070130.Stowe, Don’t Look

January 30, 2007 at 12:03 AM | Posted in Architecture, Buckinghamshire, cumulus clouds, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Stowe | 16 Comments

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Okay, one of my principal joys in life is breaking onto the roofs of buildings. The fact that I was allowed up on top of Stowe House, now a school with a new lead roof, makes this only moderately cool. My pictures from rooftops, however, are never all that good. Since I was being let up to the roof right at Sunset, I figured the same would be true here but looking directly at the sun with the shadows may have enhanced this photo while hurting my camera. I try not to digitally alter the photos I present on the DP (except my attempts at Photoshop) so the same is true here–nothing has been touched or rotated (I may want to fix it later…).

 

CIA Director Quietly Buys Nuclear-Attack Insurance

BETHESDA, MD—According to sources at the Allstate Insurance Company, CIA Director Michael Hayden purchased nuclear-attack insurance Wednesday, paying a $100,000 monthly premium for his homes in suburban Washington, Pittsburgh, and near Cheyenne Mountain, CO. “It’s a typical nuclear policy that protects the insured from damages caused by fallout—pretty straightforward, though at that monthly rate, I don’t usually sell too many of them,” said Bethesda, MD–based Allstate agent Gary Rutter, adding that Hayden paid for the first premium with a certified bank check to guarantee that the policy would take effect no later than next Monday. “After he purchased the insurance, he asked again if everything was set for Monday. I assured him it was, and then he left.” Insurance agents throughout the D.C. area reported selling 35 such policies in the last week, all to high-ranking government officials. The Onion

 

061115.Stowe, Temple of Concord and Liberty

November 15, 2006 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Architecture, Buckinghamshire, Chisel Marks, Columns, Conservation, countryside, Gardens & Parks, Ionic Order, Light and Shadow, Restoration, Sculpture, Stowe | 9 Comments

It’s a bird’s beak molding?
It’s a plain molding!?
No, it’s the Roman Ionic Order!

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See here the ease a Roman Ionic capital can negotiate a corner without using a pilaster!
Be astounded by its total symmetry!
Watch
as it evolves into a Corinthian and Composite capital–before your very eyes!

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An Italian architect classmate living in England told me that “it’s always sunnier by an Ionic column.” How—with the fluting? I said I didn’t believe her. If she still has faith in that proverb, I don’t think she’s lived in the Overcast Kingdom long enough.

These photos of the Temple of Concord and Liberty came from my recent trip to Stowe, Buckinghamshire. The house and incredible gardens (with their hundreds of ornate garden buildings) were a primary influence in Catherine the Great’s palace buildings, etc. Stowe House is now a private (termed “public” in the UK) boarding school and the gardens are open to the public. Both the Pushkin Palaces and Versailles directors have expressed that it’s one of the greatest and most influential properties in the world, but it only gets 3,000 visitors a year. Because of this, the site, which needs a great deal of repair always has scaffolding up without much complaint…and also my class was given the full tour, including the roof!

Click here to see a more interesting photo of the same subject taken by Hsueh-Ping (it’s the second photo down). I’m off to Stonehenge today. There, there is a proposal in the works to sink the nearby motorway into a tunnel so it doesn’t disturb the sights or sounds of the very important ancient monument. The downside is that it costs too much. What do you think? I have to do a report on it eventually, so please be generous with your comments. (I’ll post the pictures when I get back, so you’ll have another chance.)

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