Thursday, August 17, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 312

Church of Our Lady of Penha, Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Recently Bob and I took a short trip to Orcas Island and while we were wandering around in the Village one afternoon we stepped into a small secondhand shop where this photo postcard caught my eye and curiosity.  It is an unused card with photo credits to Wilson Gelatti.  It is an Impresso o Brasil por:  Ediotra Litoarte Ltda.  This Roman Catholic Church is known as Ingreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha or in English, the Church of Our Lady of Penha.  Card identifiers on the reverse of the card:  RPC  RJ-031.

Archbishop José Bothelho Matos of São Salvador da Bahia, had the church built in 1742 as an extension to his summer palace.  After his death in 1767 it was left to the Archdiocese.  Between 1813 and 1916 various Catholic brotherhoods used the church and grounds.  Today it is the property of the Archdiocese.  The church, located on the end of the Itapagipe Peninsula faces the Bay of All Saints.  The National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute added the church and the palace to its listings in 1941.

Constructed in stone and brick masonry the church exterior is Roccoco style decorated with pieces of azulejos.  The church has a single tower.  Inside are three Baroque-style altars and there is an elaborate painting by an unknown artist in the nave.  The church and palace grounds also include lovely gardens.  The palace is connected to the church by a roofed gallery.  Unlike other churches in the area it is surrounded by beaches and in a tamarind tree lined residential neighborhood. 

For additional information, see:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 311

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island – facing the Atlantic Ocean

This unused, deckle-edged color postcard was labeled “International” published for John M. Twomey Distributing Co., of Newport, Rhode Island using Curteich® 3-D natural color reproduction.  Deckle-edged cards were popular from the 1930s to the 1950s.  The card also has B-3 and D-14406 as an identifiers located in the upper right of the reverse where the stamp is to be placed.  The blurb at the lower left on the reverse describes the picture as “The Breakers facing the Atlantic Ocean, Cornelius Vanderbilt Mansion, Newport, R.I.  Open to visitors, May thru October, under auspices of the Preservation Society of Newport County.”

Built between 1893-1895 as the summer home for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, this 70-room mansion was designed by Richard Morris Hunt with interior decoration by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman.  It is a five-story structure with 62,482 square feet (5,804.8 m) of living space.  The estate covers 14 acres with the house occupying about 1 acre.  It sits on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  Although not visible on the card there are sculpted iron gates at the Ochre Point Avenue entrance, and 30-foot high walkway gates as part of a 12-foot high limestone and iron fence that borders the property except on the ocean side.  It is one of the most visited house museums in American with almost 500,000 visitors last year.
At the time Vanderbilt purchased the property in 1885 there was an existing mansion that burned in 1892.  Following the fire Vanderbilt commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to rebuild it in splendor.  The house was to be as fireproof as possible with steel trusses and no wooden parts.  The boiler was to be in an underground space below the front lawn and located away from the house.  The interior designers used imported marble, rare woods and mosaics from all around the globe.  This mansion is considered a representation of the “Gilded Age” and was the largest most opulent house in the Newport area built to rival the European aristocratic lifestyle. 

When Vanderbilt died in 1899 the estate was left to his widow, Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt who lived until 1934.  At her death it passed to her youngest daughter, Countess Gladys Szechenyi, who had always loved the estate and had no other American property and whose other siblings had no interest in it.

Like European mansions The Breakers also has formally landscaped gardens with clipped hedges and tree-shaded foot-paths. Flowering plants like rhododendrons, alyssum, ageratum and dogwoods are among the plants that grow in beds that make designs or screen the grounds from street traffic and provide seclusion.

For detail information about the rooms and furnishings and photographs of the grounds and the interior, see:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 310

Amsterdam, Monument, Weteringplantsoen, ca late 1940s or early 1950s

This unused postcard looks to date around the late 1940s or early 1950s.  Aside from the title at the bottom left there are no identifying numbers, credits, or printer/publisher listed.  The coloration is sepia toned and the photograph shows a memorial of flowers.  This was one of several cards found in a jumble of others in a shoe box in a local antique-secondhand store. 

Weteringplantsoen is located at the crossroads of the Vijzelgracht and the Weteringschans between Leidseplein and Frederiksplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  The square, park or as it is called in the guides, plantation opened as a public playground in 1880.  Today it is the oldest playground in Amsterdam.  The park is divided into three parts, two gardens and a roundabout. 

Thirty World War II resistance fighters were executed in the First Wetering Plantsoen in 1945.  In memory of those who died at that time a ring of flowers is erected there each year on 4 May (shown on the card).  In 1954 the sculptor, Gerrit Bolhuis, created another permanent monument wall that also has a dead soldier with a handset in his hand.  Wikipedia photos from 2011 show a lush green garden in the heart of the city.  Due to increasing traffic at this site a roundabout was installed here also. 

There are several other pieces of artwork in this park, including some with lines of poetry; a bust of the columnist Simon Carmiggelt; and a bridge over the Singelgracht.  From 2003 to 2013 the North-South Line of the subway connection construction was ongoing under the plantation. 

Gerrit Bolhuis (1907-1975) was a Dutch sculptor who specialized in World War II resistance and liberation monuments.  His works can be found in Amsterdam, Epe Beverwijk, and Winterswijk. 

For additional information, see:

[Note:  It is possible to select the translate option for the two links from the Netherlands]