Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4550-4556 N. Beacon- Cornice Detail (initially posted 7/6/10)

In colored pencil.
I was out at Wilson and Beacon a few weeks back and had to admire this amazing prairie-style cornice.  This multi-family building is in the Sheridan Park National Register District and identified as the work of Samuel N. Crowen (also responsible for the Biograph Theater). It's adjacent to Chicago's Dover Street District, which basically carves out a few blocks from the larger National Register district.
In watercolor

I wish I could formulate some principles for good prairie-style ornament, but there are so many exceptions that it hardly seems worthwhile.  In this case it seems like classical elements have been warped and twisted, and there's some interesting manipulation of scale.  For some reason the brackets remind me of jointed bones or cow knees.  Does this thing even shed water?  Doesn't matter.  Somehow it just works.

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