Immediately after entering the Library, the large fireplace sets the stage for exploring Mercer’s historic tile series. The saying above the fireplace “PLVS VLTRA” (PLUS ULTRA) gives the visitor a hint of what is to come. Plus ultra is Latin for “further beyond”. It is the national motto of Spain, adopted from the personal motto of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (and King of Spain as Charles I). As we will see there is much more “further beyond” in Mercer’s Fonthill Castle. The tiles on the face of the mantle depict Spain’s expansion into the New World starting with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sending Christopher Columbus off on his journey.
The next tile depicts the dangers of the journey.
The “Sea of Darkness” theme is repeated in other tiles throughout the Castle. The Spanish exploration into the New World is the focus of the Columbus Room which I will show in future posts. There is much more to see Plus Ultra!