Pompeii, Italy

Peristyle of the House of the Golden (or Gilded) Cupids, Pompeii, Italy, March 28, 1921, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

There are recent photos of the garden here and here and here. It has been restored to what is believed to be its Roman appearance, based on archaeological research, including taking root castings.

This autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 25 797 S) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Florence, Italy


Pergola covered in wisteria and ivy in a garden of Villa Palmieri, Florence, ca. 1915, from the Arthur Peck Collection, via Oregon State University (OSU) Special Collections & Archives Commons on flickr.

The 14th century Villa Palmieri is credited with being the story-telling setting for Boccaccio’s Decameron.

To see this garden, its handsome ordering, the plants, and the fountain with rivulets issuing from it, was so pleasing to each lady and the three young men that all began to affirm that, if Paradise could be made on earth, they couldn’t conceive a form other than that of this garden that might be given it.

However, the garden was completely restructured in 1697 and then partially redesigned several times thereafter, according to current fashions, through to the 1920s.

Since 1986, the villa has been owned by the Italian government and houses part of the European University Institute.

Arthur Peck was a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Oregon Agricultural College from 1908 to 1948. During his long career, he created a teaching library of 24 boxes of glass lantern slides — now in OSU’s archives.

A study in steps: Schürhof, Basel

12 Museum of Culture, Basel, 2015, enclos*ure

After I took a number of photos of the hanging plant columns of the Basel Museum of Culture (during our visit at Thanksgiving), I turned my attention to the courtyard around them — the Schürhof — the floor of which is largely a set of low, wide steps descending to the museum lobby and gift shop.

The entrance to the courtyard and museum on Munsterplatz.

The street entrance to the courtyard and thus to the museum is through a simple archway on the Münsterplatz.

Before the museum was renovated in 2011 by Herzog & de Meuron, the Schürhof* was not open to the public.  The museum shared a door with the Museum of Natural Sciences around the corner.

Looking at a “before” photo (here, fourth image), the old courtyard appears to have been used at least partly as a parking lot.

27 Museum of Culture, Basel, 2015, enclos*ure
Looking out on the courtyard from the lobby.

The renovation excavated it to open up a new museum entrance in the base of the existing 1917 neoclassical building.

The other buildings that enclose the Schürhof are medieval.

28 Museum of Culture, Basel, 2015, enclos*ure

Above and below are three views from upper windows inside the museum.

29 Museum of Culture, Basel, 2015, enclos*ure
The entrance to the courtyard is in the upper left corner.

30 Museum of Culture, Basel, 2015, enclos*ure
You can see a plan of the courtyard here (fifth image).

Continue reading “A study in steps: Schürhof, Basel”

The Sunday porch: paint and vines

Ste-Catherine, Brussels, Sept. 2015, enclos*ure

These are not really porches, of course, but two café doorways and a storefront.

They caught my eye while we were walking around the Sainte-Catherine or Sint Katelijne neighborhood of Brussels, which is just northwest of the Grand’Place and La Bourse.

Rue de Flandre, Brussels, Sept. 2015, enclos*ure

The one pictured above is on Rue de Flandre.

Rue de Flandre, Brussels, Sept. 2015, enclos*ure

I believe I snapped this blue café, above, on Quai au Bois à Brûler, facing the site of the old Saint-Catherine Bassin or canal port, covered over since the 1870s.

Ste-Catherine, Brussels, Sept. 2015, enclos*ure

I like the way the ivy is used as both a decorative windowbox planting and low privacy screen.

A vine-covered storefront, also along Rue de Flandre.
Above, a mass of vines shades a closed storefront, also along Rue de Flandre.

Detail.
Detail of photo above.

Rue de Flandre is a good street on which to find an interesting restaurant.  We liked Viva M’Boma (old-fashioned Belgian food, emphasis on meat/offal) and Domaine de Lintillac (dishes from the southwest of France, emphasis on duck).

Click on any photo above to enlarge it.