A Virtual Abbey of Thelema
Not sure where to post this query so I hope you don't mind it going here.
Found a plan of the Abbey
But can anyone tell me the dimensions? Any help gratefully received, thanks. 🙂
Would be interested to know myself.... I could actually draw up the plans, elevations and sections, being as my background is Architecture. It then would be fairly simple to do a 3D model. Obtaining a digital copy of the mural photographs and a walkthrough is possible.
Interesting venture forme once my current "Back to school" education is completed in a couple of months.
The plan doesn't seem to match the well-known photo of Crowley and Leah at the Abbey (the one that says "Villa and family... in part!").
That photo shows a side with 4 windows and one door - two windows on either side of a central door. The plan doesn't have such a wall. Perhaps it is a plan based on a more recent version of the Abbey, one that has had renovations done?
In any case, it should be possible to deduce the measurements from Crowley's height - if it is known.
The two central windows and a door on that wall were replaced by two doors around 1955. The room into which the original door led was divided in two by a partition. The length of the wall concerned is 43 feet. The wall on the left in the picture above is 32 feet (probably approximate because it would have been built to metric measurements) This comes from before and after diagrams in Cefalu Revisited (2007) by Reliable T.Cole who I've always found entirely Richard.
According to Symonds - I forget where - the outer walls are eighteen inches thick.
Thanks OK! Paul would obviously want the "Before" plan, then. I don't see any reason to doubt Cole here - unless there is some polemical angle he could take on the Abbey that turns Crowley into a liar somehow, there doesn't seem to be any reason not to take what he says about the dimensions and design of the villa at face value.
I take it that the Chambre des Cauchemars is the first door on the right as you walk into the large entrance-hall (as it would have been in the original design, I mean)?
Correct Belmurru, that is the Chamber of Nightmares.
I have sketched up approx. dimensions on a plan. I took the image and discovered it was not to scale. Taking the assumption that whoever drew it may actually have produced an accurate drawing, I blew it up in size and sketched over it. It seems to be around the correct scale at x2. Though, I would need someone to clarify these dimensions.
I have uploaded the image for others to look at so it can revised and updated. This can be considered LAShTALs property as this progresses. I would be very interested in any information regarding the original plans and internal layout. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excellent Paul! I think it would be lovely to have a virtual visit, as best as can be done according to current knowledge. You can even "restore" the wall paintings, according to the complete description Crowley made and the surviving fragments.
For the side with the main entrance, I think that, according to the photo, two windows should be added, one on each side (right up against the walls of the adjoining rooms) of the entrance hall, of the same size as those on the same wall in each of the rooms (so all five openings - four windows and a door - are equally spaced apart on the wall). In the middle, a single door.
So, the two doors of the current plan you have made have to be erased (unless you only intend to show the "current layout" as it appears to be, with the dividing wall of the entrance hall included).
Given the nature of the renovations made by 1955, it seems the owner divided it into two apartments, each with a separate entrance. Each apartment should have its own bathroom, toilet and kitchen then, so it might be hard to know what some of the smaller rooms were exactly in Crowley's time.
This should really have a separate thread. Do not want to hijack Anna's. Maybe Paul could pull the relevant posts into their own thread? If it's deemed so.
Thread split. This is very interesting and I applaud your efforts to date, Paul.
Owner and Editor
Thank you Paul separating the posts for me so this can solely be about the virtualisation of the Abbey.
I had 30mins to spare early today in work, hence my "not to scale", initial plan. I then had little to go on, just the first image at the top of the page, from annolumina. I hope that he does not mind me running off with his initial query. I just saw an opportunity to contribute something to the community and hope people can aid me along the way. OK, has already been invaluable, with providing some scans and I will credit the source, following a PM to that individual.
So between work, assignments, gym and socialising, I will do my best to firstly draw up the plans, section and elevations as per 1922.
Following that, a good friend and work colleague will assist me in the 3D model. He does all the 3D virtualisation for our practice and is exceptionally skilled. Plus he owes me a favor! 🙂
So, once I can ascertain the heights and finishes externally, I can proceed to engage him and a proper 3D shell can be formed. He will need older photos and first hand descriptions of the abbey, so the good people of LAShTAL may be asked for assistance.
