With Spring bringing blossom to Elder Park, flowers are also coming to life in the stonemason’s yard where work is being done to restore the frieze courses on the entranceway pillars. The flowers featured in the original carving have been identified as sunflowers and thistles, but some parts of the frieze panels are too eroded to know for sure. What do you think the flower of Govan is?
What is a frieze?
A frieze is a decorative band which is used in architecture, often found high up in a room or on the exterior of a building. It can be quite plain, or have some kind of theme or story represented in it. If you look up at older buildings in Glasgow and other cities you will notice lots of examples of this feature. The most famous example of a frieze was carved for the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
The park entrance pillars have foliage and floral themes to them, which would have been carved to represent the beautiful and elaborate landscape design which people could enjoy in the park. The Victorians were big fans of embellishment and flair, so a plain design simply wouldn’t have been considered acceptable for the principal entranceway to the park.
The stonemason who is working on the frieze panels will have had a lot of training and practice. They will have spent many years learning how to do this work; salvaging usable materials, using like for like techniques and materials, and minimum intervention to retain as much of the character and original qualities of the work as possible.
Stone carving is probably the most ancient of all crafts, and people continuing to learn traditional skills like this allows us to remain connected to our heritage and tradition. From a practical point of view expertise in stone masonry is very important in planning and carrying out projects like this, because it means that the repair will hold together well once it is put back together in place, and will be resilient against the elements for years to come.
We’re looking forward to these flowers finding their roots back in Elder Park!