March 2, 2011

Sherborne England....Observations

Feeling like I am in a fairy tale, the English countryside is this beautiful.
It's a chilly, damp, early spring with fresh crisp green everywhere, which magically highlights the stone in this ancient village.

Old Sherborne Castle's original owner was Sir Walter Raleigh, damaged by Cromwell's men and later destroyed by Parliament, it's stark beauty is hauntingly surreal
Sir Raleigh built a new home now known as Sherborne Castle. The Digby family currently resides here since their ancestors purchased it in the 1760's. Portions of the castle are open to the public
For a great non-fiction read. The story of Jane Digby;  a woman born to excessive wealth and privilege who abandons everything; her family, wealth and strict social protocol of the era for fearless adventure and a 'scandalous' romance. Her story would shock today's society.
Let's go........
My eyes are drawn to the architecture, the small details of paint colors, the shape of an exterior lamp, ancient building materials, and on and on is where my focus lies.
Most of the in-town structures were constructed from the 1300 to 1600's. If we took away the new window and the gutter, this home would appear as it has for centuries. Even a small sampling of the original roof remains
The patterns, particularly the top ridge, the columns and the high gloss door
A less threatening pattern at the top. Take note of the window mullions, hand cut stone.
Carved stone entrance pediment with columns....centuries old. Love to stand back and imagine all those that passed
I am usually here in late summer when flowers are everywhere. The beauty of this time of year is the rich honey colored stones stark beauty, unadorned, brings the structures to center stage
Love this, lose the single shrub
"The Doors of Sherborne".........could sound like an old book title.........the stories of what lies beyond
PERFECTION! Take a good look at this OIL based paint, it is practically mirror like. In the US the ban on oil based paints has taken off and is official in most states. It's fumes are considered hazardous and a minor pollutant. This makes me crazy; oil paint? What about cigarettes?!
contemplating a smuggling ring.....are you in?
Many doors have the wooden piece at the base to deflect water and I am liking it. Love the glass, it adds light while lending privacy.........."quite clevah" as the British would say

Ever have coffee from a 'French Press?' Forgot how completely easy this is to make and the coffee is rich and creamy, will be pulling mine back out when I get home
A medieval entrance to the main streets of town. Legend has it that the "most despicable of criminals" were hung from this spot. Look at all the yummy architectural details beyond
Door to a school from the 1300's
Charming Tudor with original lead windows. From age, they are a bit crooked but that just adds to it's charm! Love the national save and preserve mentality.

This centerpiece of the market began as a monk's wash center......remember, all and anyone affiliated with the church, had the dough
Notice the carved stone vault ceiling?
Love the story of this stunning building. Built in 1440 and signed off by Henry VIII, it's use today is as originally intended, an 'Almshouse' for the elderly and the poor of town. If selected they will have free care by turning over their few worldly possessions. Currently run by private charities.
Let's go in........I knocked on the entrance door and the head matron, effusively apologetic, asked if i would "be so kind to come with notice and she would be happy to take me around." She wanted to tidy a bit first.........And by and large that gracious and kind demeanor permeates the culture
Stunning isn't it? Look at the tile flooring, red and black squares, yes original and intact
A side entrance. Yes again, an original door AND original (i know i keep saying that...sorry)  hinges and hardware. The wood of the door is one solid board, imagine the size of the tree
Remember the Digby's? No, they do not own this pub. However, they were and are so influential the name appears everywhere.
Note the sign saying "free house?" This means they are not beholden to any one brewery and can sell any beer they choose. Increasingly becoming rare as it is a more costly alternative
Crazy for the framing used on most signage

Classical  sign, 'fish and chips'. Again there is that gorgeous oil based paint. 
Personally great design is about contrasts; in the garden, indoors and outdoors. The gloss of the paint with it's subtle formality is a stark contrast to the rough, age-worn stone. These opposites perfectly compliment each other. Until my smuggling ring is up and running, you can use a high gloss water based paint on doors, sills and shutters.......another benefit? Easy to clean. 
Heading "home" the days are flying by........have a great week..... Cheers!

A very special friend crafts 'one-of-a-pair' lamps from found objects. These are old clock roman numerals turned lamps

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