Local Heart, Global Soul

January 19, 2020

Fireplace Posts Set Sail…

The last post about the large fireplace I saw in the Hague’s Freemasons House were of something this area is famous for: tiles. Delft is only some fifteen or so kilometres (9.3 miles) away from the Hague and of course the blue and white style of porcelain and tiles produced there found their way not just to the Hague and throughout the Netherlands but also around the world. The light in the room was not optimal but I tried to get as clear photographs as possible.

If your area has their own version of a ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites or private organisations who open their doors to the public once a year) then I would highly recommend taking a few tours. The beautiful places, history and architecture are like hidden treasures.
This fireplace is a very interesting mix of elements: personalised wooden portrait carving in wood, sentinel stone carved figures close to the fire, and now, blue and white tiles in both a decorative background pattern and a “feature” section, featuring a full square-rigged sailing ship. All these elements are seemingly unconnected but at the same time working brilliantly together!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 18, 2020

Stone Sentinels Close To The Fire…

Following on from yesterday’s post I took the opportunity to visit the Freemasons House in the Hague during the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’. This is an Open day for National Historic Places sites, or private establishments who open their doors to the public on this weekend. Yesterday I was looking at a stunning fireplace that had beautiful carved wooden faces in it’s upper section, now, closer to the heat source, carved figures continue, but this time in stone.

Today I am looking at the male and female head and torso figures standing in matching (modest) poses, below them, cheribs and close to the floor, very small busts of a woman. All of these figures are idealised and show far less detail and character than the wooden figures above them. Who knows, maybe they are even “catalogue” pieces, bought off the rack and fitted below the personalised section? The cherubs and ladies at the bottom are pretty much identical so I only photographed one of each. These stone sentinels can definitely take the heat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 17, 2020

Capturing Individuality Without Appearing Wooden…

There is a beautiful fireplace in one of the rooms of Freemason’s House in the Hague. I got to see this masterpiece in stone, tile, carved wood during an event called ‘Nationale Monumentendag’. This is a day / weekend where once a year these National Historic Places sites are open to the public. I had arrived here one hour too early by mistake, but they were kind and let me inside anyway, so for a brief time I could take uninterrupted photographs without having to wait for other people to move aside etc. (Yes, I told them about my blog and asked permission first). These carved wooden faces adorn the top area of the fireplace, the light was not optimal but it’s clear to see that these were probably carved with definite individuals in mind, and not just a “generic” Greek/historic figure as was sometimes the fashion. Each face has it’s own character and I can only attempt to capture their individuality as carefully as possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2020

Lions And Their Place Near The Fire…

One of the things I found whilst visiting the Freemason’s House in the Hague on ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (National Historic Places Day) sites) was a stunning fireplace in one of the rooms. It included carved woodwork, Delfts Blauwe tile work and these stone lions that are placed either side of the fireplace. They are imposing, beautiful, tactile and even in the low light, photogenic.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 15, 2020

Freemasons Around The World…

‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites), and my visit to  ‘Freemason’s House’ in the Hague is quite an eye-opener. There is a sort of museum which documents history of the masons around the world, far too much to translate for here, but definitely interesting to see in person. I’m also amazed to see that the freemason movement was already very well established in the mid 1700’s, a surprise because I sort of assumed that it only started a decade or so before 1900. Proof that assumptions can be very, very wrong indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Text from some of the many information boards read:

“India and Ceylon”

“Within the small number of Europeans in the 18th century India and Ceylon, masons form a large group. In lodge archives you can find the names of hundreds of members. The majority come from Europe, 50% from the Netherlands, whilst 20% were born in Southeast  Asia. In addition to the merchants, civil servants and soldiers, there is a small but very influential percentage 10% governors and directors of trade posts. Between 1757 and 1796, freemasons are active in Bengal, Negapatnam, Suratte, Palliacatte, Galle and Colombo. Their growth is hampered by the transit of members to other destinations,  difficult communication with the head lodge from overseas and the relocation of trading offices because of international conflicts. Dutch travellers therefore used the English lodges in the region.”

