Boston Public Library

No comments

When you visit the Boston Library, maybe you have in mind a scene like this:


Or, you may not.  But, once seeing it, you realize you’ve seen this some number of times in movies the names of which completely escape you (and me).  It’s the “Reading Room,” otherwise known as Bates Hall.  It measures 218 feet long, 42.5 feet wide,  and 50 feet high, and it is lighted by 15 arched and grilled windows.  Oh, and it has the requisite deathly library  silence.  Interestingly, this about the only room that felt like a library rather than a highly toured museum.

My daughter and I didn’t come across the Library by intention.  It was just on the way between one place and another, in a City built for walking.


It’s not your typical library.  Up the steps, nod at the guard, enter the marble lobby, scoot past the logo in the floor,


and find yourself in a museum.  An art museum. 



There’s plenty of web articles about where the marble is from (some from Georgia), the sculptors, the painters, the VIPs who made it happen.  Here’s some snapshots, the first from the “Abbey Room” which features the Quest for the Holy Grail.  Here, Galahad fights the seven Deadly Sins, who are holding a great company of maidens, “The Virtues.”  Or, so it reads.


Over in the Sargent gallery, murals represent “The Triumph of Religion.”  The Israelites Oppressed:








Here is the “Trinity, Crucifix and Frieze of Angels.”


There’s 17 in the series, and they’re more impressive in person, though the sight angle from the floor is a challenge.

Onward.  Another wing has an exhibit reflecting maps of Boston from the Revolution to Independence.  Here’s a token inked example, cropped up close.  There were others of interest, but the glare from windows made viewing a challenge.


And, just to keep people’s interest, they also had maps of Middle Earth, Dante’s Inferno, England, a census map from 1860 of the Southern States, Cape Cod (complete with Sea Serpent), Discworld (based on the fantasy novels of Terry Pratchett), Pooh’s 100 Acre Wood, and a Mystery Map based on Sherlock Holmes, among others.


That’s worth a closer look, right?


The Boston Public Library (and it’s branches) are the 2nd largest library in the U.S., second only to the Library of Congress, with over 23 million books, etc.  Despite the name on the place, they do a very fine job of keeping these hidden.  We did find some, as well as CDs, on the top floor, the heights of which are begging for an artist’s touch.


That’s not a happy ending note, so here’s a picture of the courtyard, which was unexpected…


…and at least one satisfied resident.


No comments :

Post a Comment