Saturday, 24 June 2017

Spalding III: Ayscoughfee Hall and gardens

Adjacent to the parish church is Ayscoughee Hall, a late medieval house started in 1429 and added to and altered over the years.  It now belongs to South Holland District Council who run it as a museum, and is open to the public everyday except Tuesdays - Market Day in Spalding, along with Saturday.
Built of dark red brick with stone dressings, and although a little municipal in feel, the Hall is a discreetly attractive, picturesque building - a mixture of 'genuine' Medieval Gothic, Georgian and Early Victorian Gothic and the classical; at times formal at others domestic. Sprawling.  The interior is fun but a little chill.  A sense that it was a bit of a challenge to fill the spaces.  As I have mentioned before one of the upstairs rooms was floor to ceiling with glass cases of stuffed birds.  All flown, alas. Period furniture and decor would certainly help warm the place u a bit.  The best spaces are the entrance hall, - a neo-classical refit of the original great hall - and the the warmly, Victorian, panelled library.  I could spend many happy hours there.  The great hall retains its original medieval roof, and and bay window.  In the early eighteenth century Ayscoughfee was the home to Maurice Johnson the founder of the Spalding Gentleman's Society, an example of thriving provincial cultural life.  Its members included Pope, Addison, Sir Hans Sloane and the Lincolnshire antiquary William Stukeley.
The hall stands in the remains of a formal, walled garden of c1730, which contains the the only building in Lincolnshire to be designed by the great Sir Edwin Lutyens - the town War Memorial of 1925.  In addition there are a number of sixties additions: a cafe and an aviary.  The 'Buildings of England' suggests that the designer of the gardens was the local architect William Sands.  The yew hedges have long since escaped their original bounds and now form huge billowing cloud-shapes.  It would be a shame to loose them in a full restoration of the garden, but certain features, like the enormous, and missing, gate pier at the back of the house could be put back to match the surviving pier and that would add hugely to the romance of the place.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Own work: Life drawing XXXXII

From yesterday's class.....

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Own work: The Rustiche of Sebastiano Serlio

Yet another Rustiche drawing complete - there are, I think, twelve or so left to do.....

Croyland Abbey I

On Saturday afternoon, after lunch and an amble around Spalding, in blazing heat we travelled south across the Great Postland to Crowland, a tiny remote market town at the very southern edge of Lincolnshire.  There rising blunt and massive like some sort of butte carved by the wind above the houses stands Crowland, or Croyland, Abbey.  Not however the work of nature and time but the work of the hand of man both creative and destructive; a great fragment of what once was a vast church and monastic complex and a place of pilgrimage, for it was here on St Bartholomew's Day in 699 that the former warrior Guthlac came to do spiritual battle. To make Catharsis on the path to Theosis.  His reputation for holiness attracted others, and after his death King Athelbald of Mercia founded an abbey.  It was destroyed during the Viking invasions and was refounded sometime before the Norman Conquest.  It was dissolved in 1539, and all is now Ichabod.

What remains is now mainly from the time of Abbot Lytlington and is the work of Master William.  There is some surviving Norman work at the east end of the nave and at the west end too where it formed the east wall of a chapel built around what was thought of as the remains of Guthlac's cell.  The little metal plaque that marked the cell has gone.  The lower part of the west front dates from the middle of the 13th century.  I had hoped to bring you some pictures of the interior, but by the time we had walked around the inside the church had been locked.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Classic Car and Bike Show 2017

Midsummer has come around again and with it the annual Vintage Car and Motorbike show in Bourne.  Here are a few snaps of the event, which I took this morning. Hopefully no repetitions of images from previous years. (Apologies if there are!)