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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Sepia Saturday - Powerful Pillars

Each  week Sepia Saturday encourages bloggers to record their family history through photographs.

For a change  I have gone for the less obvious feature  in the photo prompt, as in the past year I have depicted both  little girls and pet dogs.  

So picking up on  that  background image on the right of the picture,   my theme this week is :  Powerful Pillars - think of Pillar of Support, Pillar of the Community, Pillar of Wisdom.  

Pillars on buildings  are  most usually to be seen on state edifices or the imposing entrances to  houses of the landed gentry   - all out to impress, and copied from  classical  Greek architecture. 

The Greeks adopted three types of columns to support their buildings, each with their own distinctive feature.   Doric was the plainest, Ionic identified by its scrolls and Corinthian more elaborate still. 

Back even earlier than the Greeks are the pillars of the pre-historic world at Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

One of the most famous sites in the world Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks, believed to be built  anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

From pillars of stone to pillars of rock at Fingal's Cave on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa just off the islands of Mull and Iona on the west coast of Scotland. A visit by composer Mendelssohn in 1829 inspired him to write his evocative "Hebrides Overture".

Below - Pillars of the ruined Jedburgh Abbey, in the Scottish Borders.  The 12th century Augustinian  Abbey was founded by King  David in 1138.  I worked for five years in Jedburgh Tourist Informality Centre and we could be asked such questions as "Was the abbey bombed during the war?"  Or "When are they going to rebuild it?

The truth was the abbey was repeatedly attacked by English armies throughout the middle ages.  In the 1540's it suffered particularly at the hands of the Earl of Hertford's military campaign known as the "Rough Wooing" when Henry VIIII sought  to enforce a marriage between his son Edward and the young Mary,  Queen of Scots.   Mary was, instead, sent to France into the care of her mother's relations.  Scotland turned to    Presbyterianism with the Reformation, and the abbey, almost intact except for its roof, was used for services until the building of a new parish church in 1875.  
This elegant monument  in the  classical style  is to be found in Warsaw, Poland in the 18th century Saxon Gardens.  But its beauty  masks a more utilitarian purpose -  modelled on the Temple of Vesta,  it is a Water Tower and a relic of Warsaw's first water supply system. 

Equally elegant is this monument to the composer Mozart in the Kur Garten (Spa Park) in the small town of Baden near Vienna. 

From the old world to the New World - where pillars again represent civic pride in the legislature, the nation's history,  the church, and academia.  

The State House in Boston, Massachusetts was completed in 1798.  The dome was first painted gray and then light yellow before being gilded with gold leaf in 1874

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library is Harvard University's flagship library. Built in 1915, it was a gift from Eleanor Elkins Widener, as  a memorial to her son, Harry, of the Class of 1907, who perished aboard the Titanic.  

This stately landmark at Edgartown on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, was  built by whaling captains in 1843,  and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in New England.

Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers from their ship "the Mayflower" in 1620.  Four hundred years later,  this  portico with Doric pillars was built as a canopy above the iconic symbol of America.  

And I end  on a more mundane note with  a British symbol -  a vintage red  pillar box in  Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders.

                        Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

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  1. You’ve shown yourself to be a true pillar of the Sepia Saturday community!

  2. You can't do better than Little Nell's comment. "Rough wooing" eh? Nothing warms the cockles of a woman's heart more than a little death and destruction. I bet you heard many interesting things working in the tourist center! If I say nice post...would that be too punny?

  3. Good show! You went 'outside the box' so to speak & look at all the great stuff you came up with! Neat idea! ;-)

  4. A great selection of pillars. I don't like them on private houses and always feel the owners are above themselves, when they are part of a new house design. We visited Jedburgh Abbey just after our daughter's wedding in Herefordshire, and her 3rd wedding anniversary was just a couple of days ago. Unfortunately we were just passing through and didn't really have time for a proper visit, but what we saw was impressive.

  5. I was hoping someone would choose pillars for their post. Doric, Ionic and Corinthian must have been drilled into my head in school because it's still there 50 years later and I've never used that knowledge in all those years!

  6. Like Lorraine, I learned a lot about Greek and Roman architecture, and all the Greek and Roman influences on our form of government and in literature. It's interesting that columns, pediments, and domes are so often incorporated into our most important buildings.

  7. I agree with Little Nell's comment! Lovely photos, some I've seen in person but most never, and it was wonderful to see them!

  8. You picked an unusual detail to focus on. Pillars in classical style are certainly
    iconic elements of architecture but they are rare to find in modern buildings now. Stone carving is just too expensive.

  9. Having to memorize the various different pillars was part of my first year of art history in college. Doric, Ionic, Corinthian…I had the drilled into my brain. I will never forget what each is no matter how hard I try.

  10. I wish they used pillars in modern architecture more often. They add a certain elegance to a building.


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