Palace of Versailles: Grand Trianon

Palace postcards
Garden postcards


Versailles. – Palais du Grand Trianon

Street view.
Floor plan 1714-5

The Grand Trianon was erected by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1687 on the site of the former ‘Porcelain Trianon’. Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 to get away from the arduous pomp of life in the court and to pursue his affair with Madame de Montespan, the Grand Trianon is perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble found on the royal estate of Versailles.
Website.

The Grand Trianon is a château (palace) situated in the northwestern part of the Domain of Versailles. It was built at the request of King Louis XIV of France (r. 1643–1715), as a retreat for himself and his maîtresse en titre of the time, the Marquise de Montespan (1640–1707), and as a place where he and invited guests could take light meals (collations) away from the strict étiquette of the Court.
Wikipedia.

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Windsor Castle


East Terrace, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

Street View (overview)


Henry VIII. Gateway, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

Street View

The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.

Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become “the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England”.[6] Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.
Wikipedia

Official site

Alhambra, Granada, Spain


Granada Alhambra No 3 Patio de Arrayanes y el Haren
(Court of the Myrtles and the Harem)

Published Abelardo Linares, Alhambra, Granada

Street View

Alhambra

The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against a backdrop of brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace complex started life as a walled citadel before going on to become the opulent seat of Granada’s Nasrid emirs. Their showpiece palaces, the 14th-century Palacios Nazaríes, are among the finest Islamic buildings in Europe and, together with the gorgeous Generalife gardens, form the Alhambra’s great headline act.
Lonely Planet

On looking from the royal villa the spectator beholds the side of the palace of Alhamra, that commands the quarter of the city, called the Albayzin. The massive towers are connected by solid walls, constructed upon the system of fortifications which generally prevailed in the middle ages. These walls and towers follow all the turnings and windings of the mountain; and, previously to the invention of gunpowder and artillery, this fortress must have been almost impregnable.
The Alhamra at Granada

Media Centre for Art History: panoramas
Masterpieces of Islamic Architecture
Wikipedia

Court of Myrtles

The Court of the Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes) is part of the palace and fortress complex of the Alhambra. It is located east of the Gilded Room (Cuarto Dorado) and west of the Patio of the Lions and the Baths. Its current name is due to the myrtle bushes that surround the central pond and the bright green colour of which contrasts with the white marble of the patio. It was also called the Patio of the Pond or the Reservoir (Patio del Estanque o de la Alberca) because of the central pond, which is 34 metres long and 7,10 meters wide. The patio is divided in two sides by the pond, which receives its water from two fountains. The space has chambers and porticoes around it. These porticoes rest on columns with cubic capitals, which have seven semicircular arches decorated with fretwork rhombuses and inscriptions praising God. The central arch is greater than the other six and has solid scallops decorated with stylised vegetal forms and capitals of mocarabes.

The most important chambers that surround the Patio are the ones in the north side, which are part of the Comares Palace, the official residence of the King.
Wikipedia

The Main Canal acts as a mirror that reflects the building structures and breaks the structural horizontal lines of the court.

In the Hispano-Muslim houses, the courtyard is vitally important. It is the core of family life, around which all the other rooms are distributed. It is difficult to distinguish the wealth of a family by looking at the external part of a house or palace, as opposed to its courtyard.

The palaces are like houses but larger and more densely decorated, though with the same structural pattern and functions. The Court of the Myrtles takes its name from the dense bushes of this plant, also called mirth, that grow on the longer sides of the pond. Originally these green areas were placed lower and with a greater variety of short trees to prevent their tops from rising too much.

The Pool plays an important part in the architectural and aesthetic definition of the site, with its surface of water that acts as a mirror and reflects the surrounding structures, generating a geometrical projection that breaks the structural horizontal lines of the place.

The Court was paved with sizable white marble slabs, although at the end of the 16th century the floor was enlarged.
Alhambra y Generalife (offical website)

Fort Cornwallis, Penang


The Fort, Penang

Street View–approximate location

Fort Cornwallis is a bastion fort in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. The fort never engaged in combat during its operational history.
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Captain Francis Light took possession of Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original fort. It was a nibong (Malay: palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures, covering an area of 417.6 square feet (38.80 m2). The fort’s purpose was to protect Penang from pirates and Kedah. Light died in 1794. In 1804, after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars, and during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as Governor of Penang, Indian convict labourers rebuilt the fort using brick and stone. Fort Cornwallis was completed in 1810, at the cost of $80,000, during Norman Macalister’s term as Governor of Penang. A moat 9 metres wide by 2 metres deep once surrounded the fort but it was filled in the 1920s due to a malaria outbreak in the area.

