Batalha and James Murphy

I love Batalha!

Well, we did the food tour in Porto and had a really great time! It’s been a long time since we were in a big city and you forget how exhausting it can be. Not just the walking, the talking, the stepping around people, the finding your way, the eating. Full-on days need quiet days. Will tell you all about Porto soon but first I need to tell you about the town of Batalha. We went there last Wednesday.

The Cathedral at Batalha

There’s a huge monastery and cathedral in Batalha built in the 14th century. It is one of the most important Gothic sites in Portugal and one of the most visited monuments. And that’s not a surprise, it is very impressive.

Cleaning has started on the magnificent door to the cathedral

On the way out (as we exited through the shop) a book title in the display caught my attention. Does that say, Murphy? Well of course, I had to check, is this Irish? From inside the cover I read, Murphy is an academic journal architectural history and theory published once a year in Portuguese and English by the Impress da Universidade de Coimbra. (Oldest University in Portugal.)

The Murphy book…

It went on to say the name comes from an Irish born architect, who was the first to promote Portuguese architecture to the rest of the world. James Cavanagh Murphy came to Portugal to study the architecture at Batalha and his drawings of the monastery were published in the 1700’s. Imagine that!

Every approach to the building is impressive

There was no more about James in the book but I searched the internet and… James Murphy was born in Blackrock, Co. Cork (well, of course he was) in 1760 and was a brick layer. He loved drawing and went to Dublin to study either drawing or architecture. He seemed to have a natural ability in drawing. He was involved in work on the House of Commons and the building near Trinity College Dublin that became a bank.

Can you see the cleaned section of “rope”?

When he was 28 he was commissioned by an Irish politician called William Burton Conyngham, to make drawings of the monastery here at Batalha. James Murphy seems to have travelled back and forth from Ireland to Spain and Portugal studying and drawing beautiful buildings for the rest of his life. What a lovely way of life.

Look at that delicate stonework!

I am inspired by James Murphy to keep up with my map drawing work and in honour of him I have added the town of Batalha to my (not to scale or accurate) ©️Map of Portugal.

Now you know where Batalha is!

The restorers are in the middle of cleaning/restoring the monuments at the moment. The cleaned stone looks great and really sparkles but I also love the grubby stone, it reminds me it has been here a long time and it’s not perfect.

Closeup grubby, background sparkling

On a different topic… Do you see the captions on my photos? My friend Yvonne has noticed that the captions are not being added to my photos in emails from WordPress. This makes me sad because I love reading captions on people’s photos. If you get this blog by email and you’re not seeing the photo captions I’m sorry 😞 I don’t know how to solve this problem… yet. But in the meantime you might want to try getting the emails from mail chimp by visiting the blog directly at… and clicking the Sign me Up link there❤️