Thursday, 19 May 2011

Where the Giant Ladies are...

OK, OK! I know...I've been away from my blog for, well...TOO long!! I'm sorry!! I now spend far more time out of the city now than I do in it so somehow the doors are not only physically farther away from me, they are psychologically farther away. But that is no excuse!! Afterall, I have a huge collection of photos of doors so I'll just have to put myself to the task of presenting them to you!

As a 'coming back' door, I thought I would share one that I have always loved and admired. Too bad the photos really do it no justice not only as regards its detail, but as regards its size. These ladies are HUGE!! The only way to photograph this door properly is to be in the middle of the street, but between the middle of the street and this door, there are always parked cars. I have been by this door a multitude of times, each time photographing the door in a different way. Today's presentation is a result of those many visits to see the 'ladies'!!

As is perhaps clear to all of us, these doors are a wonderful example of Art Nouveau. Every detail down from the giant, gracious ladies that frame the door to the smalles details such as the door's handle plate show repeated examples of nature's influence on the designer. Leaves, flower and other natural forms are classic elements in the flowing designs of Art Nouveau, and the typical use and re-use of certain plants such as mistletoe, thistles and horse chestnut leaves.

Signs of years of use and a bit of abuse.

A shot of what it looks like on the other side of the doors! For once, not a disappointment!

One final word, other than assuming that this door dates from the end of the 1800's, I do not know what the building's use was, but there is a monogram over the glass in the door which, if you look closely, you can see is an interlocked H and C.

Monday, 28 March 2011

School Days

Would you have guessed that these doors are to a school? I'm not sure if I would have, though there is something about it that does suggest that they are there to welcome many people. Perhaps the fact that they are white made me think of an old hospital entrance...that and the lady over the door.

But a school it is. Actually, these are the doors to a language school for kids up to the age of about 11 years. They must expect some very tall kids...look how tall those doors are!!

I like all the small windows in these doors as well as the stained glass over the doors and, of course, the sweet, innocent face with the large bow that watches over and protects this door. The wrought-iron gate is, in my opinion, a bit out of place...I'm not fond of the design, but that is just me. What you can't see very well is the frame which has some lovely relief work.

OK, so this isn't a terribly exciting door, but it is a nice door and it deserves being introduced to more people than just the kids and their parents that walk through it. And just one last you suppose the white color of this door has anything to do with the age of the students...young and fresh and looking at the world as their blank slate?? (or computer screen as they may actually see their world!)

Monday, 14 March 2011


Why do I call this door 'Waiting'? Because, in my opinion, it is..

Waiting to be looked after...

Waiting to feel Regal.
Waiting to be cleaned, painted and polished.

Waiting to be beautiful and to be noticed...once again.

Oh! And waiting for wonderful, old door handles!
(The above handle is actually plastic!)

P.S. this door also falls under my 'sad' category

Monday, 7 March 2011

Palace Parking

This is a magnificent door and doorway. So could someone PLEASE tell me why anyone in their right mind would allow parking signs - TWO OF THEM! - to be planted practically RIGHT IN FRONT OF this fabulous entrance?? They practically hide the two beautiful lamp posts and they certainly take away from them! Look at the above picture and what does your eye zoom to first...the red circle. Oh how sad!! This door so deserves more respect. Look at the is an old palace, but you don't need me telling you seems rather obvious, doesn't it. Everything about the building has a strong rich feel to it and this archway just sings out songs for those who have the ears to listen to them.

Regrettably, the doors were open when I went past, so I couldn't really get a good shot of either one of them (and I have a little rule to myself to not be an annoying touristy-looking person that assumes they can just walk up and in through the doorway and take all the pictures they want..not cool), so you'll just have to be satisfied with what I have for you here. On the other hand, though, because the doors were open you get a glimpse of what is behind them! I think this sounds like a fair trade-off!

Check out the wrought-iron work...isn't it amazing? Just a few bits of gold on the section above the door...

and plenty on the wrought-iron balcony railing above the door's arch. The sober stonework of the arch has just enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it takes away from the beauty of the metal work. I like this door. Everything about it is impressive including it's size!! (P.s. to give you an idea of the size of the door the man/guardian in the first two pictures was very tall!)

