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Spaulding Print Room
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16019
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's more on that print table, owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is offered as an example of the type; note that it doesn't feature a slanted viewing surface.

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1972.60.8a,b/

SDR
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1377

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick Grant wrote:
The room, as has been suggested, may have been meant as an addition to William S. Spaulding's own home.


That's right... not being familiar with Boston, William Spalding's Back Bay city townhouse was most likely sandwiched into a developed neighborhood. This would explain why what we know of the project seems to confirm Wright did not consider this a "building" in the usual sense. However, such a location would have something to do with changes he made regarding the rooms windows, the tall "radiator window", and of course the height incorporated into the design itself which could simply be a function of clearing neighboring buildings for better access to daylight.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have volumes 9 through 11 of the monographs, preliminary studies 1917-1932, to which I rarely refer. There in Mono 9/55-57, under my nose, is Spaulding, including the damaged color elevation, the plan of the upper level and two drawings not published elsewhere, including the north wall.

The perspective we have is a cleaned up version of a sketchy drawing, the only bit of new information being a scribbled date, 1920, to one side.

The other sketch is illuminating, a section toward the north wall prior to the inclusion of the skylight. At this early stage, the print room was not a separate square, but filled most of the rectangular space. There are 6 pairs of casement windows at the very top of the room, above the display cases, with a 7th somewhat obliterated by a wall cordoning off the east end, where the fireplace room is. The stair to the upper level is within the gallery space. The ante room at the other end is not there at all. Next to that sketch is a cross section aimed at the west wall with the entrance into the gallery space off-center, implying a shallow vestibule the depth of the cabinetry. I guess the only information to be gleaned from this rough drawing is that up by the ceiling, at least, there was room for north-facing windows the entire length of the room.
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick, is it the image posted in this thread:

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewtopic.php?t=10285&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15&sid=09870074b91201ecf5e2e3dcac8ceeb7

Or is there another drawing you're referring to? If it is the sketch, would it be possible for you to send me or upload a higher resolution image? I'm curious about some of the little thumbnail sketches.

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. My personal life has been busy the past few weeks and I'm in the process of pretty much entirely rebuilding the model. It won't look any different, but it will function much better, especially when it comes time for David to render it. I'm almost finished fortunately, but it's been time consuming.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16019
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was the effect of ultraviolet light on papers and pigments understood in 1920 ?

SDR
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Meisolus



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, the Spauldings absolutely understood this. From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website:

"In 1921, the brothers William S. and John T. Spaulding donated their famous collection of over six thousand fine Japanese prints to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, but with an unusual condition. In order to preserve the delicate colors of the woodblock prints, which fade rapidly when exposed to light, they specified that the prints must never be exhibited in the galleries."

My theory is that the print room was actually for the museum, not the Spaulding residence.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meisolus, yes, it's the same image, but the one posted is actually larger and clearer than the one in the monograph.

What is it you want to know about the sketches?
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Meisolus



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick, I'm was hoping to see if there was any hint of what the radiator covers would look like. There is something shown under the mezzanine on the long section that might be cabinetry, or something else, but it's too faint to tell. I don't think any of the other thumbnails will be helpful, unfortunately.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meisolus wrote:
My theory is that the print room was actually for the museum, not the Spaulding residence.


The sheet with the sketches could have originated when the possibility of a room for Spaulding was first brought up in 1914. Since the original configuration is quite different than the eventual result, it may have been for an existing location owned by Spaulding (per Pfeiffer) or the Back Bay townhouse per Julia Meech. Both locations might have been considered. Regardless, things would have come to a halt in 1917 when Spaulding built the vault at his estate.

The eventual design, especially the squaring off to 30'x30' of the room and overhead light well, would have been natural modifications for a museum context, which is exactly what he proposed to the Met in 1919. The Boston museum had already completed their own "Japanese" court yards and display rooms so it's unlikely Wright would have a hand in anything there, so off it went to New York unsolicited.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meisolus, the area under the mezzanine contains cabinetry, not the radiator. There is a squiggly thing above the cross-section showing a row of things that could be slats, and that may be related to the cases, but it's too indistinct to be certain.

