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India – Ajanta Caves – Guarding Elephant – 98

India - Ajanta Caves - Guarding Elephant - 98

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2013-11-27 21:28:23

Tagged: , India , Ajanta Caves , asienman-photography , Buddha , UNESCO World Heritage Site , Elephant

Hongkong – Hotel The Peninsula – 1bb

Hongkong - Hotel The Peninsula - 1bb

The Peninsula Hong Kong (simplified Chinese: 香港半岛酒店; traditional Chinese: 香港半島酒店; Jyutping: hoeng5 gong2 bun3 dou2 zau2 dim3), located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, is the flagship property of The Peninsula Hotels group, which is part of the Hong Kong And Shanghai Hotels Group, opened in 1928, and the first to be branded under The Peninsula brand expanded in 1994, the hotel combines colonial and modern elements, and is notable for its large fleet of Rolls-Royces painted the distinctive "Peninsula green".

HISTORY
Founded by members of the Kadoorie family The Peninsula was built with the idea that it would be "the finest hotel east of Suez". Despite promising to open in 1924, In December 1928 the hotel opened in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, located at junction of Nathan Road and Salisbury Road and directly opposite the quays where ocean liner passengers disembarked. Kowloon was also the last stop on the trans-Siberian rail link that brought travellers from Europe.

On 25 December 1941, at the end of the Battle of Hong Kong, British colonial officials led by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered in person at the Japanese headquarters on the third floor of The Peninsula. The Governor was confined for two months in one of the hotel suites before he was shipped to a prison in Shanghai. The resort was then renamed "Tōa Hotel" (東亜ホテル? "East Asia Hotel"), and the rooms were reserved for Japanese officers and high-ranking dignitaries, while Hong Kong sank into misery and destitution. In his book God Is My Co-Pilot, Colonel Robert Lee Scott, Jr., USAAF, commander of the 23d Fighter Group, China Air Task Force, described in detail an aerial raid he led on the Japanese shipping anchored in Hong Kong harbour, conducted 25 October 1942, and the lone attack he personally made in his Curtiss P-40K Warhawk (nicknamed Old Exterminator) upon the famous Peninsula Hotel:

"So I looped above Victoria Harbor and dove for the Peninsula Hotel. My tracers ripped into the shining plateglass of the penthouses on its top, and I saw the broken windows cascade like snow to the streets, many floors below. I laughed, for I knew that behind those windows were Japanese high officers, enjoying that modern hotel. When I got closer I could see uniformed figures going down the fire escapes, and I shot at them…I turned for one more run on the packed fire escapes filled with Jap soldiers, but my next burst ended very suddenly. I was out of ammunition."

It was restored to its original name after Japan was defeated and the British regained control of the colony. The hotel today is part of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels group headed by Sir Michael Kadoorie, is the flagship property of The Peninsula Hotels group.

In 1994, an extension was added to the original hotel in the form of a 30-storey tower, which is topped off by a helipad.

EXPANSION AND REFURBISHMENT
LOBBY
1994 EXPANSION
In 1994, the hotel was expanded with a 30-storey tower that follows the same style as the existing building. The facade of the existing hotel building was preserved, including the forecourt, the lobby and the front facade. The hotel remained in operation while construction commenced.

The new Peninsula Tower is topped with a helipad, being one of only two private rooftop helipads in the territory, the other being located on top of the Shun Tak Centre. It is used to transport VIP guests to the Hong Kong International Airport, with flight duration being 7 minutes. The total number of rooms increased to 300 with an addition of 132 rooms and suites. Other new features included 10 floors of office space, shops and hotel facilities.

2012 REFURBISHMENT
To celebrate the Hotel’s 85th anniversary in April 2013, it launched a HK$450 million refurbishment programme. In September 2012, the first phase of the Peninsula Tower was completed. New features includes digital enhancements ranging from touch-screen tablets, DVD library of 3D movies to High-definition televisions. The decor of the rooms are in pared-down Oriental chic, with plain cream upholstery, vintage luggage-inspired drawer handles and Chinese ink painting-inspired ornaments. However the renovation did not include the iconic lobby, restaurants and bars and remains unchanged.

FACILITIES
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The Hotel’s food and beverage outlets includes the gourmet French restaurant Gaddi’s, which has one of the first chef’s table in Hong Kong, and the Philippe Starck-designed ‘Felix’. Other include ‘Spring Moon’, ‘Imasa’, and ‘Chesa’, which specialise in Cantonese, Japanese, and Swiss cuisine respectively.

The Lobby serves traditional English-style Afternoon Tea, reminiscent of Hong Kong’s colonial era.

FASHION ARCADE
The Hotel has one of the oldest fashion arcades in Hong Kong. Throughout the years, it has housed international brands such as Chanel, Dior, Hermès, Chrome Hearts, Gucci, Prada, Shiatzy Chen, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Goyard, Franck Muller, Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co, Baccarat, ST Dupont, Harry Winston, Davidoff, Van Cleef & Arpels and Polo Ralph Lauren. Apart from international fashion houses, it was also home to Hong Kong brands, such as Betty Charnuis Clemos in the 60s, Dickson Poon in the 70s and Joyce Boutique in the 80s.

FLEET
Since December 2006, the hotel has had a fleet of 14 long wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms painted in the hotel’s signature green. It was the largest single order placed with Rolls-Royce in the history of the company. It replaced a fleet of Rolls-Royce Silver Spurs.

AWARDS
It has been recognised as an internationally leading hotel, including Condé Nast Traveler magazine and Travel + Leisure.

IN POPULAR CULTURE
The hotel is mentioned in Paul House’s novel Harbour, and the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun starring Roger Moore, where the hotel’s fleet of Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows is mentioned.

The hotel was prominently displayed in the 1988 NBC television miniseries Noble House. In the same year, Michael Palin visited the Hotel for the BBC’s Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days.

In 2007, The Peninsula was used for a scene in the superhero film The Dark Knight, involving actors Morgan Freeman and Chin Han, who played Lucius Fox and Lau, respectively. The hotel was chosen, as it was one of the only two private helipads in the SAR and the producers preferred the roof of The Peninsula over that of Shun Tak Centre.

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Posted by asienman on 2017-06-01 23:30:28

Tagged: , Hongkong , The Peninsula , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart , asienman-paintography

India – Ajanta Caves – 71

India - Ajanta Caves - 71

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2013-11-27 21:28:08

Tagged: , India , Ajanta Caves , asienman-photography , Buddha , UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Great Living Hall of the Waller House – Fairy Hills

The Great Living Hall of the Waller House – Fairy Hills

Located at the end of a sleepy little cul-de-sac in the leafy north east Melburnian suburb of Fairy Hills is a beautiful pebbledash Arts and Crafts style bungalow. Quiet and unassuming amid its well kept gardens, this bungalow is quite significant historically as it is the creation and home of nationally renowned husband and wife artists Christian and Napier Waller, and is known as the Waller House. Together they designed the house and much of its interior decoration and furnishings. Napier Waller lived in their purpose designed home for some fifty years. What is especially significant about the house is that both it and its contents are quite intact. Napier Waller’s studios, examples of his art, that of his two wives and his niece, famous studio potter Klytie Pate, and items connected with his work remain exactly as he left them. Architecturally the house design is innovative in its internal use of space, specifically in the organisation of the studio cum living room and displays a high degree of artistic creativity in the interior decoration.

The Waller House in Fairy Hills is so named because it was the residence of Mervyn Napier Waller, the acclaimed artist who gained National fame from his water colours, stained glass, mosaic works and murals and his wife Christian, who was a distinguished artist and designer of stained glass in her own right. In particular Napier Waller’s works adorn the Melbourne Town Hall, the Myer Emporium Mural Hall, the Victorian State Library and the Australian War Memorial. The Waller House is a split level house designed by Napier and his first wife Christian who intended the house to be both a home and a workplace. For this the design was conceived to accommodate the tall studies and pieces of the artist’s work.

The Waller house was built by Phillip Millsom in 1922 and the architectural style of the house is a mixture of Interwar Arts and Crafts, Interwar Old English and Interwar California Bungalow. The house is constructed from reinforced concrete walls with a rough cast pebbledash finish. The roof is steeply pitched with a prominent half timbered gable over the front entrance and has Marseilles pattern terracotta tiles. There are small paned casement windows. There have been several additions to the original design over the years but these have all been sympathetic to the original design.

The house is entered from a two sided verandah into an entrance hall, panelled in Tasmanian wood. This has stairs leading to the different levels of the house interior. In one direction the hall leads to a main living hall which was Napier Waller’s original studio and later used as the main living room in the house. This room has a high ceiling with casement windows, a musicians’ gallery and a broad brick fireplace flanked by fire-dogs and bellows made by the sculptress Ola Cohn (1892 – 1964). Like many of the other rooms in the house the studio is panelled and floored with Tasmanian hardwood and contains some of the studies for Napier Waller’s murals: “The Five Lamps of Learning; the Wise and Foolish Virgins” a mosaic for the University of Western Australia and, “Peace After Victory” a study painting for the State Library of Victoria. Above the panelling the plaster walls are painted in muted colours in wood grain effect. The raftered plaster ceiling has been painted in marble effect with gold leaf. Book shelves, still containing the Wallers’ beautiful books, are built into the panelled walls. Furniture in the room includes a settee with a painted back panel featuring jousting knights, painted by Christian Waller, a leather suite and black bean sideboards and cupboards. This furniture was designed in the nineteen thirties by Napier Waller and by Percy Meldrum and a noted cabinet maker called Goulman. The studio cum hall also contains many ceramic works created by studio potter Klytie Pate who was Christian Waller’s niece and protégée. The entrance hall leads in the other direction to a guest room, known as the “Blue Room”. This was the idea of Napier’s wife Christian and has simple built-in glass topped furniture and Napier’s murals of the “Labours of Hercules” which include a self portrait of the artist. An alcove section of the room was constructed out of an extension to the verandah. Stairs lead from the entrance hall to the musicians’ gallery which has a window and overlooks the studio cum living room. The kitchen near the studio/hall is panelled and raftered with built-in cupboards conforming to the panelling. The ceiling is stencilled in a fleur-de-lys design by Napier. The dining room lies to the right of the studio cum hall and contains shoulder high panelling and raftered ceilings. It has an angled brick corner fireplace and the walls and ceiling have the same painted treatment as the studio cum living room. The oak dining furniture was designed by Napier. A small den with high window, furnished with leather chairs, opens off the dining room. Opening off the hall to the left is a long rectangular room known as the glass studio. This was added to the house by builder C. Trinck of Hampton in about 1931 and contains Napier Waller’s kiln, paintbrushes and stained-glass tools on the benches, and stained glass designs and racks which are still stacked with radiant streaked glass from his work with stained glass windows. A bedroom and bathroom with attic pitched rafter ceiling and casement windows is situated on the upper level of the house. Another bedroom in ship’s cabin style with flared wall light fittings and built in bunks opens off this first bedroom.

The house backs onto a courtyard enclosed by a long bluestone garden wall. The house is set in a three and a half acre site with cypress hedges and gravelled paths. The garden drops away to a hillside slope with manna gum trees. Set on the slope is a flat roofed studio built in 1937. It has an undercroft beneath a studio room and this contains a lithographic press and a printing press of 1849 for woodcuts and linocuts. This was used by Napier and his first wife Christian to produce prints in the 1930s. Napier was widowed and married his stained glass studio assistant Lorna Reyburn in 1958.

The Waller House has recently become famous for yet another reason. The exterior has been used as a backdrop in the ABC/ITV co-production television series, “The Doctor Blake Mysteries” (2013). The house serves as the residence of the program’s lead character, Doctor Lucien Blake (played by Australian actor Craig McLachlan), and the doctor’s 1930s tourer is often seen driving up to or away from the Waller House throughout the series. The Waller House is the only regular backdrop not filmed in the provincial Victorian gold rush city of Ballarat, in which the series is based.

