Entasis and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral (Dennis Aubrey)


PJ and I have some exciting news for our holidays. We will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio to visit her siblings and on the way back we will spend two days in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania to photograph the famous Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

In 1915, Professor William Henry Goodyear, formerly curator of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, presented a series of lectures in nearby Philadelphia about his study of medieval departures from rectilinear design and symmetry. The builders at Bryn Athyn were greatly moved by his work and began a series of adjustments to their own church featuring entasis, intentional departures from vertical and horizontal straight lines (“bends in elevation”, “curves in plan”); in order to give a sense of life and movement to the building.

Wilford S. Conrow (American, 1880–1957). Professor William H. Goodyear, 1916. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter, 25.182. Goodyear was the first curator of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wilford S. Conrow (American, 1880–1957). Professor William H. Goodyear, 1916. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter, 25.182. Goodyear was the first curator of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

PJ and I are planning to study these effects in the Église Saint Aignan in Saint Quentin next year, and this will afford us an opportunity to develop our techniques for capturing these subtle changes. We are very grateful to the administration of Bryn Athyn for granting us access to the church for our work.

9 responses to “Entasis and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Nice, I will look forward to your takes on this beautiful building, which I have never seen. It looks a lot like York cathedral, minus the front towers. Is this the same Goodyear or a family member of the tire mfg? It looks like a large photo behind him of the Metropolitan Cloisters. Best wishes on your return to the states.

    • Darrell, I didn’t know until I looked it up, but Goodyear was the son of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of rubber vulcanization. The image of the cloisters behind him was not of the Metropolitan Cloisters, however, which was built after his death in 1923.

  2. Dennis,
    My husband, Erik Soderberg, did two years of his High school at the Bryn Athyn Academy and while we were living and studying in Philadelphia (between 2005-2009) we visited this beautiful cathedral and the area around. The house next to the cathedral named Glen Cairn, was built by John Pitcairn, who married Erik’s aunt. The house, which is located next to the cathedral, reminds me a bit of the spirit of Monticello, with some new architectural inventions, materials and a good collection of ancient art: http://www.glencairnmuseum.org/history-of-the-museum/
    Erik just told me that he can give you some advice, if you need, from people who can help you there and I send you here his contact, in case you want to talk to him:
    Gramatica Design
    Brasil +55.51.9820.5183
    US +1.215.253.5599
    contact@gramaticadesign.com

    All the best to you and PJ and hope to continue following your insightful impressions!
    Tania Calovi Pereira
    http://gramaticadesign.com/

    • Tania, how kind of you! John Pitcairn was, of course, instrumental in the construction of Bryn Athyn and the Glencairn house (a Romanesque structure) has a famous cloister that we hope to photograph. Perhaps we could contact Erik to see about photographing there!

  3. Nice to know that these visual corrections are still with us in the 21st century. Work like yours will contribute to keep the tradition alive, as it should be. Keep us informed!

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