Anyways, baby steps. I will be creating an accurate plan tomorrow for the next stage. Just hope it turns out to be a decent effort.
Updated the plan as per R T Coles information and the 1922 layout.
This is a work in progress and without actually measuring the building myself, it will be hard to get 100% accurate.
Also, I would really need R T Coles book, but alais, finances and scarcity prevent that.
Once a receive a bit of feedback on the plans, I will progress onto the elevations. If people could either email me directly external photos from that time (email@example.com), ie 1922, or link them, that would help immensely.
.pdf of Plan, for comments.
From this picture, I'd say that the windows on the long wall are equally spaced apart from one another along the wall, and that the doorway is about 1/3 wider than the windows (so somewhat wider than in your plan).
So, in the plan, the windows of entrance hall (or "temple") have to be further from the door and more towards the walls of the adjoining bedrooms.
Great responses from everyone, thanks. The idea of a virtual Abbey walkaround hadn't occurred to me but it's definitely something I'd like to see, with murals restored and so on. Especially given the current condition of the Abbey itself. I've always wanted to visit but my one attempt - so far - ended in failure when I got distracted by Venice and an Australian blonde. 🙂
This image is a better view possibly.
Thanks Belmurru, I will amend it to suit.
Any other 1922ish photos I could use to gain more insight into the style and dimensions?
Will start sketching up elevations in the next few days.
Paul, what a great idea you had!
When I was preparing some slides for our event in London, I tried to create an image of the Abbey based on previous drawings. However, when I checked my photos, I realized that there is a small error : when one stands at the door of the room behind the room of the murals and looks through the two halls, one can actually see through the door of the small room, but it's not possible to view its window.
That is to say, if we draw an imaginary axis from one room door to the other and through the outer walls, we find that the window lies on the right side of the axis.
I can't check my pictures right now but, if memory helps, the hall in the back (No 9) is narrower and its doors are closer to the inner walls.
These can be seen clearly in the photos I've taken and uploaded in the Galleries in 2010, but, for some reason, Paul never transfered them in the new galleries.
Later in the day, I'll send them to you via e-mail, so you'll have a clear idea of the structure.
PS: ok, I just wanted to notice that this is my 666th post 🙂
Incorporated your points in relation to the main entrance Belmurru, thank you. Was a obvious error on my part! 🙂
Windows either side of the "Central Temple" moved and main door increased in size as per photos.
Annolumina, we are a long way from the actual internal layouts but the good news is my work colleague has agreed and is very interested in this project. He sees this as a worthy and has been interested in ritual, golden dawn etc for many years. I should know, worked with him for 18 of them! So it' seems to be progressing in the right direction.
Anna, thank you for getting involved. It would not be right if you did not, your input is extremely valued.
I think I have revised the plan to indicate what you are highlighting. It would seem that the window in "Leah's Bedroom" is centred in the room, instead of being tight against the wall, as in RTC diagram. Amended to suit.
Anna, are you saying that the width of the "Central Temple" should be reduced? ie the right wall that borders the "Chambre des Chauchemers" and the two bedrooms moved to the left?
I have attached the latest revision for further comment.
The window in Leah's bedroom is wrong. It is actually hard against the adjacent wall of the food prep area, so needs to be moved upwards as far as it will go. Check RT Cole, p 27 pics 15 & 26
No, Paul. What needs to be changed are the proportions of Leah's room (which is almost half the size of AC's room) and the location of its window (but, probably, one would have to change also the proportions of the room behind the murals' room, in order to align their doors).
I think not only the window of Leah's room needs to be moved upwards, but also its door along with the door of the room at the opposite side of the hall needs to be moved downwards, so that the two doors will face each other, but the window will stay out of sight.
Paul, I hope the photos I sent you will make things easier. Let me share one of them here, to help people understand what I meant when I talked about an axis.
Very nice work! I am already pining to make another Sicilian holiday....
Thanks for the feedback Michael & Anna.
Especially the images already sent.
Window will be placed hard into the corner as per photo and Leah's room does need reduced in size, as indicated also.