The Waller House is still a private residence, even though it was bequeathed to the people of Victoria by Napier Waller under the proviso that it would not revert to state ownership until after the death of his second wife, Lorna. The current leasee of the Waller House is a well known Melbourne antique dealer, who was friends with Lorna Reyburn, and who acts as a loving informal caretaker. He was approached by the Napier Waller Committee of Management and keeps the house neat and tidy, and maintains the garden beautifully. I am very grateful to him for his willingness to open the Waller House, and for allowing me the opportunity to comprehensively photograph this rarely seen gem of Melbourne art, architecture and history.

Mervyn Napier Waller (1893 – 1972) was an Australian artist. Born in Penshurst, Victoria, Napier was the son of William Waller, contractor, and his wife Sarah, née Napier. Educated locally until aged 14, he then worked on his father’s farm. In 1913 he began studies at the National Gallery schools, Melbourne, and first exhibited water-colours and drawings at the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1915. On 31 August of that year he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and on 21 October at the manse of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Carlton, married Christian Yandell, a fellow student and artist from Castlemaine. Serving in France from the end of 1916, Waller was seriously wounded in action, and his right arm had to be amputated at the shoulder. Whilst convalescing in France and England Napier learned to write and draw with his left hand. After coming home to Australia he exhibited a series of war sketches in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart between 1918 and 1919 which helped to establish his reputation as a talented artist. Napier continued to paint in water-colour, taking his subjects from mythology and classical legend, but exhibited a group of linocuts in 1923. In 1927 Napier completed his first major mural for the Menzies Hotel, Melbourne. Next year his mural ‘Peace after Victory’ was installed in the State Library of Victoria. Visiting England and Europe in 1929 to study stained glass, the Wallers travelled in Italy where Napier was deeply impressed by the mosaics in Ravenna and studied mosaic in Venice. He returned to Melbourne in March 1930 and began to work almost exclusively in stained glass and mosaic. In 1931 he completed a great monumental mosaic for the University of Western Australia; two important commissions in Melbourne followed: the mosaic façade for Newspaper House (completed 1933) and murals for the dining hall in the Myer Emporium (completed 1935). During this time he also worked on a number of stained-glass commissions, some in collaboration with his wife, Christian. Between 1939 and 1945 he worked as an illustrator and undertook no major commissions. In 1946 he finished a three-lancet window commemorating the New Guinea martyrs for St Peter’s Church, Eastern Hill. In 1952-58 he designed and completed the mosaics and stained glass for the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. On 25 January 1958 in a civil ceremony in Melbourne Waller had married Lorna Marion Reyburn, a New Zealand-born artist who had long been his assistant in stained glass.

Christian Waller (1894 – 1954) was an Australian artist. Born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Christian was the fifth daughter and youngest of seven children of William Edward Yandell a Victorian-born plasterer, and his wife Emily, née James, who came from England. Christian began her art studies in 1905 under Carl Steiner at the Castlemaine School of Mines. The family moved in 1910 to Melbourne where Christian attended the National Gallery schools. She studied under Frederick McCubbin and Bernard Hall, won several student prizes, exhibited (1913-22) with the Victorian Artists Society and illustrated publications. On 21 October 1915 at the manse of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Carlton, she married her former fellow-student Mervyn Napier Waller; they were childless, but adopted Christian’s niece Klytie Pate, in all but a legal sense. During the 1920s Christian Waller became a leading book illustrator, winning acclaim as the first Australian artist to illustrate Alice in Wonderland (1924). Her work reflected Classical, Medieval, Pre-Raphaelite and Art Nouveau influences. She also produced woodcuts and linocuts, including fine bookplates. From about 1928 she designed stained-glass windows. The Wallers travelled to London in 1929 to investigate the manufacture of stained glass at Whall & Whall Ltd’s premises. Returning to Australia via Italy, they studied the mosaics at Ravenna and Venice. Christian signed and exhibited her work under her maiden name until 1930, but thereafter used her married name. In the 1930s Waller produced her finest prints, book designs and stained glass, her work being more Art Deco in style and showing her interest in theosophy. She created stained-glass windows for a number of churches—especially for those designed by Louis Williams—in Melbourne, Geelong, and rural centres in New South Wales. Sometimes she collaborated with her husband, both being recognized as among Australia’s leading stained-glass artists. Estranged from Napier, Christian went to New York in 1939. In 1940 she returned to the home she shared with her husband in Fairy Hills where she immersed herself in her work and became increasingly reclusive. In 1942 she painted a large mural for Christ Church, Geelong; by 1948 she had completed more than fifty stained-glass windows.

Klytie Pate (1912 – 2010) was an Australian Studio Potter who emerged as an innovator in the use of unusual glazes and the extensive incising, piercing and ornamentation of earthenware pottery. She was one of a small group of Melbourne art potters which included Marguerite Mahood and Reg Preston who were pioneers in the 1930‘s of ceramic art nationwide. Her early work was strongly influenced by her aunt, the artist and printmaker, Christian Waller. Klytie’s father remarried when she was 13, so Klytie went to live with her aunt, Christian Waller. Christian and her husband Napier Waller encouraged her interest in art and printmaking. She spent time at their studio in Fairy Hills, and thus her work reflected Art Deco, Art Nouveau, the Pre Raphaelites, Egyptian art, Greek mythology, and Theosophy. Klytie made several plaster masks that were displayed by the Wallers in their home and experimented with linocut, a medium used by Christian in her printmaking. Her aunt further encouraged Klytie by arranging for her to study modelling under Ola Cohn, the Melbourne sculptor. Klytie became renowned for her high quality, geometric Art Deco designed pottery which is eagerly sought after today by museums, art galleries, collectors and auction houses.

Fairy Hills is a small north eastern suburb of Melbourne. Leafy, with streets lined with banks of agapanthus, it is an area well known for its exclusivity, affluence and artistic connections. It was designed along the lines of London’s garden suburbs, such as Hampstead and Highgate, where houses and gardens blended together to create an informal, village like feel. Many of Fairy Hills’ houses have been designed by well known architects of the early Twentieth Century such as Walter Burley Griffin (1876 – 1937) and have gardens landscaped by designers like Edna Walling (1895 – 1973). Fairy Hills is the result of a subdivision of an 1840s farm called “Fairy Hills” which was commenced in the years just before the First World War (1914 – 1918). “Lucerne Farm”, a late 1830s farm associated with Governor La Trobe, was also nearby.

Posted by raaen99 on 2013-04-29 04:19:30

Tagged: , Waller House , The Waller House , Naper Waller House , Napier Waller’s House , Napier Waller , Victoria , Australia , Fairy Hills , Ivanhoe , artist , artist’s house , house , home , Twentieth Century , 20th Century , Crown Road , Crown Rd , Heritage Listed , historical , National Trust , Melbourne , villa , residence , residential architecture , modern home , Arts and Crafts , Arts and Crafts Movement , Arts & Crafts , Arts & Crafts Movement , 1922 , 1920s , 20s , Interwar , Interwar architecture , Arts and Crafts architecture , Arts and Crafts house , Arts and Crafts building , Arts & Crafts house , Arts & Crafts building , Arts & Crfats architecture , Arts & Crafts architecture , Philip Milsom , architecturally designed , Californian bungalow , bungalow , Interwar Old English , Interwar Old English house , Interwar Old English building , Interwar Old English architecture , Christian Waller , interior , house interior , Interior design , design , art , decoration , decorative , great hall , living hall , living room , studio , studio cum living oom , drawing room

Market Street Block; Wichita, KS

Market Street Block; Wichita, KS

Photo from approximately 1888 of the Market Street Block (the large 4-story building in the foreground). This was located on the west side of the 100 block of north Market in Wichita, KS. This structure is confirmed to have been built by William Henry Sternberg (1832 – 1906) – the area’s most prolific designer and builder of homes and commercial buildings from the mid 1870s to the early 1900s. Contracts to build this were signed on Friday, August 26, 1887 and completion was scheduled for January 1, 1888. Buildings like this housed businesses on the first floor and offices for a variety of businesses such as insurance agents, real estate offices, ticket agents on the upper floors.

Block-style buildings were common in the late 1800s and they included most any large multi-story building whose outside perimeter had 4 – 90 degree angles at the corners (so square, squarish or rectangular buildings all fit the definitino of a ‘block" building). Because block-style buildings were larger and more noticeable than other buildings, they were referenced more frequently and served as focal points for the community. Because of this, City directories would not uncommonly omit an address when listing a business within a block building, for example, "Jones, Dr. Robt A., Market blk". It was underststood that everyone in town knew where the Market Block was. Today, this would be the equivalent of saying, "Century II" or "the Epic Center".

Block-style building owners tried to achieve the most impressive facade to the structure that they could afford. An ornate facade was one way of attracting renters and the public to the building. An ornate facade also usually got newspaper attention after the building was built. Since block-style buildings were "icons" within the community the local newspaper usually featured regular construction updates as block-style buildings went up. This was newsworthy since it was a testiment to progress of the day – progress being measured in bricks. As can be seen with the Market Street Block building, the front is a mixture of cut limestone, polished marble pillars, ornately pressed tin ornamentation, and two large round limestone arches topped with short, heavy-pillared caps. Both the materials and the architectural details were impressive in the Market Street Block. Scant information exists on the history of block-style buildings in the Midwest which is somewhat surprising since there were basic similarities for block buildings (enough to identify them as "block buildings"). Yet in spite of the similarities, there were a vast array of styles identifying the uniqueness of each one. They were important structures – indeed key in identifying an area as "developed" and "civilized" and their completion was recognized community-wide with a sense of pride and progress.

The view here is as if one were looking south towards the downtown area. Noted in the photograph is the elegant Bitting Building with its corbelled "chimney flues" at the corner of Douglas and Market. This was another confirmed Sternberg-designed-built structure. It was constructed at almost the same time as the Market Street Block. Construction on the Bitting building started in July, 1886 and was completed in January 1887. Construction on the Market Street block started in August 1887 and was completed in January 1888. It’s unknown whether these "chimney flues" were actually chimney flues or the top of structural supports or perhaps simply decorative only. Most likely they were decorative tops to structural supports. Interior images of the Bitting building do not show open fire places and it would be highly unusual to have fire places in a commercial building. The boiler in the basement of this building would only need one main vent, so perhaps some of these "chimney flues" were indeed vent(s) and most if not all were in reality dummy flues topping structural supports for decorative purposes. Most likely the vent pipe is somewhere on the back fo the building.

None of the buildings in this photo are still standing.

Your thoughts, comments, ideas, stories and/or additional information about this photo or this place are welcome and appreciated!!

This photo courtesy of the Wichita Public Library.

Posted by kendahlarama on 2010-05-30 16:36:14

Tagged:

St Sepulchre Without Newgate, City of London

St Sepulchre Without Newgate, City of London

With the rain falling harder, it was a bit of a route march to Holborn and my next church, the stunning St Sepulchre, which was also open.

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St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Holborn), is an Anglican church in the City of London. It is located on Holborn Viaduct, almost opposite the Old Bailey. In medieval times it stood just outside ("without") the now-demolished old city wall, near the Newgate. It has been a living of St John’s College, Oxford, since 1622.

The original Saxon church on the site was dedicated to St Edmund the King and Martyr. During the Crusades in the 12th century the church was renamed St Edmund and the Holy Sepulchre, in reference to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The name eventually became contracted to St Sepulchre.

