Egyptian Revival Architecture

8 Jul
Medical College of Virginia, 1845 Courthouse, Independence, Missouri, ca 1852 The entrance to the Egyptian Avenue in Highgate Cemetery in London, England.
Egyptian Theater, DeKalb, Illinois First Presbyterian Church, William Strickland, Nashville, TN, 1951 Dodge Brothers Mausoleum, Detroit
Lowenstein mausoleum in Sha’arai Shomayim Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama. mausoleum of Maj. A.B. Watson, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan Philadelphia
the 1856 Skull & Bones undergraduate secret society at Yale. Architect’s attribution in dispute, but may also be Henry Austin of the Grove Street Cemetery Gates. the 1845 Hobart Synagogue, Tasmania, Australia. The Tombs, and 1838 prison and court complex in New York City.
   
  the 1845 massive brownstone entry gates of the Grove Street Cemetery at Yale by architect Henry Austin.  
 
Egyptian Revival architecture


Quay in Saint Petersburg, with two sphynxes of Amenhotep III brought from Egypt in 1832.

Egyptian Revival is an architectural style that makes use of the motifs and imagery of Ancient Egypt. It is generatlly dated to the enthusiasm for Ancient Egypt generated by Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt and, in Britain, to Admiral Nelson’s defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon took a scientific expedition with him to Egypt. Publication of the expedition’s work, the Description de l’Egypte, becan in 1809 and came out in a series though 1826. However, works of art and, in the field of architecture, funerary monuments in the Egyptian style had appeared in scattered European settings from the time of the Renaissance.

Egyptian Revival architecture before Napoleon

The most important example is probably Bernini’s obelisk in the Piazza navona at Rome. Bernini’s obelisk influenced the obelisk constructed as a family funeral memorial by Sir Edward Lovatt Pierce for the Allen family at Stillorgan in Ireland in 1717, one of several early eighteenth century Egyptian obelisks erected in Ireland in the early eighteenth century. others may be found at Belan, County Kildare and Dangan, County Meath. The Casteltown Folly in County Kildare is probably the best know, albeit the least Egyptian, of these obelisks.

Egyptian buildings had also appeared as garden follies. The most elaborate was probably the one built by the Duke of Württemberg in the garden’s of the Château de Montbéliard. It included an Egyptian bridge across which guests walked to reach an island with an Egyptian swing and a an alaborate Egyptian “bath house.” The building featured a billiards room and a “bagnio.” It was designed by the duke’s court architect, Jean Baptiste Kleber.

Egyptian revival in the wake of Napoleon

What was new in the wake of the Napoleonic invasion was the sudden leap in the number of works of art and the fact that, for the first time, European buildings began to be built to resemble those of ancient Egypt.

The first of the Egyptian style builings was a newspaper office. The Courier, a London newspaper, built a new office on the Strand in London in 1804. It fearured a cavetto (coved ) cornice and a pair of Egyptian looking columns with palmiform capitals.(See: Egyptomania; Egypt in Western Art; 1730-1930, Jean-marcel Humbert, Michael Pantazzi and Christiane Ziegler, 1994, pp. 172-3)

The most important building of the Egyptian revival in France was the Egyptian Temple in the Place des Victories, built as a memorial to generals Desaix and Kleber. The conrnerstone was laid on 19 Fructidor Year VIII (Sept. 6, 1800.)

An Egyptian Revival building that can still be seen in paris is the 1812 Fountain of the Fellah, Rue de Sevres, by Francois-Jean Bralle.

The Egyptian Hall in London, completed in 1812, and the Egyptian Gallery, a private room in the home of connoisseur Thomas Hope to display his Egyptian antiquities, and illustrated in engravings from his meticulous line drawings in his Household Furniture (1807), were a prime source for the Regency style in British furnishings.

The cemetery at Highgate, with its Egyptian Avenue, is an example of the popularity Egyptian style continued to enjoy as funerary architecture.

In Russia, this wave — associated primarily with the discoveries of Champollion — produced similar monuments:
Egyptian Bridge
Quay (1832-1834) designed by Konstantin Thon in front of the Imperial Academy of Arts building
Egyptian Gate
The Regional Studies Museum in Krasnoyarsk


The Regional Studies Museum in Krasnoyarsk

In the Middle East


The National Museum of Beirut.

Unsurprisingly, a number of buildings in Middle Eastern countries, especially Egypt itself, have been built in this style, where it competed with versions of the Indo-Saracenic style, a revival of the style medieval Islamic architecture in Egypt, as well as Western styles. The National Museum of Beirut, completed in 1937, is an example. A number of entries for the competition for the proposed Grand Egyptian Museum near the Pyramids mixed modernism with various elements of Ancient Egyptian tomb and temple architecture.

Twentieth century

The expeditions that eventually led to the discovery in 1922 of the treasure of Tutankhamun’s tomb by the archaeologist Howard Carter led to a third revival. Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, USA, now home to the American Cinematheque, is an Egyptian Revival theatre from the era. Interestingly, the Egyptian Theatre was designed, built and opened in October 1922, two weeks before the historic discovery in November 1922 of the tomb.

The Reebie Storage Warehouse in Chicago, Illinois, features twin statues of Ramses II and accurate use of ancient Egyptian images and hieroglyphics. Plaster reliefs depict ancient Egyptians moving grain on barges. The warehouse is one of the nation’s best examples of pure academic-style Egyptian Revival commercial architecture, and is designated as a Chicago Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Simultaneously, Aleksey Shchusev designed Lenin’s Mausoleum with many elements borrowed from the Pyramid of Djoser. The Egyptian revival of the 1920s is sometimes considered to be part of the Art Deco decorative arts movement. It was present in furniture and other household objects, as well as in architecture.

The Louvre Pyramid in Paris and Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, are modern-day examples of Egyptian Revival structures. Additionally, Rosicrucian Park contains many examples of Egyptian Revival architecture.

The 1833 First Presbyterian Church (Sag Harbor) by Minard Lafever, a rare example of an Egyptian revival church.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: