Saturday, 10 January 2009

Monserrate : Lawn

One of the best early views taken from the lawn looking up to the palacio. A hand-coloured photograph. Suggests that cupola domes were unpainted lead at this time.

The lawn is crowded with conifers. Compare with the photograph published in 1870 which also shows the lawn full of trees. Most conspicuous is the tall spire of the Thuja lobbii, (now known as Thuja plicata - the Western Red Cedar) that in 1890 was over eighty feet high. At a certain point in time this tree either blew over, or more likely out grew its situation and was removed. Its development helps to date the many photographs taken from this viewpoint. Still there are several "cedros" (Cupressus lusitanica) planted in 18th century and referred by ?. An Araucaria bidwilli seen here to the right of the view (a young tree) died and was removed in the 1980's. To the bottom left is seen the spike of an Araucaria heterophylla, most probably the gigantic tree that still grows at the foot of the lawn today. A squat pyramid in the centre of the lawn is probably the young incarnation of the ancient Cupressus funebris that forms today's central feature of the lawn.

Notice that the lower walls of the palacio are covered with creepers, and that the view of the façade is divided by trees that separate the entrance turret from the main central block. The spires of the domes are seen floating above vegetation.

No comments: