Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Gregor's Unwitting Bolection

I directed Gregor to install my smallest reclaimed marble fireplaces into the smallest bedroom at the castle. This is the attic room (RA17 in the plans) that we are currently working on. Gregor came back with a "It won't fit.", and sure enough the fireplace opening is in a very short diagonal stretch of wall, so there is no room for manoeuvre. I have around 8 reclaimed fireplaces and 8 reclaimed cast iron inserts and yet none of them would fit. I was in despair but had to rush off to attend to some other business.

When I came back, Gregor said "I have an idea". He showed me a reclaimed length of moulding (an architrave), and said "I could make you a fireplace out of this.". "The moulding would work as the legs, and I could put a slate shelf on the top.", he continued. 

I was astonished because Gregor had almost described what is known as a "Bolection Fireplace": a style of which I am very enamoured. Here, there is no shelf but the top and sides are made from the same deep moulding. It can provide a very elegant simple look, especially when executed in a rich marble.  

After catching my breath, I managed "Do you know what a bolection fireplace is?". Gregor admitted he didn't, and I explained that he had unwittingly invented it, and that I would be very happy for him to build me one. :-)

the fireplace opening needing a fireplace
a bona fide bolection fireplace - only £4500 on eBay

Gregor's DIY bolection fireplace

now with feet, coordinating green marble fender and stove

bolection with surrounding wall patched with plasterboard.

I had planned to use the small reclaimed green marble fender in this location, because it probably wouldn't fit anywhere else. However, now that the fireplace was bolection, there is a visual resonance as the fender is itself of a bolection design. And given the plain nature of the fireplace, the richness of the fender provides much needed class. We will be painting the fireplace to coordinate, but the colours are as yet un-sublimated.

Ironically, the marble of the eBay bolection fireplace is identical to that of the fender. The legs of the fender were not long enough, so Gregor made the bolection fireplace feet into which the fender could slot. We had one reclaimed narrow wood burner which would just fit onto the limited hearth area so this is what we used. It's funny how things come together.

The molding came from Brechin Castle's carpenter's workshop. Brechin Castle has been on the market for around 3 years, and keen-eyed auction watchers will have seen items from the castle for sale over this period as the Dalhousie Estate clears out the accumulation of centuries.

It's somehow fitting that Gregor has turned a door frame from Brechin Castle into a fireplace at Balintore Castle.