Posts Tagged mural

Big house on the wide prairie

Saskatchewan Legislative Building

Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building, Regina, is not a building. It’s an edifice. Saskatchewan is one of the smaller population provinces, but it has the largest Canadian provincial capitol building. Building is an example of the Beaux Arts style in vogue at the time it was built, 1908-1912. Tour guide said it was modeled on Versailles, but Legislative Building lacked Hall of Mirrors.

Legislative Building entrance

The building’s entrance is beautiful.


These green and cream pillars were made of marble from Cyprus and that quarry is now empty of that stone. They are spectacular.

dome and mural

This is the rotunda, where the Latin cross of the building’s design intersects. Mural is called “Before the White Man Came”. Its painter is a correctional officer.

The Legislative Assembly’s chamber makes it clear that this is a constitutional monarchy, not an American-style republic.

rostrum and mace

Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait is above the Speaker’s chair, showing where the highest authority lies. That authority is symbolized by the mace, carried in before sessions begin. Head of mace points toward party in power, showing who’s in charge.

beaver carving in Assembly chamber

Chamber woodwork is beautifully carved. Tour guide said a young man, I believe 17 years old, carved all of them. I was amazed that such a young carver could execute such sublime work.

Queen Elizabeth II's equestrian statue in front of Legislative Building

The people are devoted to their queen. A statue of her riding her favorite horse Burmese, a Canadian mare, stands in Wascana Park across street from Legislative Building. Queen unveiled it in 2005. Her son Edward, Earl of Wessex, broke ground for it in 2003. Plaques show where royal family members have been. A plaque on Legislative Building notes that “Their Majesties” King George VI and Queen Mary were there in 1939. I thought of the legendary “George Washington Slept Here” signs of the early American republic.

Rest of building was surprisingly plain. Most of the halls we saw were undecorated and the light fixtures were simple. This was in sharp contrast to Massachusetts’ statehouse.

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Memorial Hall dome, arch and John Eliot painting

Memorial Hall was built in the Massachusetts State House to honor those who fought in the Civil War. Henry Walker’s mural above is on the south wall and depicts Puritan minister John Eliot preaching to the Indians. Eliot published the first Bible printed in America after developing an alphabet for the Algonquin Indians. Would this piece of American history be memorialized today in a public space?

Tour guide and tour group in Memorial Hall

The mural above our tour guide, The Return of the Colors was painted by Edward Simmons. It depicts Massachusetts regiments returning their flags to the State House after the Civil War Dec. 22, 1865, in honor of Forefathers’ Day.

(Forefathers’ Day commemorates the Mayflower’s landing at Plymouth Rock. Forefathers’ Day is actually celebrated on two different days because of confusion between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The correct calendar correction puts the day on Dec. 21, not Dec. 22.)

The flags have been formally returned after every conflict thereafter, although the last time was after the Vietnam War.

The hall has two more murals, Walker’s portrayal of the Pilgrims sighting land from the Mayflower and Simmons’ representation of the Battle of Concord.

Domed skylight with Great Seals

The hall is topped by this skylight featuring the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the center with the Great Seals of the other Thirteen Colonies surrounding it.

The floors and pillars are beautiful Siena marble.

reception in Nurses Hall

The next stop on the tour would normally have been Nurses Hall, but someone was holding a reception there. Therefore, I missed the sculpture honoring Civil War nurses and Robert Reid’s murals of the events that launched the American Revolution.

ugly chairs and the Grand Staircase

This room is at the base of the Grand Staircase. After its handrails were cast, the mold was broken to ensure they remained unique. Everything else in the room is beautiful also, except for these chairs with the nasty stenciling on the backs. The contrast between the beautiful architectural details and these disfigured chairs is quite stark.

This is the Grand Staircase. Lectern at the base displays current Massachusetts Great Seal.

Original Great Seal of Massachusetts

This is the original Great Seal, obviously drawn up by some herald in London with no knowledge of climate in New England. Toplessness doesn’t work in New England winters.

center panel of State Seal Window

Much later, the state redesigned the seal to depict a much more realistic Native American, complete with appropriate clothing.

left panel of Great Seal Window

right panel, Great Seal Window

These are the family coats of arms of the Governors of the Province of Massachusetts. Thomas Gage, the last British Governor of Massachusetts, does not have his coat of arms on the window. Just over a year after Gage was installed as governor, the angry General Court, Massachusetts’ Legislature, no longer recognized his authority and decided to devise a new seal.

The center seal was their choice. The soldier carries an upraised sword to signify a nation at war. He clutches the Magna Carta to symbolize his violated rights as an English subject, which later became his rights as an American citizen.

coffered ceiling

coffered ceiling

This gorgeous coffered ceiling is above the next floor.

coffered ceiling and murals

The walls in this room are covered with beautiful murals by Edward Brodney. One is titled Columbia Knighting her World War Disabled and another titled World War Mothers. These are unusual in two respects: 1) Brodney could not afford to pay models, so he used his family and friends as the subjects; 2) women were not usually depicted in military scenes.

Massachusetts has no Governor’s Mansion and the State House lacked any space for large public gatherings. So the state converted a breezeway into a Great Hall by covering it with a glass skylight. However, the acoustics were awful. All those hard surfaces echoed dreadfully. In order to muffle the echoes, they invited each incorporated Massachusetts community to submit their flag. One problem: Many of the towns had no flag. Some had never designed one and some had never had one made. They were supposed to hang in order of incorporation, but some of the earliest towns were flagless ones. When all the communities submit a flag, they will at last be hung in order.

Directions to State House and tour instructions are here. State House Tours are offered Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tours last approximately 45 minutes. They are free of charge but reservations are requested. Call 617-727-3676. State house is closed on weekends and holidays.

Here’s the State House slide show:

Click on the link in the gallery or go here to order.

Next up, the Massachusetts House and Senate Chambers.

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