Talk:Italianate architecture

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"Italianate" is an adjective. What is the copyright status of the image? --Wetman 13:34, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I'm the photographer of all images on the Italianate page. As this was my first entry in WikiPedia, it took me a while to figure out how to get images properly tagged.

Italianate is more than just an adjective. A search on Google will bring up a kazillion web sites that discuss this topic in terms of Architecture. Such as: Italianate --Piko 02:01, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)

Judging by "what links here", this page should be made a dab and the article should be moved to Italianate (architectural style) or something along these lines. In Russia-related contexts, the epithet is used to refer to structures which use Muscovite Renaissance elements brought to Russia by Aloisio, Fioravanti, Solari, etc. Any thoughts? --Ghirla -трёп- 07:39, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

There is a lot to sort out with the whole of the 19th century architectural Wikipedia pages. I am wondering if we did not ought to have a Category: Neo-Renaissance architecture so they can all be sorted out, then we can see exactly what we have, already we have Neo-classical architecture and Greek revival (much if not exactly the same thing). Today I discovered American Renaissance a completely new style to me. I'm wondering what else we have in the 19th century department, and what pages should perhaps be merged. Any ideas? Giano | talk 13:02, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
If I were doing this at home I'd clean off the dining room table [after getting an "Okay" from my domestic partner] and spread everything that I want to look at out on it, let it sink in, mull it over for about a week, and then reassemble it. Which is, i suspect, pretty much what Giano is suggesting. So, what is wikipedia's version of my dinning room table? Carptrash 17:29, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
PS the bed in the guest room works too, especially if you don't have a guest.


In its current form, the article smacks of original research. I want to repeat that "Italianate" should be reserved for a disambiguation. For instance, the entry on "Italianate" in Britannica, 15th ed. reads:

ITALIANATE, group of 17th-century northern European painters, principally Dutch, who traveled in Italy and, consciously adopting the style of landscape painting that they found there, incorporated Italian models and motifs into their own works. Chief among the Italianates were Bartholomeus Breenbergh, Andries and Jan Both, Nicolaes Berchem, and Jan Asselijn. The Both brothers, of Utrecht, were to some degree rivals of the Haarlem-born Berchem. Andries painted the figures that populated Jan's landscapes. Berchem's own compositions were largely derived from the Arcadian landscapes of the French painter Claude Lorrain; a typical scene would contain shepherds grazing their flocks among classical ruins, bathed in a golden haze. Upon his return to Holland, Berchem occasionally worked in cooperation with the local painters and is said to have supplied figures in works of both Jacob van Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema. --Ghirla -трёп- 19:09, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Italianate (architectural style) is fine by me. Regarding your last edit summary [1] try looking at the overall design and ethos of Osbourne and what do you see? Giano | talk 19:18, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
If this is a familiar term for Neo-Renaissance residential architecture, we should merge rather than move. Or perhaps insert into Neo-Renaissance a brief summary of what "Italianate" is all about, with a link to Italianate (architectural style) as the main article? --Ghirla -трёп- 19:55, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
This is just the confusing sort of thing, I hink we should be debating here User talk:Giano/19th century architecture rather than taking potentially rash decisions by ourselves, for what it's worth I agree with you, but the term "Italianate" seems to have far greater significance in America, and this is an international encyclopedia, so we have to consider all sides of the coin. Giano | talk 20:20, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I've just re-read it: This page is a complete mess of contradictions Giano | talk 20:58, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Speaking for the Americans here-at least until another shows up- I'm fine with moving the Italianate page to Italianate (architectural style). However there should be a redirect or discombobulation or something to send folks who search for "Italianate" there. Or gives them the choice anyway. I feel no need to Americanize [or should that be United Statesize] the article, but it does need to fit our needs. Carptrash 21:44, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Italianate as a disambiguation page[edit]

"Italianate" is an adjective. Its use as a noun is jargon, which is intending to appear founded on usage like "the Baroque" or "the Rococo", but which is similar to "an equestrian" when signifying an "Equestrian sculpture" rather than the rider of a horse. "Italianate" is a blurred reference to "the Classical", in cases where the original models have been imperfectly understood by the architect, by his client and sometimes by the writer. Britannica 15th ed. is not a perfect model for Wikipedia. "Italianate", which simply means "classicizing" in some general sense, indistinguishably evokes "Roman" or "Classical" or "Neo-Palladian" or "Cinquecento Mannerist" or "Neo-Renaissance"; it could serve better as a disambiguation page:

"See Italianate architecture, an aspect of Architectural revivals.
"See Italianate painters, among whom are the Northern Caravaggisti"
"See Italianate hairdos" (Gosh! You learn something new everyday here! Giano | talk 06:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC))

etc. --Wetman 23:27, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

I found this on the jargon page that [to me] suggests that Italianate is closer to terminology than jargon.

