070709.Walcot, Cavendish Crescent

July 9, 2007 at 4:37 AM | Posted in Architecture, Crescents, somerset, Walcot, Window | 2 Comments

061015.09.Somset.Bath.Walcot.Cavendish Crescent.1815-30.d.Pinch the Elder

When?! When will the crescents end?!??

When James says they do. Oy gevalt.

Cavendish Crescent: “a short, late crescent of 1815-30, by Pinch the Elder, for William Broom, a speculating builder, who in 1815 was living at No. 3 and who was bankrupt in 1825. Following the contours along the edge of the High Common, the eleven houses are four storyed m three windows wide, with no central feature and somewhat austere except for cornices on long consoles over the middle first-floor windows. Sir William Holburne lived at No. 1, 1829, where he houses his collection.” –Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 167.

posted by JosyC

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070708.Bath, Camden Crescent

July 8, 2007 at 6:20 AM | Posted in Architecture, Crescents, doorways | 1 Comment

070205.08.Somset.Bath.Walcot.CamdenPlace.CamdenCrescent.dEveleigh.1787-94

On  CamdenPlace, Camden Crescent was designed by John Eveleigh between 1787-94, when the architect and speculative builders went bankrupt.

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posted by JosyC

070707.Bath, Lansdown Crescent

July 7, 2007 at 5:24 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Columns, Crescents, Ionic Order, somerset | 6 Comments

061015.23.Somset.Bath.Walcot.Lansdown Place E.d John Palmer.1789-93

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Lansdown Crescent No, this is NOT the same image as yesterday’s.070314.026.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus

Immediately following Somerset House is Lansdown Crescent (1789-93): “a segment of twenty houses forming almost one-third of a circle, together with its convex flanking ranges, Lansdown Place West (No. 8 bombed and rebuilt by Mowbray Green, 1948 [Odd, I thought Mowbray Green died in 1946…perhaps rebuilt by zombie
Mowbray….]
) and Lansdown Place East (1792-5), which step up toward the main crescent.
“John Palmer designed them for Charles Spackman, coachbuilder and developer, and they were built by various speculating builders, some of whom were ruined by the bank failures of 1793. “The convex-concave-convex plan is remarkable. The convex winds are separated from the crescent centre by carriageways to the mews, but the effect is of one continuous form snaking along the hillside.” –Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 171-172.

“The convex-concave-convex plan is remarkable. The convex winds are separated from the crescent centre by carriageways to the mews, but the effect is of one continuous form snaking along the hillside. The architectural treatment of Lansdown Crecent is less superb that the earlier, more formal spaces in Bath. The pedimented four-pillaster Ionic centre with a wider space and a Venetian window in the middle is weak, as are the two bows at the ends, set just one bay in from the angle. But with its elevated position, its superb view over Bath, its fine overthrows and lamps (restored in the 1970s) and its patented stonework, magical at dusk, the crescent has unrivalled presence. Historically, the crescent in the winder would have floated, seemingly on clouds, above a pall of blue smoke from thousands of lodging-house chimneys. The details are simple (cost was crucial): ground-floor rustication, continuous first-floor sills (windows at the end houses extending down to the platband a Vitruvian scroll string course above the first floor, and an entablature with a plain frieze, modillioned cornice and balustraded parapet.)” –Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 171-172.

070314.196.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus.LansdownPlace070314.197.SO.Bath.BldgsofBathMus.LansdownCrescentposted by JosyC

070706.Bath, Somerset Place

July 6, 2007 at 6:49 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Crescents, doorways, Light and Shadow, somerset, Walcot | 4 Comments

061015.12.Somset.Bath.Walcot.Somerset Place. d John Eveleigh.1790

“Bath’s most unusual crescent of sixteen houses above Cavendish Crescent. Started by John Eveleigh in 1790, it was abandoned for financial reason and only resumed c 1820; the west wing has only five houses though cellars were built for two more. The central symmetrical pair, Nos. 10-11, dominate, with a big six-bay broken segmental pediment. The tympanum is carved with paterae and swags caught up by pegs, and reverse curves to the tympanum in the broken section meet to form a pedestal with a vase finial. The first floor has a central arched niche with an open pediment. The paired doors have Gibbs surrounds and icicle keystone masks and cornices on consoles that terminate in carved leaves.

