Author Topic: Really wan't to do this ceiling!  (Read 1185 times)

Offline \\-olff

  • Professional Sculptor
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 231
  • Sculptor
Really wan't to do this ceiling!
« on: July 17, 2014, 11:23:22 PM »
I have been in this library in NYC many  years ago, it is stunning, and massive inside, this is just a small view of one of the map reference rooms:







Going by the people in some of the photos, the lower part of the ceiling appears to be around 16 feet high, and the center upper rectangular area maybe 18 feet high, that would make a room box around 20" high which is large but not unmanageably so. I don't know what the width and depth of the room is.
It looks very complicated but actually if all the sum parts of the ceiling are broken down it's easy to see how the various moldings and elements were stacked up  like a wedding cake and used in repeats.
The dark  brown cornice is made up of repeated scrolled corbels, if I made one and molded it, I can cast all of them either in plaster or resin.
The ceiling also has inset panels with leaf designs and shields, some rectangular, some square and some square but one corner rounded, making one of each of those would make all the rest needed if molded and cast.
There's also what's called a gilloche border, a Greek fret molding, at least one egg & dart molding, bead & reel molding, a large  half-round molding bearing fruit and vegetable designs,  and a couple of others that make up the rest. There's also the central oval flat area which has a wide border with a repeated leaf and vines design.

Over the extended height round-top windows and doors there is a quarter dome inset in the ceiling which is also divided into triangular inset panels decorated in green, gold and red with designs.

The massive chandelliers would be a tough one to do, and there's at least four of them.

The entry doorway has a massive marble surround with a broken pediment fileld with a shield,  and scrolled supports, two double wood doors with raised panels and glass.

The lower walls are mainly covered with bookshelves full of books, and of course there are large long wood inlaid tables and many chairs.

I can visualize making a room like this with the gold ceiling, though all of the books  needed to fill the shelves would not be cheap (to do it right, like a model using all quality materials with no shortcuts like printed image sheets of fake books glued to the wall) the chandeliers would also be a tricky one to make or find anything like them large enough.

The chairs that exist in the photo look too modern I'm sure they are not original, not even sure about the tables  or the red tile floor.

Well it would be interesting to think about, there might be another room in this library that I like even better, or there may be some old photos showing how it looked before the renovations were done.

This is the massive 1911 main branch of the NY Public Library on 5th Avenue and 42nd street, it's constructed from white marble!

Actually I found floor plans that help at least give the size of that room, plus an article mentions the ceiling is 20 feet high, so I was close with  the 18 foot estimate.

The photo was taken just before completion, so none of the statuary or the big marble lions flanking the steps were installed yet when this was shot.

I did find over 500 construction photos in an archive, wow! some of the blocks of carved stone for the pediments were shown one per wagon with a couple of guys sitting on top-  the stones weighed 15 tons each.


 Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The map room is only a 35 x 40 foot room in the corner- actually the corner closest to the viewer on the right.

I have seen pictures of tables, but each room in this building has a different ceiling and different furnishings, the tables I saw had heavily carved ornate legs I think in the shape of griffins or something.

The inlaid tops may have been replaced due to wear over a century of use, but the chairs definitely don't seem ornate enough to be original, and with wear and tear of patrons over 100 years one can expect chairs would be damaged, broken, coming apart.

 I want a gilded ceiling like that in my house, 20 feet and all!  trouble is I'm a Mrs Thorne type with stuff like this but I don't have Bill Gate's bank account to go along with it

I think this ceiling would not be too bad at all but it would take a lot of planning it out and having some reasonably accurate measurements, which I'm betting because it's a landmark and it recently was restored with a $100 million expendature that photos and more details are available for the finding with a little work.
I feel confident I could do the ceiling, I know Lawbre has many  1:12 scale resin  classical moldings and elements too, they may have just a few of the right ones that could work or be bashed and modified to fit, the individual molding elements do not have to be exactly the same as the room anyway, but if I found some that were close or the right size but a little different design, that's fine.

Those repeating moldings  like the Egg & Dart or the Greek Fret are a bear to do by hand, but a 2 or  3" section can be made in clay without  a huge amount of work and time, and a mold can be of that to cast the footage needed. I try to think like a mold maker on many of these elements because that is the easiest most efficient way to make 6 feet of a tiny molding or 100 tiny corbels- make one and cast the rest from a mold- it's all painted anyway, in this case mostly gold, so the material used doesnt matter- plaster, resin, wood.

The 4 chandeliers would probably be the hardest to either make something that looks right, or find something that's not $500 each, but hey, it's my room if I do it, I can use whatever chandeliers I like in it.

I may make another room once I finish the first one- before thinking of actually doing this map room for sure, I have to research up some info and pics, and also see what kind of moldings Lawbre and others have that might work, and then I can tell how many unavailable elements I will need to create from scratch with clay, I already know those corbels with the swags between them the right size and design are not likely going to be found, so I am pretty sure I'd have to model that at the very least.
Sculptures are drawings you fall over in the dark

Offline \\-olff

  • Professional Sculptor
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 231
  • Sculptor
Scaling a room from photos
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 11:24:33 PM »

Just for education I thought I would describe how I usually find the scales of things from photos, which I do a lot for my sculptures.

