Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where has all the Decoration gone?

500 odd years ago the top architects and craftsman’s built huge cathedrals, churches, grand houses and palaces for royalty, the clergy and the aristocracy. These buildings some of which still stand today are feats of engineering and works of art in a time when tools were basic. They didn’t have cranes and diggers to move vast and heavy sods of earth. They didn’t have power tools and lasers to carve and chisel mouldings, busts and ornate ceilings. All the work was done by hand and it usually took years to complete. Henry VIII was so impatient when the Great Hall at Hampton Court was being built that he forced the builders and masons to work through the night using candlelight to see what they were doing.

The decoration of these old buildings inside and out is so intricate and ornate, it amazes me how it was done. But what I find strange is that now in this modern era of technological building techniques we no longer have ornate sculptural buildings. Everything is plain, clean lines, and flat. Yes I know that a lot of city buildings are built to be greener and structurally advanced, but where are these buildings that are works of art as well.

Below are some of the pictures of Hampton Court Palace inside and out. Such an interesting building to look at, with its combination of Tudor and Baroque. The Tudor interior is a gorgeous world of colour and texture, as seen in the stained glass windows, tapestries and carvings in wood and masonry. The Baroque interior has wood panelling, amazing painted frescos on the ceilings, murals that span huge walls, gold and crystal chandeliers.



The entrance to the palace (Tudor) The Apartments of William & Mary (Baroque)


One of the tapestries adorning the Great Hall wall’s

Tudor corridor (Left) The Roof of the Great Hall (Right)




The Great Hall Coat of Arms on the ceiling Portrait of a young Elizabeth



The Cross over between Tudor and Baroque A mural going up the Kings Staircase A ceiling Fresco




The Gardens

I’m very lucky to live near these beautiful, historic buildings back home in England. Where thanks to the good work of Historical Royal Palaces, English Heritage and other private houses these beautiful buildings are looked after and restored to preserve and to teach future generations about their country’s history and culture.


  1. I'm glad we have these old masterpieces to enjoy. Lots of new buildings are bland, but there are some which are amazing.

  2. Lovely thanks for this the architecture is stunning

  3. Gorgeous! Great post.

    Cheers :-)
    - CoconutPalmDesigns

  4. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing. Something I discovered here in France, and Europe in general, are the sculptures in the cemeteries. Some are so ornate and many of Peg's pics come from them.
    I grew up in the suburbs of L.A., and don't remember any nearby like that.

  5. I agree! I like contemporary architecture, but many modern buildings can be so boring and cold. It's neat to see buildings that really show a sense of pride in art and beauty.

  6. I LOVE this article! Hampton Court is one of my favourite places, especially as a trained tapestry weaver. There is a wing of the building that is devoted to the restoration of the ancient tapestries. It used to be my dream job, before I got bitten by the travelling bug...
    Thanks for the tour!
    Artophile. :)