This window was designed by Benjamin Bucknall and heavily influenced by French Gothic-enthusiast Violet-le-Duc, who even sent over French glaziers to put in the white “pre-stained” glass for the initial construction phases. The chapel is the grandest room in Woodchester Mansion, but it has been severely damaged by a failed rainwater drainage system. Ho, ho, ho!
Here’s some green to soothe everyone’s eye cones after yesterday’s vicious Japanese Maple. I’ve really enjoyed this picture myself, have had it on as the desktop image.
Have you ever walked into an old hospital and seen “hospital green?” I don’t believe it’s too prevalent anymore.
The concept of green interiors for hospitals germinated from their presence in surgery rooms. It was believed that a surgeon, deeply engrossed in cutting up someone on the slab, would be overwhelmed by blood. Well, not necessarily blood but its crimson color. Should the good surgeon look up while in the thick of stitching up someone’s internal organs, he (and yes, he is appropriate since this theory is dated) would be utterly confused by the surrounding wall colors, since he had used up his red cones by staring at the blood. When he looked up, having exhausted his red cones, the world would be green, despite his earlier memories of the wall. This might bring on headaches and very likely distraction, which you don’t want while your patient is cut up and covered in blood.
The solution was to paint the hospital green, so there would be little difference between the surgeon’s perception of the surrounding walls and his memory of it.
So stare at the future sweaters and lamb dinners for a minute and then quickly look up:
Blood, Blood everywhere! Ahh!
That’s the theme of today’s post, which matches an anniversary in the States, (though not the one below).
This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton hotel. Jodie, I’m asking you to please look into your heart and at least give [me] the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your love and respect.
I love you forever,
John W. Hinkley
Did anyone remember that this guy’s middle initial was “dubya?” Odd. Guess he liked it more than being called “Junior.”
Isn’t this an odd and interesting ceiling? It reminds me of Radio City Music Hall in NYC.
I remember hearing that “cellar door” word combination/sound was the voted the most beautiful in the English language.
When told of this, Winston Churchill supposedly asked, “Which one–the bird or the gulp?” So perhaps “cellar door” too is influenced by the listener’s background with idealized versus grungy mold-ridden basements.
To me, the term sounds more like it belongs in a Gothic novel.
This is the entrance to the Grand Corridor on the ground floor from the Billiard’s Room in the South Wing. The “Gothik” door was hung recently part of the Haunted House decorations. Both the estate’s structural engineer and chief architect thought it looked a bit tacky but commented that it was surprising how abandoned and creepy the house could look by actually putting up internal doors, instead of leaving it like the abandoned ruin it was!
I’ll be posting the next Hokusai print juxtaposition tomorrow.
One of the greatest aspects of Woodchester, apart from its incomplete state and exposed vaulting is the existence of not only the architects’ original plans, sections, presentation drawings, and correspondence letters but also working diagrams that were sent to the masons to carve details! Here, our Conservation class is drooling over these as everyone makes a mad dash to grab and photograph their section of interest. Each piece of paper is protected in a plastic sheet and is typically signed and dated.
The architect in charge explained to us that the house was being constructed as the design changed. The best example is the multiple changes in the chapel, which went from two bays on plan to five bays (possibly for papal purposes) and then once the purse-strings were tightened, the chapel was reduced to three bays. The masons had been building a chapel of five bays before the budget cuts set in because they abandoned two additional huge bosses for the additional bays. These were never cleared from the site because Woodchester was never finished, and thus the eveidence survives.
Below is an early plan and section for the chapel from the late 1850s. I dotted in red the vault containing the private organ, where a line drawn by the architect leads to a note questioning whether or not it was proportionally large enough. But honestly, when is a private organ large enough?
As explained in earlier posts, this house was never compeleted. Abandoned in the 1870s, it is a remarkable surviving Victorian construction site. It remained standing because of the strength of its masonry walls. For the most part, floors were never put in and the walls rely on heavy buttresses. Here in the South Wing’s Billiard Room, one can gaze up at three sets of fireplaces and the springing stones where the ceiling vaults would have attached themselves to the walls.
The Woodstock Mansion estate had a brick manufacturer on site, as well as stone a few feet under the ground, but there was very little timber on the estate. The foundations are all stacked on solid bedrock, and the mansion was built almost entirely of materials found on the property making the mansion somewhat afordable for your average business baron.
Try as I might, I could not get all three complete fireplaces in the picture, but you can see the mantel of the ground floor and the next two floors quite well. There is a large stone arch supporting the roof timbers, and several holes in the oak and slate roof.
Apart from the brick arches taking the load off the delicately carved fireplaces, another aspect to note are the holes in the masonry for the scaffoldings (no longer there). They would normally have been sealed up with brick and then plastered over. The most interesting construction remainders are the cheap wooden boards over the top mantels (barely visible). These boards were placed over all delicate stonework during construction, so nothing was chipped before the house was turned over to the owner.
Don’t go there when it’s raining, which is pretty much every single day. But if you ignore the freezing dampness, it is well worth the trip. And I’m told they throw an incredible Halloween party for 15 pounds. They’ve added spooky doors to complete the “haunted” look of the house and each scaffolding hole is filled with a small candle, which must look amazing in the dark!
This room is directly over the drawing room (the only finished room in the house). The drawing room was completed in 1893 for Cardinal Vaughn’s visit and its ceiling has the minimal arch to support its own weight. The walls of the bedroom, of course, date from the 1870s and were standing without this floor for a good twenty years. The walls are structurally self-supporting and because the drawing room’s ceiling vault is so weak, typical groups are not allowed in. It is an interesting space because there is still a timber vault mold from the construction period, and you can see the drawing room’s ceiling vault quite clearly from on top.
Our assignment was to find an area of structural failure and try to record it as much as possible for a paper assignment. The chapel and this room are the two areas of the most severe structural damage, caused by water getting into the masonry.
I don’t actually know who the girl is, but I liked how she was framed. I believe she is either a fourth year student at the University or from the Structural Engineering class that tagged along.