Changes will be made tomorrow as I forgot to backward save the file so I could make amendments at home.
PS Michael, been through Youtube videos try to fill in gaps and noticed your own. Threw up a couple of unexpected structural additions to the plans, trying to work backwards from todays structure, nearly 100 years. Working through them diligently with the exceptional and controversial R T Cole. Who has been invaluable thus far. I am lucky that he has been so approachable and co-operative, as his knowledge of the building is vast.
Like I indicated earlier, elevations are being started as I estimate heights and pitches but really would like to tie down the actual plan layout firstly, based on 1922.
So any other images, in high resolution or otherwise are extremely welcome.
Thank you and 93's!
Once the finer points have been nailed down on the plans, I will upload the drawing, complete with plans, elevations, and a section in .pdf format to scale. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks.
Slight bit of nudity in this blog but the blogger has placed a few quotes and extracts alongside images of the Abbey.
My weekend visit to the parents will involve digging out a few dairies for references to the Abbey, incase something can be gleamed.
Confessions, Tunisia, Magickal record of the Beast & Jane Wolfe's, if anyone can think of others let me know please.
PS I have heard of "Record of the Abbey of Thelema"at the website below. Is there an actual record to the stay there?
UPDATE: This project has slowed down a bit due to Assignment time scales for my Educational endeavors. It has not stalled tho. Elevations have been tied down as best RTC and myself can guess at. So sections will be next. The drawings will span 2no. A1 pages with brief notes to explain the reasoning behind structure and layout selections.
The Abbey of Thelema - 1920 -A fresh start in the digital realm?
I have finally completed a set of plans and have shared them on my blog at the link at the bottom of the page.
These drawings will not be 100% accurate and may not reflect the actual structure of the Abbey but with the information and assistance of others, its as good as it gets from my end.
If anyone after looking at the plans has additional information to add or can provide me with high resolution mural images, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next is to set up the 3D shell of the Abbey for a walk through etc. After that, trying to render the walls to each room.
This will take a while!
Also, Paul if you would like to host the file on LAShTAL, I can email it to you.
very nice work Paul!
Thanks William, the first phase of three complete!
Nice one - thick walls! How does the plan on the left differ from the one on the right?
Ground floor plan on the left and first floor on the right.
Not a well known fact that there was a first floor, it was used for primarily for storage but had been sealed up prior to be made habitual. Though there may have been some sort of access to it still. Unknown if Crowley actually stored books etc in this area, or even used it to eavesdrop on everyone else!
With regards to:-
>Not a well known fact that there was a first floor, it was used for primarily for storage but had been sealed up prior to be made habitual.
The section above the central temple was also vaulted, like in the Cauchemars. This was torn down when the central temple was split into two halves. This fact is recorded in a letter from Kenneth Anger to John Symonds, held in the Yorke collection. In the same letter Anger also laments that the floor was also torn up at the same time, and that the original design of the circle - painted on the floor - was lost. This was all just a few days before Anger's first visit.
Anyone who has visited the abbey, will agree that the Cauchemars & ceiling forms a very impressive space; so the big room of the central temple must have been pretty amazing in it's time - with fully vaulted ceiling, circle and AC's paintings all suitably lit by candles and censers.
Thank you Michael for making me aware of the vaulted ceiling to the temple. This is a very important point you raise, as the 3D aspects will avail of this and I wanted it to be an accurate reflection of the Abbey.
The storage two rooms to the left of the first floor are still visible in recent photographs. Access must have been prior to the ceiling being put in place over the temple. Therefore may it be safe to assume that they were never accessible to AC?
The drawing will be updated in order to reflect the vaulted ceiling.
Paul, that's very impressive work, well done! A minor correction: you write that Crowley and his people were evicted by Mussolini. IIRC, it was only Crowley who was evicted; a few of the occupants remained in the Abbey for another couple of years, or so.
>The storage two rooms to the left of the first floor are still visible in recent photographs. Access must have been prior to the ceiling being put in place over the temple. Therefore may it be safe to assume that they were never accessible to AC?
Difficult to say. In any event, there would have been plenty of other spaces in the abbey where AC would have been able to store his things.
