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Camo Column

3 July, 2017

Cleverly camouflaged Doric columns in Delphi. Or: a rather patchy repair job.

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Delphi, Greece (2010)

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Trygg

28 June, 2017

The Author rather likes the Trygg building in Stockholm, which she encountered in 2010 and recently rediscovered in her photography archives.

The Trygg building was designed by Erik Lallerstedt in 1910 and was headquarters for an insurance company. ‘Trygg’ means ‘safe’ or ‘secure’ in Swedish. Sensible name for an insurance company.

Stockholm typography

Stockholm, 2010

Stockholm Type.JPG

Stockholm, 2010

 

Follies in Suburbia

22 June, 2017

The Stotebury Estates in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania is a most peculiar sight.  The housing estate was formerly the site of Whitemarsh Hall, a neo-Georgian mansion built by banker Edward T. Stotesbury and designed by Horace Trumbauer (who was also one of the architects of the Philadelphia Museum of Art). It was massive and lavish, larger than the White House. Nicknamed the “American Versailles”, Whitemarsh Hall was said to cost more than a million dollars per year to maintain. Given this excess, it’s not a great surprise that the family went broke by the late 1930s.

By the 1980s, the mansion and extensive gardens were demolished (woe, woe!) but a few relics remain sprinkled amongst the split-levels and tragically dull houses: the main gate, guardhouse, a few statues, a fountain of Neptune, low walls and, as seen below, a belvedere and stairs, and the columns from the mansion’s entrance portico.

Wandering through the former Whitemarsh Hall grounds, is indeed a bizarre (but recommended) experience. These belvederes and columns–once integrated elements of a grand mansion and gardens–are now follies in suburbia.

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor 2

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor 3

Whitemarsh Hall in Wyndmoor

With thanks to Da Dork for taking the Author on a bike tour of these ancient ruins in suburbia.

Omama

28 May, 2017

Ilona.jpg

Brontë Nose Appreciation

24 May, 2017

The Author is partial to drawings of noses. Diligent Readers might recall Admirable Noses at Musée d’Orsay, the Noses of Toulouse, as well as Belgian, Polish and German noses.

The Author has also previously admired the nose of Branwell Brontë, as seen in this self-portrait on view at the Brontë parsonage in Haworth:

Branwell Brontë NoseMore recently, she’s had the pleasure of discovering that Charlotte Brontë also had an affinity for drawing and appreciating noses! The fourteen-year-old Charlotte sketched these noses when she was was at the Roe Head school in 1831.

Charlotte Bronte Roe School Nose drawings

Found in the Morgan Library exhibition “Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will”

Biscuits, No Longer

25 April, 2017

The Author wandered down an alley in Varese, Italy, and was delighted to find this old biscuit factory. Sadly, the Premiato Biscottificio Rossini is no longer producing delicious baked goods.
Premiato Biscottificio Rossini Varese.JPG

Dandy Dogs of Parke-Bernet

19 April, 2017

The Author is currently reading a thoroughly amusing book, The Elegant Auctioneers by  Wesley Towner.  This 1970’s gem provides an exhaustive history of American auction houses in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well as their often eccentric and always astonishingly wealthy patrons.

The Author particularly enjoyed this snippet about high society dogs found at the auction houses:

“[Attending auctions were] Afghan hounds and well-coiffed poodles, which [their owners] frequently addressed in French. One fortunate canine habitué of the recent past, named Zita, had a platinum collar, set with a solitary emerald, which her master had insured for $3,000. Zita was a regular at Parke-Bernet exhibitions and had her own tiny calling cards, and once a year her master–a man, incidentally, who had risen from the ranks*–sent out engraved invitations to her birthday party.”

dog meeting New Yorker

A New Yorker illustration which seems appropriate

*The Elegant Auctioneers is chock-full of snobbish asides such as this.