Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra Texture

David Ireland

I've just returned from a trip to Charleston and Wadmalaw Island. For the first time I was able to visit my mural installed at the Branford-Horry House (built c. 1755-ish) and I oversaw the installation of a rather large work of mine on Wadmalaw, (just completed November 2010), but I'll explore those projects in later posts. Here I want to delve into the texture of the Aiken-Rhett House, a place I visited in the late afternoon of my last day in town.

Throughout my stay I was rather engaged with the installation of my mural, making the trek out to Wadmalaw every day and wondering if I was going to see much of Charleston, the inside of it anyway. I know of and have previously visited a number of house museums in and around Charleston but there was that one that stood out in my mind. "I want to go to that run down one" I told people. Oh yes, they knew it but it was up to me to finally figure out it was the Aiken-Rhett which fortunately was just a few blocks from my hotel.

Brilliant golden autumn light and hardly anyone around to bother me. So it was a magical visit to a house that Antoni Tapies and David Ireland could only dream of.
Antoni Tapies
No photography allowed so being the artist scofflaw I am set my digital camera to silent and snapped away. The place is so thrilling to me, absolutely thrilling.

To be turned loose with a little self guided audio tour and each room I entered all to myself: I love this house! Tell me why do suppose that is?


I found some wonderful photos on the Library of Congress website.
There are a couple of excellent blog posts at a great site I just found called The Architecturalist.
And Glenn Keyes Architects had a hand in the preservation of the house. More about that firm later.


  1. Scott, is it that you can invision what the rooms were, or could become?


    Art by Karena

  2. Hi Karena,

    It was sort of a rhetorical question but in fact I love this house exactly as it is.

  3. I love it, too. One knows better in such places what the original space was like, rather than in more complete restorations. when I'm in a space like this, I'm more aware of all the things from which I'm separated by only one dimension.

  4. The atmosphere is very evocative of past lives but I really love it because it's like one big walk in Tàpies painting.

  5. I am always so taken by houses forgotten in time....when I was growing up, there were several I regularly explored....all now disappeared or fixed up beyond recognition. The Aiken Rhett house is indeed transporting

  6. I do think it perfect. it is true about Charleston, and sometimes things are perfect in ruin.

  7. Really, this place makes me practically giddy. I can hardly even describe it.

  8. You've got to come to Maine and go to the Olsen would love it...somewhere last year I did a post on it on my blog. Before I started labeling, but I think in September 2009.

  9. I'd love to come to Maine. I'm really intrigued with Vinalhaven. Do you know it?


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