Jargon can be distinguished from terminology in that it is informal and essentially part of the oral culture of a profession, with only limited expression in the profession's publications.

Certainly there is no problem finding "Italianate" used in publications. However I too have no interest in letting Britanica determine how we deal with this issue. Carptrash 00:45, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm in favour of having Italainate is a disambig so is it to be Italianate architecture or Italianate (architectural style) - I think I favour the former as it is less confining. Giano | talk 06:19, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  • The word Italianate by itself more commonly refers to architecture than anything else it would seem based on, not only my own reading, but also results from a google web search. Italianate painters come in a very poor second and are unlikely to be the subject of the word Italianate by itself - as for hairdos ... I am not sure that a dab page needs to be created but perhaps a dab top link - ie using {{Otheruses4}} - see Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Top links. I note that there are a significant number of links to this page, and they are not seemingly intended for another article say on hairdos or even painters. To me that is a criterion in determining whether or not disambiguation is necessary.--A Y Arktos\talk 09:32, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I've made a few changes to the page. Sorry carptrash your pics had to be made a little smaller to fit the page. Could you write a little more, then they could be bigger to fit the section. I don't want to tread on your toes by venturing across the Atlantic! I've been thinking about the page move. I have to disagree with A Y Arktos - I think Italianate is too vague and ambiguous a name on its own. Practically anything could be Italianate from a pair of jeans to that odd hairdo. I can't see the harm in moving to Italianate architecture especially as it's already a re-direct. Giano | talk 13:15, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

It's okay Gman, the pix are not mine. I'll write more etc. but today my whatever is so slow [we have gerbels in cages running around wheels that make the internet work out here] that it's a hassle. Today they, the rodents, seemed to have some sort of a general strike going so it's taking a minute or two between links - - too long. Carptrash 14:51, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

same hear. Giano | talk 14:58, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I have no objection to a rename, for example Italianate architecture. I do have an objection to disambiguation given the number of links, all of which seem to refer to the architectural style and not jeans, hairdos, ... I fully appreciate that there is an adjective out there used indiscriminately and without much apparent meaning, when it becomes a wikipedia aticle (I am tempting fate here), then disambiguation would be fine. For the moment then page move yes, dab to red links - why?--A Y Arktos\talk 19:59, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Architectural opinion sought on 2nd Hotel Vancouver (d.1948)[edit]

I never got to see this building, which was torn down before I was born (1955) but was much-remembered by my parents and anybody else who had spent time in it. I added a bit on it to the Hotel Vancouver page, which is mostly about the current, third hotel, now a Fairmont and in the tradition of the Gothic railway hotels (the Frontenac, Laurier, Banff Springs, Lake Louise, Fort Garry, Empress, Royal York etc); the condition of its completion was that the second hotel be torn down (the new one didn't want the competition, which as you can see was formidable; especially the interior of the newer one is very drab by comparison). I've included pix of the interior to see if there's harmonization between exterior and interior, and would like the opinion of someone/people here as to if this is Italianate or not; I'd called it Italian Renaissance, which is the usual term for the style (at least it was in my cultural geography courses, anyway). The second hotel was by Francis Rattenbury (if that's a redlink, it's open turf to anyone interested in architectural history; yeah, there's an article, but now I'm not sure if the 2nd Hotel Van was his or not; have to check I guess; Rattenbury same designer as BC's Parliament Buildings and 1912 courthouse (now the Vancouver Art Gallery though I think in the UK he's a bit more famous for a society scandal/murder than anything else).

Italianate? Or am I wrong and it's Beaux-Arts or ??? I'd always called it Edwardian Pacific; the dining rooms/ballrooms were in different themes from around the Empire, there were echoes of Hong Kong and Bombay and Africa in the place, and gold-plated faucets and marble fittings in all the bathrooms....Italianate was fairly popular here, relatively speaking to Arts and Crafts and a tamer Queen Anne that's seen in the states; a famous example of an Italianate Renaissance house in Victoria is Emily Carr's old dig:; despite those Gothic-flavoured finials or follies or whatever they are. Skookum1 03:09, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

hello —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

This page would be improved with an visual example of the so-called Italianate Victorian style famous in New England (and elsewhere) as a fairly common form architecture. With a prominent "widow's walk" above it's roof, many captain's homes were built thus. The article touches well upon this style. You say Italianate Victorian to any Yankee who knows a bit about architecture and this is what they'll think of. Some were very fancy, some more plain. If anyone has an image of this classic style of house, it would make a good addition.