The church is today the largest parish church in the City. It was completely rebuilt in the 15th century but was gutted by the Great Fire of London in 1666,[1] which left only the outer walls, the tower and the porch standing[2] -. Modified in the 18th century, the church underwent extensive restoration in 1878. It narrowly avoided destruction in the Second World War, although the 18th-century watch-house in its churchyard (erected to deter grave-robbers) was completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt.

The interior of the church is a wide, roomy space with a coffered ceiling[3] installed in 1834. The Vicars’ old residence has recently been renovated into a modern living quarter.

During the reign of Mary I in 1555, St Sepulchre’s vicar, John Rogers, was burned as a heretic.

St Sepulchre is named in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons as the "bells of Old Bailey". Traditionally, the great bell would be rung to mark the execution of a prisoner at the nearby gallows at Newgate. The clerk of St Sepulchre’s was also responsible for ringing a handbell outside the condemned man’s cell in Newgate Prison to inform him of his impending execution. This handbell, known as the Execution Bell, now resides in a glass case to the south of the nave.

The church has been the official musicians’ church for many years and is associated with many famous musicians. Its north aisle (formerly a chapel dedicated to Stephen Harding) is dedicated as the Musicians’ Chapel, with four windows commemorating John Ireland, the singer Dame Nellie Melba, Walter Carroll and the conductor Sir Henry Wood respectively.[4] Wood, who "at the age of fourteen, learned to play the organ" at this church [1] and later became its organist, also has his ashes buried in this church.

The south aisle of the church holds the regimental chapel of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), and its gardens are a memorial garden to that regiment.[5] The west end of the north aisle has various memorials connected with the City of London Rifles (the 6th Battalion London Regiment). The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Sepulchre-without-Newgate

The Early History of St. Sepulchre’s—Its Destruction in 1666—The Exterior and Interior—The Early Popularity of the Church—Interments here—Roger Ascham, the Author of the "Schoolmaster"—Captain John Smith, and his Romantic Adventures—Saved by an Indian Girl— St. Sepulchre’s Churchyard—Accommodation for a Murderess—The Martyr Rogers—An Odd Circumstance—Good Company for the Dead—A Leap from the Tower—A Warning Bell and a Last Admonition—Nosegays for the Condemned—The Route to the Gallows-tree— The Deeds of the Charitable—The "Saracen’s Head"—Description by Dickens—Giltspur Street—Giltspur Street Compter—A Disreputable Condition—Pie Corner—Hosier Lane—A Spurious Relic—The Conduit on Snow Hill—A Ladies’ Charity School—Turnagain Lane—Poor Betty!—A Schoolmistress Censured—Skinner Street—Unpropitious Fortune—William Godwin—An Original Married Life.

Many interesting associations—Principally, however, connected with the annals of crime and the execution of the laws of England—belong to the Church of St. Sepulchre, or St. ‘Pulchre. This sacred edifice—anciently known as St. Sepulchre’s in the Bailey, or by Chamberlain Gate (now Newgate)—stands at the eastern end of the slight acclivity of Snow Hill, and between Smithfield and the Old Bailey. The genuine materials for its early history are scanty enough. It was probably founded about the commencement of the twelfth century, but of the exact date and circumstances of its origin there is no record whatever. Its name is derived from the Holy Sepulchre of our Saviour at Jerusalem, to the memory of which it was first dedicated.

The earliest authentic notice of the church, according to Maitland, is of the year 1178, at which date it was given by Roger, Bishop of Sarum, to the Prior and Canons of St. Bartholomew. These held the right of advowson until the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII., and from that time until 1610 it remained in the hands of the Crown. James I., however, then granted "the rectory and its appurtenances, with the advowson of the vicarage," to Francis Phillips and others. The next stage in its history is that the rectory was purchased by the parishioners, to be held in fee-farm of the Crown, and the advowson was obtained by the President and Fellows of St. John the Baptist College, at Oxford.

The church was rebuilt about the middle of the fifteenth century, when one of the Popham family, who had been Chancellor of Normandy and Treasurer of the King’s Household, with distinguished liberality erected a handsome chapel on the south side of the choir, and the very beautiful porch still remaining at the south-west corner of the building. "His image," Stow says, "fair graven in stone, was fixed over the said porch."

The dreadful fire of 1666 almost destroyed St. Sepulchre’s, but the parishioners set energetically to work, and it was "rebuilt and beautified both within and without." The general reparation was under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren, and nothing but the walls of the old building, and these not entirely, were suffered to remain. The work was done rapidly, and the whole was completed within four years.

"The tower," says Mr. Godwin, "retained its original aspect, and the body of the church, after its restoration, presented a series of windows between buttresses, with pointed heads filled with tracery, crowned by a string-course and battlements. In this form it remained till the year 1790, when it appears the whole fabric was found to be in a state of great decay, and it was resolved to repair it throughout. Accordingly the walls of the church were cased with Portland stone, and all the windows were taken out and replaced by others with plain semi-circular heads, as now seen—certainly agreeing but badly with the tower and porch of the building, but according with the then prevailing spirit of economy. The battlements, too, were taken down, and a plain stone parapet was substituted, so that at this time (with the exception of the roof, which was wagon-headed, and presented on the outside an unsightly swell, visible above the parapet) the church assumed its present appearance." The ungainly roof was removed, and an entirely new one erected, about 1836.

At each corner of the tower—"one of the most ancient," says the author of "Londinium Redivivum," "in the outline of the circuit of London" —there are spires, and on the spires there are weathercocks. These have been made use of by Howell to point a moral: "Unreasonable people," says he, "are as hard to reconcile as the vanes of St. Sepulchre’s tower, which never look all four upon one point of the heavens." Nothing can be said with certainty as to the date of the tower, but it is not without the bounds of probability that it formed part of the original building. The belfry is reached by a small winding staircase in the south-west angle, and a similar staircase in an opposite angle leads to the summit. The spires at the corners, and some of the tower windows, have very recently undergone several alterations, which have added much to the picturesqueness and beauty of the church.

The chief entrance to St. Sepulchre’s is by a porch of singular beauty, projecting from the south side of the tower, at the western end of the church. The groining of the ceiling of this porch, it has been pointed out, takes an almost unique form; the ribs are carved in bold relief, and the bosses at the intersections represent angels’ heads, shields, roses, &c., in great variety.

Coming now to the interior of the church, we find it divided into three aisles, by two ranges of Tuscan columns. The aisles are of unequal widths, that in the centre being the widest, that to the south the narrowest. Semi-circular arches connect the columns on either side, springing directly from their capitals, without the interposition of an entablature, and support a large dental cornice, extending round the church. The ceiling of the middle aisle is divided into seven compartments, by horizontal bands, the middle compartment being formed into a small dome.

The aisles have groined ceilings, ornamented at the angles with doves, &c., and beneath every division of the groining are small windows, to admit light to the galleries. Over each of the aisles there is a gallery, very clumsily introduced, which dates from the time when the church was built by Wren, and extends the whole length, excepting at the chancel. The front of the gallery, which is of oak, is described by Mr. Godwin as carved into scrolls, branches, &c., in the centre panel, on either side, with the initials "C. R.," enriched with carvings of laurel, which have, however, he says, "but little merit."

At the east end of the church there are three semicircular-headed windows. Beneath the centre one is a large Corinthian altar-piece of oak, displaying columns, entablatures, &c., elaborately carved and gilded.

The length of the church, exclusive of the ambulatory, is said to be 126 feet, the breadth 68 feet, and the height of the tower 140 feet.

A singularly ugly sounding-board, extending over the preacher, used to stand at the back of the pulpit, at the east end of the church. It was in the shape of a large parabolic reflector, about twelve feet in diameter, and was composed of ribs of mahogany.

At the west end of the church there is a large organ, said to be the oldest and one of the finest in London. It was built in 1677, and has been greatly enlarged. Its reed-stops (hautboy, clarinet, &c.) are supposed to be unrivalled. In Newcourt’s time the church was taken notice of as "remarkable for possessing an exceedingly fine organ, and the playing is thought so beautiful, that large congregations are attracted, though some of the parishioners object to the mode of performing divine service."

On the north side of the church, Mr. Godwin mentions, is a large apartment known as "St. Stephen’s Chapel." This building evidently formed a somewhat important part of the old church, and was probably appropriated to the votaries of the saint whose name it bears.

Between the exterior and the interior of the church there is little harmony. "For example," says Mr. Godwin, "the columns which form the south aisle face, in some instances, the centre of the large windows which occur in the external wall of the church, and in others the centre of the piers, indifferently." This discordance may likely enough have arisen from the fact that when the church was rebuilt, or rather restored, after the Great Fire, the works were done without much attention from Sir Christopher Wren.

St. Sepulchre’s appears to have enjoyed considerable popularity from the earliest period of its history, if one is to judge from the various sums left by well-disposed persons for the support of certain fraternities founded in the church—namely, those of St. Katherine, St. Michael, St. Anne, and Our Lady—and by others, for the maintenance of chantry priests to celebrate masses at stated intervals for the good of their souls. One of the fraternities just named—that of St. Katherine— originated, according to Stow, in the devotion of some poor persons in the parish, and was in honour of the conception of the Virgin Mary. They met in the church on the day of the Conception, and there had the mass of the day, and offered to the same, and provided a certain chaplain daily to celebrate divine service, and to set up wax lights before the image belonging to the fraternity, on all festival days.

The most famous of all who have been interred in St. Sepulchre’s is Roger Ascham, the author of the "Schoolmaster," and the instructor of Queen Elizabeth in Greek and Latin. This learned old worthy was born in 1515, near Northallerton, in Yorkshire. He was educated at Cambridge University, and in time rose to be the university orator, being notably zealous in promoting what was then a novelty in England—the study of the Greek language. To divert himself after the fatigue of severe study, he used to devote himself to archery. This drew down upon him the censure of the all-work-and-no-play school; and in defence of himself, Ascham, in 1545, published "Toxophilus," a treatise on his favourite sport. This book is even yet well worthy of perusal, for its enthusiasm, and for its curious descriptions of the personal appearance and manners of the principal persons whom the author had seen and conversed with. Henry VIII. rewarded him with a pension of £10 per annum, a considerable sum in those days. In 1548, Ascham, on the death of William Grindall, who had been his pupil, was appointed instructor in the learned languages to Lady Elizabeth, afterwards the good Queen Bess. At the end of two years he had some dispute with, or took a disgust at, Lady Elizabeth’s attendants, resigned his situation, and returned to his college. Soon after this he was employed as secretary to the English ambassador at the court of Charles V. of Germany, and remained abroad till the death of Edward VI. During his absence he had been appointed Latin secretary to King Edward. Strangely enough, though Queen Mary and her ministers were Papists, and Ascham a Protestant, he was retained in his office of Latin secretary, his pension was increased to £20, and he was allowed to retain his fellowship and his situation as university orator. In 1554 he married a lady of good family, by whom he had a considerable fortune, and of whom, in writing to a friend, he gives, as might perhaps be expected, an excellent character. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, in 1558, she not only required his services as Latin secretary, but as her instructor in Greek, and he resided at Court during the remainder of his life. He died in consequence of his endeavours to complete a Latin poem which he intended to present to the queen on the New Year’s Day of 1569. He breathed his last two days before 1568 ran out, and was interred, according to his own directions, in the most private manner, in St. Sepulchre’s Church, his funeral sermon being preached by Dr. Andrew Nowell, Dean of St. Paul’s. He was universally lamented; and even the queen herself not only showed great concern, but was pleased to say that she would rather have lost ten thousand pounds than her tutor Ascham, which, from that somewhat closehanded sovereign, was truly an expression of high regard.