Monday, 28 February 2011

Phoenix Rising

Recently, I came across this door on a street that I have been on a few times - many times in a car - but had never actually walked near it enough to notice it (the river is on the other side of the street so I think I was always looking towards the river). I don't know when this door was put here or why the pheonix mosaic was put over it as the two, no, three styles (including the arch itself which is art nouveau) are, in my opinion, an odd combination. That being said, I still like all three. The door itself, is of simple wood with delicate carvings of flowers on it that have just a few touches of gold on them. This is rich without being too much. The other touches of gold such as the ornate metallic corner points on the door's upper inside edges and lower edge (the door's kick plate) and the door handle plates and keyhole plates are incredibly charming. I find their swirls and whorls happy and uplifting (a bit like the phoenix rising from the flames!)!!

There is, as you may see here, what appears to be Hebrew (???) written in gold relief...I haven't a clue what it says, but I suppose someone who knows how to read it might be able to shed some light as to why it has been put on this door.

The carved flowers are lilys which traditionally symbolise purity, innocence and/or virginity. According to one dictionary I have on symbolism, in Bohemia (yes, Prague is considered to be in Bohemia) the lilly is seen as a symbol of celestial purity, but I have to admit that I don't quite grasp what they mean by 'celestial'... There are other interpretations of the lilly such as it standing for forbidden love. Another has it symbolising temptation or the doors to hell. French kings have used the symbol of a lilly to mean the prosperity of the race. There are other definitions as well, but one that might have something to do with the placement of these lilys on the door AND the writing is the biblical tradition of the lilly which is that this flower is the symbol of choice of the beloved, e.g. what was the privilege of Isreal amongst the nations and of the Virgin Mary among the women of Isreal. The lilly also symbolises providence: leaving things (life?) to the hands of God.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Here's looking atcha!

Once again, I recently came across a door that I could honestly say I have passed in front of a thousand times and never noticed!! Can you believe it?? I can't!

Finally, I opened my eyes (or was it my ears...

surely this beautiful door was screaming silent screams - afterall, there are enough mouths on it - for me to notice it each time I blindly walked past it!) and gave it a thorough inspection and photo-documenting. Notice the date of 1615 on the door? Wow!!

Funny nice to see that whoever made and/or wanted this door also had a sense of humour!!

Of course, in all fairness to myself, I do believe that the reason I never really noticed this door - in all its glory - is because it has always been open when I have gone past it. Perhaps this is why I only now noticed it...because it was closed!

I opened the door and was disappointed by what was behind not interesting!!

Nevermind all that, let's just admire it and be glad that for whatever reason, it was there, waiting for me at just the right moment!! Now, you can enjoy it, too!

OK, so the handle isn't that fabulous...

but check out these places where the screws for the hinges are...I love how the one larger piece even has a little design carved into it!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Art Deco's Clean Lines

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I am a huge fan of Art Nouveau. Oddly though, I am not that big of a fan of Art Deco which is, in fact, a period that slightly overlapped Art Nouveau's last few years. Where Art Nouveau was romantic and flourishing; flowing and elegant, Art Deco is hard and geometric, bold and serious. Some people like these traits in Art Deco...I am not one of them, but even if they are interesting to look at or offer elements that capture the eye, I find the style - as a whole - too septic.

That being said, I can't deny that there are occasional Art Deco items that I find interesting to look at. Take, for example, this door and it's frame. Alone, each of these elements is at most "interesting".

But what 'sells' this door for me was the combination of the door, it's frame and the gate. The doors alone have an attractive simplicity: they are made of an appealingly warm wood and they contain elegant beveled glass windows. The ample glass surface on the door partially reflects the impressive size of the gate and what happens in front of this door. The pretty baubles on the arch overhead are just the icing on the cake.

The wrought-iron gate is simple in its design and takes advantage of the technique of using a repetition of circles and squares. The overhead arched frame contains the period's copyright colours (blue and green).

Monday, 31 January 2011

A Jewel in need of a Buffing

We've seen one of these many times before...a door that could use a bit of love. It wouldn't take much to put this pretty door back into shape...a window, a bit of cleaning and maybe some paint...most of all, a bit of love. Et VOILA!!

