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Biltmore House – Statuary

Stone carved details on building exteriors take many forms:  trim and accent pieces like egg-and-dart moldings, objects of interest like a clock or flourish, or statuary like gargoyles or people.  Biltmore House includes all of these decoration types in amazing detail.

The decorations on the grand staircase adjacent the main entrance are truly impressive.  (A photo of this structure can be found in my Biltmore House – Mansion essay.)  A pair of statues bracket the staircase.  I presume one is a soldier and the other a king.  The level of detail in these artworks is surprising.

Statues of a Soldierand a King located on exterior wall of the Grand Staircase

Statue of a Soldierand a King located on exterior wall of the Grand Staircase

Statues of a Soldierand a King located on exterior wall of the Grand Staircase

Statue of a Soldierand a King located on exterior wall of the Grand Staircase

Gargoyles and grotesques are often found decorating European structures.  The term gargoyle applies to carvings that have a rain spout or drain as part of their construction, and the term grotesque is for adornments that are not otherwise involved with rain water.
The carriage house includes a clock tower with small creatures (grotesques) shouldering the detailing.  They aren’t very large even with a telephoto lens, but the little imps seem quite humorous.

Carriage houseclock tower is adorned with small impish grotesques.

Carriage houseclock tower is adorned with small impish grotesques.

Carriage houseclock tower is adorned with small impish grotesques.

Carriage houseclock tower is adorned with small impish grotesques.

The next three photos are of gargoyles and grotesques near the roofline of Biltmore House.

This rooflinegrotesque appears to be a monkey, judging by the tail and snout.

This rooflinegrotesque appears to be a monkey, judging by the tail and snout.

Close-up of a fanciful Grotesque on a building corner

Close-up of a fanciful Grotesque on a building corner

Gargoyle (below) and Grotesque(above) perched together.

Gargoyle (below) and Grotesque(above) perched together.

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Mark Bobb

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