestal. Four pained sets of fluted columns with lotus and acanthus leaf capitals support a canopy over a draped urn flashed by an angel and a female mowner. The equally elaborate inscription is to Jane Wiliams who died at her residence, 17 Kensington Place, Bath, in 1848 aged 88. One side of the base comemorates 17-year-old Henry Williams, ‘who by accidentally falling off the West India docks in a dense London fog was unfortunately drowned’ in 1853.” –Bath Abbey Cemetery Tombstone Tour, 1999

060219.Bath, A Room with a View

February 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Columns, Corinthian Order, Ladders, Mansion, Overcast, somerset | 7 Comments

Copy of 061004.2.Somset.Bath
Located southeast of the Abbey, the Ralph Allen Townhouse has an 18th Century façade built on land leased (probably for 99 years) in 1727. The pictured east-facing addition was quite elaborate and the architect can be assumed to have been John Wood the Elder who only wrote “the Designs, as well as a Model for this Addition, were made while I was in London.” The house was Allen’s primary residence until he moved to Prior Park Estate in 1745, at which point the house became his offices. To improve his view, Allen had constructed the Sham Castle from yesterday’s post.

The addition is now completely surrounded by other buildings and this small court is gated off. If you visit and want to see it, I believe you can borrow the gate key from the neighboring real estate office. (The elevation of the Town House was from Walter Ison’s Georgian Buildings of Bath.)
Ison 064070213.30.Somset.Bath.Bath Before Beau Nash.Ralph Allen

Born in Cornwall, Ralph Allen (1693 – June 29, 1764), transferred from a post office there at age 17 to one in Bath. Two years later in 1712, he became the Post Master of the city. He shortly reorganized the entire postal service and became very wealthy doing so. Surprisingly, however, he saved his money and refused to invest in the quarries that surrounded Bath (and that he would become famous from) until the completion of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which allowed stone to be shipped to the Thames.

Shortly, He owned nearly all of Combe Down, creating a cart rail-track that took the stones down the hill from the quarries to the canal warf in Bath’s Dolmeads section where it would be shipped out. He was also able to keep costs down by paying his workers less. This was not necessarily cruel since he, unlike most other quarry employers, employed year-round, and had John Wood the Elder build model terrace housing for them in 1729.

In addition to these organized and economical applications to selling stone, he promoted the creamy-colored stone through his own constructions, such as this Sham Castle (1767), his Palladian Mansion of Prior Park (1742) with its Palladian Bridge, and in supplying it for free for prominent public buildings such as the General Hospital (1738-1742). To introduce stone to new markets, such as lucrative London, he sold it at a discount with guarantees that he would personally cover the cost of replacing the stone if it failed. Unfortunately, it often did and London’s smoggy environment frequently caused him to empty his pockets.

He died at age 71 and is buried in a mausoleum in Claverton (down the opposite slope from Bath of the Claverton Down hill). The old rail line that went from his quarries, past his mansion, and down to his warf is now Ralph Allen Drive, as well as one of the city’s secondary schools. A statue for the Lower Assembly Rooms was also carved in his honor (not sure where the statue is since the structure was demolished), paid for by the City of Bath Corporation.

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