|detail of the painted reredos at Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad|
Driving up Highway 101 along the coast of California, you will see a lot of signs for "El Camino Real" and often a curved post with a bell attached. These bells indicate the old Mission Trail
, which connects a series of 21 Franciscan missions built in Alta California
in the 18th century.
We decided to stop at a couple of these missions on our way back to San Francisco. And I had my camera with me.
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
|Interior of the Soledad chapel|
Originally built in 1791, the chapel and one wing of the original quadrangle were completely restored in 1955, and the chapel still has the original title floor.
|a simple painted dado and border in the Soledad mission chapel|
Painted ornament of the most basic configurations decorate the chapel at Mission Soledad. The effect is whimsical, rich, serene.
|Soledad chapel ceiling|
|geometric border in the Soledad chapel|
|the lovely corredor porch of Soledad Mission|
Growing up in California I took for granted the "Mission Revival" style of architecture which dominated late 19th and early 20th century development. But when you walk around a real mission, features like beamed ceilings, corredors
, giant iron candle holders, and deep-set windows make a lot more sense.
San Juan Bautista
|The nave of San Juan Bautista, the largest of the California Missions.|
Built in 1797 directly above the San Andreas fault, the largest of the California missions has survived a number of earthquakes. Much of the original structure remains, and the church has been fairly recently restored.
|arcade border in the nave, the piers are painted with folksy faux marble panels|
The interior was painted originally by Thomas Doak, and American sailor and carpenter who had jumped ship in Monterey, and who decorated the reredos in 1817, in exchange for room and board.
|The altar and reredos at San Juan Bautista houses six beautiful santos |
|A small chapel with wonderful stenciled garlands |
|The back of the church with its simple trompe l'oeil columns. "This is the House of God, and the Gate to Heaven" |
The outer walls collapsed in 1976 and were rebuilt within a few years. Since the mid-1990's restoration work has been carried out Dr. Ruben Mendoza and the students of CSU-Monterey Bay. And done rather nicely I have to say!
|This simple guilloche border is used throughout the church in different colors.|
The simple ornamentation as well as the color schemes I find very inspiring and really quite useful.
|A room in the convento painted in deep blue and red borders|
Do you live near an old mission?
|I have no idea what the banner over this door is supposed to mean.|
I am reminded now to revisit my local: Misión San Francisco de Asís.
all photos in this post by Lynne Rutter December 2011.
click on images to view larger