“These houses were built as a semi-detached pair; they step slightly forward, and are not curved in plan like the winds. The flanking houses are simpler, three storeys, three bays; the east wind descends downhill, managing the slope with a tilted platband and cornice. The doorcases are rusticated and have cornices on consoles, some with unusual acanthus leaf keystones. Nos. 5-7 and 10-13 were gutted by incendiaries in 1942 and rebuilt for student hostels by Hugh D. Roberts, 1950-1960s.” –Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 171. Elevation from Walter Ison’s Georgian Buildings of Bath (1980).

posted by JosyC
Somerset Place
061015.15.Somset.Bath.Walcot.Somerset Place. d John Eveleigh.1790

070424.Lyncombe, Mall Is a Four Letter Word

April 24, 2007 at 4:45 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Bridges, Cathedrals and churches, Crescents, Gardens & Parks, somerset, Towers | 8 Comments

BDP to the moon!

061029.126.Somset.Bath.Lyncombe.Alexandria Park
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The Etching is from 1846 and the photo was taken a few months ago from Alexandria Park on Lyncombe Hill, in the center you see Bath Abbey, behind which the spire belongs to St Michael’s Without. Its spire points to John Eveleigh’s Camden Crescent (1787-1794, not yet posted) in Walcot. To the lower left of the Abbey are the Roman Baths (not yet posted). The large building to the right of the Abbey is the Empire Hotel (not yet posted), and to the right of the hotel is Pulteney Bridge, leading the Bathwick New Town and Great Pulteney Street (also not yet posted). The tall spire and church at the extreme right is St John the Evangelist RC Church (it is not in the etching.) The area (known as the Ham) around St John’s is also empty, it was owned by the Roman Catholic Church and unwisely sold part and parcel. It now features the modern-looking police station. The street that defines this empty area is Manvers Street. Mr. Manvers had dreams of developing the area around the Bath Spa Train Station (bottom right, not yet posted) as the posh section of town but ran out of funds during a financial crisis. It still is relatively undeveloped, which is what prompted the redevelopment during the late 1960s. At the bottom left of the etching and picture, you can see houses and an ugly church. This is St Mark’s, now a community centre but built as one of three Commisioner’s Churches in Bath (the other two are Holy Trinity (demolished in late 1950s) and St Saviour, Larkhall (not yet posted)).
In front of the Bath Spa Train Station runs parallel Dorchester Street, and there to the left of the station stand (now stood) some 20th dairy buildings. Behind them, with its large parking lot space is the 1960s-70s Bath Coach Station, and behind that is the Ham Gardens Parking Garage. (These are obviously only in the photo). To the left of these modern structures is the dominating late 1960s, early 1970s Southgate Shopping Center with its Merchant’s Passage. Between the Southgate Mall and the Roman Baths along Stall Street is the modern Marks & Spencers Store, which demolished the listed buildings St James’ Church (1768-1769) and the National School (1816-1818).

070418.Bath, Shaniqua Don’t Live Here No Mo’

April 18, 2007 at 2:17 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Conservation, Crescents, Mansion, Museums, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, somerset | 5 Comments

Uh, title? Yeah. I didn’t write down the title of who the portrait featured and the only title I could come up with was Royal Landing. This is the first floor landing of No. 1 Royal Crescent, restored and currently run by Bath Preservation Trust. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, no Shaniqua ever lived here, though I stress this statement should not be necessarily considered fact.

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Back to school today, and first thing will be a trip to Ty-Mawr for a class on Lime. Let’s see what happens.
Dated 27 Oct 1967 and retained in a small envelope by the Bath City Archives, the stair diagrams were produced during the terrace house’s restoration and conversion into a museum of its former Georgian self.

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070320.Bath, Shiny Emergency

March 20, 2007 at 1:14 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Conservation, Crescents, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Peephole Views, people, Reflection, somerset, Supernatural | 4 Comments

Door handle of One Royal Crescent’s Drawing Room.

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exit_sign
One hundred beeswax candles lit equals the light given off by one 60-watt light bulb. Although it may be romantic to have that many candles lit

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in a room, it’s expensive and dangerous as well. Before the choice of electric or gas, candles or oil lamps of any kind were expensive and thus used sparingly. However, when they were inevitably used, precautions had to be taken in the event they burned down the house. Thus lamp and candle-era door handles, knobs, etc. were shiny to reflect the light of a carried candle or a raging inferno. If you needed to get out fast, you could find the exit. These were the equivalent of red-light EXIT sign boxes you see everywhere that are positioned throughout large spaces to aid in their two and a half minute evacuation. In Micahel Forsyth’s book “Buildings of Music,” (I don’t have it in front of me so don’t quote me) he figured out that theatres in particular burned down on average ever [number under 10, I think] years.

