click photo to enlarge
This is the third photograph of a volute handrail that I've posted on the blog, and like the other two it dates from the Georgian period. On our recent visit to the city of Kingston upon Hull we coincided with the annual Heritage Open Day, a nationwide event that features public and private buildings open to the public, usually at no charge. Anyone interested in historic architecture values the opportunity to enter buildings that are closed for the other three hundred and sixty four days, and in Hull we had a look in Trinity House School chapel and Maister House on the old High Street.
The latter is a flat fronted, three-storey Georgian town house of 1744-5 built for Henry Maister, a merchant. The only exterior ornament is a stone doorcase with a pediment and surround of the Ionic order. It is, in fact a quietly unassuming building of the sort that graces many streets in England. However, once you step inside the buildings piece de resistance hits you with full force. It is an open stairwell that rises the complete height of the building and is lit by a glazed roof lantern at the top. The stairs are stone, the walls decorated with stucco panels, brackets, swags and festoons, with sculpture a fine statue and paintings on the walls. The work is attributed to Joseph Page and Lord Burlington is reputed to have been consulted.
My eye was taken, as it often is, by the handrail up the stairs, and particularly by the volute newel on the ground floor. There is something about that shape and that way of terminating the rail that I find particularly satisfying and I couldn't stop myself from taking another photograph of this subject.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/13 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On