I've been an accomplice to many castle hunts, providing camera lenses like scalpels and eclipsing unwanted light with my massive hair silhouette. Sometimes, Merlin worries that I'm bored by the project. Merlin worries too much. I prefer lonely ruins to fresh paint and falconry, but recent castle tours in the Czech and Slovak Republics have created a new focal point in my castle appreciation: ceilings. Bojnice Castle had me walking around with my neck craned like a Nebraskan in Times Square.
We trailed an ill-mannered youth group and their mind-bogglingly unresponsive chaperones on a tour of the palace. It was conducted in Slovak, but we were given xeroxed translations. Since we weren't able to keep the hand-outs, I can't tell you exactly how many angel heads grace this gilded ceiling. Each one of the diamonds has a cherub inside making a unique facial expression. When I went to research this on the castle's website, the only numbers I could find were the price of renting out the space for a wedding. In the mirror, you can see the group of hooligans.
The ceilings on which they cooled it a little with the gold foil were much prettier. Logically, stars and suns are a popular decorative choice. I like to think of it as the precursor to glow in the dark solar system ceiling decals. In a room full of adornments, this ceiling still stood out. Simple with just enough pizazz, I think.
But, really, the simpler the better. Some canopies featured family crests, one went a step further to paint portraits of ancestors in clouds. It made me wonder if a room like this, with just this elegant woodwork, came from a lack of funds, a disinterest in the room's function or one tasteful person's preference. Looking at the chandelier reminded me of red carpet commentaries that applaud the pairing of big, flashy earrings with subdued hair and makeup. Bad metaphor aside, it was probably my favorite ceiling in the castle.
We talk about home design a lot, probably because we're homeless. I now know that when I have a home, I want my ceilings high, wooden and waffled. Sometimes a castle hunt can be one, long interactive browse through an issue of The World of Interiors.