That said, I agree that this page seems like a research paper put on on the Wikipedia. It presses its point too hard because quite simply "Italianate architecture" is too broad a subject heading to really organize around. The article on Neo-Renaissance architecture is much more germane, even if it does involve French Renaissance too. The Palazzo Vecchio certainly influenced a great deal of 19th C. American architecture, and in it's WP article it's called Tuscan Gothic. Sir Banister Fletcher makes the same distinction. Indeed, many of the buildings shown in this article reflect more of the Gothic influence of the Palazzo Vecchio and Giotto's campanile than Renaissance. Indeed, all of English Renaissance architecture would be Italianate. If the author means that the Italianate style is a distinct style because it has the Victorian concern with the symbolic weight of any feature (as perhaps referenced by the "picturesque" influence) as opposed to a truly Classical sense of balance and proportion, then this article would fit into Victorian architecture. Best, Francis —Preceding unsigned comment added by Francis Smith (talkcontribs) 03:29, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

A question[edit]


Is this church Italianate? Its description on the Wilton, Wiltshire page says it's Romanesque with Bzyantine influences. What's the difference between Romanesque and Italianate? (talk) 15:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

An opinion. This church in the picture looks Romanesque to me. It looks like a 1,000 year old building, give or take a few centuries. Italianate is a 19th century architectural style. The use of the tower as well as the sort of icicle looking corbeling around various places are details that the Italianate picked up and copied. Feel free to jump in folks, but I do not think that there were very many Italianate churches built. I suggest that you get a basic architectural styles book, or come back with more questions. Carptrash (talk) 23:44, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Answer This church was begun in 1845. It's certainly a very convincing "Romanesque" building, but it is Romanesque revival. It could be called "Italianate" in a general sort of way, because it imitates an Italian Romanesque building rather than a British "Norman" one. But usually the term "Italianate" is used for buildings that imitate the Italian REnaissance rather than Italian Romanesque. It probaly has some Byzantine deatils because many genuine Italian Romanesque buildings do have Byzantine details. Italian Byzantine churches were richer in carving and ornate capitals and twisted columns.

Incidentally, very few Romanesque revival churches were built in England in the early 19th century. This church is a rarity. Churches were nearly always "Gothic revival". The architect may have visited Assisi. If you look at pics on Commons of Italian Romanesque churches, you will soon find which ones were the inspriation of this one. Amandajm (talk) 15:45, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The British will always call this style "Italianate" purely because of the design of the campanile. British Empire Italianate architecture took the tower (Campaniele on churches and belvedere on domestic) as a defining symbol of Italianate architecture adapting in the 19th century. Giano (talk) 16:26, 10 December 2008 (UTC)


This is a generic article of top importance, rather than "high". Amandajm (talk) 15:30, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Italianate in Canada[edit]

I'm not familiar enough with the other provinces to be able to write a Canada section, but Italianate's fairly common in British Columbia, with three notable high-profile examples I can think of, though one is demolished - the Second Hotel Vancouver (1916), the Emily Carr House in Victoriaand - I think it's Italianate - Hycroft Manor in Shaugnessy; maybe it's Neo-Classical but up close it seems ab it ornate for that; the view in the image is from the north; the rear entranche's port cochere and uphill windows seem clearly italianate, sorry I can't provide an image. Italianate's often seen integrated with Queen Anne elements in Vancouver and Victoria, and seems to have also been widely used in the British Columbia Interior in Edwardian times, though most examples are now vanished; the old Exhibition Buildings at Hastings Park, which had to be demolished in the '20s due to structural deficiencies, were an Italianate-California hybrid (Italianate with distinct Mexican characteristics, that is), and also had a glass conservatory roof London-Exhibition style (the roof was, i believe, the reason the building was unstable and had to be taken down - great shame, I'll see if I can find a pic). Italianate storefronts are numerous in Gastown, sorry I can't provide examples, I'm living in Halifax now...I see the occasional bit of Italianate here, mostly smaller frame buildings, I'll try to remember to take some pics if I see one...Skookum1 (talk) 18:01, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

