George’s House

George’s house was built in Charleston in the early nineties in a style heavily influenced by ancient Byzantine and Roman precedents. Though largely unassuming from outside – it housed an interior pool , vaulted with clerestory windows and embraced by flanking colonnades. The central drawing room was capped by a dome that soared above a rusticated marble pavement. George’s house did not have a kitchen – adding a sense of authenticity. Every piece of furnishing was a half-broken antique. Decrepitude permeated every nook and cranny.

And then George’s house burnt down.

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The south wall of George’s drawing room

It was an accident of course, but an artistic master stroke. George had always admired Roman ruins – and now he had one. As I was surveying the wreckage it struck me that it felt like I was in a Piranesi etching. And so, in the spirit of the great 18th Century master, I drew. (To see pictures of George’s house before the calamitous fire  go to: http://www.newworldbyzantine.com/houses/george.html)

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Remains of the aqueduct of Nero, 1760-78, etching, Baillieu Library Print Collection, the University of Melbourne

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A column in his drawing room.

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A view of his entrance hall

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