Category Archives: Shooting A Grand Old House

Architectural Folly, 1803

Something I learned the other day after shooting this old house, an ‘Architectural Folly’. A building created for decorative purposes only.

Architectural Folly.
Architectural Folly.

That description fits the gate house (almost) perfectly. Here it was basically a person with too much money. This was 1803 !

I say almost perfect because in 1920 the property was sold off for the site of a new fangled thing called a Gas Station. Old tires were stored in the gate house.

The property was saved and is now a National Historic Site. We now know the house is another type of perfect, a Federal style building with the largest cantilever free standing staircase in North America.

Manigault House, Charleston, South Carolina.

 

In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House

I didn’t plan on these three photographs from the other day. More of an experiment on sepia monochrome architecture shots.

One thing lead to another shot, and finally three before I stopped.

In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House
In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House

All images captured in the Joseph Manigault  House, Charleston. Built in 1803 it is one of two National Historic sites in town that have the early 19th century circular stair cases.

In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House
In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House
In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House
In Sepia, Old Charleston Great House

This home was out of range of the northern canons during the civil war, survived the large fires, and even the huge 1886 earthquake.

However in the late 1940’s this house was empty, the gardens gone, and (gasp) the Exxon Corp. was building a gas station here. The Charleston Historical Society formed and bought the property at the last minute.

 

By Candle Light, Again

A few days ago I published music stand photographs from an old Charleston home. All children in the wealthy families learned instruments. Click here to see the first music stand.

Visiting a different old house I spotted this in the corner of an entrance way.

By Candle Light, Again
By Candle Light, Again

Again candles provided light to the sheet music.

Both homes were from the early 1800’s owned by Charleston planters and traders.

 

Playing By Candle Light

A small, but important detail.

When shooting in the old manor houses my first thought is to go wide. Get as much in a frame as possible. While it makes for interesting historical images, things can be easily missed.

Like this.

Playing By Candle Light
Playing By Candle Light

A music stand was next to the old harp. I spotted the iron candle holder. It makes perfect sense, there was no other light to read music by.

Playing By Candle Light
Playing By Candle Light
Playing By Candle Light
Playing By Candle Light

It’s so easy not to see the small details.

Charleston, South Carolina.

 

Back Buildings, Charleston Manors

The large historical homes face the street in Charleston. Few have any space at all along the sidewalks.

Behind these homes were carriage houses, enslaved quarters, laundries, and kitchens.

Back Buildings
Back Buildings

If you live here you know exactly why the cooking was done in another building. It’s hot !

Back Buildings
Back Buildings

These photographs were taken in the kitchen area of the long buildings behind the Aiken-Rhett House.

Back Buildings
Back Buildings
Back Buildings
Back Buildings

The only light available was from two court yard windows.

Charleston, South Carolina.

 

Spinet In The Parlor

We have gone out roaming around in the history of our town, Charleston. Tourism has slowed down also some of the old manors and other sites are back open.

A few days ago I filled my pockets with small lens and stopped by the Heyward – Washington House on Church Street.

Spinet In The Parlor
Spinet In The Parlor

The house sits in the middle of many others of the same era, it’s easy to miss. Considering the history of the house that says something about the streets of Charleston.

I seem to be following George Washington around a lot lately, this is another place. The same trip of 1791 where we shared a porch (click here) our first president made this house his temporary residence while in Charleston. Thomas Heyward the owner was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was jailed/exiled by the British, and had moved from this house right as Washington arrived.

The Grimke family moved in after Washington left. Sarah and Angeline Grimke were among the first abolitionists and suffragettes.

Spinet In The Parlor
Spinet In The Parlor

Above is the parlor of the home with it’s ornate spinet, a small upright piano.

Spinet In The Parlor
Spinet In The Parlor

The rooms were ornate, like the others we have photographed and published here. However… and this was a big one, rooms were smaller and due to the other nearby buildings, dark.

This was a location hard to compose and shoot. Almost no room to move around. My preferred lens is an old Canon 18-135mm. Not fancy, but gets the job done. Here I used a 24mm prime for low light.

I didn’t consider people would be decorating for the holidays either. That’s an item I need to remember for future shoots. Working around people working around me. We had three stops this day, all three were decorating.

Anyway, the rooms we did get here were as beautiful as expected.

Spinet
Spinet

Haywood – Washington House, Charleston SC.

 

Old House – Old Film Filter

A great combination made this image.

Old House - Old Film Filter
Old House – Old Film Filter

The walls of cracked paint, stains, and tarnish on the brass statue are all provided by age. Nothing has been renovated in this building.

The image colors, shading, and vignette are digital from an old film filter. The film is an Adox from the 1930’s.