Ascham, like most men, had his little weaknesses. He had too great a propensity to dice and cock-fighting. Bishop Nicholson would try to convince us that this is an unfounded calumny, but, as it is mentioned by Camden, and other contemporary writers, it seems impossible to deny it. He died, from all accounts, in indifferent circumstances. "Whether," says Dr. Johnson, referring to this, "Ascham was poor by his own fault, or the fault of others, cannot now be decided; but it is certain that many have been rich with less merit. His philological learning would have gained him honour in any country; and among us it may justly call for that reverence which all nations owe to those who first rouse them from ignorance, and kindle among them the light of literature." His most valuable work, "The Schoolmaster," was published by his widow. The nature of this celebrated performance may be gathered from the title: "The Schoolmaster; or a plain and perfite way of teaching children to understand, write, and speak the Latin tongue. … And commodious also for all such as have forgot the Latin tongue, and would by themselves, without a schoolmaster, in short time, and with small pains, recover a sufficient habilitie to understand, write, and speak Latin: by Roger Ascham, ann. 1570. At London, printed by John Daye, dwelling over Aldersgate," a printer, by the way, already mentioned by us a few chapters back (see page 208), as having printed several noted works of the sixteenth century.

Dr. Johnson remarks that the instruction recommended in "The Schoolmaster" is perhaps the best ever given for the study of languages.

Here also lies buried Captain John Smith, a conspicuous soldier of fortune, whose romantic adventures and daring exploits have rarely been surpassed. He died on the 21st of June, 1631. This valiant captain was born at Willoughby, in the county of Lincoln, and helped by his doings to enliven the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. He had a share in the wars of Hungary in 1602, and in three single combats overcame three Turks, and cut off their heads. For this, and other equally brave deeds, Sigismund, Duke of Transylvania, gave him his picture set in gold, with a pension of three hundred ducats; and allowed him to bear three Turks’ heads proper as his shield of arms. He afterwards went to America, where he had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Indians. He escaped from them, however, at last, and resumed his brilliant career by hazarding his life in naval engagements with pirates and Spanish men-of-war. The most important act of his life was the share he had in civilising the natives of New England, and reducing that province to obedience to Great Britain. In connection with his tomb in St. Sepulchre’s, he is mentioned by Stow, in his "Survey," as "some time Governor of Virginia and Admiral of New England."

Certainly the most interesting events of his chequered career were his capture by the Indians, and the saving of his life by the Indian girl Pocahontas, a story of adventure that charms as often as it is told. Bancroft, the historian of the United States, relates how, during the early settlement of Virginia, Smith left the infant colony on an exploring expedition, and not only ascended the river Chickahominy, but struck into the interior. His companions disobeyed his instructions, and being surprised by the Indians, were put to death. Smith preserved his own life by calmness and self-possession. Displaying a pocket-compass, he amused the savages by an explanation of its power, and increased their admiration of his superior genius by imparting to them some vague conceptions of the form of the earth, and the nature of the planetary system. To the Indians, who retained him as their prisoner, his captivity was a more strange event than anything of which the traditions of their tribes preserved the memory. He was allowed to send a letter to the fort at Jamestown, and the savage wonder was increased, for he seemed by some magic to endow the paper with the gift of intelligence. It was evident that their captive was a being of a high order, and then the question arose, Was his nature beneficent, or was he to be dreaded as a dangerous enemy? Their minds were bewildered, and the decision of his fate was referred to the chief Powhatan, and before Powhatan Smith was brought. "The fears of the feeble aborigines," says Bancroft, "were about to prevail, and his immediate death, already repeatedly threatened and repeatedly delayed, would have been inevitable, but for the timely intercession of Pocahontas, a girl twelve years old, the daughter of Powhatan, whose confiding fondness Smith had easily won, and who firmly clung to his neck, as his head was bowed down to receive the stroke of the tomahawks. His fearlessness, and her entreaties, persuaded the council to spare the agreeable stranger, who could make hatchets for her father, and rattles and strings of beads for herself, the favourite child. The barbarians, whose decision had long been held in suspense by the mysterious awe which Smith had inspired, now resolved to receive him as a friend, and to make him a partner of their councils. They tempted him to join their bands, and lend assistance in an attack upon the white men at Jamestown; and when his decision of character succeeded in changing the current of their thoughts, they dismissed him with mutual promises of friendship and benevolence. Thus the captivity of Smith did itself become a benefit to the colony; for he had not only observed with care the country between the James and the Potomac, and had gained some knowledge of the language and manners of the natives, but he now established a peaceful intercourse between the English and the tribes of Powhatan."

On the monument erected to Smith in St. Sepulchre’s Church, the following quaint lines were formerly inscribed:—

"Here lies one conquered that hath conquered kings,
Subdued large territories, and done things
Which to the world impossible would seem,
But that the truth is held in more esteem.
Shall I report his former service done,
In honour of his God, and Christendom?
How that he did divide, from pagans three,
Their heads and lives, types of his chivalry?—
For which great service, in that climate done,
Brave Sigismundus, King of Hungarion,
Did give him, as a coat of arms, to wear
These conquered heads, got by his sword and spear.
Or shall I tell of his adventures since
Done in Virginia, that large continent?
How that he subdued kings unto his yoke,
And made those heathens flee, as wind doth smoke;
And made their land, being so large a station,
An habitation for our Christian nation,
Where God is glorified, their wants supplied;
Which else for necessaries, must have died.
But what avails his conquests, now he lies
Interred in earth, a prey to worms and flies?
Oh! may his soul in sweet Elysium sleep,
Until the Keeper, that all souls doth keep,
Return to judgment; and that after thence
With angels he may have his recompense."

Sir Robert Peake, the engraver, also found a last resting-place here. He is known as the master of William Faithorne—the famous English engraver of the seventeenth century—and governor of Basing House for the king during the Civil War under Charles I. He died in 1667. Here also was interred the body of Dr. Bell, grandfather of the originator of a well-known system of education.

"The churchyard of St. Sepulchre’s," we learn from Maitland, "at one time extended so far into the street on the south side of the church, as to render the passage-way dangerously narrow. In 1760 the churchyard was, in consequence, levelled, and thrown open to the public. But this led to much inconvenience, and it was re-enclosed in 1802."

Sarah Malcolm, the murderess, was buried in the churchyard of St. Sepulchre’s in 1733. This coldhearted and keen-eyed monster in human form has had her story told by us already. The parishioners seem, on this occasion, to have had no such scruples as had been exhibited by their predecessors a hundred and fifty years previous at the burial of Awfield, a traitor. We shall see presently that in those more remote days they were desirous of having at least respectable company for their deceased relatives and friends in the churchyard.

"For a long period," says Mr. Godwin (1838), "the church was surrounded by low mean buildings, by which its general appearance was hidden; but these having been cleared away, and the neighbourhood made considerably more open, St. Sepulchre’s now forms a somewhat pleasing object, notwithstanding that the tower and a part of the porch are so entirely dissimilar in style to the remainder of the building." And since Godwin’s writing the surroundings of the church have been so improved that perhaps few buildings in the metropolis stand more prominently before the public eye.

In the glorious roll of martyrs who have suffered at the stake for their religious principles, a vicar of St. Sepulchre’s, the Reverend John Rogers, occupies a conspicuous place. He was the first who was burned in the reign of the Bloody Mary. This eminent person had at one time been chaplain to the English merchants at Antwerp, and while residing in that city had aided Tindal and Coverdale in their great work of translating the Bible. He married a German lady of good position, by whom he had a large family, and was enabled, by means of her relations, to reside in peace and safety in Germany. It appeared to be his duty, however, to return to England, and there publicly profess and advocate his religious convictions, even at the risk of death. He crossed the sea; he took his place in the pulpit at St. Paul’s Cross; he preached a fearless and animated sermon, reminding his astonished audience of the pure and wholesome doctrine which had been promulgated from that pulpit in the days of the good King Edward, and solemnly warning them against the pestilent idolatry and superstition of these new times. It was his last sermon. He was apprehended, tried, condemned, and burned at Smithfield. We described, when speaking of Smithfield, the manner in which he met his fate.

Connected with the martyrdom of Rogers an odd circumstance is quoted in the "Churches of London." It is stated that when the bishops had resolved to put to death Joan Bocher, a friend came to Rogers and earnestly entreated his influence that the poor woman’s life might be spared, and other means taken to prevent the spread of her heterodox doctrines. Rogers, however, contended that she should be executed; and his friend then begged him to choose some other kind of death, which should be more agreeable to the gentleness and mercy prescribed in the gospel. "No," replied Rogers, "burning alive is not a cruel death, but easy enough." His friend hearing these words, expressive of so little regard for the sufferings of a fellow-creature, answered him with great vehemence, at the same time striking Rogers’ hand, "Well, it may perhaps so happen that you yourself shall have your hands full of this mild burning." There is no record of Rogers among the papers belonging to St. Sepulchre’s, but this may easily be accounted for by the fact that at the Great Fire of 1666 nearly all the registers and archives were destroyed.

A noteworthy incident in the history of St. Sepulchre’s was connected with the execution, in 1585, of Awfield, for "sparcinge abrood certen lewed, sedicious, and traytorous bookes." "When he was executed," says Fleetwood, the Recorder, in a letter to Lord Burleigh, July 7th of that year, "his body was brought unto St. Pulcher’s to be buryed, but the parishioners would not suffer a traytor’s corpse to be laid in the earth where their parents, wives, children, kindred, masters, and old neighbours did rest; and so his carcass was returned to the burial-ground near Tyburn, and there I leave it."

Another event in the history of the church is a tale of suicide. On the 10th of April, 1600, a man named William Dorrington threw himself from the roof of the tower, leaving there a prayer for forgiveness.

We come now to speak of the connection of St. Sepulchre’s with the neighbouring prison of Newgate. Being the nearest church to the prison, that connection naturally was intimate. Its clock served to give the time to the hangman when there was an execution in the Old Bailey, and many a poor wretch’s last moments must it have regulated.

On the right-hand side of the altar a board with a list of charitable donations and gifts used to contain the following item:—"1605. Mr. Robert Dowe gave, for ringing the greatest bell in this church on the day the condemned prisoners are executed, and for other services, for ever, concerning such condemned prisoners, for which services the sexton is paid £16s. 8d.—£50.

It was formerly the practice for the clerk or bellman of St. Sepulchre’s to go under Newgate, on the night preceding the execution of a criminal, ring his bell, and repeat the following wholesome advice:—

"All you that in the condemned hold do lie,
Prepare you, for to-morrow you shall die;
Watch all, and pray, the hour is drawing near
That you before the Almighty must appear;
Examine well yourselves, in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent.
And when St. Sepulchre’s bell to-morrow tolls,
The Lord above have mercy on your souls.
Past twelve o’clock!"

This practice is explained by a passage in Munday’s edition of Stow, in which it is told that a Mr. John Dowe, citizen and merchant taylor of London, gave £50 to the parish church of St. Sepulchre’s, under the following conditions:—After the several sessions of London, on the night before the execution of such as were condemned to death, the clerk of the church was to go in the night-time, and also early in the morning, to the window of the prison in which they were lying. He was there to ring "certain tolls with a hand-bell" appointed for the purpose, and was afterwards, in a most Christian manner, to put them in mind of their present condition and approaching end, and to exhort them to be prepared, as they ought to be, to die. When they were in the cart, and brought before the walls of the church, the clerk was to stand there ready with the same bell, and, after certain tolls, rehearse a prayer, desiring all the people there present to pray for the unfortunate criminals. The beadle, also, of Merchant Taylors’ Hall was allowed an "honest stipend" to see that this ceremony was regularly performed.

