Archives For 18th century

Samuel Waring, an Irish gentleman and amateur architect, drew a set of circular house plans in 1715 -

round house elevation and floor plan, samuel waring, c. 1715

18th century windmill

May 19, 2013 — 2 Comments

The Round Tower, a listed building in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England -

round tower, gloucester

The tower is believed to date back to 1790.  The first record of its existence is in a 1791 lease, which says it was erected by Earl Bathurst, being part of a large estate that included Cirencester House, the Bathurst family’s ancestral seat. Then classified as a wind grist mill, the building was leased for a yearly sum of 38 pounds, 6 shillings, and 6 pence.

Because it was located quite close to the Thames & Severn Canal, whose five round houses were built during the same time period, some have posited a link between the windmill’s construction and the canal buildings: either that it was built by the same team of contractors, or that it was a copy, or that the canal’s round houses were copies.

According to the UK’s 1871 and 1881 census, a shepherd named Nevil Witts inhabited the structure, which was still deemed a windmill even though it no longer functioned as one.

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les pigeonniers ronds

May 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

Icons of nobility, the massive, circular dovecotes of northern France housed pigeons rather than people -

Until the French Revolution stripped the aristocracy of its traditional privileges, only members of the nobility were allowed to keep pigeons“To house the birds, magnificent castle tower-like structures were constructed. From the 13th century until the 1789 French Revolution, ten [of] thousands of these pigeonries existed in Northern France, yet today only a few hundred remain. After the French Revolution, many ‘pigeonniers’ were destroyed as symbols of the feudal past.”

Those that escaped destruction still dot the French countryside — large, imposing, nearly windowless towers whose interiors are filled with hundreds of small niches.

a surreal folie

May 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

The Broken Column house was built in about 1780 by aristocrat François Nicolas Henri Racine de Monville, who lived there until the French Revolution -

Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, visited the house, taking notes for the construction of her own folie at Versailles.

Thomas Jefferson, who visited the house while he was Minister to France, was said to have been particularly taken by it. “How grand the idea excited by the remains of such a column!” Jefferson wrote to Maria Cosway, the painter with whom he visited the house.

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