Monday, November 8, 2010

Ashton Memorial

The Ashton Memorial is a folly in Williamson Park, Lancaster, England built between 1907 and 1909 by millionaire industrialist Baron Ashton in memory of his second wife, Jessy, at a cost of over £80,000. At around 150 feet tall, it dominates the Lancaster skyline and is visible for many miles around.  It also offers spectacular views of the surrounding area including Morecambe Bay.
The building is in the Edwardian Baroque style and was designed by John Belcher.

The building is contemporary with the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, built in 1906, and I couldn't help but find similarities between the two structures.

The architect of the Pennsylvania Capitol Building, Joseph Miller Huston, has a less than illustrious reputation due to his involvement with the graft scandal surrounding its construction.  Is it possible that Huston actually plagarized the essence of Belcher's design?  That is a difficult question to answer, but I would find it impossible to believe that Belcher was at all influenced by Huston.  I am not surprised that such "borrowing" of ideas and designs may have occured.  In my studies, I have found that American artists and engineers have a (shameless) tradition of such questionable practices.  

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