Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Second Birmingham Central Library (1879-1973)

Birmingham's first Central Library and Art Gallery opened in 1865, but most of the building burned down in a fire in early January 1879. Rebuilding started almost immediately, using the remaining shell and pillars of the original library.

Opening of the first Birmingham Central Library, 1865

Remnants of the first Birmingham Central Library after the fire of 1879

The new Central Reference and Lending Libraries were designed by the architects William Martin and John Henry Chamberlain and opened in 1882. Salviati and Burke provided mosaic work for parts of the building.

Completely new, the Italianate red brick portion facing Edmund Street housed the Shakespeare Library designed by Chamberlain. The floral frieze above the second-story windows and the geometric patterns inside medallions above the first-story windows were made of mosaics.

 Facade of the Shakespeare Library

Due to both a lack of space (the building was designed for 30,000 books and by the 1970s stored 750,000) and a need for new road construction, the second Birmingham Central Library was demolished in 1973. Construction had started on its successor in 1970, which opened in January 1974 and still stands today.

The interior of the Shakespeare Memorial Library is the only part of the second library which survived. It was dismantled and then reassembled within the new building.

The Shakespeare Memorial Library today

"The Birmingham Free Library." The Building News and Engineering Journal. Vol 42. June 2, 1882. 664.
"Birmingham Central Library (1879-1973)." Birmingham City Council.
Birmingham Forum

Thursday, February 12, 2015

St. Mark's Church, Hamilton Terrace

This Gothic style church by Thomas Cundy was consecrated in 1847. The architect's son Thomas Cundy II finished the spire in 1864. E.B. Ferrey also added a new chancel in 1878.

The Venice and Murano Mosaic Company made the six mosaic panels for the pulpit around 1879. They depict the Four Evangelists flanking Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Builder. July 26, 1879. 842.
Speel, Bob. St. Mark's Hamilton Terrace - A Church with Mosaics. 
"Church of St. Mark, Hamilton Terrace". English Heritage.
Images of England: Church of St. Mark Hamilton Terrace. English Heritage.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grand Hotel, Trafalgar Square

London's Grand Hotel was designed by F & H Francis and James Ebenezer Saunders. This team also designed London's Metropole Hotel in 1883.

Salviati decorated the six-story, Italianate hotel, which opened in Trafalgar Square in 1880 with mosaic work.

Circa 1910

The original building was taken over by the British government in World War I to house military officers.  By 1972, not only had the stone facade weathered, but the whole building was damaged by the new Jubilee subway line. It was demolished in 1986 and replaced with the similarly styled Grand Buildings (housing the current Grand Hotel) designed by Sidell Gibson Partnership.

"Earthenware and Porcelain: No. VIII Mosaic Work and Stone-ware." The Furniture Gazette. July 10, 1880. 18.
Antique Print of the Opening of the Grand Hotel. Amazon.
Vintage Everyday. July 4, 2014. 
Exhibition of the Royal Academy. 1878. 44.
Royal Institute of British Architects. Riba1680 Grand Hotel, Charing Cross, London. 1879.
Calder, I.C. "Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, London WC2." Proceedings of the ICE - Civil Engineering, Volume 97, Issue 3, 01 August 1993, pages 127 –134.
Hotel Metropole, St. Croix Architecture.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Marquess of Westminster Memorial Fountain

The Italian Renaissance-style memorial to Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster stands at the junction of Pimlico Road and Avery Farm Row in London. Grosvenor was a politician and developer who - before his death in 1869 - was an early patron of Chester architect John Douglas.

Erected around 1870, the four faces of the Portland stone and granite drinking fountain are covered by enamel mosaics by Salviati.

Salviati also made the mosaic reredos for the Douglas designed St. John's Church in Aldford, tying it back to Grosvenor through that additional connection.

Introduction to Victorian and Edwardian Architectural Mosaics in London
"Drinking Fountain - - 1305384" by PAUL FARMER. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
"Fountain on East Side of Junction with Avery Farm Row". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage.
"Richard Grosvenor." Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

St. John the Baptist, Aldford

Designed by architect John Douglas, this church was built in 1865-66 at the expense of Richard Grosvenor, the 2nd Marquess of Westminster.

The church's reredos contains five mosaic panels by Salviati. Morris and Co. made the stained glass in the East window after a design by Edward Burne-Jones.

English Heritage, "Church of St John the Baptist, Aldford (1135984)", National Heritage List for England
St. John the Baptist, Aldford. Wikipedia. 
A Church Near You. 
British Listed Buildings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

St. Peter's Church, Chetnole

This church dates back to the Thirteenth Century. Slater and Carpenter refurbished the building between 1860 and 1865, including rebuilding the chancel.

Salviati inlaid the alabaster reredos with mosaic during this time.

Three Valleys Team
British Listed Buildings
Dorset OPC Project

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Leland Stanford Jr. Museum

The Leland Stanford Junior Museum was designed by architects Percy and Hamilton and built by Jane Stanford in memory of her son. The museum was modeled after the National Museum in Athens, Greece. It opened in 1894 and with expansions in both 1898 and 1905, it soon became the largest privately-owned museum buildings in the world.

Salviati decorated the exterior of the original building with mosaic panels between 1903 and 1905, at the time the firm made the mosaics for the Memorial Church. Both were to Paoletti's designs. The subject of the museum's thirteen panels are learning, the arts - like architecture and painting, and ancient civilizations - including Egypt and Rome. There are four, rectangular panels on the facade flanking the main entrance, two large gables at the ends, and three, smaller panels above the entry doors themselves. The museum's north rotunda also had niches decorated with Salviati mosaics.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 that also severely damaged the Stanford Memorial Church, destroyed two-thirds of the museum building and collections. Luckily for the mosaics, the original structure sustained the least amount of damage.

Budget cuts led to neglect and the museum fell into further disrepair, fully closing in 1945. Reopening in 1954, the galleries were gradually refurbished through fundraising and volunteers. Another earthquake in 1989 damaged the museum again, but it was subsequently rebuilt and opened as the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts in 1999.

Barr, Sheldon. Venetian Glass Mosaics: 1860-1917. London: Antique Collectors' Club, 2008. 98-99.
Cantor Arts Center
Stanford University and the 1906 Earthquake
"Facelift for Stanford's Memorial Auditorium, new Roof for Cantor Arts Center." Stanford News. April 17, 2014.
Arcticpenguin's flickr Photostream
Steve Rhodes' flickr Photostream
E. Chen's flickr Photostream