JimM, the difference between the elongated room of the sketch and the finished product is not that great. The overall space is probably the same in dimension. The rectangular version has a room under a balcony with the stairway in the main space, wrapped around the fireplace, as seen in the east elevation, bottom, right, but there is no ante room on the west side, which is why the room ended up rectangular rather than square. I am sure the overall space of the square gallery and the two side rooms is the same as the rough sketched space. For whatever reason, the windows on the north wall were eventually deleted and the skylight added. Since the room evolved in a single location from a rough sketch to the final product, it would appear that the museum version was not a new design.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked up the Spaulding brothers in Julia Meech's book, and found their Boston address. The mansion at 99 Beacon Street, NE corner at Arlington, is intact, though no longer a private residence. It appears to have been built in a "U" shape around a court, now filled in, big enough to accommodate the gallery, though what we are referring to as the north wall actually faces SE, a fact that may have caused deleting the row of windows facing the morning sun.

There also seems to be their country house intact at Prides Crossing, Beverly, MA, an enormous house on 15 acres.

(The Boston Google street images are not easy to navigate. Apparently the fool who took the images didn't know what he was doing, and moving about gives one views of buildings on their sides and an occasional glimpse of the top of the car carrying the camera.)
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry it's been quite a while since I posted, but I'm sure you all understand how life can be. I've been busy rebuilding the majority of the model so that it will be easier for David to render when the time comes. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate to any visual progress.

I finally had time to tackle the lighting in the two auxiliary spaces. I'm not totally happy with it, but I think it's getting there. I feel like the fireplace room has sufficient lighting but the entrance room maybe needs some more to adequately light the prints.

Here is the fireplace room. I placed the top of the light fixture level with the top of the door. SDR, per your advice, I bumped up the size a bit and I think it helps.





Here is the entrance room. What do you guys think of the prints? Obviously, they will all be different when the room is done, but I'm trying to lay things out. I'm wondering if the matting should be even bigger based on how Wright displayed them at the Art Institute, but I personally don't want the print to be overwhelmed by the matting. Also, based on the AI exhibit, I'm going to keep the frames all the same size, so there will be some variation regarding the matting thickness regardless.

I worry about that one light fixture next to the radiator cover. It seems buried in the corner.







Here is the landing of the staircase. I added a sconce on top of the newel post like at the Fricke house. Great idea or really stretching? Also, this gives everyone the ability to chime in on the radiator case debate. It bothers me that they are such a huge and prominent design element, but I don't know how to make them smaller and still relate to the rooms while being the least bit faithful to the drawings. I guess a good question at this time is if Wright ever did a similarly grand case somewhere else?

Roderick, I've been thinking very hard about your suggestion to make the case as tall as the base board on the mezzanine. The problem is that the base board is much taller than the trim board on the other side.



As always, I look forward to your suggestions.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That radiator case in the ante room looks way too grand. Take into account the depth of the caps as shown in the ground floor plan, as compared to the much deeper shelves under the windows, which suggest separate elements. The windows should be the same size in both ante room and fireplace room, even though the exterior view of those two windows, being so close to the neighboring house, would be practically impossible to see. I find it hard to believe FLW would make a radiator case that is any larger than it needs to be to accommodate the radiator.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16019
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all of that.

It still seems a shame to me to force unknown light fixtures into the model solely for the purpose of "accurately" lighting the model. That strikes me as putting
the cart before the horse -- or some such metaphor. (Is that a metaphor, Roderick ?) But I've resigned myself . . .

And the discontinuous moldings strike me as odd, even un-Wrightian. But I've heard the rationale. This argument gets too close to "Why is this model being
built," and again I'm resigned to it. If nothing else the situation is analogous to the (re)creation of historic building designs in any medium; the problems are
often identical, we suppose. So this exercise is a chance for those discussions to be rehashed -- if anyone has the will.

(One thing is clear; everyone would like to be a designer. In some cases here it's necessary to make decisions in the absence of the Master; in others
the temptation to substitute our own taste for his has been indulged. I'm as guilty of that as anyone here . . .)

I'd lose that lone light fixture by the radiator, as a symbolic first step. As for the pictures, I don't think you'll find frames that thick and deep in photos of
the print exhibition, though they do seem to complement the architecture. Bigger mats wouldn't hurt; no sense second-guessing history even at this
level of detail, is there ?

SDR
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I changed the radiator covers. If you put some vases, or perhaps a nice Buddha statue on them, they'd make a great shelf for art. The one in the entrance is the same height as the wall trim and I made the window on the stairs the same height as the window/door at the mezzanine. There was no way to make it the same height as the windows in the entrance area, as it would almost come down to the landing and then there wouldn't be room for the radiator.

Please ignore everything else in the images. I'm fiddling with the prints and haven't finished the landing window.



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