“Proof of membership document of Louis Garel Von Ranzow (1787-1868) issued by English. Lodge Star in the East No.70 in Calcutta in 1814. It’s shown in the four Lodges at Java, drawn as seen from the rear side.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 14, 2020

Digging Around Freemason’s House…

During my Freemason¨s House visit during the `Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) I found a room that was clearly about the history of the Freemasons around the world. There are many display cases, filled with objects I don’t recognise, such as this “shawl”(?) which had a tiny little trowel on one end. It’s obvious that it will only have special ceremonial duties, and there is intricacy too in the handwork it is attached to.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) The text boards tells me: “Sjerp from the Knight of the East Holmberg de Beckfeldt, in South East Asia circa 1775-1825 in painted silk. The bridge is the bridge of the Starburzanai river,  lent from the bile story about the return of the Jewish people and the construction of the temple of Solomon.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 13, 2020

This Dumb Waiter Spills No Secrets…

Stepping into one of the first rooms of the Freemason’s House in the Hague during my ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ tour, I noticed some beautiful patterns worked into the flooring. I also noticed that the walls between these two rooms were unusually thick. Then I noticed what looks like a sliding door hatch: this is a ‘dumb-waiter’. The gentleman I asked didn’t know if it was still in use and didn’t want to open it (I asked, explained about my blog and said it was no problem at all if they didn’t want to).

For me the really interesting part was to see how much wall space this little lift/elevator took up, it’s far greater space than I had in my head after watching movies where the dumb-waiter was always in a back wall, where the good-guys hid in action movies, or from which delicious trays of food were dispensed in luxury settings.

I can’t believe that there would have never been occasions where the servants of the time did not sneak in a ride in one of these, where illicit goods like alcohol were hidden or even possibly people during the war. Sadly Dumb-waiters are dumb and giving away no secrets.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 12, 2020

A Sunburst To Look At All Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Grr, I’m messing things up in the WordPress Schedule again, this time not checking that one of my ‘prep’ posts did not have the same date as an actual post, so early readers got a an almost blank page as well as the post I intended.

My apologies for that, my brain is malfunctioning. (which may be nothing new). I could try and blame things on jet-lag but in all honesty it’s just my stupidity.

The Netherlands has a national event called ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) and one of the places open to the Public in 2019 was the ‘Freemason’s House’ in the Hague.

I noticed from the outside what appears to be a stained glass window above the entrance door and tried to take photographs of it once I was inside.

Sadly the very best vantage point was up the stairs, where a beautiful chandelier hung bang-on center in the way. I had to manoeuvre to the stairs *very, very carefully* since it’s not a favourite place to be on crutches.

With a little perseverance I managed to get photographs, and well worth they were too.

This is amazing stained glass, featuring what might be described as a ‘Sunburst’ pattern.

Closer inspection noting that some of the pattern elements were not quite the same but very similar to those in the skylight I featured in yesterdays post.

The colour scheme seems to be almost the same and the over-all style of the pieces matched. Maybe they were made by the same stained glass artists? Who knows.

Either way they shine light into otherwise darkened hallways and stairs, and do it in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing, beautiful and calming for the soul.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 11, 2020

Freemasons In The Light…

Visitng the Freemasons House during the ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open Days for National Historic Places sites), I look up in the waiting room/entrance area to see a beautiful skylight several stories above me. The glass is gorgeous and actually more detailed than it looks like at first glance. I zoom in for a closer look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 10, 2020

Portraits On The Walls…

I’m taking advantage of the annual Duth ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites)  to visit the ‘Freemason’s House’ in The Hague. Steps inside the front door take you to a beautiful hall way / waiting room, where I assume you would sit on the beautiful couch area whilst your arrival was  ‘announced’ to those in the surrounding meeting rooms.

One thing is for sure, you would not really feel alone whilst you waited: portraits of Freemason VIP’s lined the walls seemingly keeping a watchful eye to make certain you were a good mannered visitor.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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