Stories in the Stones: a response to an architectural trail of Eton

Hidden Nature: the Stories in the Stones was created as an event for the Heritage Open Day festival and for Windsor Festival and Fringe. It is something we hope the public will be able to continue to enjoy whilst the museums and galleries themselves are closed.
You can explore the trail virtually or in person, follwing the trail map in the link below.

Hidden Nature: The Stories in the Stones

Chryssa Siakka, Gallery Steward, shares her response to the trail below.

I did the tour virtually and I read all the information about the buildings of the College. What I found interesting and I want to share it on our Twitter/Instagram account is hidden in the style of the architectural structures. Having a closer look at the buildings I detected two dominant styles, the Gothic and the neo-classical, presented in different versions.

1. Gothic style and its versions

College Chapel, a Perpendicular Gothic building, with its pinnacled buttresses and traceried windows.  

Lower Chapel, the neo-gothic chapel is late perpendicular in style. It does not include aisles, its exterior is divided by regular buttressing and the pinnacles are ornamented with crockets.

Long Walk Lodge, a Gothic Victorian lodge 

Natural History Museum, a red-brick building early Tudor in style with diaper patterning

2. Neo-classical style and its versions

School Hall, a neo-classical large rectangular building with an imposing entrance held up by Ionic columns

School Library, a neo-classical octagonal building, topped with a leaded dome and surmounted by a cupola

The Museum of Antiquities, a neo-classical building with a dual-entranced façade on South Meadow Lane consists of a rounded, red brick, semi-circular building flanked symmetrically with closed porticos.

In my opinion, it was not a random choice, but a purposeful approach strongly connected with the history, the culture and the ethos of the College as an educational institution. Each one of them has its own style and characteristic elements, yet all together they create a harmonious entity. The architecture reflects the development of the school from its earliest days, as well as its changing community and educational values. That it can retain all of the classical features and still move with the times, with different periods evoked in different buildings and places around the college, is testament to Eton’s rich history and its modernity. It is an institution that has been built gradually, fanning out from source, and the intermediate stages, far from being lost to the ravages of time, are still engraved in the stonework.   

By Chryssa Siakka, Gallery Steward

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