This beautiful door frame is a wonderful, yet simple example of the Art Nouveau period with it's delicate repeating stylised flowers hugging the entire frame.

The ironwork here is subtle yet charming. It not only repeats the stylised mistletoe that is found in the door's frame, but it contains gentle, flowing swirls and coils in just the right places to make the door what it is meant to be...a barrier. There are lots of tiny details as well such as the coil effect on the frames around the door's windows, the tiny repeating design up the center of the door (see below) and, of course, the lions that are there looking sweet and gentle even if their presence is meant to ward off harm.

The door's handles with their regal looking lions are serious handles made in a way that you feel like the person that created them really knew what he was doing and gave them not only a strong sense of style, but made them perfectly functional - which is not always the case with door handles despite their necessity to be so!!

Thanks to the broken window, I was able to photograph what is behind this door. Isn't that a fabulous mosaic floor!? Wow. Personally, I think it is gorgeous....I just regret that there is a row of unsightly garbage bins covering up so much of it and ruining the effect of this wonderful floor. The rest of the entryway (foyer) is just as handsome because the Art Nouveau designs are repeated in the arches and ceiling areas.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


OK, some of you may like this door and others of you may find it too much. I have to say that I like the door and I like the arch....BUT!! I don't know that I really like the door AND the arch together! I mean hey, look at the screams an entirely different style than the door....neogothic... renaissance..., but the door is talking art nouveau with a bit of art deco. What??? I call this architectural schizophrenia.

Let's first look at the arch, and the door's frame...carved stone, arches, figures, repetitive carved floral frame with a very gothic/neogothic feel to it.
The door? Well, it is wooden, green (?), has large brass handles on it, geometric-shaped windows, stylised flowers, stained-glass windows (behind a regular plate glass window) containing shapes typical to the art nouveau period and finally, the decorative metal (reinforcement?) plates that adorn certain parts of the door. I have a strong impression that the black metal stylised plates were an afterthought. Why do I think this? Well, I have come across many art nouveau and art deco period doors, but so far I have never seen one from either period that had metal plates on them like this one does.
In light of this, I return to my point of departure. Some people like this door and others don't. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure where I stand...I do like many of this door's and arch's elements, but I think having them mixed all together gives me a bit of a nauseous feeling. What about you? How does this combination of styles make you feel?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Delicate Metal

I have mentioned on numerous occasions that I am partial to wood doors especially because of their warmth, but whenever I see wrought-iron doors like this, my heart can't help but skip a beat. Might I compare it (loosely) to loving your daily cup of coffee, but occasionally craving a cup of hot chocolate? I don't know, but you can see for yourself that this door is really delicate and charming. What is there not to like about it?

I'm sure you've noticed that something is up with the handle. After close scrutiny, I think we can safely assume that once upon a time the door's handle was on the left side rather on the right side where that round handle and it's plate is now. Too bad whoever put it there couldn't bother to respect the colour or the style of the door, but at the very least it is not too conflicting.

This beautiful door is surrounded by an arch that is simple and strong, yet with enough character to make you want to stop and give it a long look.

Finally, it is possible I also fell for this door because of the adornment above it..a lion and the letter H...two of my favourite symbols.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Some doors, simply because of the way they look, have the ability to make me feel at peace when I look at them. Perhaps this sensation is some kind of reaction to the fact that the door seems at peace with its environment and those that enter into it. When I say this, I mean not only does the door appear loved and appreciated (there is no damage to it e.g. graphitti), but the actually shape of the door, the materials that it is made of and the ornamentation give it a peaceful feel.

Wouldn't you enjoy walking through this beautiful door each day? I would! Whether it would be to go to a job or to go to and from home...just passing through this old arch and touching this well-loved door would make my day. Just imagine what this door has seen. What it has lived. What it survived. What about all the people who have walked through this door and under this arch...all the hands that have touched this door...each one leaving a bit of themself on it be it an ever-so-faint trace.

The handle is very likely not the door's original one, but at least it does go with the door. It is simple and doesn't take away from the carvings on the door. It is small and delicate just like the door is. I suspect that the original handle was probably not very different from this one.