Monday, 23 April 2012

Tanker om bok - Hugh Hollinghurst: Classical Liverpool - an inside story

Tittel: Classical Liverpool - an inside story
Forlag:Liverpool History Society
Format:21 x 15 cm

Cover illustrations: St George's Great Hall window (top picture). Meleager and Atalanta (detail) from the studio of Paul Peter Rubens in the Walker Art Gallery. (in the middle, left) and hydria  with Dionysus, Athene, Apollo and Artemis in the World Museum. (Hydria is the vase or container used for wine or water)

From the back cover of the book:
Classical Liverpool: an inside story
"Classical Liverpool: an inside story explains and illustrates the glories of the Classical tradition inside Liverpool’s buildings. Like its predecessor, Classical Liverpool: language,sculpture and architecture, it includes Latin and Greek inscriptions, sculptural relief and architectural design. But an interior can afford to be more colourful and detailed than the exterior: St George’s Great Hall for example contains a wealth of Classical symbolism and allusion that expresses the aspirations and ideals of theVictorian era. Coloured illustrations and a detailed explanation are given of this, including the tiled floor, not often open to view.
In addition, the paintings of the Walker Art Gallery and the Greek vases in the World Museum add an extra dimension to Liverpool’s Classical scene, and these bring to life the
myths, legends and history of the Greco-Roman world. Most of the interiors are accessible and well known like the Port of Liverpool, India and Cunard Buildings, the Victoria Gallery,
Martins Bank, and the Picton Library; some are hidden gems like the Vines and Philharmonic Hotels; others have restricted access such as the Philharmonic Hall and the Hornby Library; a few are not open to the public like the Athenaeum, the Medical Institution and the Oratory. However, each chosen interior is illustrated in colour so that the riches of Liverpool’s Classical inside story can be fully understood and appreciated."

"Pantheon" dome  - Port of Liverpool Building - Photo:RandiAa©
Today I got this very nice little book that I had ordered. I have not read everything in detail yet, but it was so appealing that I had to take my time to a first browse through. I see that I must return to Liverpool and learn more about these places that I did not have time to seek out the last time I was there.
This is a kind of successor to Classical Liverpool - language sculpture and architecture. But here we go inside the magnificent buildings and museums. This little gem of an "art book" focuses on the details of architecture and decorations,  sculptures and paintings.
Incredible how much it covers just on 134 pages, the illustrations are good and descriptive. Some of the places the book deals with and gives us an interesting picture of: St George's Hall, Walker Art Gallery, World Museum, Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Building (Port of Liverpool Building), Cunard Building, Liver Building - and a lot more. The last 4-5 pages is a smart index of key words for a quick look-up of places and "items".

One of the buildings we "go inside" is Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Building (Port of Liverpool Building), described on pp.102-105. My photo above is from the dome inside this glorious building. On p. 102 is described some of the magnificent stained glass windows with symbols representing different countries "belonging" to the British Empire.:
Inside Port of Liverpool Building - Photo:RandiAa©
Port of Liverpool Building - stained glass windows - Photo:RandiAa©
Stained glass windows -  coat of arms - Photo:RandiAa©
"Colonies and protectorates have a standard design and may have a Latin motto" (p.102), then some of the mottoes are mentioned.
Port of Liverpool Building - inside the hall - Photo:RandiAa©
Port of Liverpool Building - "colonies in all directions" - Photo:RandiAa©
The dome from the outside:
Port of Liverpool Building -  Photo:RandiAa©
The Cunard Building, which I also visited is mentioned in the book, focusing on the classical and Egyptian decoration in The Board Room:
The Cunard Building -  Photo:RandiAa©

The Cunard Building -  Photo:RandiAa©
I highly recommend this interesting book for those who go for something special when visiting Liverpool - there is more to go for than football-matches.

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