Thursday, 5 March 2015

Visits Around Hull Part 2: The Charterhouse

Continuing my visits to FJ’s Hull projects, this month I can tell you about a recent visit to the Charterhouse on Charterhouse Lane where I was given a very informative tour by the current master, Stephen Deas. 

Stephen first showed me the oldest part of the building which used to house male and female quarters on two separate floors, each with its own small chapel. He also showed me the tree under which it is claimed Andrew Marvell the poet sat and played as a child whilst his father, Andrew Marvell Senior, was master of Charterhouse.

From here, we went to the later building which houses the Georgian chapel installed by Master Bourne in 1777. This was the part that particularly interested me. In the late 1970s FJ was commissioned by the Trustees of the Hull Charterhouse to undertake renovation works on the Georgian chapel. Over the years since it was first constructed, much of the Georgian character had been eroded as elements of Victorian design crept in with successive masters. 

Renovation works sort to restore the chapel to its Georgian proportions by re-arranging the pews, removing surplus furniture and furnishings, altering the heating system and redecorating to an authentic paint and plasterwork scheme designed entirely by FJ. He designed a series of three hanging lights to counteract a void down the centre of the chapel. 

Their realization was entrusted to sculptor Dick Reid, often used by FJ who highly regarded the quality of his craftsmanship. In fact, the repainting and redecorating work was undertaken by Lightowler’s Decorators and Quibell & Son (Hull) Ltd, both firms that FJ liked to use where he could. This just serves to demonstrate the great importance FJ placed on quality and accuracy in all aspects of the projects he was commissioned on.

Work was completed in 1981 and a plaque commemorating this occasion can be found on the wall outside of the chapel doors. The plaque itself was designed by FJ, as was another which can be found inside the chapel along with the existing memorial and dedication plaques, which were re-arranged to be more aesthetically pleasing during the renovations. 

Upon first seeing the chapel I almost believed I had been transported back to the late 18th century. The characteristic FJ simplicity could be seen to great effect. I was particularly taken with the soft biscuit paint scheme along with the blue and gold accent details on the ceiling’s shallow relief plasterwork. Another thing that struck me was the design of the windows at either end of the chapel. These were remarkably similar to those installed at Burton Agnes Hall during the restoration of the Long Gallery. 

So where will I be visiting next…

Claire Weatherall, Project Archivist

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