Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sepia Saturday 219: 15 March 2014

Alan says:

We have Wendy Mathias to thank for our Sepia prompt once again this week and she points us in the direction of domes, ceilings, arches, and significant buildings. The dome in question is that of the Reading Room of the Library of Congress in Washington. There is a rather pleasing pattern to the image - which dates from the very beginning of the twentieth century - so you might want to add patterns to the list of possible interpretations. 

If you would like to participate, go here for more instructions.

Customs House Brisbane 1889 courtesy of  State Library of  Queensland

I always find it difficult to find a focus for these themes. I do tend to jump all over the place - hence my blog name - Family Tree Frog.

Possibly the most famous dome in Brisbane where I live is the one belonging to Customs House.  I've been to a wedding there once -  or was it just the reception? Anyway - it's all very swish and hasn't changed much from the photo above. Check out the street view on Google Maps.

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Our own wedding had a bit of a took place at St Ignatius at Toowong and is very lovely.

1st September 1990 Robert and Alex wedding

Whilst the above photo doesn't strictly fall within the 30 year time frame of what constitutes a sepia photo, I'm sure you'll forgive me for the purposes of the exercise.

Going through my grandmother's album, I found some photos from her journeys overseas of domes and ceilings and the like...

Dubrovnik Cathedral

I'm not sure that my grandmother took these photos.  I suspect she may have bought them at a tourist shop but I might be wrong.

They were taken in the early 70s I think when she started going overseas quite a few times.
The Gallery Monaco Palace

I thought the arches in this photo were rather lovely.

And then of course, there's Venice.

When I went overseas in my youth, I was always fascinated with the architecture in old Europe - so very different from my own country which was relatively young in terms of architecture.  I took photos of things that caught my eye....

From memory, this is the front door to the cathedral in Koln but I'm happy to be corrected.

Last weekend I went to Sydney to see the folks.  We did all sorts of fun things, like going to Luna Park and having a ride on a ferry down the Parramatta River.

Sydney is of course most famous for the biggest arch of them all.  This photo was taken from a restaurant called The Deck near Luna Park.

My folks are architects by profession and have a keen interest in the architectural heritage of cities.  As we moseyed around the harbour, I was told that some of the recent architectural heritage of Darling Harbour is being demolished. i.e. the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.  You can read more about it here.

I was also amazed to see the huge development along the foreshore for the
$6 billion Barangaroo Development.  It will incorporate a new financial district for the city, a casino, residential blocks and parklands.  East Darling Harbour used to be docks and shipyards.  Here's a picture of one of the wharves, featuring of course, some arches.

Wharves on Hickson Road c. 1920 State Records Authority of NSW

I think the photo below is taken on the north side of the bridge near where Luna Park is today...all those houses have gone of course and have been replaced by blocks of units and commercial buildings.

Barbara McLoughlin and friend c1950

The photos below with my mother and grandmother are taken in the Harbourside Shopping Centre at Darling Harbour.  And yes, there is yet another dome.  Taken in the early 80s we thought the centre was  a bit ground-breaking in it's day in terms of design and construction. 

You can see Centrepoint Tower in the distance there on the left - that tall stick next to the building.  I used to work in Centrepoint many moons ago as a waitress at Miss Brown's Tea and Coffee House - iced coffees, toasted chicken sandwiches, waffles - that sort of thing.

Last weekend I was very brave and did the Sky Walk.  Your reward for wearing a very unflattering blue suit is rather spectacular views of Sydney.  Our guide advised us that we were twice as high as the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


See that gold bit on top of the stick?  I was walking around the outside of that.

And now you'll forgive me if I show you some non-sepia but very contemporary photos of the State Library of NSW which I took last Sunday.  I was so glad I ignored all the advice that the room was closed.  Yes, it was closed but you could still go in and see it.  I thought I would never see it again.  My maternal grandfather loved this library.  I can understand why.  

Do you remember Tom?

