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Chiswick House, Red Velvet Room ceiling J970259 Featured Temples Print

Chiswick House, Red Velvet Room ceiling J970259

CHISWICK HOUSE, London. Interior. View of the ceiling in the Red Velvet Room.
The ceiling is inset with painted panels attributed to William Kent and has usually been interpreted as an allegory of the Arts. The panels around the edge, for example, incorporate musical instruments, portrait roundels of gods and goddesses (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Diana and Apollo) and their appropriate Zodiac signs. In the central panel the messenger god Mercury hovers above a stone arch, below which is a group of figures with further emblems of the visual arts: Architecture is represented by a bare-chested woman with a set square and a cherub with a plan of a Roman temple, Sculpture by a fallen bust of Inigo Jones, and Painting by a woman unveiling a self-portrait of Kent.
The radical alternative interpretation of this symbolism is that it alludes to the ritual of the Royal Arch masonic lodge. Red is the Royal Arch colour, so the red velvet on the walls is symbolic, as is the red drape which is being removed to reveal Kent's portrait in the ceiling. The traditional implements of the architect and sculptor, depicted in the ceiling, are likewise masonic emblems, while the combination of an arch below a rainbow which occurs in the ceiling painting was apparently a common subject of early Royal Arch lodge banners. The suggestion, therefore, is that this room could have been designed by Burlington and Kent - both of whom were certainly freemasons - to function as a masonic meeting place

© Jeremy Young

Clifton Suspension Bridge AA98_04334 Featured Temples Print

Clifton Suspension Bridge AA98_04334

CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE, Clifton, Bristol. The walkway beside the road shows the bridge's Egyptian temple-like towers and massive engineering features. It was completed in 1864 to designs by I K Brunel. Since 1991 cyclists and pedestrians have been able to cross the bridge toll free. Photographed by Eric de Mare in 1954

© Historic England

Heian Jingu Shrine, Kyoto, Japan Featured Temples Print

Heian Jingu Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Heian Jingu Shrine, Kyoto, Japan
Japan, Honshu, Kansai region, Kyoto City, Heian-Jingu, this impressive shrine complex Heian-Jingu (Shrine) was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto - detail

© Gavin Hellier

Architecture, Asia, Asian, Building, Buildings, Far East, Gavin Hellier, Jai, Japan, Japanese, Jp03405, Kansai, Kyoto, Religion, Religious, Religious Building, Religious Buildings, Temple, Temples, Travel, Travel Destinations, World Locations