Thursday, March 17, 2016

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 238

 Soissons Cathedral Basilica, Soissons, France, ca 1964

The black and white photograph on this 1964 postcard shows the Soissons Cathedral Basilica in Soissons, France.  Soissons is located on the Aisne River in northern France in the Picardy region.   One of the most ancient French towns, it is the see of an Roman Catholic diocese dating from about 300. 

This Gothic structure was begun in 1177 and completed in 1479.   The western tower, on the right, dates from the mid-13th century and is 216 feet or 66 meters high.  Looking at this postcard at first glance I thought it was Notre Dame in Paris but a closer inspection showed that it could not be.  It turns out that the tower at Soissons is an imitation of those of Notre Dame in Paris, see the 2012 pictures below for comparison.  Soissons has a rose window similar to those found in Notre Dame as well. 

 Notre Dame, Paris, France, 2012

A matching tower on the other side was planned but never built.  During World War I the tower and nave were severely damaged.  Stained glass from the 13th century can still be found in the choir end of the cathedral.  There is also a 15th century tapestry with scenes from the life of the patron saints, Gervasius and Protasius.   Adoration of the Shepherds, a painting by Rubens hangs in the northern transept along with a Philippe de Champaigne painting.  Some of the glass windows from this cathedral are on permanent loan exhibited at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. 

The stamp is also interesting. 

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