Even though the fort was originally built for the British military, its function, historically, was more administrative than defensive. For example, the judge of the Supreme Court of Penang, Sir Edmond Stanley, was first housed at Fort Cornwallis when the court opened on 31 May 1808. During the 1920s Sikh police of the Straits Settlements occupied the fort.
Wikipedia.

Fort Cornwallis was regularly criticised by naval and military experts who deemed it far too small, too weak and too low to be of any real defence to the island. Built on a sandy ground, cracks regularly appeared in its walls. The ditch or moat was constructed in 1805 and added a degree of extra defence but a glacis on the two land-facing sides of the fort was deemed ineffective. With barely enough room on one side for a suitable Esplanade (parade ground: today’s green space) and the town close by on the other there was no room for expansion.

Inside the fort were barracks to house artillery regiments and officers, storerooms for armaments, gunpowder, gun carriages, clothing and foodstuffs, as well as kitchens, toilets and even a cell to house military prisoners. Access was via bridges leading to the two gateways seen today. Over each gateway was a building which served as officers’ quarters. The majority of cannons mounted on the fort’s ramparts were 9 and 18-pounders. Even when firing blanks they shook the walls and threatened the structure.
Fort Cornwallis, Penang (official website)

The Prefecture, Algiers

S. — ALGER. — La Préfecture

Google Maps

The Prefecture, also known as the Wilaya building, was built in 1904. The building’s architecture is a blend of a multitude of styles. The dominant style is Neo-Moorish colonial. The walls of the Prefecture are snow white, which makes it highly visible. The facade of the building has a variety of splendid engravings and ornaments. The pillars give the Prefecture a very aristocratic look. Architect Henri Petit designed the building.
GPSMyCity

Palace of Fontainebleau, France


Palais de FONTAINEBLEAU – Cour des Adieux.

Google Street View.

Official Website
Media Center for Art History (panorama views of rooms)
17th century plan

Used by the kings of France from the 12th century, the hunting lodge of Fontainebleau, standing in the heart of the vast forest of the Ile-de-France in the Seine-et-Marne region, was transformed, enlarged and embellished in the 16th century by King François I, who wanted to make it a “new Rome”. Surrounded by an immense park, the palace, to which notable Italian artists contributed, combines Renaissance and French artistic traditions. The need to expand and decorate this immense palace created the conditions for the survival of a true artistic centre.

The construction of the palace began in 1528. The modifications undertaken later by François I’s successors and carried out on different scales until the 19th century have left their imprint on the physionomy of the present complex, which today comprises five courtyards placed in an irregular manner and surrounded by an ensemble of buildings and gardens.
UNESCO World Heritage listing


FONTAINEBLEAU — Le Palais. Perspective du Chateau et de l’Etang
Published Levy & Neurdein Reunis, 1920s

Google Street View.

PALAIS DE FONTAINEBLEAU
Pavillon Louis XV – Entrée du Musée Chinois et l’Étang aux Carpes
Louis XV Pavilion – Entrance to the Chinese Museum and the carps pond.
Published by Musées Nationaux

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The Wartburg, Eisenach, Germany

On reverse: Wartburg von N. O. (Kuranstalt Hainstein)

Not sure on date. Published Friedrich Bruckmann.

A castle near Eisenbach in the grand-duchy of Saxe-Weimar. It is magnificently situated on the top of a precipitous hill, and is remarkable not only for its historical associations but as containing one of the few well-preserved Romanesque palaces in existence. The original castle, of which some parts—including a portion of the above-mentioned palace (Landgrafenhaus)—still exist, was built by the landgrave Louis “the Springer” (d. 1123), and from this time until 1440 it remained the seat of the Thuringian landgraves. Under the landgrave Hermann I., the Wartburg was the home of a boisterous court to which minstrels and “wandering folk” of all descriptions streamed;[1] and it was here that in 1207 took place the minstrels’ contest (Sängerkrieg) immortalized in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Some years later it became the home of the saintly Elizabeth of Hungary (q.v.) on her marriage to Louis the Saint (d. 1227), to whom she was betrothed in 1211 at the age of four.[2] It was to the Wartburg, too, that on the 4th of May 1521, Luther was brought for safety at the instance of Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, and it was during his ten months’ residence here (under the incognito of Junker Jörg) that he completed his translation of the New Testament.

