Thursday, September 27, 2007

Façade at Gamone

When I bought Gamone, on Australia Day 1994, it was a rough place.

The left-hand ground-floor of the building served as stables for animals, probably goats. Outside, a steel trellis was covered with grapevines. Notice too, on the far right-hand side of the photo, the primitive outdoor toilet. The house was not yet connected to the municipal water supply.

The main façade of the house was stained with advanced signs of humidity. Inside, all the woodwork was rotten, and there were big holes in the remaining floorboards. Looking back on things today, I think I was courageous, if not intrepid, to invest in such a place... but it was love at first sight!

Today, the scaffolding has been removed from the façade of Gamone, and the restoration work can be admired.

The following photo shows a broken iron element that was dislodged during the restoration work. Can you guess what it was?

It was a scraper for removing mud from your boots. I'm not sure that such an article could be found in modern hardware shops. You can see it in the following photo, taken half a century ago, of Hippolyte Gerin, who used the iron boot-scraper as a bracket to stack up tools:

Click here to see a series of fifteen larger photos concerning the evolution of Gamone from the time of Hippolyte up until today. In the closeup photos of the restored façade, there are good images of specimens of the famous bluish stone called pierre bleue de Gamone [Gamone blue stone]. The restored façade also presents specimens of blocks of solid limestone (probably recuperated from noble ruins), porous tufa (from nearby Bouvante) and poor-quality marne (clayey rock that cracks easily, no doubt collected on the adjacent slopes). You can also find pinkish stones, bits of brick and even wood! The façade of Gamone remains, more than ever, a material and mineral poem.

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