Sunday, 9 September 2007

Floored - #206

There's no such thing as an "Oberwesel Daily Photo", so I'm claiming the territory for MDP.

The monastery in Oberwesel was built in 1240, 40 years after the Franciscans established a convent in the town.
The usual ups and downs for the region. Napoleon dissolved and sold it along with all the others in the area in the early 19th C, arsonists got in on the act in 1836 and the villagers moved into the ruins.

Including the vestry, which was used as a cellar and store from around 1900.

Floor too low? Fill it in.
Need a doorway? Rip out a medieval window.
Central (load-bearing....hello?) pillar in the way? Knock it down.
Roof (as a result of the above) starting to cave in? Do a botched job to stabilise it.
And so on.

So - all in all - it was a bit of a mess when they started restoration in 2006.

After they'd dug out the floor, they discovered some of the original tiles dating from the end of the 13th C and - after much deliberation - asked Beate Thiesmeyer, whom we know well and who - together with her partner, Michael Sälzer - was a participant in the cheap dinner the other evening, whether she could reproduce, say 2000 or so in the original size, texture and colour.
"No worries", she said and you can see the result above.

The decorated tile is 13th C.

The rest are 21st C


Oh, and there was a dedication ceremony today with very good wine, [irony and sarcasm] an exceptionally interesting speech by a leading light from the local equivalent of the National Trust of a mere 45 (in words: FORTY FIVE) minutes in incredible detail about every phase of the restoration
[/irony and sarcasm] during which he said "And the tiles turned out to be just about acceptable..." Boo, hiss. Followed by a succint and exceptionally perceptive speech, focussing on the increasing leverage of cultural tourism, by the Undersecretary of State for Culture, Prof. Joachim Hofmann-Göttig and a couple of other local heroes.

Followed by some more very good wine.

And a gift of one of the tiles.
21st C, not 14th.


Abraham Lincoln said...

Wow. A magnificent post treated with a dash of humor but so interesting that I read through it twice. So many are better photographers than writers so it is a treat to get both in one blog.

Lynette said...

Boo, hiss indeed--I'll just bet that the leading light was the only one who believed that statement! The 21st century tiles rock, lovingly surrounding their older relative.

Hyde DP said...

Ah good to see heritage preserved all around Europe.

Meg in Nelson said...

Oh, you, brute, you stepped on a poor squid!!!


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