This blog is all about the Guilford Bed and Breakfast (GBNB) - it's history, art, architecture, cuisine, location and the overall guest experience.
My name is Wendy. My husband, Michael, and I are the innkeepers (since 2019) at the Guilford Bed and Breakfast in central Maine. We share a passion for art, history, literature, architecture, travel, and uniquely scrumptious cuisine. If these topics interest you, I hope to keep you entertained, inspired, and wanting more.
A secret architectural feature?
One of the questions we are most often asked by guests has to do with the secret feature of this house.
No, it’s not a resident ghost but rather a somewhat hidden architectural feature that you won’t find anywhere else. It is located somewhere you would never think to look. The fireplace in the library.
This home was built in 1900 and while we have never found any secret passages (yes, we've looked), what we found inside the fireplace is no less remarkable. Inside, there is a metallic freeze depicting a fantastic rendition of Konrad Dielitz's masterpiece from 1892. Dielitz was a painter from Berlin, Germany. The name of the piece is “Wotan takes leave of Brunhilde”. The original painting measures a whopping 20 ft x 15 ft. That should make the average art thief reconsider!
The subject matter is Odin, the god of war (in Norse mythology) embracing a woman called Brunhilde, who according to mythology, was his favorite daughter. The mythological god of war shares many different names, Wotan being one of them.
The two side panels that flank the inside of the fireplace, at first glance, look almost like some form of hieroglyphics. But when you look closer, you’ll notice that there are individual scenes, like a snapshot of different aspects of daily life. One depicts a mother giving birth. One shows a farmer planting, another depicts harvest day. We believe that these images are a way to show gratitude, as well as request continued blessings in these areas.
It is one thing to describe the images, but it's not the same as actually seeing it in person. How and why this image was chosen for inside the library fireplace is still a mystery. Did the original owner/builder have some connection to mythology? Or maybe German art? We don't know. But what would life be without mysteries? The bottom line is that this feature helps make the GBNB unique, and extra special.
Have you seen this sort of feature in any other historical homes? I personally have not - but I am interested in your comments on the subject. Don't forget to Subscribe to receive next month's edition. Thank you for reading.