Saturday, March 3, 2007

Good Shepherd, East Toledo

Today, I'm going to mention two of the most notable features of the interior. First, the presence of some of the best late Victorian plasterwork ( ? ) decoration I've ever seen. I've added that question mark for good reason. The decoration is just too well preserved to be believed. That makes me wonder if it might not be glazed terra cotta, rather than plaster. Whatever it is, it's everywhere. It's inside the arches. It's on the capitals of the columns. It's along every rib of every vault, even in the aisles. You've seen that wonderful terra cotta work on the ground floor of the Spitzer Building, haven't you? That's the sort of designs we're talking about and they run rampant. I've been looking at old buildings since childhood and I've never seen such work so well done and so well preserved. It's a treasure. The other item I'll deal with today is the painted stencilling on the ceilings. For centuries, there was a custom of painting church ceilings a deep blue with stencilled stars, in gold. This was done in the apse and aisles at Good Shepherd and it's been perfectly preserved. Wonderful work. This sort of thing was particularly vulnerable to the vandalistic tendencies of the late 20th century. No such nonsense here, I'm happy to say.

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