From this time the castle was allowed gradually to decay. It was restored in the 18th century in the questionable taste of the period; but its present magnificence it owes to the grand-duke Charles Alexander of Saxe-Weimar, with whom at certain seasons of the year it was a favourite residence.

The most interesting part of the castle is the Romanesque Landgrafenhaus. This, besides a chapel, contains two magnificent halls known as the Sängersaal (hall of the minstrels)—in which Wagner lays one act of his opera—and the Festsaal (festival hall). The Sängersaal is decorated with a fine fresco, representing the minstrels’ contest, by Moritz von Schwind, who also executed the frescoes in other parts of the building illustrating the legends of St Elizabeth and of the founding of the castle by Louis the Springer. The Festsaal has frescoes illustrating the triumphs of Christianity, by Welter. In the buildings of the outer court of the castle is the room once occupied by Luther, containing a much mutilated four-post bed and other relics of the reformer. The famous blot caused by Luther’s hurling his ink-pot at the devil has long since become a mere hole in the wall, owing—it is said—to the passion of American tourists for “souvenirs.”

The armoury (Rüstkammer) contains a fine collection of armour, including suits formerly belonging to Henry II. of France, the elector Frederick the Wise and Pope Julius II. The great watch-tower of the castle commands a magnificent view of the Thuringian forest on the one side and the plain on the other.
From 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica via Wikisource

Street View

Website with virtual tour.
Wikipedia.

Osaka Castle, Osaka


The majestic castle-tower looked up in the sky, Osaka.
Post-1930

Street View

In 1583, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), a powerful feudal lord and warrior during the Sengoku period, built Osaka Castle during a period of unrest which had followed numerous wars over the previous decades. Obsessed with gold, Hideyoshi insisted that gold be applied to much of the castle’s interior furnishing, with this motif also appearing on the exterior awnings to this day. Upon completion, Hideyoshi held the castle as a stronghold, which led to a secession of the wars that were raging in Japan at that time – essentially unifying the country and bringing temporary peace.

As history tends to prove, peace did not last forever, and numerous wars broke out over the coming centuries. Osaka Castle was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and not always by war – in 1665 the main castle tower was in fact destroyed by fire as a result of a lightning storm. After this period the castle stood for another 200 years, before again being destroyed during the Boshin War. The most recent (and hopefully permanent) iteration of Osaka Castle was reconstructed in 1928
Osaka Info

In 1583, Hideyoshi began construction at the former site of Honganji Temple and completed the magnificent castle, which was reputed as being unparalleled in the country. Hideyoshi, having employed the castle as his stronghold, succeeded in quelling the wars which had continued for more than one century, thereby unifying the entire nation. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who worked for Hideyoshi as his chief retainer, was appointed to the Shogun and he established the shogunate (government) in Edo (Tokyo). In 1615, Ieyasu ruined the Toyotomi family and destroyed Osaka Castle (in the Summer War of Osaka). Thereafter, the Tokugawa shogunate reconstructed Osaka Castle. It held the castle under its direct control until 1868, when the Tokugawa shogunate lost power and the castle fell.

In 1931, the Main Tower of the Castle was reconstructed in the center of Osaka Castle, which was used as a military base, with funds raised by the citizens.
The present-day Main Tower is the third generation. It follows the Main Tower from the Toyotomi period, which was destroyed by fire during the Summer War, and the tower from the Tokugawa period, which was struck by lightning and was burned down.
Osaka Castle

Wikipedia.

Balcomie Castle, Crail


Balcomie Castle — Crail

Street View

Balcomie Castle is a 16th Century L-plan tower house of five storeys and a garret, to which has been added an 18th century house. It consists of a main block and offset square wing, which only joins the main block at one corner. A small stair tower is corbelled out in one re-entrant angle, linking the first and second floors. Two two-storey bartizans, both with shot-holes, crown the wing’s gable. The small gatehouse also survives. There is a walled garden.

The fine plastered ceilings from here were taken to Dean Castle, near Kilmarnock. The lands were held by John de Balcomie in 1375, although nothing of the surviving castle is earlier than 16th century. The property passed in 1526 to the Learmonths of Clatto. Mary of Guise stayed at Balcomie after landing at Fifeness on her way to marry James V. Sir James Learmonth of Balcomie was one of the Fife Adventurers who, in 1598, tried to take land on Lewis and was slain for his pains. In 1705 Balcomie passed to the Hopes, then later to the Scotts of Scotstarvit, then the Erskine Earls of Kellie. The castle is now used as a farmhouse.
Scottish Castles Association