A small pic of the Emily Carr House in its linked official website seems somewhat consistent with Italianate style, though it could be Gothic Revival or other. Italianate elements that matter include brackets beneath a wide overhang of a low/flat roof, and rounded tops of windows. --doncram (talk) 19:42, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

balance vs. Vanderbilt example[edit]

The Italianate style is important and widespread in the U.S., but generally looks quite different from the Vanderbilt mansion given prominence in the article. That is so unlike the usual application in an upscale farmhouse, where it is most common, that I think the Vanderbilt photo should be removed in favor of a couple more regular examples. --doncram (talk) 19:42, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

The Vanderbilt mansion is the classic prime example of the Italianate style - everything else is derived from that.  Giacomo  11:06, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I know from wide experience with covering Italianate houses listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places over the last couple years, that the Vanderbilt mansion is NOT representative. Your assertion of that particular example's importance stirs me to look into the question further, by consulting the Virginia & Lee McAlester book A Field Guide to American Houses. They specifically cover Italianate (generally 1840-1885) in one chapter and the later Italian Renaissance architecture style (generally 1890-1935) in another. It is pretty clear to me based on comparing diagrams and photos in this source, that the 1895-built Vanderbilt mansion is of the latter type. The Italian Renaissance style is more genuine in following actual Italian style, rather than being the American, vernacular popular interpretation that is the Italianate. Italianate in the U.S. was a lot like Greek Revival architecture in the U.S.: it was an idea taken by Americans in the spirit of what they might have thought to be the foreign style, but implementing it in a very American and different way. The Vanderbilt house is more in the more genuine-like Italian Renaissance style.
I note, by the way, that Richard Morris Hunt, the architect of this Vanderbilt mansion, is also the architect for the Vanderbilt family of the Biltmore mansion in North Carolina, which this same source presents as the prime example of the Chateauesque architecture style. It credits Morris as popularizing that style (as far as it went, it being limited to expensive, architect-designed mansions). Perhaps the Vanderbilt mansion whose photo is discussed here, could also be regarded as a prime example and popularizer of the Italian Renaissance style. It could not be the popularizer of the Italianate architectural period which was already ended or ending. --doncram (talk) 18:18, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I note that Italian Renaissance architecture redirects to a general article on Renaissance architecture. I think a separate article on the Italian Renaissance style is needed. Perhaps i can make a start to that. And, eventually, i am thinking the photo of the Vanderbilt mansion should be moved to that. --doncram (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • It seems to me, you would serve Wikipedia better by writing a page devoted to the Italianate style and its evolution in North America. "Chateauesque" is a ridiculous meaningless term and almost every building of note described as being in that style is French Neo-Renaissance. Those buidings not of note, would be better described as "confused Gothic with roofs loosely by Mansard." Breakers is the USA's best known building in the Italianate style, as such it should remain. That it's architect was capable of working in more than one style is immaterial. Finally. Breakers should not be included in a page on the Italian Renaissance architecture because it is not, it is Italianate not Italian. A considerable difference.  Giacomo  19:01, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Hey, i resent the snooty comments that various American styles are ridiculous! Actually, u make me laugh a little; i don't really mind. :) I agree, factually, that the American versions are not "genuine" implementations of Italian or French styles. They're American. (Aside: Go, U.S.A.! Our football is better than your football! Our pizza is better than yours!) And the Vanderbilt mansion is not Italianate, as the term is defined and used in the U.S.; your repetition does not make the assertion true. I would be interested to see any quote or source you can providde about it being the prime example of the Italianate style started in American by Alexander Jackson Davis. About splitting out articles, I guess upon further thought there probably should be a section in this article about both of the two American styles, and then there should also be a separate article about each one. Both the American version of Italianate architecture and the American version of Italian Renaissance architecture seem to be noteworthy and seem to be topics for coverage in this Italianate architecture article. --doncram (talk) 19:26, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • As I insinuated, there is an amzingly large world outside of the USA. Chateauesque is not a term widely used outside of the USA, the land of the Batman Mansion and Hollywood Spooky House. However, I'm afraid that regardless of your personal views, Breakers is Italianate in the wideley and generally understood meaning of the word. It has all the features, albeit in purest form, of "American Italianate." If I had the time, I would write a page on American Italianate Architecture, but I don't and I don't really have the interest either - to me it always looks like British bourgeois seaside architecture. There is huge dearth of pages on USA architecture and how it has interpretated European forms - is there nothing native? - that needs redressing. As for football, ignoring the most recent litle hiccup, I would refer you to this. Is that The Star-Spangled Banner? - It sure sounds a lot more lively.  Giacomo  20:46, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I have to concur with the above comments that Breakers is NOT Italianate, at least not "American Italianate" as you call it (a request for citation has been issued), further, that McAlester is not personal views, and that a highly respected and seminal work on the topic of American residential architecture. According to at least a couple of sources, Italianate in American as a style which was based less on Renaissance revival and more on country villas, which may be a sufficiently different spin such that a separate page is warranted. I take that challenged issued above, and may likely soon be soon creating "Italianate architecture in the United States" to help split the discrepancy, as it must be seriously and scholarly addressed. The American branch of architectural history (the field of study, not the history of architecture), unlike as suggested above, cannot be summarily dismissed, particularly when it comes to issues of American architectural heritage. Morgan Riley (talk) 03:52, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
I further move that a more representative image be chosen for the American section, and further, that the article be allowed to incorporate a broader perspective of the Italianate style, with a consensus based level, rather than imposing a singular viewpoint. For instance, there is bound to be a top-level image that is of both the British and american (for instance, one of the Campanile ones from the mid-century, as the main image is far more a generic Renaissance revival, than specifically Italianate) Morgan Riley (talk) 04:05, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Looking through the examples and reading more closely, I see that much of it seems to be an issue of core stylistic concerns versus tangential ones, where some of the tangents are having problems. I have changed some images to reflect this, in hopes of reaching a more center ground, and that a separate article does not look like it will be necessary to reflect a world-wide view (the Australian examples gave me much hope). The breakers has been hidden in a comment until it can be conclusively verifiable, as other sources, e.g. McAlestar, indicate otherwise. Of note, it appears that the controversy may be that while the Breakers is derived from Italian Rennaisance revivals, it also is around the time of a number of other Mediterranean revivals, that were independent of the "Italianate" movement )which according to McAlestar had begun fading with the financial crises in the ate 19th century). See, e.g., the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, built around the same time period as the Breakers, and yet not classified as Italianate, despite heavy similarities in style, and drawing from Italian renaissance influences. I am going to add text when I can start assembling sufficient resources (i.e. citations). It may take some work, but I think it can all be sorted out. Cheers. Morgan Riley (talk) 05:42, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Neither Stein, Susan R., ed., The Architecture of ‘’Richard Morris Hunt, University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL, 1986 nor Downing, Antoinette F. and Vincent J Scully, Jr., The Architectural Heritage of Newport Rhode Island: 1640-1915, American Legacy Press, New York, 1967 ever use the word "Italianate" while discussion the Breakers. I feel that all the Breakers references in this article should be removed. Carptrash (talk) 06:34, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Action taken on images and Breakers references. Morgan Riley (talk) 14:14, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Carptrash (talk) 14:44, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Bad examples used?[edit]