The affecting admonition—"affectingly good," Pennant calls it—addressed to the prisoners in Newgate, on the night before execution, ran as follows:—

"You prisoners that are within,
Who, for wickedness and sin,

after many mercies shown you, are now appointed to die to-morrow in the forenoon; give ear and understand that, to-morrow morning, the greatest bell of St. Sepulchre’s shall toll for you, in form and manner of a passing-bell, as used to be tolled for those that are at the point of death; to the end that all godly people, hearing that bell, and knowing it is for your going to your deaths, may be stirred up heartily to pray to God to bestow his grace and mercy upon you, whilst you live. I beseech you, for Jesus Christ’s sake, to keep this night in watching and prayer, to the salvation of your own souls while there is yet time and place for mercy; as knowing to-morrow you must appear before the judgment-seat of your Creator, there to give an account of all things done in this life, and to suffer eternal torments for your sins committed against Him, unless, upon your hearty and unfeigned repentance, you find mercy through the merits, death, and passion of your only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ, who now sits at the right hand of God, to make intercession for as many of you as penitently return to Him."

And the following was the admonition to condemned criminals, as they were passing by St. Sepulchre’s Church wall to execution:—" All good people, pray heartily unto God for these poor sinners, who are now going to their death, for whom this great bell doth toll.

"You that are condemned to die, repent with lamentable tears; ask mercy of the Lord, for the salvation of your own souls, through the [merits, death, and passion of Jesus Christ, who now sits at the right hand of God, to make intercession for as many of you as penitently return unto Him.

"Lord have mercy upon you;
Christ have mercy upon you.
Lord have mercy upon you;
Christ have mercy upon you."

The charitable Mr. Dowe, who took such interest in the last moments of the occupants of the condemned cell, was buried in the church of St. Botolph, Aldgate.

Another curious custom observed at St. Sepulchre’s was the presentation of a nosegay to every criminal on his way to execution at Tyburn. No doubt the practice had its origin in some kindly feeling for the poor unfortunates who were so soon to bid farewell to all the beauties of earth. One of the last who received a nosegay from the steps of St. Sepulchre’s was "Sixteen-string Jack," alias John Rann, who was hanged, in 1774, for robbing the Rev. Dr. Bell of his watch and eighteen pence in money, in Gunnersbury Lane, on the road to Brentford. Sixteen-string Jack wore the flowers in his button-hole as he rode dolefully to the gallows. This was witnessed by John Thomas Smith, who thus describes the scene in his admirable anecdotebook, "Nollekens and his Times:"—" I remember well, when I was in my eighth year, Mr. Nollekens calling at my father’s house, in Great Portland Street, and taking us to Oxford Street, to see the notorious Jack Rann, commonly called Sixteenstring Jack, go to Tyburn to be hanged. … The criminal was dressed in a pea-green coat, with an immense nosegay in the button-hole, which had been presented to him at St. Sepulchre’s steps; and his nankeen small-clothes, we were told, were tied at each knee with sixteen strings. After he had passed, and Mr. Nollekens was leading me home by the hand, I recollect his stooping down to me and observing, in a low tone of voice, ‘Tom, now, my little man, if my father-in-law, Mr. Justice Welch, had been high constable, we could have walked by the side of the cart all the way to Tyburn.’"

When criminals were conveyed from Newgate to Tyburn, the cart passed up Giltspur Street, and through Smithfield, to Cow Lane. Skinner Street had not then been built, and the Crooked Lane which turned down by St. Sepulchre’s, as well as Ozier Lane, did not afford sufficient width to admit of the cavalcade passing by either of them, with convenience, to Holborn Hill, or "the Heavy Hill," as it used to be called. The procession seems at no time to have had much of the solemn element about it. "The heroes of the day were often," says a popular writer, "on good terms with the mob, and jokes were exchanged between the men who were going to be hanged and the men who deserved to be."

"On St. Paul’s Day," says Mr. Timbs (1868), "service is performed in St. Sepulchre’s, in accordance with the will of Mr. Paul Jervis, who, in 1717, devised certain land in trust that a sermon should be preached in the church upon every Paul’s Day upon the excellence of the liturgy o the Church of England; the preacher to receive 40s. for such sermon. Various sums are also bequeathed to the curate, the clerk, the treasurer, and masters of the parochial schools. To the poor of the parish he bequeathed 20s. a-piece to ten of the poorest householders within that part of the parish of St. Sepulchre commonly called Smithfield quarter, £4 to the treasurer of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and 6s. 8d. yearly to the clerk, who shall attend to receive the same. The residue of the yearly rents and profits is to be distributed unto and amongst such poor people of the parish of St. Sepulchre’s, London, who shall attend the service and sermon. At the close of the service the vestry-clerk reads aloud an extract from the will, and then proceeds to the distribution of the money. In the evening the vicar, churchwardens, and common councilmen of the precinct dine together."

In 1749, a Mr. Drinkwater made a praiseworthy bequest. He left the parish of St. Sepulchre £500 to be lent in sums of £25 to industrious young tradesmen. No interest was to be charged, and the money was to be lent for four years.

Next to St. Sepulchre’s, on Snow Hill, used to stand the famous old inn of the "Saracen’s Head." It was only swept away within the last few years by the ruthless army of City improvers: a view of it in course of demolition was given on page 439. It was one of the oldest of the London inns which bore the "Saracen’s Head" for a sign. One of Dick Tarlton’s jests makes mention of the "Saracen’s Head" without Newgate, and Stow, describing this neighbourhood, speaks particularly of "a fair large inn for receipt of travellers" that "hath to sign the ‘Saracen’s Head.’" The courtyard had, to the last, many of the characteristics of an old English inn; there were galleries all round leading to the bedrooms, and a spacious gateway through which the dusty mail-coaches used to rumble, the tired passengers creeping forth "thanking their stars in having escaped the highwaymen and the holes and sloughs of the road." Into that courtyard how many have come on their first arrival in London with hearts beating high with hope, some of whom have risen to be aldermen and sit in state as lord mayor, whilst others have gone the way of the idle apprentice and come to a sad end at Tyburn! It was at this inn that Nicholas Nickleby and his uncle waited upon the Yorkshire schoolmaster Squeers, of Dotheboys Hall. Mr. Dickens describes the tavern as it existed in the last days of mail-coaching, when it was a most important place for arrivals and departures in London:—

"Next to the jail, and by consequence near to Smithfield also, and the Compter and the bustle and noise of the City, and just on that particular part of Snow Hill where omnibus horses going eastwards seriously think of falling down on purpose, and where horses in hackney cabriolets going westwards not unfrequently fall by accident, is the coach-yard of the ‘Saracen’s Head’ inn, its portals guarded by two Saracen’s heads and shoulders, which it was once the pride and glory of the choice spirits of this metropolis to pull down at night, but which have for some time remained in undisturbed tranquillity, possibly because this species of humour is now confined to St. James’s parish, where doorknockers are preferred as being more portable, and bell-wires esteemed as convenient tooth-picks. Whether this be the reason or not, there they are, frowning upon you from each side of the gateway; and the inn itself, garnished with another Saracen’s head, frowns upon you from the top of the yard; while from the door of the hind-boot of all the red coaches that are standing therein, there glares a small Saracen’s head with a twin expression to the large Saracen’s head below, so that the general appearance of the pile is of the Saracenic order."

To explain the use of the Saracen’s head as an inn sign various reasons have been given. "When our countrymen," says Selden, "came home from fighting with the Saracens and were beaten by them, they pictured them with huge, big, terrible faces (as you still see the ‘Saracen’s Head’ is), when in truth they were like other men. But this they did to save their own credit." Or the sign may have been adopted by those who had visited the Holy Land either as pilgrims or to fight the Saracens. Others, again, hold that it was first set up in compliment to the mother of Thomas à Becket, who was the daughter of a Saracen. However this may be, it is certain that the use of the sign in former days was very general.

Running past the east end of St. Sepulchre’s, from Newgate into West Smithfield, is Giltspur Street, anciently called Knightriders Street. This interesting thoroughfare derives its name from the knights with their gilt spurs having been accustomed to ride this way to the jousts and tournaments which in days of old were held in Smithfield.

In this street was Giltspur Street Compter, a debtors’ prison and house of correction appertaining to the sheriffs of London and Middlesex. It stood over against St. Sepulchre’s Church, and was removed hither from the east side of Wood Street, Cheapside, in 1791. At the time of its removal it was used as a place of imprisonment for debtors, but the yearly increasing demands upon the contracted space caused that department to be given up, and City debtors were sent to Whitecross Street. The architect was Dance, to whom we are also indebted for the grim pile of Newgate. The Compter was a dirty and appropriately convictlooking edifice. It was pulled down in 1855. Mr. Hepworth Dixon gave an interesting account of this City House of Correction, not long before its demolition, in his "London Prisons" (1850). "Entering," he says, "at the door facing St. Sepulchre’s, the visitor suddenly finds himself in a low dark passage, leading into the offices of the gaol, and branching off into other passages, darker, closer, more replete with noxious smells, than even those of Newgate. This is the fitting prelude to what follows. The prison, it must be noticed, is divided into two principal divisions, the House of Correction and the Compter. The front in Giltspur Street, and the side nearest to Newgate Street, is called the Compter. In its wards are placed detenues of various kinds—remands, committals from the police-courts, and generally persons waiting for trial, and consequently still unconvicted. The other department, the House of Correction, occupies the back portion of the premises, abutting on Christ’s Hospital. Curious it is to consider how thin a wall divides these widely-separate worlds! And sorrowful it is to think what a difference of destiny awaits the children—destiny inexorable, though often unearned in either case—who, on the one side of it or the other, receive an eleemosynary education! The collegian and the criminal! Who shall say how much mere accident— circumstances over which the child has little power —determines to a life of usefulness or mischief? From the yards of Giltspur Street prison almost the only objects visible, outside of the gaol itself, are the towers of Christ’s Hospital; the only sounds audible, the shouts of the scholars at their play. The balls of the hospital boys often fall within the yards of the prison. Whether these sights and sounds ever cause the criminal to pause and reflect upon the courses of his life, we will not say, but the stranger visiting the place will be very apt to think for him. …

"In the department of the prison called the House of Correction, minor offenders within the City of London are imprisoned. No transports are sent hither, nor is any person whose sentence is above three years in length." This able writer then goes on to tell of the many crying evils connected with the institution—the want of air, the over-crowded state of the rooms, the absence of proper cellular accommodation, and the vicious intercourse carried on amongst the prisoners. The entire gaol, when he wrote, only contained thirty-six separate sleeping-rooms. Now by the highest prison calculation—and this, be it noted, proceeds on the assumption that three persons can sleep in small, miserable, unventilated cells, which are built for only one, and are too confined for that, being only about one-half the size of the model cell for one at Pentonville—it was only capable of accommodating 203 prisoners, yet by the returns issued at Michaelmas, 1850, it contained 246!

A large section of the prison used to be devoted to female delinquents, but lately it was almost entirely given up to male offenders.

"The House of Correction, and the Compter portion of the establishment," says Mr. Dixon, "are kept quite distinct, but it would be difficult to award the palm of empire in their respective facilities for demoralisation. We think the Compter rather the worse of the two. You are shown into a room, about the size of an apartment in an ordinary dwelling-house, which will be found crowded with from thirty to forty persons, young and old, and in their ordinary costume; the low thief in his filth and rags, and the member of the swell-mob with his bright buttons, flash finery, and false jewels. Here you notice the boy who has just been guilty of his first offence, and committed for trial, learning with a greedy mind a thousand criminal arts, and listening with the precocious instinct of guilty passions to stories and conversations the most depraved and disgusting. You regard him with a mixture of pity and loathing, for he knows that the eyes of his peers are upon him, and he stares at you with a familiar impudence, and exhibits a devil-may-care countenance, such as is only to be met with in the juvenile offender. Here, too, may be seen the young clerk, taken up on suspicion—perhaps innocent—who avoids you with a shy look of pain and uneasiness: what a hell must this prison be to him! How frightful it is to think of a person really untainted with crime, compelled to herd for ten or twenty days with these abandoned wretches!