Most aesthetics of that long gone age reflected this necessity, and as gas and electric overtook commonplace lighting, so too did non-shiny, duller, more subtle colors overtake fashion. Today, we see shiny as somewhat tacky. (Although its use in architecture has been resurrected with the starchitects’, like Gehry’s, use of the aesthetically superficial to have their building stand out on glossy magazine covers.) Who wants an old mirror frame re-gilded to its shiny former like-new self? Basically, shiny doesn’t work in terms of modern aesthetics: think Liberace.

[Above: Liberace and “the World Famous Liberace Museum” in…Las Vegas. Below: The Great Lafayette. The story is paraphrased from JK GILLON’s article.]
lafayetteimage
Now, for a second, think of a different Liberace a long time ago in a place far far away: Edinburgh, Scotland, May 1911. One of the greatest and most popular magicians of Europe was the Great Lafayette, the highest paid entertainer on the continent at that time. His shows immediately sold out everywhere he went and featured numerous illusions, large-scale stage shows, a fantastic mechanical teddy bear, midgets galore, and exotic animals too!

The magician himself was somewhat of showstopper. As a “bachelor recluse,” he lived with his cross-bred terrier named Beauty, a gift from the great Harry Houdini. Beauty was certainly loved by its owner, who had a metal statue of the dog cast for his limo hood ornament. Lafayette bought the dog a pure gold diamond-studded collar, velvet cushions, a minature porcelain bathtub that was fitted on his private railcar. This magician lived for his dog.

But then, the unthinkable happened — Beauty died (curiously enough, of apoplexy caused by overfeeding – the same thing that French chefs do to the foie gras geese and also what probably killed by gerbil)! The magician could barely go on, he had his beloved dog embalmed and buried in what became his own plot in Peirshill Cementery, on a mound near the Portobello Road entrance.

This death of a loved one came four days into his two week show at the Empire Theatre, Edinburough. That Tuesday on the 9th of May, 1911, during the second evening performance, the shiny satin-costumed Lafayette was still grieving but had continued to perform and made it through almost the entirety of the show. All that remained was the finale, called “The Lion’s Bride.”

It started off easily enough, Lafayette charmed the audience by pulling out not a hare but an entire goat from the folds of his satin pants, quickly followed by the usual flocks of birds (extracted from a still shinier sequined-handkerchief). Then Lafayette vanished, then he reappeared, then he switched identities with his assistants, you know, the usual. But the act involved a staged “exotic” “Oriental” set, complete with tapestries, cushions, tents, curtains, carpets, etc. There was a caged African lion, fire-eaters, jugglers, acrobats – basically, everyone who was anyone. The whole stage seemed full of people who had previously appeared. A scantily-clad woman entered the lion-filled cage, which was then covered (to allow the sedate lion to be poked and roar), then the covering was lifted and suddenly the magician was in the cage! Fooled you, he’s the lion’s bride.

The crowd went wild, everyone always loved that act, it was a great way to end the show. Lafayette got out and bowed but in so doing he knocked over an “exotic” lamp, which quickly set the “exotic” curtains, carpets, and cushions alight.

What did the crowd think? Oh good! There’s more. Let’s stay seated. Soon the exotic blaze engulfed the footlights and edged to the stall seating. Stage hands, assistants, orchestra members and off-stage performers suddenly broke rank and started spilling out of the woodwork, where they were hidden. As the crowd got this sneak peak and learned a few of the magician’s secrets, the fire curtain quickly fell hiding the growing inferno and the audience jumped up and fled the theatre in about two and a half minutes.

Three hours later, the fire was under control but many of the orchestra and stage-hands didn’t make it out. Neither did midget Little Joe nor 15-year-old mechanical-teddy-bear-operator Alice Dale. But where was the magician — had he vanished to safety? A few survivors claimed he had escaped but returned to save his horse. Whatever the reasons, they shortly found his charred elaborately costumed body on stage – AND THEN THEY FOUND HIM AGAIN! The second severely burned body was found in a lower basement, and this one had his diamond rings – the ones he didn’t lend out to assistants.

Later that week, his ashes were interred in the resurrected and opened casket of Beauty, in a funeral described as “one of the most extraordinary interments of modern times.” Houdini didn’t make it to the funeral but he sent flowers, a floral arrangement shaped like Beauty.

Subsequently, theatres and large arenas have to be evacuated in under two and a half minutes. Cathedral-ceiling spaces can take longer but low-ceiling spaces should be evacuated much faster.

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