Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:39 pm

The attached link shows an interesting view of teh serliana window in St. Martin's in the Fields in London. I am not sure that it is a good idea to replace the plain glass with coloured or exotic creations:

http://www2.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/page/building/building.html
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Rhabanus » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:52 pm

Praxiteles wrote:One of the classical sources for Br. O'Riordan's serliana latar-pieces is the Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus which was built c. 130 A.D.



http://www.wga.hu/art/m/michelan/3sistina/4lunette.jpg
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:59 pm

A very nice revivalist example. Thanks for that Rhabanus.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:35 pm

And here is another example of James Gibbs' use fo the serliana on the facade of St Mary le Strand in London, over a porch taken directly from Santa Maria della Pace in Rome:
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:58 pm

Another church in the diocese of Cloyne that may have has an association with Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan is St. Mary's in Mallow, Co. Cork. The origins of the church can be dated immediately to late 18th. early 19th. century - it is not built on the king's highway (whihc would have been unlawful), but on a site immediately behind the site abutting the highway. The same soluiton was frequently used in Co. Cork to evade this piece of anti-Catholic legislation.

The original church appears to have been classical in idiom and conserves at least one serliana window from that period. A new facade was built by Ashlin in 1900. The interior pillars, though, are clearly those inspired by the Italian ceo-classical tradition: note that the ceiling does not rise from the pillar itself but from the superimposed frieze - a feature used by James Gibbs in St. Martin's in the Fields.

The original altar in St. Mary's is, unfortunately, lost and its 19th. certury ,marble replacement has been duly atomized with bits and pieces strewn about the church. The pillars flanking what is now the tabernacle, may have been part of a serliana arrangement replaced in the later 19th century. The usual picture of the Crucifixion taht would have been over the original altar survived until very recent times when it was replaced by an electrified stained-galss "creation" -wholly out of keeping with the surviving elegance of the church.

The external picture shows George Ashlin's lombard neo-romanesque facade of 1900.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:14 pm

Here is another picture of the St. Patrick's Church, Millstreest, Co. Cork whose architect is regrarded to have been Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan.

The church underwent heavy rebuilding and re-modelling during the 1930s but the architect involved did succeed in conserving something of the neo-classical ethos of the original church.

There was probably likely to have been a serliana altar piece here which is partially conserved in the rebuilding, with a large window opened in the sanctuary wall. A new High Altar was installed at this point.

While the ceiling rises directly from the corinthian columns, it is difficult to say say if this reproduces the original arrangement.

Unfortunately, the church is about to be gutted to plands drawn up and exhibited in it by Eamonn Hedderman of Blackrock, Co. Dublin - another member of the Art and Architecture Commission of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

Notably, the guff displayed in the church by Mr Hedderman claims that the architect of the building is unknown and seem unaware of any connection with Brothetr Michael Augustine O'Riordan. The same guff claims that the columned arcades in the church were inserted in th 1930s and are based on St. Mary's in Mallow. This left Praxiteles with the feeling that Mr Heddreman knows little or nothing about a series of early 19th century churches scattered throughout certain parts of county Cork. Mr Hedderman's failure to mention Br. O'Riordan takes no account of anything having been done positively and definitively to excluded the possibility that both churches were connected with the same original architect: Brother O'Riordan. Indeed, the entire "restoration" scheme in Millstreet seems to stand on very flimsy historical research and the usual mendacious approach to the implementation of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Perhaps someone out there might like to apprise the Cork County heritage officer of this little matters so that something of Cork's vernacular neo-classical churches might survive into the future.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:29 pm

Unless confronted with hard facts, it is practically impossible to believe that stupidity such as Mr Hedderman's exists that could produce the kind of proposals for the gutting of this fine church. Note the introduction of the silly things at the west end: gathering area, etc (all copied without the slightest hint of imagination from the American Bishop' Conference equivalent to The Place of WOrship); note the total destruction of the sanctuary and its "invastion" by unnecessay seating; note the unnecessary detruction of the latar rails (indeed the guru Paddy Jones admittedd at the Midleton hearing that there is no liturgical requirement for the removal of altar rails); note the disappearance of the pulpit. The lsit could go on. BUt what is the Cork county heritage officer going to do with this?
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:34 pm

And here is more of Mr. Eamonn Hedderman's guff:
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Rhabanus » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:17 pm

Praxiteles wrote:And here is more of Mr. Eamonn Hedderman's guff:



More philistinism! Is there something peculiar in the water around Cork? Why the great impulse to wreck beautiful churches?