"On the other, the House of Correction side of the gaol, similar rooms will be found, full of prisoners communicating with each other, laughing and shouting without hindrance. All this is so little in accordance with existing notions of prison discipline, that one is continually fancying these disgraceful scenes cannot be in the capital of England, and in the year of grace 1850. Very few of the prisoners attend school or receive any instruction; neither is any kind of employment afforded them, except oakum-picking, and the still more disgusting labour of the treadmill. When at work, an officer is in attendance to prevent disorderly conduct; but his presence is of no avail as a protection to the less depraved. Conversation still goes on; and every facility is afforded for making acquaintances, and for mutual contamination."

After having long been branded by intelligent inspectors as a disgrace to the metropolis, Giltspur Street Compter was condemned, closed in 1854, and subsequently taken down.

Nearly opposite what used to be the site of the Compter, and adjoining Cock Lane, is the spot called Pie Corner, near which terminated the Great Fire of 1666. The fire commenced at Pudding Lane, it will be remembered, so it was singularly appropriate that it should terminate at Pie Corner. Under the date of 4th September, 1666, Pepys, in his "Diary," records that "W. Hewer this day went to see how his mother did, and comes home late, telling us how he hath been forced to remove her to Islington, her house in Pye Corner being burned; so that the fire is got so far that way." The figure of a fat naked boy stands over a public house at the corner of the lane; it used to have the following warning inscription attached:— "This boy is in memory put up of the late fire of London, occasioned by the sin of gluttony, 1666." According to Stow, Pie Corner derived its name from the sign of a well-frequented hostelry, which anciently stood on the spot. Strype makes honourable mention of Pie Corner, as "noted chiefly for cooks’ shops and pigs dressed there during Bartholomew Fair." Our old writers have many references—and not all, by the way, in the best taste—to its cookstalls and dressed pork. Shadwell, for instance, in the Woman Captain (1680) speaks of "meat dressed at Pie Corner by greasy scullions;" and Ben Jonson writes in the Alchemist (1612)—

"I shall put you in mind, sir, at Pie Corner,
Taking your meal of steam in from cooks’ stalls."

And in "The Great Boobee" ("Roxburgh Ballads"):

"Next day I through Pie Corner passed;
The roast meat on the stall
Invited me to take a taste;
My money was but small."

But Pie Corner seems to have been noted for more than eatables. A ballad from Tom D’Urfey’s "Pills to Purge Melancholy," describing Bartholomew Fair, eleven years before the Fire of London, says:—

"At Pie-Corner end, mark well my good friend,
‘Tis a very fine dirty place;
Where there’s more arrows and bows. …
Than was handled at Chivy Chase."

We have already given a view of Pie Corner in our chapter on Smithfield, page 361.

Hosier Lane, running from Cow Lane to Smithfield, and almost parallel to Cock Lane, is described by "R. B.," in Strype, as a place not over-well built or inhabited. The houses were all old timber erections. Some of these—those standing at the south corner of the lane—were in the beginning of this century depicted by Mr. J. T. Smith, in his "Ancient Topography of London." He describes them as probably of the reign of James I. The rooms were small, with low, unornamented ceilings; the timber, oak, profusely used; the gables were plain, and the walls lath and plaster. They were taken down in 1809.

In the corner house, in Mr. Smith’s time, there was a barber whose name was Catchpole; at least, so it was written over the door. He was rather an odd fellow, and possessed, according to his own account, a famous relic of antiquity. He would gravely show his customers a short-bladed instrument, as the identical dagger with which Walworth killed Wat Tyler.

Hosier Lane, like Pie Corner, used to be a great resort during the time of Bartholomew Fair, "all the houses," it is said in Strype, "generally being made public for tippling."

We return now from our excursion to the north of St. Sepulchre’s, and continue our rambles to the west, and before speaking of what is, let us refer to what has been.

Turnagain Lane is not far from this. "Near unto this Seacoal Lane," remarks Stow, "in the turning towards Holborn Conduit, is Turnagain Lane, or rather, as in a record of the 5th of Edward III., Windagain Lane, for that it goeth down west to Fleet Dyke, from whence men must turn again the same way they came, but there it stopped." There used to be a proverb, "He must take him a house in Turnagain Lane."

A conduit formerly stood on Snow Hill, a little below the church. It is described as a building with four equal sides, ornamented with four columns and pediment, surmounted by a pyramid, on which stood a lamb—a rebus on the name of Lamb, from whose conduit in Red Lion Street the water came. There had been a conduit there, however, before Lamb’s day, which was towards the close of the sixteenth century.

At No. 37, King Street, Snow Hill, there used to be a ladies’ charity school, which was established in 1702, and remained in the parish 145 years. Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale were subscribers to this school, and Johnson drew from it his story of Betty Broom, in "The Idler." The world of domestic service, in Betty’s days, seems to have been pretty much as now. Betty was a poor girl, bred in the country at a charity-school, maintained by the contributions of wealthy neighbours. The patronesses visited the school from time to time, to see how the pupils got on, and everything went well, till "at last, the chief of the subscribers having passed a winter in London, came down full of an opinion new and strange to the whole country. She held it little less than criminal to teach poor girls to read and write. They who are born to poverty, she said, are born to ignorance, and will work the harder the less they know. She told her friends that London was in confusion by the insolence of servants; that scarcely a girl could be got for all-work, since education had made such numbers of fine ladies, that nobody would now accept a lower title than that of a waiting-maid, or something that might qualify her to wear laced shoes and long ruffles, and to sit at work in the parlour window. But she was resolved, for her part, to spoil no more girls. Those who were to live by their hands should neither read nor write out of her pocket. The world was bad enough already, and she would have no part in making it worse.

"She was for a long time warmly opposed; but she persevered in her notions, and withdrew her subscription. Few listen, without a desire of conviction, to those who advise them to spare their money. Her example and her arguments gained ground daily; and in less than a year the whole parish was convinced that the nation would be ruined if the children of the poor were taught to read and write." So the school was dissolved, and Betty with the rest was turned adrift into the wide and cold world; and her adventures there any one may read in "The Idler" for himself.

There is an entry in the school minutes of 1763, to the effect that the ladies of the committee censured the schoolmistress for listening to the story of the Cock Lane ghost, and "desired her to keep her belief in the article to herself."

Skinner Street—now one of the names of the past—which ran by the south side of St. Sepulchre’s, and formed the connecting link between Newgate Street and Holborn, received its name from Alderman Skinner, through whose exertions, about 1802, it was principally built. The following account of Skinner Street is from the picturesque pen of Mr. William Harvey ("Aleph"), whose long familiarity with the places he describes renders doubly valuable his many contributions to the history of London scenes and people:—"As a building speculation," he says, writing in 1863, "it was a failure. When the buildings were ready for occupation, tall and substantial as they really were, the high rents frightened intending shopkeepers. Tenants were not to be had; and in order to get over the money difficulty, a lottery, sanctioned by Parliament, was commenced. Lotteries were then common tricks of finance, and nobody wondered at the new venture; but even the most desperate fortune-hunters were slow to invest their capital, and the tickets hung sadly on hand. The day for the drawing was postponed several times, and when it came, there was little or no excitement on the subject, and whoever rejoiced in becoming a house-owner on such easy terms, the original projectors and builders were understood to have suffered considerably. The winners found the property in a very unfinished condition. Few of the dwellings were habitable, and as funds were often wanting, a majority of the houses remained empty, and the shops unopened. After two or three years things began to improve; the vast many-storeyed house which then covered the site of Commercial Place was converted into a warehousing depôt; a capital house opposite the ‘Saracen’s Head’ was taken by a hosier of the name of Theobald, who, opening his shop with the determination of selling the best hosiery, and nothing else, was able to convince the citizens that his hose was first-rate, and, desiring only a living profit, succeeded, after thirty years of unwearied industry, in accumulating a large fortune. Theobald was possessed of literary tastes, and at the sale of Sir Walter Scott’s manuscripts was a liberal purchaser. He also collected a library of exceedingly choice books, and when aristocratic customers purchased stockings of him, was soon able to interest them in matters of far higher interest…

"The most remarkable shop—but it was on the left-hand side, at a corner house—was that established for the sale of children’s books. It boasted an immense extent of window-front, extending from the entrance into Snow Hill, and towards Fleet Market. Many a time have I lingered with loving eyes over those fascinating story-books, so rich in gaily-coloured prints; such careful editions of the marvellous old histories, ‘Puss in Boots,’ ‘Cock Robin,’ ‘Cinderella,’ and the like. Fortunately the front was kept low, so as exactly to suit the capacity of a childish admirer. . . . . But Skinner Street did not prosper much, and never could compete with even the dullest portions of Holborn. I have spoken of some reputable shops; but you know the proverb, ‘One swallow will not make a summer,’ and it was a declining neighbourhood almost before it could be called new. In 1810 the commercial depôt, which had been erected at a cost of £25,000, and was the chief prize in the lottery, was destroyed by fire, never to be rebuilt—a heavy blow and discouragement to Skinner Street, from which it never rallied. Perhaps the periodical hanging-days exercised an unfavourable influence, collecting, as they frequently did, all the thieves and vagabonds of London. I never sympathised with Pepys or Charles Fox in their passion for public executions, and made it a point to avoid those ghastly sights; but early of a Monday morning, when I had just reached the end of Giltspur Street, a miserable wretch had just been turned off from the platform of the debtors’ door, and I was made the unwilling witness of his last struggles. That scene haunted me for months, and I often used to ask myself, ‘Who that could help it would live in Skinner Street?’ The next unpropitious event in these parts was the unexpected closing of the child’s library. What could it mean? Such a well-to-do establishment shut up? Yes, the whole army of shutters looked blankly on the inquirer, and forbade even a single glance at ‘Sinbad’ or ‘Robinson Crusoe.’ It would soon be re-opened, we naturally thought; but the shutters never came down again. The whole house was deserted; not even a messenger in bankruptcy, or an ancient Charley, was found to regard the playful double knocks of the neighbouring juveniles. Gradually the glass of all the windows got broken in, a heavy cloud of black dust, solidifying into inches thick, gathered on sills and doors and brickwork, till the whole frontage grew as gloomy as Giant Despair’s Castle. Not long after, the adjoining houses shared the same fate, and they remained from year to year without the slightest sign of life—absolute scarecrows, darkening with their uncomfortable shadows the busy streets. Within half a mile, in Stamford Street, Blackfriars, there are (1863) seven houses in a similar predicament— window-glass demolished, doors cracked from top to bottom, spiders’ webs hanging from every projecting sill or parapet. What can it mean? The loss in the article of rents alone must be over £1,000 annually. If the real owners are at feud with imaginary owners, surely the property might be rendered valuable, and the proceeds invested. Even the lawyers can derive no profit from such hopeless abandonment. I am told the whole mischief arose out of a Chancery suit. Can it be the famous ‘Jarndyce v. Jarndyce’ case? And have all the heirs starved each other out? If so, what hinders our lady the Queen from taking possession? Any change would be an improvement, for these dead houses make the streets they cumber as dispiriting and comfortless as graveyards. Busy fancy will sometimes people them, and fill the dreary rooms with strange guests. Do the victims of guilt congregate in these dark dens? Do wretches ‘unfriended by the world or the world’s law,’ seek refuge in these deserted nooks, mourning in the silence of despair over their former lives, and anticipating the future in unappeasable agony? Such things have been—the silence and desolation of these doomed dwellings make them the more suitable for such tenants."

