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 U R N S P O T T I N G 

 at the Saenger theatres 

 

 

 

 

  Urn finials on the exterior of the Saenger Theatre in Mobile, Alabama  



 

In the design of all but two of his theatres for the Saenger company, architect Emile Weil typically chose a theme, then starting from the Adam style, shaped it via color & ornamentation choices to suit the theme, & finally gave it all a little bit of a twist back toward baroque to be dramatic.

Urns, as standard decoration elements in Adam style, are found in the decoration of most of his theatres, as well as in the theatres built in the Adam style by other architects.

Above: Urn finials cast in concrete, still with their original false granite finish in this photo, at Emile Weil's
Saenger Theatre in Mobile, Alabama

 


 
 

When Thomas Lamb built an Adam style theatre, urns were absolutely by the book.

Loew's State Theatre, New Orleans

Classic urn ornament in panel surrounding the proscenium
Spotted by Doug Castro

 


 
Galactic concert at the State Palace theatre
 

 
 Detail of Rampart Street facade of the Loew's State theatre in New Orleans
 
 

Urn finials on the glazed terracotta facade of Thomas Lamb's
Loew's State Theatre, New Orleans

 


 

 



 

Urns in cast concrete from architect Roy A. Benjamin set off the exterior of the

Saenger Theatre in Biloxi, Mississippi

The fourth urn that should have been on the far right in this picture was demolished by a lightning strike in the year 2000, but a clone from one of its brothers was in place by the end of the year.

 


 
Saenger Theatre, Biloxi, 2000
 


 
Strand Theatre, Shreveport
 


 

Urns over the columns flanking the organ grilles & in the broken pediment over the doors to the opera boxes at Emile Weil's

Strand Theatre in Shreveport, Louisiana

 


 

 

 
 



 

Here's one of Emile Weil's two departures from the Adam style in his theatres:  in this case, the "Atmospheric" style, impersonating an outdoor Florentine courtyard.

Saenger Theatre, New Orleans

Is it merely coincidence that the exterior walls of the buildings in this courtyard are ornamented with urns? Fate, more likely.

 


 

House left wall near proscenium of Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, photo by Barry Henry

House left wall near proscenium of Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, photo by Barry Henry

 
 

 


 

 
 
Saenger theatre, Hattiesburg, 1929
Saenger theatre, Hattiesburg, 1999
Saenger theatre, Hattiesburg, 2000
 
 

The other of Weil's two theatres not designed in the Adam Style:
The Saenger Theatre in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

You don't see many Art Deco designs incorporating urns, but they're right on the front here. The originals disappeared some years after the building's construction, but were reconstructed during the last restoration of the theatre.

 


 
 
 

 


 

 
 

Emile Weil's Tivoli in New Orleans

It's now missing its urns, but as learned from the Saenger theatres in Biloxi & Hattiesburg, there's always a chance that the urns may return.

 


Photographs from Barry Henry

 

 


 

 


 

 

Winner, Best Urns:

Incomparable goat urn finials ornamenting the organ grilles at the

Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont, Texas

 

 


 
Urn finials on organ grille at the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont, Texas

Urn finials on organ grille at the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont, Texas

 

 

Other information:

  The Adam Style , basis of design for most movie palaces of the 1920s, entry at Wikipedia  

   

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Copyright © 2010, William Hooper.