Local Heart, Global Soul

January 27, 2020

Stained Glass And Open And Closed Doors…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst taking part in the Dutch annual ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) , I was able to visit ‘Freemason’s House’ in the Hague.

Of course not all of the building was open to the public.

A small hallway lead to a view of a small garden at the back, and on te way there I caught sight of another room, screened off.

My attention was not on the screens however, rather on the stained glass panels visible above them.

These were also visible via a high glass window in one of the rooms I had already been in, so between the two shots I see a group of six stained glass windows apparently full of designs, decoration elements, symbolic references and patterns pertaining to the Freemason’s movement. The little garden in the back was closed to the public, it still looked inviting on the warm summer’s day visit during the summer of 2019. It’s an interesting glimpse into the public/private aspects of the organisation, and a reminder that you see what they want you to see, and many doors remain still closed.

(Below)A glimpse of the garden outside at the back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below)Another shot of the garden…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) A side shot of stained glass mostly shut off by screens…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 26, 2020

Freemasons: And Wood Panelling?…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It was the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites), and I was visiting the ‘Freemason’s House’ in the Hague.

In the “Open Monumentendag” (Open Historic Places Day) booklet published for our city, there is a short blurb about each of the places that it is possible to visit.

This text is in both in English and Dutch, although I have to admit that the English text reads a little like it was run through Google Translate, especially if you can read the Dutch text and compare the two.

I have however written it out here and it reads: “Cultural Masonic Centre, Prins Frederik, Javastraat 2b.” “This villa from 1908, has been built in a historical building style for the furniture manufacturer Klaas Gerardus Pander.  The entrance has a historical natural stone frame with mouldings and a rose window. The original interior finishing at the entrance level is still in superb condition. The staircase is located in an English hall and has decorative wood panels and panelling. A fireplace with a seating area can also be admired here.

The ceilings of the en-suite rooms have murals painted on them. A painting is also hung above the beautiful fireplace. The rooms are decorated with wood panelling. The building now houses the management board of the Order of Freemasons under the Grand Orient of the Netherlands. The “Cultureel Maçonniek Centrum Prins Frederik (Prins Frederik Cultural Masonic Center (CMC) is also located here. The CMC is named after Prince Frederik der Nederlanden who was the grand master of the order for 65 years during the 19th Century

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 25, 2020

This Ceiling Is Not All That It Seems…

The chimneybreast of yesterdays post almost appears to flow down from the ornate decorative ceiling I’m featuring in todays post. There is a large panel in the centre of the ceiling with an oil painting of cherubs and swans. An ornate carved frame separates it from the other painted panels that surround it. The majority of the surrounding panels features stylised acanthus leaves and flowing foliage. However the eye is instantly drawn to the four “medallions” in the corners. The contrast not only in colour but also in style, and are pure illusion. Although they might first appear to be plaster scenes in the classical style of ancient Greece, they are in fact skilful paintings made to appear three dimensional.  The Freemason’s House in the Hague is proving to be an unexpected joy when it comes to architectural detail, so I’m a huge fan of the Netherland’s annual  ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) for making visits to places like this possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Corner “medallions” on ceiling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Corner “medallions” on ceiling

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Ceiling view with two of the corner “medallions” in view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Third corner “medallions” …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Forth ceiling medallion… faux plaster.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) This shows how the ceiling ties in so nicely with the fireplace and chimneybreast…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 24, 2020

A Firestorm Of Decoration…

The Netherlands’s annual ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) has given me access to Freemason’s House in the Hague. Going from one room to another I find a second, also stunning fireplace, this time more formal that the first, more ornate, completely and utterly different in style. There is a large oil painting on display at the top of the chimneybreast, lamps, that were probably once candlesticks are on the sides, and at the bottom it boasts one of the most decorative firebacks’  I have ever seen.  It may not be my own style but it’s certainly impressive!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Section of the right hand side of the decorative fire surround…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Section of the left hand side of the decorative fire surround…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) The decorative fireback

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Lamps on the side of the fireplace where probably candlesticks were once placed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below)… detailed woodwork by the candlesticks…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Another full view of the fireplace, the light in the room rendered the painting at the top, a mass of glare from the oil paint, so I didn’t manage to get any better photographs or close-ups. I like how even the top of the chimney is made to look like it flows down from the ceiling, and not just a separate item set apart in the room.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 23, 2020

Widest Door Sir? …Coming Up!

I’m visiting Freemason’s House in the Hague during the 2019  ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) when I see something that makes me do a double take. This set of doors has to literally be seen to be appreciated. They are probably the widest doors I have ever seen outside of a castle… and one thing is for sure , this is no “off the shelf” item, this was very much custom made.  What’s especially strange about this one, is all the other doors out of this room and around the entrance hall  are of normal proportions. I wonder if the order raised an eyebrow when the measurements came into the carpenter / joiners workshop?

Hmmm… “One set of massively wide, decoratively curved double doors, wide enough for four people to easily fit through at once please“. Or did they just take the money and wonder about rich people’s strange ways of living and eccentric requests? Both doors have amazing cut-out work at the top that fit neatly into the cut-out frame at the top of the door. Stunning workmanship. One thing is for sure, there was no need to tilt a table on it’s side when shifting it into this room.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 22, 2020

Even Door Lintels Are Decorated…

In the Freemason’s House in the Hague, I find detail galore. It’s in the exhibit cases, the fabric of the building itself, such as the figures on the lintel of this door. It’s not a question of where do I start to photograph?, rather where do I stop taking photographs!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 21, 2020

Logging Our Errors…

Visiting the Freemasons House on  the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) ‘Freemason’s House’ I find one beautiful object after another. Being that this is the “display” section of the Freemasons building and the only section open to the public it stands to reason that their library is featured here. Some books,  probably all log books, ledgers and visitors books were written out by hand. Handwriting /penmanship was taught to a meticulous standard to boys and girls from a young age so little wonder that these books (maybe diaries??) are so beautifully written.  But… just to prove that in a medium where mistakes could not be erased, we also see that (maybe someone’s long sleeve?) smudged some of this beautiful work. No matter the amount of training, we are only human after all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 20, 2020

Knowledge And History…

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for books… especially old books! Disastrous for my asthma I know, but sooooo beautiful to drool over look at. Going to ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) gives me the opportunity to find such treasures. They might not be for handling or drooling over but photography was permitted. The Freemasons House in the Hague was the location of these beautiful exhibits, they hold not just knowledge and history within their covers but also create a wonderful smell and atmosphere.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

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