Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sydney Sandstone - Painting the Lands Department building

The Lands Department building 22-33 Bridge Street Sydney, is one of the most outstanding surviving Victorian buildings in Sydney. The building had been used continuously for the purpose which it was designed for - as the administrative head office of Department of Lands.
Unfortunately, this will soon change.
I don't know whether all the original features which makes this building so wonderful will be retained, but I thought that I should attempt to paint it while it is still in its original state.
I managed to set up my easel in Macquarie Place Park, directly opposite the corner of Bridge and Gresham street.
plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries
James Barnet was the architect mostly responsible for the design of the Lands Department building, although Walter Liberty Vernon and William Edmund Kemp also made contributions. 

plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries
 The foundation stone was laid in 1876 by the Minister of Lands and it was completed in 1893. The Renaissance Revival Style facades are of dressed Pyrmont sandstone, and are richly decorated with classical motifs and statues. 
The ground, first, and second floors have pilasters and entablatures of the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders respectively, each standing on appropriate pedestals.  
plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries

A large copper dome, 55' square at the base, but changing to an octagon at the top, rises above the Bridge Street facade.
The clock tower has a copper onion-shaped dome which was allegedly influenced by the shape of the water carafe of Sir Henry Parkes.

plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries
The best of Classical tradition was fused with the most cutting edge technology for the period. Heating, lighting, ventilation and a system of communication involving speaking through tubes and operating pneumatic bells was incorporated in the design. Builder John Young introduced one of Sydney’s first reinforced-concrete floor slabs, with concrete vaults to improve fire resistance.


plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries

There are 12 niches on each facade, which were all intended to be filled with sculptures of explorers or legislators who made a major contribution to the settlement of the nation. Although 48 men were nominated by the architect as being suitable subjects, most were rejected and only 23 statues were commissioned, leaving 25 niches unfilled. In 2010-11 a new statue of colonial surveyor James Meehan (1774-1826) was created and placed in an empty niche on corner of Loftus/Bent Streets.

plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries
In my painting the statue of the botanist Sir Joseph Banks is on the left, and the statue of the explorer Sturt on the right.
plein air oil painting of Lands Department building in Bridge st Sydney by heritage artist Jane Bennett
U235'Statues of Explorers', Lands Department 2015 oil on canvas 31 x 31cm
Enquiries

In the late 1980s the building was earmarked by the NSW Governnment as one of the potential sites for conversion into a casino.
 To protect the building from unsympathetic development, a Permanent Conservation Order was passed by the NSW Heritage Council.  
However, although it is one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in Australia, it still faces an uncertain future.
Both Sydney’s historic sandstone Department of Lands and Department of Education buildings on Bridge Street will be turned into a $300 million luxury hotel after the State Government's controversial approval of 99-year leases to the developer Pontiac Land Group.
The hotel will open in 2021 after the government employees finally leave in 2018.

Sydney sandstones to become luxury hotel



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