Local Heart, Global Soul

August 10, 2013

Piecing Together The Last Minutes of Our Stay…

Filed under: Ely Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In Ely Cathedral last summer we discovered that they also have a stained glass museum.

Naturally there was stained glass to admire but there are also exhibits about the glass making process, For instance there is an oven for heating the glass, information on glass blowing and  small models of glass-making rooms with figures making the panels was they would do in real life.

There are also other things on display… a collection of very old and considerably weathered stone heads, plus one more modern one that’s a stark contrast to them.

High up across the Cathedral I catch a glimpse of a sectioned off part of the Cathedral where restoration work is taking place, pieces of what I think might be stone lay wrapped on shelves for treatment or replacement.

More photos of course but time is ticking away and we have our appointment with Himself’s cousins to keep. We take a last look around Ely Cathedral and I determine to try and finish touring the rest of this amazing and beautiful building on a future visit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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stone heads Ely cathedral 1e (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

August 9, 2013

Admiring The Mastery In Glass…

Filed under: ART,Ely Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Stained Glass — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our last summer’s adventures,  my visiting friend Velvetine and I are delighted to discover that Ely Cathedral also houses a stained glass museum as well as some stunning stained glass windows.

We actually spent so much time drooling over the glass in the  museum exhibition and admiring the stained glass windows close to it that we ran out of time to take the extensive tour of the rest of the Cathedral.

Himself and Kiwi Daughter were due back from doing some shopping in the centre of Ely a few streets away (Little Mr. had wrangled himself a playdate with other friends back in Great Dunmow and wasn’t with us)

There is more history about the Cathedral on Wikipedia:  here’s my last snippet for you as you browse the beautifully glazed walls…

“In 1321, under the sacrist Alan of Walsingham work began on a massive (100′ long by 46′ wide) free-standing Lady Chapel, linked to the north transept and the north aisle of the chancel by covered walkways. This new structure was built in an exuberant ‘Decorated’ Gothic style.

On the night of 12–13 February 1322, possibly as a result of instabilities caused by the digging of the foundations for the Lady Chapel, the great Norman crossing tower collapsed, injuring no one but damaging the first four bays of Bishop Northwold’s Early Gothic choir.

These western bays of the liturgical choir were rebuilt in a more modern style. More noticeably, the old crossing tower was replaced by an innovative octagonal lantern. Although it is supported on eight massive masonry piers, the lantern itself is constructed from oak timbers and was designed by William Hurley, who later became Master Carpenter to the King at Westminster.

Because the crossing was a key part of the liturgical choir, this rebuilding work took priority over other activities and the lantern was largely complete by 1340. The windows on the sides of the upper octagon are a particularly successful way of lighting the centre of the cathedral. The angels painted below the windows are, however, purely Victorian inventions, a product of the restoration under Thomas Gambier Parry in 1874.

When built, the Octagon was the largest crossing span in northern Europe and remains Ely Cathedral’s most distinctive feature, visible from miles around across the Fens.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

August 8, 2013

How On Earth Did They Delight in The Detail Before Zoom Lenses Were Invented?

Filed under: ART,Ely Cathedral,ENGLAND,My Reference Library,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst I’m busy ogling some the interior decorative work of Ely Cathedral, I’ll give you some information on the building itself, courtesy of  Wikipedia.

“The cathedral is built from stone quarried from Barnack in Northamptonshire (bought from Peterborough Abbey, whose lands included the quarries, for 8000 eels a year), with decorative elements carved from Purbeck Marble and local clunch.

The plan of the building is cruciform (cross-shaped), with an additional transept at the western end. The total length is 537 feet (163.7 m), and the nave at over 75 m long (250 ft) remains one of the longest in Britain.

The west tower is 66m high (215 ft). The unique Octagonal ‘Lantern Tower’ is 23 m (74 ft) wide and is 52 m (170 ft) high. Internally, from the floor to the central roof boss the lantern is 43 m (142 ft) high.
The present cathedral was started by Abbot Simeon (1082–1094, brother of Walkelin, the then bishop of Winchester) under William I in 1083.

Building continued under Simeon’s successor, Abbot Richard (1100–1107). The Anglo-Saxon church was demolished, but some of its relics, such as the remains of its benefactors, were moved to the cathedral. The main transepts were built early on, crossing the nave below a central tower, and are the oldest surviving part of the cathedral. Construction work continued throughout the 12th century.

The Western transepts and tower were completed under Bishop Ridel (1174–89) in an exuberant Romanesque style with a rich decoration of intersecting arches and complex mouldings.

A Galilee porch was added under Bishop Eustace (1198–1215) in the Early English Gothic style.

It was originally a two-storey structure (it was opened up into a single vaulted space in the 18th century) where liturgical processions could gather before entering the nave. Several details of its decoration, particularly the ‘syncopated arches’ and the use of Purbeck marble shafts, reflect the influence of St Hugh’s Choir at Lincoln Cathedral, built a few years earlier.

Under Bishop Northwold, work began on a new eastern end in 1234, replacing the short Norman chancel with a much grander 10-bay structure. Northwold’s chancel, completed by around 1252, adopted several of the stylistic elements already used in the Galilee porch.”

Without a tripod, getting some of these photos on full zoom is a bit of a stretch. I held my breath for as long as I could as I pressed the shutter button and braced myself on any handy stone column, and considering the available light in your average Cathedral can be somewhat variant, am really happy with the results. More photos of course for my artist archive file and for my instant detail fanatic gratification.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

August 7, 2013

Please Humour My Artistic Indulgence…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Even for me and my photo heavy blog,  twenty-eight photographs in one post is a lot.