Are there no academies or universities where architects can be educated (episteme, as opposed to 'training' in the technical, non-academic sense). And who is the grand patron of THIS wreckovation project?

Is this really a local competition for the infamous Darwin award?
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:46 pm

[quote="Praxiteles"]St. Finbarr's, Bantry, Co. Cork (1825)

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 states: "on an eminence at the eastern extremity is a large R. C. chapel, erected at an expense of £]

Praxiteles has just received these images of St. Finbar's in Bantry passed through a friend from the kind muse Beatrice:

The first indicates the present exterior of the building.

The second shows the present interior which is the result of a very unfortunate series of works carried out in the 1940s which deprived the church of its neo-classical ethos. The inscription of the Trishagion in the English vernacular on the frieze of the altar is a most unfortunate anachronism.

The third shows the interior of the church with its serliana altar piece as originally intended.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:49 pm

By way of contrast, here is a picture of the High Altar of St. Francis Xavier's in Gardnier St. Dublin indicating another approach to the neo-classical revival. It was designed by, and built in Rome for, Fr. Bartholomew Esmonde, sj, and incorporates a large number of antique marbles taken from the Domus Aurea of Nero and from marble salvaged from the burning of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls. It was shipped to Dublin in 1842.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:53 pm

An interesting piece of background to Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan's work:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladian_architecture
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:00 pm

This is image of St. Paul's (Anglican) church in Paul's Street in Cork. The glazing bars of the wndows are of type similar to those used in Kinsale
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:02 pm

Since documentary evidence linking Brother O'Riordan with any specific building attributed to him is so scarce, I am attaching the following link which gives the inscription cut on a brass plate inserted into the foundation stone of the Ursuline Convent in Blackrock, Cork, which clearly identifies him as its architect:
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:21 am

The Mausoleum of Ferdinand II in Graz (1614) by Pieto de Pomis:
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Rhabanus » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:45 pm

Praxiteles wrote:Since documentary evidence linking Brother O'Riordan with any specific building attributed to him is so scarce, I am attaching the following link which gives the inscription cut on a brass plate inserted into the foundation stone of the Ursuline Convent in Blackrock, Cork, which clearly identifies him as its architect:


In a better age, it would have been considered a disgrace for a bishop to fail to hand on to his successor what he himself had received from his predecessor. In fact, the aim was at the very least to retain and to develop what he himself had received at the time of his elevation to the see.

Lo! How the mighty have fallen. In penal times and in eras when the Church struggled financially, Catholics rose to the occasion and built up the Body of Christ with vigour and elan.

Pity the dark age in which the Celtic Tiger roars mightily, but neglects the very soul of Erin. And bishops close churches and seminaries, whilst wreckovating their patrimony, leaving it to wiser and better-educated successors to reverse their irresponsible exploits in liturgical art and architecture.

"'Tis an ill bird that befouls its own nest!"
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:25 pm

Rhabane!

Ubi dolor, ibi digitus. Te ulcum tangesse puto!
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:22 pm

I am posting what would seem to be the only printed biographical material on Brother Micahel Augustine O'Riordan. It was published in Brother Matthew Feheney's Gentlemen of the Presentation, Veritas, 1999.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:57 am

Here are some further pictures of St. Patrick's Church, Dunmanway Co. Cork (1834)

Most fortunately, the serliana is still in place and has three altars -although these are probably not the original ones. The altar pictures are gone as are the altar rails. The mural behind the High Altar is out of place.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:03 am

Dunmanway Church, Co. Cork

Two further views of the church showing the transepts and th west end.

The similarities between this church and the that of St. John the Baptist in Kinsale are quite striking and, fortunately, both are well preserved.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:24 am

The Church of St. Finbarr and the Holy Angels, Inchigeela, Co. Cork (1842)

The church has lost its serliana and two of its pictures. It still retains all three altars but these may not be the originals. It still retains a fine central crucifixion which is a copy of a prototype by Guido Reni over which bands proclaim the trishagion, curiously for this art of the world, in demotic English rather than Irish, in substitution for the Latin inscription that probably once adorned the pediment of the serliana.

The interior has had a series of arches inserted into it which completely obscure the effect of its monocameral construction. A similar treatment was afforded in the 1940s to St. Finbarr's in Bantry.

