Historic Places

The Green Animals Topiary Garden (My Newport Adventures)

Brayton Hall, the Brayton family's former home, is located about 20 minutes outside Newport in the nearby town of Portsmouth.  The primary attraction of this site isn't the house, but the garden, popularly known as the Green Animals Topiary Garden. It has more than 80 topiaries shaped of like animals and objects alongside may other trees and flowers. My favorite topiaries were the owl,… Continue reading The Green Animals Topiary Garden (My Newport Adventures)

Gargoyles

Gargoyles to Call My Own

Gargoyle collecting isn't among the most popular of hobbies, so I may be on the road to becoming a trendsetter. I purchased these two little grotesques at the New York Renaissance Faire this past weekend. I've named them Toulouse and Berlioz in honor of one of my favorite Disney movies, The Aristocats. According to the salesperson, Toulouse is a grotesque baby… Continue reading Gargoyles to Call My Own

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Reims Cathedral, France

This gargoyle on Reims Cathedral seems to have had a head transplant some time since the Middle Ages! The concept is actually not that unusual, since centuries of running water often erode functioning gargoyles over time. It's difficult to tell from this photo if the replacement was done in metal or a differently-colored stone. Either way, the end result… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Reims Cathedral, France

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Pohjola Building, Helsinki, Finland

The 1901 Pohjola building in Helsinki, Finland is decorated with many grotesques representing figures from Finland's mythology. The word "Pohjola" itself refers to a place in the myth Kalevala,which is Finland's national epic, and the people and animals on the building are presumably from that epic. Pohjola may also refer to the name of the insurance company… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Pohjola Building, Helsinki, Finland

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Chartres Cathedral, France

This grotesque is on the west portal of Chartres Cathedral - among the grandest and most famous of all French Gothic churches. While its close cousin in Paris is famous for its gargoyles, Chartres is celebrated for its beautiful stained glass and profuse sculptural decoration. Much of this sculptural work is clustered around its nine arched doors (portals);… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Chartres Cathedral, France

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

Today's grotesque came to my attention via Atlas Obscura, a fantastic place to find fun, quirky facts and interesting locations to visit. This little bull figure lives on one side of the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The church is heavily-laden with sculptural decorations of many styles and subjects, but this bull has a story separate… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Saint Louis, Missouri

I don't come across either gargoyles or grotesques on commercial buildings very often in my research, which is why I so greatly appreciate them on the rare occasions that they do come along. You don't typically think of history and important architecture when someone mentions the word "Budweiser", but the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and headquarters in Saint Louis, Missouri is… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Saint Louis, Missouri

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Chateau de Pierrefonds, Oise, France

Most of the time, gargoyles perform their function as gutters by sticking out from the side of a building and diverting water horizontally. This gargoyle on the 12th-century Chateau de Pierrefonds in France has a different approach. He sends water downward as his long body slithers down the castle wall. I'm not sure if he is an alligator, crocodile, enormous… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Chateau de Pierrefonds, Oise, France

Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: St. Vitus, Prague

The rooster is one of early Italian St. Vitus's attributes, so it's quite fitting that a rooster gargoyle can be found on his beautiful Gothic church in Prague. Some people think that this figure depicts an eagle. I disagree, but I can understand how one might come to that conclusion without knowing about the saint's association to the rooster.… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: St. Vitus, Prague