A street is nothing without a mystery, so a mystery let these old tumble-down houses remain, whilst we go on to tell that, in front of No. 58, the sailor Cashman was hung in 1817, as we have already mentioned, for plundering a gunsmith’s shop there. William Godwin, the author of "Caleb Williams," kept a bookseller’s shop for several years in Skinner Street, at No. 41, and published school-books in the name of Edward Baldwin. On the wall there was a stone carving of Æsop reciting one of his fables to children.

The most noteworthy event of the life of Godwin was his marriage with the celebrated Mary Wollstonecraft, authoress of a "Vindication of the Rights of Women," whose congenial mind, in politics and morals, he ardently admired. Godwin’s account of the way in which they got on together is worth reading:—"Ours," he writes, "was not an idle happiness, a paradise of selfish and transitory pleasures. It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to mention, that influenced by ideas I had long entertained, I engaged an apartment about twenty doors from our house, in the Polygon, Somers Town, which I designed for the purpose of my study and literary occupations. Trifles, however, will be interesting to some readers, when they relate to the last period of the life of such a person as Mary. I will add, therefore, that we were both of us of opinion, that it was possible for two persons to be too uniformly in each other’s society. Influenced by that opinion, it was my practice to repair to the apartment I have mentioned as soon as I rose, and frequently not to make my appearance in the Polygon till the hour of dinner. We agreed in condemning the notion, prevalent in many situations in life, that a man and his wife cannot visit in mixed society but in company with each other, and we rather sought occasions of deviating from than of complying with this rule. By this means, though, for the most part, we spent the latter half of each day in one another’s society, yet we were in no danger of satiety. We seemed to combine, in a considerable degree, the novelty and lively sensation of a visit with the more delicious and heartfelt pleasure of a domestic life."

This philosophic union, to Godwin’s inexpressible affliction, did not last more than eighteen months, at the end of which time Mrs. Godwin died, leaving an only daughter, who in the course of time became the second wife of the poet Shelley, and was the author of the wild and extraordinary tale of "Frankenstein."

www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45116

Posted by Jelltex on 2014-11-14 12:20:48

Tagged: , St Sepulchre Without Newgate , City of London , London , church , jelltex , jelltecks

Salisbury. Southern wall of the old Wesleyan Methodist Church. Built in the new Salisbury west subdivision of 1858 when the church was built. It closed around 1904 when the Primitive Methodist church became the main Methodist church of the town. .

Salisbury.  Southern wall of the old Wesleyan Methodist Church. Built in the new Salisbury west subdivision of 1858 when the church was built. It closed around 1904 when the Primitive Methodist church became the main Methodist church of the town. .

The first major railway line in
South Australia from Adelaide to Gawler reached Salisbury in 1857. A local land owner then subdivided some of his land to create Salisbury West which was west of the new railway line. Trevaskis did this in 1856 before the railway came. he created 61 town blocks.

Oranges along the Para.
The orange tree is botanically known as citrus sinensis which comes from China but is grown in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The fruit of this tree gave us the name for one of our primary colours. This colour was first recoded in the English language in 1512. Orange is a Sanskrit Indian word. In Europe oranges have been grown in Italy and Spain since they were brought there by the Crusaders in 1100s from the Middle East. The first mention of commercial orange growing along the Para was in 1870 when Mr Urlwin exhibited Salisbury oranges at the Adelaide Royal Show. Then Mr F Fendon was described in newspapers in 1876 as a pioneer of commercial orange growing at Salisbury as he had been experimenting with orange trees since 1850. He hoped his display at the Salisbury Show of 1876 would encourage others to turn to orange growing. He had 20 varieties growing along Para when he exhibited them at the Salisbury Annual Show in 1876. More oranges were grown in the 1880s and by the 1890s hundreds of cases a year were being exported by P & O steamers to London. Thus the big expansion of commercial orange growing was in the 1880s. The oranges grown were Navel, Valencias, Washingtons and Lisbons( lemon) and these were the four” houses” in the Salisbury Primary School in the 1950s. Other earlier varieties grown included Sabina (a sour Italian orange), Rio (a red grapefruit), Seville oranges etc. Navel orange is a variety that was developed in Brazil in the 1820s, Washingtons were also from Brazil but Navels were developed for commercial orchards in California. Mr Russsell of Paralowie House is a good example of what Salisbury farmers did. He converted from growing oats and wheat to oranges in 1890. He planted 82 acres of his 122 acres in citrus trees 21 feet apart giving him over 1,000 trees. The annual floods of the Little Para were the secret of providing the rich alluvial soils in the Para valley. Other early citrus growers in Salisbury were the Kuhlmann, Moss, Tate, Jenkins, Harvey, Ponton and Sayer families. In the 1970s as the citrus industry died the flood plains of the Little Para were converted to parklands if they flooded or to housing if they were not flood prone. But once the Little Para Reservoir was completed the annual floods stopped anyway. Oranges were also extensively grown at Golden Grove. During the dry of summer water was taken from the Little Para to irrigate the oranges and one old stone waterwheel used for this purpose has been restored in Salisbury. That waterwheel was built for orange grower Frederick Kuhlmann of the Old Spot Hotel in 1899 and used until the 1940s.

Salisbury.
Sir Montague( or Montagu) Chapman, Third Baronet of Westmeath near Dublin Ireland, used a loop hole in the Special Survey regulations of 1839 and selected his 4,000 acres for £4,000 in different areas. He took 800 acres at Koonunga near Kapunda; 500 acres at Kapunda (a friend of his Bagot also got land there); 500 acres near Waterloo and Marrabel; and later in 1842 he selected a further 2,200 acres between the Little Para River and Dry Creek at what is now Mawson Lakes, Salisbury and Cross Keys. At Killua Castle in Ireland he had 9,000 acres and hundreds of tenant farmers. He wanted to do the same in SA. In 1840 he sent out Captain Charles Bagot from Ireland with 224 Irish immigrants to settle his, and Bagot’s lands, at Kapunda with Irish labourers and tenants. Then in 1842 he sailed out to SA himself with 120 Irish tenant farmers whom he installed on his lands at Cross Keys. Sir Montague Chapman returned to Ireland the next year. Then in 1847 he sent out a further 214 Irish immigrants to be tenant farmers on his Cross Key to Salisbury lands. They came out on the ships named Trafalgar and Aboukir. Sir Montague Chapman lived in Ireland not SA but returned to his SA estates in 1852 and drowned at sea in 1853 off Portland when returning to SA from Melbourne. His brother inherited the SA lands and estates. The lasting effect of Sir Montague Chapmans tenant farming ideas was a large number of Irish Catholics around the Salisbury and Kapunda districts. Many of these immigrants soon became independent landowners themselves rather than Montague’s tenants.

Daniel Brady, another Irishman was a self-made Irish immigrant to the area. He purchased 100 acres, now the Parafield Airport in 1845. He then got the license to the Cross Keys hotel. Much later Brady laid out the town of Virginia in 1858.But there were other Catholic influences in Salisbury too. William Leigh of Staffordshire (and of Leigh Street Adelaide) was a great land investor and speculator in SA and donated lands early to the Anglican Church ( in Leigh St.) then he converted to Catholicism and donated lands to the SA Catholic Church for the first church and bishop’s palace on West Terrace etc. At Salisbury he donated 500 acres to the local Catholic Church along the Little Para where the reservoir is now situated. The local church rented that farm out as income until it was sold in 1896. Thus because of two major Catholic British aristocrats Salisbury thrived as a centre of Catholicism and had one of the largest Catholic Churches in SA in the mid-19th century. The church itself was set up when the state Government was offering glebe lands for churches to get established. The Catholics of Salisbury received 20 acres of land under this system through Bishop Murphy in 1850. The foundations of St Augustine’s Church were laid in 1851 with the church being used before its final official opening in 1857. This grand stone church replaced an earlier pug and pine church which had opened in 1847 on the site. The tower was added in 1926.

But the main story of Salisbury is centred on Scottish born John Harvey of Wick. But who was John Harvey? Is his main claim to fame that he brought out from South Africa soursob bulbs? He was a man of ideas wanting to make money. He came out to SA alone when he was 16 years old arriving in 1839 on the ship named Superb. By 1843 Harvey had moved to Gawler where he drove mails between Adelaide and Gawler. This gave him the idea of grazing cattle on the unoccupied plains between the two settlements. He started squatting. He let overlanders from NSW depasture their flocks on these lands, for a fee, although he had no legal right to do so. He accepted cattle for fees and soon had stock of his own. To this he added some horses which he bred for sale (or export to India) and once he had fattened the cattle he sold them for meat for the Adelaide market or through his butcher shop in growing Gawler. He became a major meat supplier for Adelaide and Gawler. He also experimented with cereal growing on the Salisbury plains and claims to be have been the first to do so. Within a few years he had amassed a sizeable amount of money from almost nothing and he purchased his first land at Gawler, where he built his first stone house, and at Salisbury when the Hundred of Yatala was declared in 1846. He was temporarily forced off the land he was squatting upon until he purchased 147 acres in 1847. He subdivided a small part of it to create the town of Salisbury with the main street named after himself and the street parallel to it named Wiltshire where his wife Ann Pitman (cousin of Sir Isaac Pitman of shorthand fame) was born. His town plans were submitted in 1848 as he hoped to make money from this action. Harvey continued living in Salisbury and went into building houses for people, breeding race horses and encouraging agriculture. He was elected to parliament in 1857 for one term and served on the Yatala District Council. His land deals included selling the area of Gawler that became Bassett Town by the old Gawler railway station. He was a mainstay of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Adelaide Racing Club. He was a local Justice of the Peace. John Harvey died in Salisbury in 1899, aged 78 years but his descendants stayed on in the town to be orange growers. John and his wife Ann are buried in St John’s Anglican cemetery. He left three sons and daughter.

By 1854 there were churches being erected in Salisbury; a flour mill; a hotel; and many houses for residents. The earliest SA settlers has eschewed the Adelaide Plains as they were hot and dry and they preferred the wetter, cooler Adelaide Hills. By 1845 less hills land was available and some saw the potential of this fertile little river valley close to the Adelaide and on the main copper mine routes from Adelaide to Kapunda and Burra. Apart from the Catholics the town attracted Anglicans, who were to construct their first church in 1849 or 1850 although the date on the building says 1846 which was before the land was even surveyed. John Harvey is known to have sold two lots to the Anglican Bishop Short for a nominal amount for an Anglican Church in 1850. It is therefore unlikely that the Anglicans built anything before 1850 but John Harvey might have allowed a building on his land before it was officially handed over to Bishop Short. A number of Primitive Methodists were also drawn to Salisbury and they who formed their congregation in 1849 with services on the banks of the Little Para. In 1851 they opened their Primitive Methodist Church called Hephzibah which was replaced with a second solid stone church in 1858. The Primitive Methodists purchased their land from John Harvey. They then established satellite Primitive Methodist churches at Burton, Sturton, Greenwith and other further out districts like Carclew, Two Wells etc. The Wesleyan Methodists had a church at the Old Spot (1857) but they too constructed a Wesleyan church in Salisbury West in 1858 after the arrival of the railway to the town. It has been a residence since 1904 but is defaced with ugly 1950s additions.

