Were You Invited?

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This is a rather cool sculpture featuring one of Seward Johnson’s many works at Grounds For Sculpture.below is a paragraph from their website about the work.I added some more interest by using my nitecor flashlight to reveal the details.

Seward Johnson’s ‘Were You Invited?’ is inspired by French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir’s nineteenth-century masterpiece, ‘The Luncheon of the Boating Party’. In this specially designed and landscaped environment, viewers can actually step into the scene and mingle with the diners. In addition to the members of the Impressionist’s boating party are four figures seated around another table at the far end of the tableau. Joined in convivial conversation are realistic representations of sculptor Johnson himself with artists Bill Barrett, Red Grooms, and Andrzej Pitynski. A dashing character in period costume brandishes his cane and addresses those at the table asking, “Were you invited?” Phillip Bruno, collector and art gallery director, posed for this gentleman keeping out the party crashers. Since 1994, Johnson has been creating lifesized three-dimensional works based on well-known paintings that, as Johnson has said, “allow an intimacy with the paintings that the paintings don’t allow themselves.”

A mind boggling display.

 

 

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If you ever get the chance to visit the Mercer Museum in Doylestown,Pa,take it because it will blow your mind.This place is a time capsule featuring items from past times that were saved and displayed by a man on a mission who had a great vision to save history for future generations.It is several stories of thousands of items one may never see anywhere else.Shown in this photo on the lower left is an 1800 fire engine pumper that is just one small part of the collection and hangs by huge chains from the second story concrete walls. I had to hand hold everything,and bracing your camera for 1 second exposures can be a bit challenging.

Henry Mercer was a gentleman anthropologist. On a cruise up the Ruhr in early adulthood, Mercer was impressed by the eclipse of artisanal culture by industrial production, and resolved himself to preserving artifacts of pre-industrial life. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mercer collected pre-industrial tools and other implements of the past. He believed that the story of human progress and accomplishments was told by the tools and objects that people used and saw these time-honored crafts slowly disappearing from memory.

Mercer personally designed plans for a museum to house his collection, six stories tall and cast of poured-in-place concrete. Mercer’s museum was completed in 1916. In addition to tools, it displays furnishings of early Americana, carriages, stove plates, a gallows, antique fire engines, a whaleboat, and the Lenape Stone. The Spruance Library, which houses the Bucks County Historical Society’s archive of historical research materials, is located on its third floor.

 

Fonthill Castle

 

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This place is known as Fonthill castle and is located in Doylestown ,Pa.I photographed this amazing location at sunrise recently.Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The first of three Mercer buildings in Doylestown, Fonthill served as a showplace for Mercer’s famed Moravian tiles that were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Designed by Mercer, the building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and is significant as an early example of poured reinforced concrete. It almost felt like I was visiting Europe when I was here.

Majestic Ambler Theatre

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I photographed the restored Ambler movie theatre while visiting Ambler last week.I used my nitecor flashlight to reveal the rich color and detail of the place.The Ambler Theater was opened by its owner Warner Bros. on December 31, 1928, with the movie “Our Dancing Daughters” starring Joan Crawford. An exuberant Spanish Colonial style architecture was employed to create a magical facade with Terra cotta, spacious lobbies (entry lobby, main lobby, vestibule lobby, then foyer), an ornate auditorium with 1,228 seats, and a Gottfried pipe organ (which is long gone). The builder, Phillip Harrison, previously built the Seville (now Bryn Mawr) and Lansdowne theatres, which may explain the Spanish Colonial similarities. Prior movies in Ambler had been shown in an opera house, a second story Civil War era theatre.

Due to the competition from TV and the multiplexes, the Ambler was no longer viable to continue as a for profit theatre with mainstream movies and ceased showing 35mm films about 1969 to 1970. By this time the auditorium’s side walls and front part of the ceiling were draped over. From the 1970’s until 1997 the Ambler was operated as a Christian cinema, showing films in 16mm including The Robe. The Ambler closed again, waiting re-use. The Christian group sold the theatre in 2001 to businessmen, who in turn sold the theatre to the nonprofit: Ambler Theater, Inc.

The non-profit organization devoted two million dollars to renovations. Paint colors were chosen to match the original colors. No original carpet was found, so carpet was replicated from photographs with the appropriate colors selected. As the original ticket booth was long gone, a cheap modern ticket booth was removed and replaced with a retro style ticket booth. The ornate new ticket booth took its inspiration from the auditorium’s organ lofts.

Built in the former rear of the orchestra seating area are two ‘black-box stadium seated auditoriums, equipped with digital surround sound. One auditorium has 150 seats, the other has 110 seats. The Ambler reopened February 28, 2003, with those two auditoriums showing the movies Nicholas Nickleby and Real Women Have Curves.

As the original 30 foot towering vertical neon sign had been demolished in the late 1960’s, an exact replica was constructed by Bartush Signs and funded in part by a Keystone Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The neon tower was installed in September, 2005 and officially lit on October 21, 2005.

Renovation of the original front section of the auditorium began March, 2007. It reopened October 5, 2007 with the film Into the Wild. The original proscenium arch opening hosts the large movie screen (30 feet wide for ‘scope films), ornate decoration on the side walls, and organ lofts. This auditorium with stadium seating for 280 people has a ceiling with what looks like wood beams, but in reality they are made of plaster.

Recent renovations have restored the marquee to its original 1928 majesty complete with neon trim and chaser lights. Additional fundraising is being undertaken for more renovations, including restoration of the facade.

Asbestos Built This Place

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This is an interior view of the Lindenwold castle located in Ambler,Pa.I took a few days off to seek out some photo subjects and stopped at the castle to see if I could snap some images.At first a friendly staff member escorted me to shoot yesterdays image outside but when we came back to the castle,she said I could photograph the upstairs by myself if I wanted.I was surprised by the offer and quickly jumped on the chance. The place was amazing and I could only imagine the elite figures from times past that gathered here to socialize. Off to the left is what she told me was called the blue room,which contrasted with the rich wood throughout this room. Dr Matteson’s fortune was made primarily by his work with asbestos.