I can’t promise if/when there will be further updates to the main project … but today, I have one for you.
As I’ve said, my Potter fandom has been at its lowest level, thanks to a certain author continuing to use her influence to hurt trans communities. Still … when some truly remarkable behind-the-scenes photos of the original quad recently surfaced, I knew I had some stuff to fix.
We’ve previously covered this courtyard in several posts:
The original quad had cloisters and sat significantly lower than the one found in later films (probably starting in GOF). Reference is extremely scant, so I’d made some best guesses. The chances of finding any further photos of the original were slim. After all, those cloisters had been chucked into a dumpster circa 2005, right?
Carrie Louise-Webb is a fabulous artist who helps with the yearly snowing and de-snowing of the Hogwarts miniature. As I previously pointed out, she posts insanely cool shots of the model on Instagram. Last year, she mentioned a second courtyard beneath the quad. I was stunned at the implications. The original hadn’t been ripped out—it had just been covered up by the new floor! Still, I didn’t dare hope that she’d be able to share photos.
But this year, she delivered. And let me tell you, if I’d been standing in the quad, my jaw would have dropped right through that false floor.
The original quad floor really is gone, but fortunately, that’s visible in Chamber of Secrets and a couple of construction photos. It’s the cloister walls that were a mystery, and, well … there they are! I was surprised to see that most of the arches were totally open, with no tracery to be seen. (I’d assumed they most likely had Gloucester Cathedral-like tracery.) There were a lot of other details to tweak or add too. So I got to work, also factoring in the elevation of the original quad floor from the cover of Harry Potter: The Blueprints book. (My estimate from COS photogrammetry was a little high.)
Slide back and forth to get a sense of my fixes. The old version is on the left; the newer, more accurate version is on the right.
Areas of remaining uncertainty in that render include that large window at the top center and the balustrade in the archway to the left. I have hope for photos of the former, since it still exists; the latter will be tough because it’s been gone for 15 years.
Another thing I adjusted was the large window at the top right corner of this next render:
That window was later filled in, presumably when the floor was raised. We now have confirmation for one of the reasons: The bottom was lower than the level of the new floor. If you look back at Carrie’s three photos, you can see a light gray area on the far right. I believe this is where the window was patched up with plaster. The part above the new quad floor was also painted to match the surrounding brick texture, but they evidently didn’t bother painting the part hidden below the quad floor. (Who could blame them?)
Anyway, the render below is what you’d see if you were lying on the grass of the quad, looking up. No changes visible here; just a cool view.
Note the headmaster’s office poking out over the marble staircase tower. Yep, Dumbledore has a view of the quad. In fact, it looks something like this:
Sorry about the blocky cliffs at the bottom. Maybe someday I’ll finish sculpting those.
I’ll sign off for today with a couple last looks down into the old quad, with the GOF quad for comparison on the right.
The GOF revision is certainly more sensible in terms of access, but the old version is more interesting, isn’t it?