Monday, September 15, 2008

More Library Memories

I have to admit, as a child the most memorable thing about the Troy Public Library was the Gulliver's Travels portrait. It's huge, and to a child seemed even larger.

But on the trip I took back to the library last month I was awed by the beauty of the building.

I did a bit of research and the library, which opened in 1897, was designed to loosely resemble an Italian renaissance palace. The principal facades are white marble, with rich carvings. Click on the photo to see the amazing detail in the carvings.

Isn't this lamp by the front door exquisite?

And the library has some amazing Tiffany windows, more than a dozen of them!

This is a skylight in the main reading room. There are also some incredible Hudson River School paintings in that room. Do you remember that term from your college art appreciation class? Unfortunately, those photos didn't quite turn out.

There is a series of these windows in that same room --

And then across from those amazing windows, these windows open to the staircase. I was standing on the stairs when I took this photo. The windows to the outside are across the staircase from these beautiful windows.

The most notable Tiffany window in the library is the House of Aldus Tiffany window which was commissioned for the library and designed by Frederick Wilson to portrait Venetian scholar and master printer Aldus Manutius (1450-1515). It's located behind the circulation desk. Manutius is credited with creating italic typeface style, which because of its narrow and compact letterforms allowed the printing of pocket-sized books. Which in turn was one reason for the growth of public libraries in the world. Thanks, Aldus.

Here's that beautiful window:

The scene depicts Aldus presenting the proof sheets of The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri.

And that, my friends, is our culture and history lesson for the day!


Jan Parrish said...

Incredibly beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, it's so beautiful!

Kay Day said...

I love old buildings. And they did all of these gorgeous things without the benefit of the automation we have now. Now that we have technology, they make buildings ugly...

heather said...

That is a gorgeous building. No wonder you grew up to be a writer! Who wouldn't want their books housed there?

Ruthie said...

That must have been very inspiring as a child. It is just beautiful. I enjoy brousing in libraries, also.