Tuesday 12 May 2009

A Fantasy in Blue and White

On the outside Shobdon Church is a little nondescript,
grey and rectangular with a medieval castellated tower.

It is only when you open the door
that you fall in love.

Inside you find a confection of pastel colours
and a riotous assemblage of Gothick fantasy.
It was built by the Bateman family in 1756
in the fashionable Strawberry Hill Gothic style
inspired by Horace Walpole and the 'Committee of Taste'
and care was lavished on every detail.

The technical descriptions hint at the frivolous:
Rococo, ogee pendant arches,
lozenge shaped window panes,
oriental bamboo fretwork,
pineapple mouldings.

The Bateman family sat in the South aisle
on these elegant chairs
warmed by a substantial fireplace.

The servants sat on the other side,
below the pulpit, with no fire,
under the watchful eye of the priest.

The pulpit appears to be suspended in the air
under the extravagant canopy.

Look up the nave to the altar
and admire the barrel vaulting
and fantastical chancel arch.
Look back towards the door
and admire the carved pew ends
and elegant balcony.

What's not to love?


What happens when your camera battery dies...
just before you visit Shobdon Church?
You have to use the camera on your mobile phone.
The photos above are not edited in any way
and are an example of what can be achieved.
The trick is to hold your hand very steady
because the shutter speed is slower.
The main problems are that the colour balance is poor
and composition can be clumsy
especially without a zoom function.
I used to take a lot of photos with my mobile
and so the memory is completely full.
I had to delete five photos to make room for these images
and that made me very careful about the composition.

for Lynn, who has waited impatiently for this post.


blackbird said...

I think that the photos are wonderful. It just makes it more important to visit for yourself and see the beauty. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow the photos do not look like they are from your phone!

This church is just beautiful, I have never seen anything like it.

trash said...

Seriously? Your phone! Would that be the Canon 40D iphone then?! ;-)

MrM said...

Nokia 6233 for the techie types. This is where MrM comes in handy with the download to the laptop.

Emergency camera backup procedure seems to have worked. It was a tricky moment though

dottycookie said...

Phone photos? You took those with a phone? I feel so unworthy.

A beautiful place.

Unknown said...

The plasterwork reminds me of an intricate wedding cake - simply exquisite. It's no good me relying on my phone for back-up - mine is so old and decrepit it doesn't even have a camera on it. I'm very impressed with your photographic capabilities - is your middle name Lichfield by any chance :o)

kristina said...

So beautiful. All that wonderful white. So light and airy. And I think your phone actually takes better pictures than my camera...

K x

A time to dance said...

The photos are wonderful...my phone is useless, and I havent learnt how to down load the picures even if they were any good. We spend a lot of time looking at churches on holiday, recently we had church overload in venice...this one was lovely so refreshing...thank you for sharing...

A time to dance said...

ps...just read Mr M's oment....thats the same phone as mine...where am I going wrong? dont answer..I havent the brain power to work it out at the moment...

MrM said...

hopefully this summer we will get an opportunity to go to Laycock Abbey where Fox Talbot lived I think. I am sure that MrsM will appreciate the photo op that this presents.

Must charge up my underused digital camera soon as it does act as the backup to MrsM's.

JuliaB said...

Wow! that is amazing!! If i built a church, i'd decorate it just like that. x

dragonfly said...

WOW! It's fabulous. I love the stained glass - just beautiful.

Gina said...

It almost looks too frivolous to be a church but it is delightful. Great photos!

blackbird said...

I...uh...well...okay then.
I'm off to work now.


(the other one)

Rhiannon said...

They were done on your phone?! Heavens to betsy they're brilliant

I also very much love the stained glass - its one of the things I always pay a lot of attention to when I go into churches, just because of the amount of time and love that has gone into the making


Allison said...

I was shocked at the end of the post to find that these were mobile pics! Such exquisite detail!

Mary said...

what a beautiful jewel.

I was shocked too to read photos were taken with a mobile phone!

silverpebble said...

Breathtaking photos for a phone Alice. What a gorgeous interior, and I love those (Arts and Crafts?) windows. Emma x

silverpebble said...

Nah - 1756? A little early for Mr Morris. What a spoon.

Leciawp said...

Thank you for this tour of such a lovely place. I agree about the camera/phone issue...I've done it a time or two myself and feel more proud of my creative abilities when I'm not relying on my expensive technology...

Lucia said...

Wow, that is one heavenly church! Just beautiful. I'm going to post your blog on my blog so that others can see your beautiful pictures!

Lynn said...

Ooh, a post just for meeeee! Thank you! It was worth the wait. That church is so clean and bright, just like my house (ha! ha!). As for mobile phones...mine is so primitive that it doesn't even have picture-taking capability, but I shall file this away for such time as I decide to join the 21st century.

Word verif: "duide." Which is practically a druid, or perhaps a dude. Who knows?

Jackie said...

I am very familiar wit Strawberry Hill Gothic as I was a student at that college from 69-72 and took more interest than many of my colleagues in the building and its history.
(The Church Website should allow for the fact that not everyone know where in the country Shobdon is.)

Anonymous said...

The pictures remind me of a children book which was illustrated with drawings of a world made out of decorative cake icing. Now it seems to have been realised in plaster!