Friday, 26 November 2010

Christ Church, Cambridge

I recent took delivery of a large box of models from Tablescape. This is the main item - a model of Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, located on Cambridge Common just down the road from Harvard University. I visited this church during my trip to Boston and South Carolina in March 2008. Having taken plenty of photos of it I thought it would make a good basis for a church model to add to my collection of buildings.

Work on the church started in 1759, supervised by it's first minister the Reverend East Apthorp. The church was designed by Peter Harrison, the architect who had designed the King's Chapel in Boston. Apthorp, his successor and much of the congregation were loyalists and many of them left Cambridge and fled further north or to England when the war broke out. Continental soldiers were billeted in the church for a time and it is thought that the Washingtons attended service on New Year's Eve, 1775. However, the church suffered from damage caused by patriots protesting against its former congregation's Tory leanings and its organ was melted down to make bullets. As a result, the church was closed until 1790 but it was eventually restored and in 1857 it was expanded to accommodate its increasing congregation.

As a fully "in-scale" model, the church would have been huge; so it's been scaled down a bit and the length reduced to take account of the 1857 enlargement. The picture below, which I understand is a watercolour painted in 1793, shows 5 windows but we decided to reduce that to 4. The apse was also dispensed with, although I don't know when that was built and it could have been a later addition anyway. The print on the right shows Cambridge Common in the early 1800s.

Here are a couple more photos of what it looks like today. I took a number of close-up pics when I was there, so Tablescape had clear images of the architectural detail from which to work.

The chaps at Tablescape put a lot of time and effort into this model, and I think it shows. The frieze work around the top of the sides is particularly effective, I think. It's a large model, certainly considerably bigger than the Hovels church you tend to see, but hopefully not too large for the tabletop. The height of the tower is what makes it look big, but that couldn't be reduced any firther without the overall proportions being looking out of symmetry. I'd be interested in what readers think.


Sire Godefroy said...

Wow, that's a pretty impressive piece of work. However, as with every in-scale model building, it easily dwarfs miniatures on the same table. I tend to look at buildings as "pars pro toto", i.e. each representing a whole build-up area. Like each model soldier represents several men. Therefore, when playing mass combat games I mainly use terrain, which has been scaled down. 1:72 seems to be good value.

Apart from that, chapeau to Tablescape again, great product. If we only knew what this beast did cost you... ;-)


Consul said...

I agree with SG - the church looks massive compared to the those Brits! But it would make a lovely centre piece for any game you chose to put on.

Looking forward to seeing more of your posts in the future.


JM said...

Wow. That is impressive. It does look big compared to one or two stands of soldiers, but I'm sure on a full board it would fit nicely. It is in scale and maybe we're just all wrong in our thinking...

painterman said...

That's a lovely piece of work from Tablescape, I hadn't realised what great stuff they can do. You must be really pleased with it? Always good to have a unique item, rather than all commercial pieces that we all see and have.

legatus hedlius said...

Most wargames buildings (with the exception of some of the Grand Manner stuff)is far too small. I think it looks beautirful

Peter M. said...

I'm from there and have seen the church many times. That model nails it. It really captures the spirit of the building. I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the square.