Warwick Foundation celebrates founder

September 29, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The Warwick Foundation held its inaugural event Saturday afternoon by celebrating its founder and owner of the land, Clay Lancaster, who died in 2000.

The mission of the Warwick Foundation is to perpetuate and promote the Lancaster legacy through education, preservation, and to facilitate cross-cultural understanding. Lancaster's hopes were for the compound to be used for the study of architecture and architectural history.

He wrote prolifically and studied in the same manner the architecture of the United States, including Kentucky, ancient styles and Far Eastern architecture and its influence on western styles.

His wide interest in the art and architecture of the Far East is evident in the Tea Pavilion which Lancaster designed and which sits near Warwick, the house that was built around 1812 by Moses Jones. Lancaster returned to his native Kentucky in late 1978 and began restoring the old brick home.


He had lived and worked in New York City and Nantucket. While in New York and Nantucket, he studied, wrote and lectured on his vast interests in architecture. Frances Moseley, historian and one of Lancaster's many friends, said he taught Kentucky architecture at Transylvania University.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the buildings in the Warwick compound is the Tower of the Winds, a three-story octagonal building inspired by other such buildings, including the Tower of the Winds in Athens.

Lancaster designed and Calvin Shewmaker built the tower and tea house. The tower's footprint is small and it was built as a guest house. It was Lancaster's hope that enough living space could be provided to develop Warwick as center for humanities and encompassing his interests in Eastern philosophy and religion, said Dr. David Dolen.

Saturday's gathering was the foundation's first, and it showcased Lancaster's many and varied interests with experts in the various fields that drew his attention. The speech topics and panel discussions ranged from architectural history, preservation, the Japanese influence in the United States, and the drawings and writing of children's books. Lancaster wrote and illustrated six books for children.

Tours of the buildings in the compound, including the art museum, were held throughout the afternoon. The foundation has recently acquired acreage east of the compound; this tract includes the Moses Jones Cemetery and extends down to frontage along the Kentucky River. The foundation planned nature walks along the river. The compound is not open to the public.

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