I’ll apologise explain now that this post is mostly for my artistic archive files,  stuff that inspires me that I record and want have in one spot to come back and use as  reference  material at a later date.  My blog happens to be that spot.

You just know that a building is going to be fabulous inside when you can take twenty-eight photos that you want to keep and you’ve only just reached the porchway that leads to the main doors.

The Ely Cathedral entrance consists of two tall slender gothic style arches with tops of highly ornate stone carving.

For modern day security purposes, two metal gates have been fitted into the lower half of the arches, they themselves partially decorated at the top.

Once you enter these gates you are in a stone porchway with even bigger arched doors set into two even more impressively decorated stone archways, these doors contain a slightly larger than usual “regular ” door for general public entry.

It’s instantly clear why the entire door area on each side is not open:  some very large trees are immortalised in their panels and several tons of extremely ornate ironwork decorate the thick timbers.

How much this pair of doors  weigh is anyone’s guess but if there was ever a wind gust strong enough to slam them shut, the resulting bang would probably be heard in the next county.

The ironwork is a fascinating as the wood and stonework, can you spot the initial of the letter “W” and the four birds flying around it?

Check out the detail of the little flowers, the detail in the leaves, the flowing forms so even and balanced and yet so natural looking… maybe it’s just me, but I delight in the texture, form, mixture of feelings of  light and heaviness on the forms, the delicate detail.

(sigh) Let’s be honest  …I delight in all of it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

August 6, 2013

Spouting Off About Gargoyles and Architectural Detail…

Filed under: Ely Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers of my blog will know I’m a detail fanatic. I love nothing better than architectural detail in stone, tile, brick,  glass, wood or iron work.

Born in New Zealand’s South Island where amazing scenery abounds but buildings over a century old are few, I am fascinated by old buildings,  the more ancient the better.

Here  around England’s Ely Cathedral are a number of ancient buildings, all of which sport wonderful architectural detail.  I hardly know where to point the camera first.

On the upper two stories of one building are figures of a man and a woman, each holding a heraldic type shield… from a noble family? Royalty? or region? I don’t know, but the mere fact that carved figures, that took time, skill and money to make, make up just a small fraction of the ornamentation of this building is amazing.

For instance: Instead of making a  a plain stone drain pipe, a decorative gargoyle has been made to spout the rain water away from the building… not just functional but ornamental and beautiful as well.  Do we really need patterns in the bricks to make a building structurally sound? No… but making it aesthetically pleasing was obviously deemed just as important and they did it anyway. These buildings have not just the style of their age but also the character and humour of it too. Architects of today are truly missing a lesson on how to make people stop and stare in wonder at their work, not just in their lifetime but for centuries afterwards.  Let’s take a detailed look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

August 5, 2013

Ely’s Ship of The Fens, Sails into View…

Filed under: Ely Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In a continuation of yesterday’s post we are in the grounds of Ely Cathedral, in Ely, England.  …Wow this cathedral is impressive!

Wikipedia tells me: ” Ely Cathedral is known locally as “the ship of the Fens”, because of its prominent shape that towers above the surrounding flat and watery landscape. In 1322 the Norman central tower collapsed. In its place Alan of Walsingham built the current octagonal lantern.

The first Christian building on the site was founded by St. Æthelthryth (romanised as “Etheldreda”), daughter of the Anglo-Saxon King Anna of East Anglia, who was born in 630 at Exning near Newmarket.She may have acquired land at Ely from her first husband Tondberht, described by Bede as a “prince” of the South Gyrwas. After the end of her second marriage to Ecgfrith, a prince of Northumbria, she set up and ruled a monastery at Ely in 673, and when she died, a shrine was built there to her memory.

The monastery is traditionally believed to have been destroyed in the Danish invasions of the late 9th century, together with what is now the city. However, while the lay settlement of the time would have been a minor one, it is likely that a church survived there until its refoundation in the 10th century.

A new Benedictine monastery was built and endowed on the site by Athelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in 970, in a wave of monastic refoundations which locally included Peterborough and Ramsey. This became a cathedral in 1109, after a new Diocese of Ely was created out of land taken from the Diocese of Lincoln.

In 1539, during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the cathedral suffered only minor damage, but St Etheldreda’s shrine was destroyed. The cathedral was soon refounded in 1541, although many of the statues in the lady chapel were severely damaged.

The Bishop of Ely in the mid-17th century was Matthew Wren and in connection with this, his nephew Christopher Wren was responsible for a rather splendid Gothic door, dating from the 1650s, on the north face of the cathedral.
The building has been the subject of several major restoration projects: in the 18th century, under James Essex, in 1839, under George Peacock, with the architect George Gilbert Scott (the architect Basevi died in a fall from the west tower). A painted wooden ceiling was added to the nave in this restoration and again between 1986 and 2000.”

Because of the surrounding trees and the sheer size of the Cathedral, taking photographs of the building as a “whole” is a challenge. Add to this that it’s a glary sort of day and so my exposures were all over the place. Had I had a tripod and several days I may possibly have gotten something postcard quality, but hey you know this blog by now… Kiwidutch takes it as she sees it and has fun whatever the quality.

Even before you get up close there is so much to take in… Velvetine and I have camera chip’s a-ready and batteries charged, so let’s get a move on!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

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