Paris Notre Dame fire
  • I have often wondered what the original, medieval, flèche looked like.
  • ...the original...
    I may be mistaken, but I believe that there was no spire (fleche) previous to Viollet-le-Duc's in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,775
    The original spire was built from 1220 to 1230. ... In March 1606, the large cross at the top of the spire and the relics that were inside it fell due to wind and decay. The rest of the spire began to collapse due to the ravages of time in the middle of the 18th century, and it was taken down from 1786 to 1792.
  • Am I the only one who has often thought that the two west towers look incomplete without spires? Were they ever intended? They must have been. Many such buildings were left incomplete due to a failure of funds or changing priorities. The marvelous stone spires at Cologne's cathedral were only finished in the nineteenth century.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,393
    Paris is not the only major French cathedral where spires ultimately were not used to cap the west towers. Rheims is another, for but one example. Amiens is almost one (there's a stunted cap on one tower.) In these cases, it may be because proceeding would have thrown off the balance of the evolved and executed sculptural designs of the west fronts. Spires were always a risk to towers; not all ended up happily married or stably so. Many spires came crashing down. Consider Lincoln's and old London's, too.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,862
    Spires are also known to twist and tilt as green wood ages, dry wood shrinks, the heat from the sun warms one side more than the other, etc. Here is St. Mary and All Saints, Chester.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,393
    Peterborough is an example of one where missing spires makes it harder to understand the design rationale for the west facade, one of England's peculiar Gothic glories. Here's an image of an informed reconstruction (from 1780, no less) of the intended design, where the spires would be a balanced counterpoint that helps the viewer "read" a very unusual narrow-wide-narrow-wide-narrow 5-part design of the west front:

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,400
    Chesterfield, if you're googling.
  • I read that President Macron had originally been in favour of a moderne restoration which would feature a glass-roofed restaurant atop the cathedral, or a swimming pool and bistro, etc. It is worth singing a Te Deum for that he saw the light and came around to an exact replication, including the controversial lead roof and most other authentic features.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,393
    Where did you read his favoring such *detail*. Those were among the zany products of instant charrettes by certain self-promoting firms. All that I believe might have been reported was that Macron was, effectively, open to a modern option.
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 405
    Let us recall the horrific happening to the old spire that once was upon the crossing of Ely Cathedral. As a result of its fall, we now have that glorious octagonal Lantern structure in the crossing.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,336
    It was probably the wise this to do, and any design in any style would have been a very hard sell.

    I am glad that this was the decision, however I will disagree with some of you in that sometimes the melding of ancient and modern styles can work. An example in point is Coventry Cathedral. I think the great baptistery window by John Piper (one of my fav artists) is quite magnificent, and the stark ruins of the old structure combined with the new is quite moving. Now go ahead and jump all over me...
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 405
    To each their own taste I suppose. As an older kid brother, I had a younger little sister that loved her hotdogs rolled in dirt in combo with noodles Romanov. OH YUCK - LOL!
  • I agree with Greg. And Coventry is a good example, especially since it would not have been feasible actually to rebuild St Michael's Cathedral. The 'restorations' that some proposed for Notre Dame are not good examples. Only a godless, artless, and tasteless people would put a swimming pool, glass ceiling, and a bistro atop a mediaeval cathedral. That better minds prevailed is worth a Te Deum.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,177

    St Mary's Cathedral in Coventry was destroyed by the Obese polygamist (Henry VIII). St Michael's a 14 /15 c. parish church only became a Cathedral (anglican) in 1918.

    Coventry was the only English Cathedral destroyed by the obese polygamist... The 'seat' was transferred to Lichfield...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    I think Coventry looks fine and I thought the tapestry beautiful. Restoring the old church would have been nearly impossible. The organ at Coventry is amazing. I am with you on this ghmus7.
  • IdeK
    Posts: 85
    About the two western towers of Notre-Dame, actually the way the rooftops are built indicates that spires were to be built over the towers in the 13th century but the construction never started. There is controversy about wether Viollet-le-Duc wanted to rebuild them at some point, but he finally didn't do it, so they never existed.

    About President Macron deciding not to do anything "modern" : basically he is not an absolute king, and there is a committee in charge of historical heritage (commission nationale du patrimoine et de l'architecture), gathering curators, elected representatives from the Parliament, people from non-profit organizations working for in the heritage field and all kind of experts. They reached a consensus on the fact that the Venice charter and every restoration ethics indicated the cathedral should be restored as much as possible in the way it was before. It would have been hard for our President to pass over the consensus of the experts.

    I don't know that he favored one or another of the horrors we saw in the weeks following the fire.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,336
    So Henry VIII was not only a polygamist but an obese polygamist!!
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,336
    One is aghast at the kind of mind that would suggest a swimming pool as a roof.
  • He was not just obese, Greg. At the time of his death he weighed 4oo pounds. He died believing that he was a good Catholic and bequeathed his soul to our Lady of Walsingham, whose shrine he had plundered.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Jackson,

    If he died reconciled to the church which he had so ruthlessly plundered, then he died believing correctly that he was (finally) a good Catholic.

    Charles II is said to have converted to the Catholic faith on his deathbed, as is Oscar Wilde. (That's a comparison worth exploring on another forum).

  • Chris -

    James II was the victim of a successful coup by his grateless and despicable daughter precisely because of his Catholic leanings and fear that he would return England to the Catholic fold.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,393
    James II. And his own actions had a hand in his downfall, which at least wasn't a beheading for him. Charles II's and James II's illegitimate daughters did rather well.

    But they were all usurpers to the rightful claim to the English throne of the House of Clarence-York aka Yorkist.

  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 991
    Liam, are you going to re-fight the Hundred-Years War?
  • How can we get this thread back on its original topic?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,336
    MJO: The comment about Oscar Wilde is true I believe.