¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨



10.23.2008

Things That Please Me: Baroque Architectural Details

Yesterday I happened to be in the historic City Hall in Providence, Rhode Island. While I was supposed to be focusing on the interview at hand, all I could do was gaze at the opulent detailing around me in the 1878 building, which Google kindly informed me was in the Second Empire Baroque architectural style, popular in the late Victorian period.


I snapped a few photos surreptitiously - of the deliciously patterned walls in plaster relief...

The shamelessly decadent gilded curves on every available surface...

The ridiculously ornate lamps with frolicking plump cherubim...

Now, I'd like to think I've evolved from the Z-Gallerie fleur-de-lis wall-sconce aesthetic of my younger days, and I've sworn off Design Toscano for good - but I have to admit that cornices and crown molding still give me a thrill.

Here's the curious part. For all seven years that I lived in San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be happily tucked into one of the more famous "Painted Ladies", reputed to be a former bordello built in the late 1890's by Francophile architect James Francis Dunn. And I just today discovered that my old house was one of the few San Francisco examples of the Second Empire Baroque style, which caused me to swoon only yesterday in Providence!

That would've been me at 19, peeking out from the second-floor balcony. You can't see the winged mermaids on the roof in this picture.

Can I help it if I'm mysteriously drawn to decadence and excess, even in architecture?

2 comments:

Blood Milk said...

I love Jeanette Winterson! What is 'Tipping the Velvet' about? It looks lovely!
xoxo

. c h o k l i t . said...

Tipping the Velvet is a lovely book and BBC movie about saucy Victorian lesbians, of course! It's great fun, and a wonderful read.