Inchigeela, like Ballintaotis, near Midleton, and Leap, is still a classical structure but it has incorporated gothic pointing to the windows.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:57 am

The Church of St. Colman, Ballintotas, near Midleton, Co. Cork

There is little doubt that this little country church has to be reckoned as part of Br. O'Riordan's oeuvre.

Basically, a classical structure with gothic pointed windows. The porch, which is modern, conceals a very un-gothic door lintal.

The overall structure is similar to Inchigeela. The plaster ceiling reminds one of the Ursuline Convent in Blackrock and of Doneraile.

While the serilana survives, its pictures are gone as are all of its altars. A tabernacle was inserted in the back wall probably in the 1970/1980s coupled with a rather injudicious use of connemara marble. The altar rails are gone.

The church has an exquisite organ.

That such a little gem should be found here may not be unconnected with Bishop William Coppinger of Cloyne and Ross who had strong family connections with Midelton. It is known that Br. O'Riordan built schools for Bishop Coppinger in Cobh.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:30 pm

The Church of St. Joseph, Castletown-Kenneigh (1832)

The serliana is gone as are the altar rails. Only the crucifixion remains of the original pictures. This is a composition based on one by P.P. Rubens. Only one latar remains and this is a later one. The votive statues that would have been on two side altars are now on plinths.

A classical building with gothic lateral windows. The window over the entrance is rounded.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:49 pm

St. Mary's Church, Leap, Co. Cork (1848)

Basically a classical monocameral structure with gothic windows. The western elevation has undergone alterations and had a porch added.

The interior contains nothing of its original sancturay: the present arrangement was installed in the 1950/1960s.

The telltale sign of the previous arrangement which probably had a central High Altar and two flanking votive altars is to be seen in the prominent sacristy door which would originally have been concealed by one of the votive altars.

The church does not have a ceiling. As far as Br. O'Riordan's oeuvre is concerend, the church is late but his influence is to be seen in its design and ornementation.

Unfortunately, the church grounds have been totally destroyed by the an ugly, unseemly,a nd partly delapidated car-park which gives the church something of the appearance of shed at the far end of a railway yard. Not what you would expect to find in a pictoresque West Cork village. Something should be done about it.
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Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:22 pm

The Church of St. Barrahane, Castlehaven, Co. Cork (1840)

This is a truly interesting little country church with much of its original fittings intact. Noteworthy are the windows which appear to be original and contain much of their original glass.

The church is monocameral with classically rounded windows. It does not appear to have had a ceiling. In many respects, it resembles Ballyhea and to a lesser extent Castletown-Kinneagh.

Remarkably, it sill has its external altar rail, though it has lost its internal altar rail. In a picture of the Ballyhea taken in 1934 in an earlier posting, this feature can also be seen.

The door frames at either side of the altar appear to be original or may have been brought from Skibbereen Cathedral.

The High Altar is the original altar from St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral in Skibbereen as are all three pictures hanging on the wall behind the altar. It is possible that the church also had the two votive altars from Skibbereen - the present Volksaltar may indeed have been one of them.

The central picture is a crucifixion painted, I think, by the Cork painter Forde and clearly reflects the work of P.P. Rubens. On the right is St. Patrick -a clear indication of its original provenance - although the church is dedicated to St. Barrahane. On the left is a peculiar version of the Immaculata (possibly also by Forde) whose painter knew something of the canons laid down for the school of Seville by Francesco Pacheo's Arte de la Pintura which are consistently ignored in the picture.

It is dificult to say whether the church ever had a serliana. Certainly, that which was originally in Skibbereen did not make it out to Castlehaven when the furniture of the original sancturay was dismantled by G.C. Ashlin. Most suspiciously four very fine corinthian colums support a porch before the front-door of one of the houses in the terrace opposite the Pro-Cathedral in Skibbereen and could very well have come from the serliana in the cathedral.

As at Leap, Castlehaven church is badly blighted by an ill-considered car-park that has reduced its cartelage to a wilderness. Plans are posted in the church porch re. planning permission to landscape the present frontage. Praxiteles doubts, however, that planting two yew trees outside the main door will solve the problem of an intrusive car-park.

Praxiteles also finds its lirurgically curious, indeed, eccentric, to re-install the original baptismal font in "an outdoor gazabo", which, we are told, will afford photo-opportunities for wedings. All this smacks just a little too much of the unsightliness of commercialism copulating with bad taste. Praxiteles also fears that the present incumbent is unaware of the origin of the word "gazabo" and of its muslim connotations.
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