Thank you for the correction Markus in the text, which is from a blog, that is credited at the bottom of the text section.
I will request that the author revise this part of the text.
Splendid work, Paul!
Owner and Editor
Another thing, with regards to the plan, is that the way that some of the doors swing; and, if fact, their placement to the walls. This seems incorrect for example, in the doorway going from the Cauchemars to the bedroom as shown on your plan. The door was actually hung on the higher side, towards the bedroom. If you see this picture:-
You will see that the door frame is on the side of the bedroom.
I also think that some of the walls in the west side - or left part of the building on your plan - aren't as thick as they were shown. I remember the doorways from the central temple to the wash room, Leah's bedroom and possible Crowley's bedroom not being as thick as some of the other walls in the building. I will need to check my photographs to be absolutely sure though.
Thanks again Michael, will make these alterations over lunchtime today, anything else you can notify me of would be excellent! 🙂
I need to round up the dimensions to the nearest full number, minus the .938475 etc that is shown. As its not that bleeding accurate in reality!
Ok folks.. My specialist Graphics guy has the shell and layout modeled up.
Looking to put the detail in the Abbey structure this weekend.
Then the most complicated part, the rendering of the internal walls and furniture etc, as close to 1920 occupancy, as can be expected.
I will be looking to RT Cole and any others, for descriptive sources for the rooms, especially the Temple and "La Chambre des Cauchemars"
Please point me in the right direction, with email contacts, web pages or books.
It is my goal to create a interactive walk through after all, that can be accessed via the internet.
Most likely using Unity : Example - http://unity3d.com/gallery/demos/live-demos#camper
This could be hosted, here, on LAShTAL, or my own website at www.paultoner.com
Anyways, just a heads up to let you know that after a period of inaction, there has been action.
PS I did contact the guys below, but they seemed to have totally ignored my email.
Anyone else have contacts they could use for me???
PM me please, if you would like to privately assist me.
"Re-Creating the Abbey" is a satellite show currently held alongside "The Nightmare Paintings: Aleister Crowley" and presents new original work from a range of contemporary artists including Barry William Hale and Mitchell Nolte.
The only surviving record of the images which adorned Crowley’s Chamber of Nightmares was an essay by the artist written circa 1920. Written as a tourist's introduction to the Sicilian village, it contained a catalogue of his paintings on the walls of the Abbey of Thelema. The piece remained unpublished during Crowley's lifetime.
The selection of work in this exhibition is inspired by these writings.
"The only surviving record of the images which adorned Crowley’s Chamber of Nightmares was an essay by the artist written circa 1920. Written as a tourist's introduction to the Sicilian village, it contained a catalogue of his paintings on the walls of the Abbey of Thelema. The piece remained unpublished during Crowley's lifetime."
Does anyone have this piece by AC?
Fantastic news! If you PM me your email address I'll send - what I think is - this piece to you.
Well, OK - as usually - has a better source. This is the transcript of the barely readable typescript thing I offered. You'd do better with Heidrick!
93! And thanks OK, that was the link I had stumbled across before but forgot where I had seen it.
As usual Lutz, you are a very valuable asset to all at LAShTAL and beyond. Thanks for the kind offer. 🙂
Sent from my C6903 using Tapatalk
Was also looking for the images that accompany the "Tourist Guide".
Seems that Richard T Coles site is down and he has not responded to an email I sent nearly a month ago.
He did have detailed images of the internal murals. Is there any other decent sources that could be used.
This http://abbeytoday.blogspot.co.uk/ isnt bad. Was wondering is there were ever any full scale photos, or more likely actual paintings, that survive.
This is an excellent project you are doing Paul!
Been going over Jane Wolfe's Cefalu Daries once more and reassessed my post it marks, for items relating to the Abbey furniture and rooms. They are extermely scarce may I add.
Temple floor painitng
Jane mentions, about painting the abbey floor. What is the artwork on the Abbey floor? I am asuming it is the temple floor she is painting.
"Too tired to do work of any sort. Too tired to paint the Abbey floor, but stick at it. Why?"