Salisbury grew quite quickly because it was only a few years before the town was connected with Adelaide by the Gawler train line. North of the Para River John Porter purchased land at the same time as John Harvey in 1847 and he too create a small private town with Porter, Gawler and Commercial streets etc. His town merged with Harvey’s as did the later 1856 subdivision of Salisbury West by William Trevaskis. No cathedral emerged but the town had its churches, hotels, a flour mill and industry. It soon had a private school too. Charles James Blatche Taplin, my great great grandfather had a licensed school in Salisbury from 1855 until his death in 1867. His wife Eliza Taplin had a separate school for girls which she continued after his death. After the Education Act of 1875 the government built the old Salisbury School in 1876. Charles Taplin was also the treasurer of the St Johns Anglican Church for many years and was present at the laying of its foundation stone with architect Daniel Garlick in 1858. The town remained a local service centre until World War Two when the government purchased land at Edinburgh for an ammunitions works and secure storage area and a further 58 acres of land, mainly from descendants of John Harvey, along Park Terrace in Salisbury for emergency war housing. It was required to house all the workers required for the war time industry at Penfield. Some 284 fibro “cabin homes” were erected in Salisbury on vacant land and the population grew rapidly. After the war the town grew further with the establishment of Salisbury North in 1949 as a Housing Trust suburb with over 500 new homes. Shortly after this in 1954 the new satellite city of Elizabeth and its associated industries was created in the Salisbury Council area abutting on to the Para River. In the 1950s most of the pioneering families from the late 1840s were still living in Salisbury as it was just a small rural town with a water trough for horses in the main street and a hitching post! By the 1970s the town had become a city and changed dramatically for ever.

Some Historic Salisbury Properties.
•Anglian Church and cemetery. See details above. Early building 1849 or 1846? The Garlick designed church opened 1865 but the foundation stone was laid in 1858. In 1989 a fire destroyed the interior and the roof of the church was rebuilt.
•Former Primitive Methodist Hephzibah Church and cemetery. After open air services the first Primitive Methodist church was built on this site in 1851. In 1858 a new grand church called Hephzibah was erected here to replace it. The land for the church was purchased from John Harvey for £10. The church name means “in her delight”. The church was restored in 1904 and then became the only Methodist church in Salisbury. In 1960 the church was sold to Coles who replaced it with a supermarket and a new Methodist Church was built on Park Terrace. That new church is now the Uniting Church.
•Salisbury Institute. This important building for social events also providing the original reading room and library which opened in 1884.The land was donated by William Kelly of One Tree Hill and the architect was Frederick Dancker originally from Macclesfield where he designed their institute too. Like many institutes it became a community hall run by the Council in 1939 who started showing movies in it.
•Salisbury Schools. The northern wing of Salisbury School was built in 1876 with pointed gothic windows in the west gable. The southern wing was added in 1879. Notice the slightly different windows etc. The first school operated in the 1846/49 Anglican Church for many years. A High School opened in Salisbury in 1959.
•Salisbury Police Station and Courthouse now the town museum. This police station with cells and outbuildings and Courthouse was opened in 1859 after a request by MP John Harvey to the Commissioner of Public Works. E.A Hamilton was the architect for the government. The station cost £730. It is now a museum.

Salisbury West, the Gawler railway and Shirley Hall.
The first major railway line in South Australia was from Adelaide to Gawler and it reached Salisbury in 1857. A local land owner then subdivided some of his land to create Salisbury West which was west of the new railway line. William Trevaskis did this in 1856 before the railway came when he divided off a few acres from his original 1846 freehold estate of 82 acres (one section). As a land speculator he created 61 town blocks which he advertised as “adjoining Salisbury Station of the Adelaide Gawler Town Railway.” This worked well. This area just west of the railway station soon had residences, a hotel, and a Wesleyan Church. When Trevaskis subdivided this estate he named one street East Terrace facing the railway line. This is where Edmund Paternoster later established his windmill, pumps and engineering works in 1878. His Little Gem windmills were sold in all colonies. East Tce was later changed to Paternoster Street to commemorate this important local industrialist of the 19th century. The Assistant Engineer for the construction of the railway Adelaide-Gawler railway, W Coulls purchased three blocks and built the Australian Heritage Listed Shirley Hall is on one of them with outbuildings, coach house and stables on the others. Shirley Hall was built just behind the old Wesleyan Church of 1858 with cellars and 7 main rooms and a separate kitchen in the outbuildings. The original brick and cast iron fence (made at James Martin foundry Gawler) still survives as does the original slate tiles. Coulls died in 1861 and the house had several owners before it was purchased by James Thompson in 1898. He renamed it Chelsea. Sir Jenkin Coles, Speaker of the South Australian parliament for the lower Mid North was a friend of James Thompson and often held political meetings at Chelsea House. The house was only sold out of the Thompson family in 1975. The nearby Wesleyan Methodist Church was built in Romanesque style in 1858. With the three Methodist churches union in 1900 all services were conducted in the former Wesleyan Church between 1900 and 1904 when repairs to Hephzibah were completed and Hebzibah then became the one and only Methodist church in Salisbury. Not long after 1904 this Wesleyan church was sold as a residence.

Paralowie.
Paralowie House overlooks the Little Para River and the owner in 1894 had a fine stone Gate House and stone pillar gates built right on the edge of the river on Waterloo Corner Road. Paralowie House and this gate house was built in 1894 for Frank Russell an investor and farmer. His story is related above how he changed from dairying and cereal growing to orange and lemon orchards in 1890. The land on which Paralowie now stands was earlier owned by the Bagster family who sold it on in 1883. The Russells liked to host functions at their residence and it was reported in the press that the whole town attended celebrations here when Mafeking was successfully relived by the British forces in 1900 during the Boer War. Russells sold their Paralowie estate in 1917. A later resident of Paralowie House for many years was the state Coroner lawyer T.E.Cleland. Cleland lived at Salisbury and travelled to the Coroner’s Court by train daily rom Salisbury. Cleland served as Coroner from 1947 into the 1960s. Cleland was a pig breeder.

Posted by denisbin on 2015-01-29 23:17:57

Tagged: , Salisbury , Wesleyan , church , WEsleyan Salisbury , Methodist

India – Ajanta Caves – Murals – 28

India - Ajanta Caves - Murals - 28

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2013-11-27 21:27:41

Tagged: , India , Ajanta Caves , asienman-photography , Buddha , UNESCO World Heritage Site

13b House of Tomorrow (Robert & Helene Alexander House), 1350 Ladera Cir

13b House of Tomorrow (Robert & Helene Alexander House), 1350 Ladera Cir

Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern.

In August, 2013, Greg and I trekked out to Palm Springs for a friend’s birthday party – I know, an unforgivable time of year, unless you like 110 degrees and 75% humidity! While we were there, we decided to check out mid-century modern neighborhoods, considering retirement is just around the corner (10 years, assuming I’ll be able to retire). What we saw, we liked. We left thinking, “Yeah, we could do this.” But back at home, in Silver Lake, reality set in. The “Sure, why not?” turned into “Hell no!” Still, we love the architecture, and it’s something to keep in mind. . .

01 – Title Page – Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS MODCOM) – A Map of Modern Palm Springs. But you’ll have to plunk down the $5 for your own copy, and support the cause like we did. Sorry.

02 – Racquet Club Estates, Racquet Club Drive & Via Miraleste, 1959 to 1961, William Krisel for the William Alexander Construction Company,– This was our first stop on our adventure. The Racquet Club Estates looks like a great neighborhood, on its way up (hopefully). The entire neighborhood looks almost like it’s right out of the mind of the creator for the Jettson’s. I especially loved the original garage doors.

03 – Alexander Steel Houses, Simms & Sunnyview (300 & 330 E Molino Rd, 3100, 3125, 3133, 3165 Sunny View Dr, & 290 Simms Rd), 1960 – 1962, Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison for the William Alexander Constriction Company. It’s amazing how often the name “William Alexander” comes up when talking mid-century architecture in Palm Springs. Here he attempted something new – houses made of all steel. (I know, desert/steel. Right?) It turned out to be not such a hot idea (or rather, too hot of one). What had been planned as a whole subdivision, ended up realizing only 7 magnificent houses. Number 2 is even on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see some interesting stuff in the eligibility statement with the NPS: ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1067/files/steel%20development%20h…

04 – Carey-Pizzoli House, 600 W Panorama Dr, 1946, Albert Frey. This is the kind of house you look at and think, “That’s an ugly mid-1960’s split-level ranch house. Why is it on the PS MODCOM map?” Then you read the description again, and think, “What? 1946?” Then you realize why it’s on the list. It preceded the tract ranch houses by 20 years. The architect, Albert Frey, was visionary.

05 – Shapiro House, 711 W Panorama Dr, 1969, Michael Black. I’m not a fan of Michael Black, but the house is interesting, with the huge private interior courtyard and futuristic Star Wars design.

06 – Franz Alexander House, 1011 W Celio Dr, 1954, Walter White. I’m not so familiar with Walter White’s work, probably because the numbers of structures are few. But what he did, he did well! This house is reminiscent of the early modernists like Neutra and Schindler (evidenced by the long band of windows facing the street and simplicity of design), yet predict the work of new masters like Gehry and Pie (evidenced by the wonderful pagoda roof and the use of common materials).

07 – Palevsky House, 1021 W Celio Dr, 1968, Craig Elwood. A classic modernist compound by a master of his trade.

08 – View of the Coachella Valley from W Celio Drive.

09 – Edris House, 1030 W Celio Dr, 1953, E Stewart Williams. With a commanding view of the Coachella Valley, this house is expertly designed to take in the amazing view. An inverted roof is held down by a rock chimney, anchoring the house to the cliff.

10 – Raymond-Loewy House, 600 W Panorama Rd, 1946, Albert Frey. Perfectly situation on the site, this striking house is nestled in behind boulders and trees for maximum privacy. It’s Albert Frey at his best. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to photograph from the street!

11 – Alexander-May House, 424 W Vista Chino Rd, 1952, Edward Fickett. Quintessential Fickett. Behind the added three-car garage, which now dominates the façade, is the original modernist intent. His
ideas here (especially the entrance) would be widely used in many late 60’s and early 70’s designs.

12 – Kaufmann Desert House, 470 W Vista Chino Rd, 1946, Richard Neutra. He Kaufmann house is a work of art. This is the house which is most-often compared with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. What else can you say about Neutra’s design that hasn’t already been said? Nothing. It’s perfect. Simply perfect. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaufmann_Desert_House and en.wikiarquitectura.com/index.php/Kaufmann_House

13 – House of Tomorrow (Robert & Helene Alexander House), 1350 Ladera Cir, 1962, William Krisel. It’s a house! It’s a plane! It’s. . it’s. . . different. I’m not sure what I expected from the “House of Tomorrow,” but this wasn’t quite it. It’s more like the “House of Yesterday’s Tomorrow.” But it’s still an innovated and charming house. Less charming was the owner’s assistant trying to sell us on $60 per person tour tickets, just to see where Elvis and Priscilla Presley slept on their honeymoon. Really?

14 – Las Palmas Estates, Camino Sur Rd & Via Vadera, 1950’s, William Krisel and Charles DuBois (Separately). These houses are fanciful and fun, and for some inexplicable reason makes you think of Bedrock! Maybe they designed the houses from a neighborhood such as this.

15 – Dina Shore Estate, 432 Hermosa Rd, 1964, Donald Wexler. Not exactly forward thinking, rather it’s a solid and well-executed example of large-scale residential mid-century modern architecture. It gives the initial impression of a school or library, with the extensive park grounds, but that only adds to the character.

16 – All Worlds Resorts. I couldn’t resist. Here’s how the rest of us live when we’re on vacation.

Still, though, not bad.
For those interested in Palm Springs
mid-century architecture, there’s a great website with more pictures: rebeccaandstephen.com/gallery/midcenturymodern/

Posted by Kansas Sebastian on 2013-10-14 02:10:04

Tagged: , Kansas Sebastian , California , Palm Springs , PS MODCOM , Mid-Century Modern , Modernist , William Krisel , House of Tomorrow , Architecture