Mainz Cathedral - Help
A lady, who is a researcher for the Friends of Joseph Carey Merrick ( Elephant Man) Foundation, wrote me today asking me to identify a cathedral model made by Joseph Merrick which now is in the Royal London Hospital Museum. It seems that actress Madge Kendall gave him the model kit in 1880. He made it and gave it back to her. Later she gave to the Museum.
I identified it as Mainz Cathedral which we visited in 2007 on our German Cathedralquest. I also have an unmade model kit which is identical to the photo from museum.
My help question is: does anyone know about the history of this Mainz model kit. I assume that my kit is a copy of the original model dating back to the 1880's. The cover says "Der Verleger Verlagsgesellschaft mbh" . All of instructions and information are in German (with the exception of some English instructions). I can't read German so I don't know what is being written. My kit, which I bought a year ago from GPM in Poland, was copywrited in 1998.
The amazing thing about this story is that Joseph Merrick could only use one hand. That takes a lot of skill, as I often need three or more hands.
So any info you might have about the designer and history of this kit would be greatly appreciated. I guess I will have to build this next after I finish the Hospice in Beaune.
Can't help you with the history of the Mainz kit. Mainz is new to me. But it's obvious that your kit and the model in the case are different animals. Check the amount and position of standing buttresses, especially around the apse area.
And the cased model seems far too sophisicated for 1880. In those days, as far as I know, Pellerin and similar were the bee's knees. So I think the link to Joseph Merrick is somewhat dubious.
It's an interesting story that I would like to be true, but I don't think so. Hoping to be proved wrong.
Could you ask your lady correspondent if she would mind you sharing her contact details with me? If she's ageeable you can post it to my regular email address. Got to get to the bottom of this.
Thanks for reply to this thread. Its gets rather lonely and discouraging when people don't respond to threads.
I am afraid that I will have to disagree with your statement: that my kit and the model in the case are different animals. They are indeed the exact same animal.
First, I don't know how many German Cathedrals and churches you have visited along the Rhine River, but in 2007 we visited all them (I am still writing on that trip for Cathedralquest.com.) One of the pecularities of the churches in that area are the double apses - one at each end. This is true of Maria Laach Abbey, Worms, Mainz, Trier, but not Speyer. I am giving some explanation in my webpage.
So Mainz is one of them. The photo of the Joseph Merrick's model shows the West End which is rather plain. These cathedrals do not have fancy west facades like the Gothic Churches. The photo on the cover of the model kit shows the East End with a more elaborate apse. I am presently constructing this kit, with nearly seven hours in it already. Below are some photo which I will explain below.
I don't know if you saw the response from Papercaptain on papermodelers.com so here it is: "According to the AGK (Society for the History of Cardmodeling) database, where it is listed as # 13222, the model was published "before 1893" by Jos. Scholz in Mainz (Mayence) as # 8 of the series "Kleiner Baumeister" (Little Master Builder); scale is not given there, but I estimate it as between 1/300 and 1/240. It consisted of 4 sheets of card measuring 35 x 44 cm. Your reprint was done from it and published in 1998. Scale is given as 1/250. The AGK ID-Nr. is 16747, q.v."
Attachment 85Attachment 85Attachment 85
Please refer to the original thread for photos of the Joseph's model and the cover of the kit (I couldn't get the photos to insert here). There is a mistake on Joseph's model and that is the door that is showing on the aisle chapel. This door is supposed to be on the south side and not the north. The south side of the real cathedral faces the square and there is no door on the north side. It is easy to confuse these parts as they are not well labelled. The church is pretty symetrical so for each transept, tower, wall etc they are just labled part 4 or 3 with the number imprinted on the base. It would be very easy to put the door on the wrong side. My photo of the real church is a not very good "stitch" photo because the church is so long and there is no where to get a photo of the entire church. I had other photos that I wanted to share but I have a lot of trouble with attaching photos to these threads. (Please help me, Alexis).
Philip, I will send your comments to my friend and ask her to respond to you. She is writing a book on Joseph Merrick and is going to use my photos and timing of the model in her book. From what I have read, she is THE AUTHORITY on Joseph Merrick.
You've knocked me back!
I didn't know that some German churches had two apses. Going back to your original post I now realise that I was looking at the same building from two different directions. There is a trunk in a bedroom at our home which contains a hair shirt saved for such occasions as this. Sue is looking for it as I type.
Still would like to be in touch with your friend. I know that people are capable of extraordinary things but a one-handed man producing this model? Could I be enlightened further?
Sue sends her best wishes, and so do I
I just spent half an hour replying to this thread and lost it! In brief, Joseph Merrick, aka The "Elephant Man," was famous in Victorian England and a film by David Lynch. He suffered from a severe and extremely rare condition thought to be Proteus Syndrome, which causes overgrowth of bone, nerve and tissue. His right hand was overgrown and twisted, virtually useless, so he had to rely on his normal left hand for writing and model making while living at the London Hospital. He did get a bit of help from busy nurses once in awhile, but he was the one who assembled many models as thank-you gifts. His skills improved over time, so that his model of Mainz Cathedral is truly a masterpiece. Being a devout man, he would probably be pleased that it has survived in all its glory.
To learn more about Joseph, drop by www.josephcareymerrick.com and check out our blog as well. I'm writing a bio of Joseph that will include photos of Mr. Clay's church, so stay tuned.!
Mae Stroshane, Researcher
Friends of Joseph Carey Merrick Foundation
Welcome, Mae, to this wonderful forum (actually I told Mae all about it). This is a wonderful blog/forum site by a very creative Alexis. If you haven't already, please look at all of his blogs. They made inspire to build creches in your spare time.
As Mae knows, I finished the model of Mainz cathedral this past Wednesday, April 11th - the 122nd anniversary of the death of Joseph Merrick. It took me 17 hours and 12 minutes using both hands - actually there were several times I could have used three hands. The model is the same model that Joesph made. The kit contained 127 parts. The instructions, in several languages, were very brief. I had to rely on my memory of the real cathedral and the only photo which was on the front of the kit. Please refer to my thread above for more details about the construction.
The attached photos are: #1- Joseph's model in the museum, #2 cover of my model kit, #3 my model taken at same angle as Joseph's model, #4 a "stich" photo of Mainz Cathedral, # 5 - the west side of the cathedral. Alexis - I had several more photos, but again I couldn't get them on the page!!!!
More photos of model and the cathedral. Enjoy
I love all these photos of the finished model!