"All day painting - book shelves and circle"
A couch continously comes up that is located withn the "typing room". Is this the adjoining room off the Chamber of Nightmares?
"During the day a little typing, a little work, a day in which there is no life in me."
"This afternoon I treid to get hold of the Spirit of Truth. I was typing in the typing room on the floor, AC on the couch, Lea typing.Could I have got alone? I must reach this.
"Asana, cross-legged on box in East before altar. Excellent."
"As I would rather do Yoga, before the altar,"
Not sure what do this is in reference too? Maybe the rear entrance into the kitchen? Or maybe a nearby building, unrelated to the Abbey?
"Heard distinctly "Eric, Eric" outside window, thinkning some-one at peasant's door. It developed into a dog coughing."
"Now comes A.C.'s letter "Sullivans in Jane's old room." I thought Umbilicus, and I find my decision based on two reasons:
1.When ileft for the Umbilicus I left so completely I could not use the possessive about anything in the Abbey - nothing there ever had been mine. And,
2. I found I had been hoping to be assigned to the peasan's roo! Being isolated from every-thing and everybody."
Temple furniture and wine room, dinning room.
LGenesthai getting Temple seats from wine room.
Lea walks into wine room and says: "I think we would better dust in here." Two days ago, in dinning room, Genesthai is troubled about the disposition of something.
The above are most of the descrpitive references, within the Diaries. Can anyone assist with the placement of the rooms. In relation to furniture, I will have to go with cheaply made, Italian ranges from the era.
Will go through AC's diaries again and see if I can pick up my postits there.
100th Monkey Press to the rescue again.
The "Black Magick" court case brings a lot more details of the Abbeys layout and details to the fore.
INVITED TO "TRY MAGIC" IN COURT
Author's Emphatic Refusal
VILLA IN SICILY
Ceremonies Described by a Woman
PS Someone could have corrected my plans and informed me that the "chambre des cauchemars", was AC's bedroom.
Also that "The Great Beast": The life and magick of Aleister Crowley by John Symonds, contained quite much additional detail in relation to the temple space. A Brother at a recent event pointed me in this direction, of which I am very thankful!
PS Thanks Hamal, for aiding me in my descriptive, resource scramble!
It had never really clicked that La Chambre, which I understood was also the main temple room, may also have doubled up as A.C.’s bedroom as well. Presumably if he then had guests whom he wanted to undergo that “cauchemar” experience, he would have had to vacate his own bedchamber for the duration?
Incidentally, is it known whether he experienced any nightmares himself while in that room which may have prompted him to evoke them in further frescoes? Or perhaps he didn’t have any, as these ‘externalised’ whatever unresolved contents in his psyche there might have been at the time, in line with his writings upon the subject (specifically, his descriptive piece on the murals themselves).
Also incidentally, the reason that I, and possibly others, did not mention about the references in The Great Beast was that I thought you must have been aware of them already, it being the principal historical descriptive source.
Keep up the good work Paul!
You are very welcome, if I can be of any further assistance let me know.
And yes indeed, keep up the excellent work!
What are your plans for this project once you finish the 3D model? I have an idea. I didn't say it is necessarily a good idea, but lemmie run it by you and see what you think. Have you considered, perhaps, hosting it online where, for example, multiple members of lashtal could visit the Abbey together and interact with each other and the environment, in real time? Both a public channel (or multiple, even, so if say just a particular group of people want to gather privately) and a private, solo channel where one could wander around the Abbey alone, if desired.
I think it would be really neat to have this as sort of a game-like program where people could hang out at the Abbey together and talk/type to each other. It could be fun for us to gather at the Abbey on a Feast Day, for example, and hold a virtual event/conference/workshop/talk etc. This could even enable the possibility of people, who otherwise could not or would not get together, the opportunity to gather and socialize, in real time, at the Abbey.
I'm excited about your virtual Abbey project, Paul! Can't you tell?!? 😀
What are your thoughts about these ideas? What are you envisioning for the virtual Abbey once its ready for launch?
That's a great idea NOX.
we could even do real time computer-assisted group ritual. 🙂
Cheers Paul for working on this, its a good idea no matter what.