Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Medieval Fonts: 1920s-1930s

I will complete my illustrations of medieval fonts in Middletown with three examples from the early 20th century. The popularity of the Tudor Revival and Collegiate Gothic made medieval fonts pervasive in the 1920s and 1930s. The Chi Psi lodge house on Wesleyan's campus illustrates a Tudor medievalizing font on its datestone. The inscription reads alpha/alpha, 1844/1926, surrounding a crest with the Greek capitals.
One of the nicest Tudor Revival academic buildings is located in Portland, across the river from Middletown. Portland's Brownstone Intermediate School was built in 1932. Its stone and stone-carving celebrate the city's most famous industry, the brownstone quarries that built Manhattan's town houses.

On the building's main entrance, we find the 1932 datestone placed in an open book framed with floral decoration.

On the south gate, we find the inscription "AUDITORIUM" above a symbolic representation of arts and letters.

Going back to Middletown, we have an almost contemporary academic building, the Central School. Middletown's school, however, is more severe in style. Instead of the Romantic sweetness of the Tudor Revival and the uncial fonts, Central School employs a highly Gothic blackletter script. Instead of domestic fantasy, it projects correctional rigor. See the inscription over the "Gymnasium" entrance. Even the "Kindergarten" gate evokes a scriptorial sensibility.

The building has been converted into condominiums owned by Wesleyan University (if I'm not mistaken). I was amused to see that the management has retained the blacktype font on a wooden sign at the parking lot, reading "Hamlin Court Condominiums."


Chi Psi Fraternity, 200 Church St., Middletown, CT 06457
41°33'16.40"N, 72°39'19.18"W

Brownstone Intermediate School, 314 Main St., Portland, CT 06480
41°34'37.30"N, 72°38'16.80"W

Central School, Hamlin Court and College St, Middletown, CT 06457
41°33'26.51"N, 72°39'10.76"W

1 comment:

millinerd said...

Kostis - I recently got the chance to see the blueprints for the PU Chapel fonts (1925) in the archives here. They are works of art in and of themselves, before chisel even touches stone.

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States