Here's one wall of that room, I already know it's 34 feet wide because I found that fact in an article, so I would first look around for something of known size, if an adult person is standing there you can use a rounded out 6 feet for the scale, in this case the only known size is the width of the room.

Now I want to find out the size of the corbels in that cornice or entablature at the top of the wall, but notice the round top pseudo window in the center means that cornice is broken and there are none across that space to count, so I made a red box across 6 adjacent corbels, briefly moved it over to the pseudo window and could tell that space would have had 6 corbels across it.

I counted 9 corbels on each side, plus the 6 comes to 24 total spanning 34 feet, 34 ft x 12 inches = 408 inches, divided by 24 corbels means each is spaced 17-1/2 inches center to center, now we're cooking because we have a measurement to use for all the rest:



Now I imported  a cropped, lightened up and slightly desaturated to reduce the shin of the gold- enlarged version of the picture into  CAD software, and after scaling the picture properly using that 17-1/2" measurement I was able to begin making measurements of  landmarks to start with.

The good thing is the original picture was taken pretty straight-on, and with a minimum of paralax angles caused by taking  a photo looking up at something tall, there is a little here because of the height of the ceiling, but one can get reasonably close enough measurements with this that using a little fudging will get it accurate enough for this use.

If I lacked the room width to begin with, that EXIT sign and that wall clock would be the second choice for scaling off in CAD, because those exit signs are a pretty standard size and can be determined with a search, the wall clock too but it's a little less likely to be any standard size, but most of them around this size would be around 16" across- it would be my last choice to scale from if I have other choices.

We see the wood cornice with the corbels is 3 feet 3" high, the coffers in the photo due to the angle of view give us the illusion they have height we can measure just like the cornice- they do have height, but if we were to measure that coffer from this photo going from the top of the dark cornice up it would be wrong due to the angle- the measurement that way is  actually from the projection of the cornice's edge towards you at the camera which is measuring  the room length not the coffer's depth- thats the optical illusion one has to be careful of when scaling off photos!

I was able to extract 4 more measurements above the coffers and if one looks carefully there is another optical illusion between the two 6-1/2" measurements because that section of the ceiling projects horizontally towards the camera just like the coffers are.

The top measurement of 1 foot 11 inches is another major molding, a concave repeating molding with beed and fluting designs, it sits on top of a 6-1/" tall egg & dart molding, the other 6-1/2" molding is a Greek styled leaf design.

We also can see the green painted wall is 7 feet 1 inch from the wainscot to the cornice bottom, the pseudo window is 8 feet wide, and the shield over it is 2 foot 9-1/2" wide.

So in just a few minutes we have the majority of the measurements needed, the rest can be found with other photos, and whatever is missing can be guessed at with reasonable accuracy.

This photo would provide the square coffer's width, we can assume that one IS square and determine it's other measurement front to back, the one to the left of it would be the same front to back, it's width can also be found in this photo and it's rounded corner approximated easily although very hard to see here- there is a quarter round DOME above the pseudo window and that shield is not directly over that pseudo window as it appears- another optical illusion- it's actually several feet closer to the camera, this also tends to make the measurement of that ( 2 foot 9-1/2" )  a little incorrect because it is closer to the camera/viewer than the wall where the cornice is, but the camera is far enough away the error is really minimal here.

I also discovered when I lightened up another photo of that cornice- between each corbel there is  a lion's head carving, and each one is holding the end of a swag which curves along the bottom of each corbel which can be seen in this photo.



So that is the method I came up with years ago.

Here's the hidden lions in the cornice:



Even this staircase in the building is very cool and would make an interesting room box, just imagine what options there are for those doorways and openings to create something curious and interesting beyond them using lighting and more.



I've identified some of the moldings, I believe the Greek Fret and the Gilloche I have seen in resin, I know the egg & dart is available, and what I call "picture frame" molding on the first photo strongly resembles one of the picture frame or window frame moldings I've seen- it's close enough if one of them is the right scale, the egg & dart bordering the coffers is smaller than the 6-1/2" high egg & dart higher up on the ceiling (not shown in these two photos) so a 1/2" wide would work for the upper one, there is probably about a 3/8" one that could work for the coffer's border.

This room is 35 ft by 40 ft, if I make it I think a "cut away" doing half of the room is what will happen, even then it will be 35" wide, 20" tall and 20" deep plus a little more of course, that's a pretty good sized box- table top size.



Then there's a number of these rectangular panels with vines and shields, I'm sure Lawbre has something close because I've seen it, though it may not be nearly large enough and they only had a rectangular shape, some of these panels in the ceiling are square versions.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 11:27:37 PM by \\-olff »
Sculptures are drawings you fall over in the dark