New Photos

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Mark Hertzberg
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:51 am
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New Photos

Post by Mark Hertzberg »

I have two new posts on www.wrightinracine.com
Just posted are photos from nine minutes at the Home and Studio; posted yesterday: two hours at Unity Temple.

Mark Hertzberg
Mark Hertzberg

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: New Photos

Post by SDR »

What a holiday treat: great close-ups (and beautiful color) of two vital Wright sites. Thank you !

In particular, it's fine to see the forms and details at the Chicago Avenue facade of the Studio, the lecturn and light fixtures at Unity Temple---and especially the restored (replaced) exterior lettering on the building. Although I regret the immature forms of the Roman face (or font)---whether drawn by Wright or by a drafter---it is good to see that the characters appear well-made and -applied.

S

Mark Hertzberg
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:51 am
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Re: New Photos

Post by Mark Hertzberg »

Thank you, Stephen!
Mark Hertzberg

SDR
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Re: New Photos

Post by SDR »

I don't find an original drawing for the letters mounted above the entry to Unity Temple, other than the ones sketched on this presentation perspective.

Image


Here they are, in good condition:

https://vincemichael.com/2010/10/04/uni ... ng-stolen/

Here they are coming loose from the building (but not yet damaged or removed by vandals):

https://www.archdaily.com/112683/ad-cla ... ht-3-image

And here are their ghosts, presumably after removal:

http://www.mcnees.net/architecture/prai ... o_remc.jpg


The array of letterforms as a unit scan fairly well; they make an attractive block of text, and are nicely framed by the dingbats or devices Wright provided as a framing element. It is the individual letters that I find ill-formed: some letters are wider than they ought to be---the A and V, for instance---while others are badly formed, like the M. The spacing between H and E in "THE" is too tight. And, the thicks and thins, which were placed by their makers, two thousand years ago and more, to reflect the thicks and thins that appear naturally when using the pen or the brush, are here "all over the map."

It's not as if Mr Wright and his crew didn't know what good Roman letters look like; see for instance the title block on a drawing for the Fricke commission, of a couple of years earlier:

Image



A commonly-cited source for the forms of this alphabet is found on Trajan's Column, constructed in Rome in the second century A.D.

https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/trajans-c ... -8-cpd.jpg

Image

These letters have served admirably as signage or inscription on public buildings over many centuries, carved into stone surfaces or cast in bronze and applied to those surfaces. The latter often looked like this:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/744309952/ ... _ZEALw_wcB

The letters on Unity Temple, cut from flat stock of brass or bronze, were less costly to make no doubt than cast ones; perhaps their very flatness appealed to Wright's taste for some reason. But who drew them ? Was something lost in translation ? Their irregularity oddly echos that of the lettering on the presentation drawing. In any event, let us hope that they will stay in place for at least as long as did the first set; as thin and narrow pieces of metal attached with few (visible )fasteners, they cannot be expected to be as rigid and as permanent as carved or cast ones. But at least they resemble the originals---for better or worse.

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: New Photos

Post by Roderick Grant »

To me, the "R" looks top heavy.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: New Photos

Post by SDR »

Agreed. That R might have been influenced by a titling face---in whose hand ?---that Wright used as early as 1890 and which was still in use, essentially intact, in 1907:

Image 1890

Image 1907

Image 1907

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