Thomas McLoughlin

The inscription on the wall in the entrance reads:

In Books lies the Soul
Of the whole past time
The articulate audible
voice of the past
When the body
And material substance
Of it has altogether
Vanished like a dream

Google tells me this is a quote from Thomas Carlyle from The Hero as a Man of Letters.

Yet another title to add to the TBR (To Be Read) pile.

Want to see more domes, ceilings, arches or significant buildings?

Click here or tell me what you've seen lately or remember fondly.  


Brett Payne said...

Isn't it extraordinary how small old buiildings look in modern city centres, compared with the old photos when they were the tallest, grandest structures around. I am particularly struck by the difference when searching for "now and then" style comparisons in Google Streetview, such as you have done for Brisbane's Custom House. They look so tiny, sad and almost pathetic next to the skyscrapers.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have some Australian Arches and Domes included in a post. Thanks

Jo Featherston said...

Both Sydney and Melbourne are great at demolition! i was impressed with the Mitchell library before we moved to Melbourne.

Wendy said...

I'm not an architect, but like your family I always enjoy going on walking tours and hearing about the architectural heritage of places I visit.

Karen S. said...

Oh my gosh, my grandmother from Germany had a large floppy or sorts hat just like that! She wore it everywhere when they came here to visit. I like the dome in the first photo and the wedding shot, most of all!

Little Nell said...

I’m very impressed with your collection of arches and domes and I applaud your bravery on the skywalk too! What a wonderful quote you shared with us. One to ponder I think.

Alex Daw said...

Brett, they do look ridiculous don't they, which, as you say, is such a shame? There's probably some very high falutin' term for what it is - the juxtaposition of scale or some such that leads to this feeling.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks genepenn! I have to say I'm enjoying seeing the American ones. I didn't realise there were so many capitol buildings. I thought there was just one. Lesson learned.

Alex Daw said...

And add Brisbane to that demolition list. Speaking of which the new State Library in Brisbane is very impressive but to my knowledge the old State Library didn't have a fabulous reading room on the scale of Sydney or Melbourne.

Alex Daw said...

Me too Wendy. I was surprised how much I enjoyed my tour of the Hyde Parracks building last weekend. It was just fascinating.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Karen. I really loved the altar in the church where we got married. It was very beautiful to my mind. My grandmother had a fantastic hat collection and was always guaranteed to draw admiring glances wherever she went although she was quite petite in stature.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Little Nell. I don't think I realised how brave I was on the skywalk until they kept asking me to jump for the camera for the umpteenth time and then I just felt plain foolish!

Kristin said...

The railing on that sky walk looks very short! Congrats on making the walk.

Nancy said...

I forgot about bridges and their arches. Yours are beautiful.

Postcardy said...

It's nice that you got to see the room at the State Library of NSW. I'm wondering whether it was closed permanently.

luvlinens said...

Alex, The black/white photo you shared of the bridge is a winner.

Alex Daw said...

Yes that railing does look rather low doesn't it? I wonder if they've fixed that or if it's the same.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Nancy. I had too and then the picture seemed to be yelling out at me - Hey, Look over here...I'm an arch!

Alex Daw said...

No, it's open Monday to Saturday apparently Postcardy but my father does remember reading something recently about "Save Our Reading Room" so I thought I'd better get in there in case something does happen to it.

Alex Daw said...

Dear luvlinens...thank you for your kind words. I like that photo very much too. I'd like to make it even's such a tiny photo to begin with. I should scan it again at a higher resolution and see how I go. I need another desktop scanner on MY desk....fighting my way into my husband's study is always such a chore. First world problem I know.

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

love this story. Gorgeous pics.

Rosie said...

Enjoyed your post, lovely buildings, lots of character, THAT is what is missing from new buildings....character.

Alex Daw said...

Especially of us possum!

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Rosie. I agree. I love modern buildings too...they let in lots of light (usually) but you're right....there's a bit of character missing from them I feel.

Tattered and Lost said...

Oh you're braver than me. I could…would never go up that high. I hope you took photos to document the historic occasion. I had trouble even going to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I literally crawled on my hands and knees and forced an old woman to go around me.

A very interesting and perfect post.