The examples in the gallery don't seem to typify the style. Two of them are Victorian architecture with some Italianate features. I think we should sort out some better examples to include and weed out ambiguous or inaccurate examples. Candleabracadabra (talk) 17:33, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you Candleabracadabra that a few poor examples have crept in, but which ones specifically are you objecting to. At the end of the day, Italianate architecture is just Victorian architecture which a few Italianesque features - often not very many. It's a very loose style and not easily defined.  Giano  21:41, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Your point is well taken Giano, and indeed upon looking into it further Italiate has come to be appliled rather broadly. But I think it's best to be careful and precise. I think there is a difference between Victorian architecture with Italianate features and Italianate architecture. I think we'd be best served to use examples that typify the style instead of ones that may have some features that can be described as Italianate. The Bidwell Mansion and the Farnam Mansion for starters do not seem to me to be good examples. They would be more appropriate illustrations for Victorian architecture. The images should be illustrative not ambiguous (at best). Likewise the Albury Railway Station has some Italianate features, but doesn't seem like a great example. Perhaps I'm being too strict, but I think if we're going to be loose and include style mixes then we should clarify in the captions which parts are Italianate.
better example

, Merchants Bank Building (commercial example). Anyway. Those are my thoughts. Happy New Year. Candleabracadabra (talk) 23:04, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

The Villa Vizcaya also looks Italianate to me, but I see it has a whole bunch of its own architectural descriptors applied to it. So perhaps what's really meant by italianate is just that there are arches and maybe some columns? Seems rather loose to me. But perhaps I'm mixin up italianate with Italian Villa architecture or these other styles. Candleabracadabra (talk) 23:10, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I fully understand and appreciate where you are coming from Candleabracadabra, over the years I have removed the photo's of many dodgy examples. Before studying architecture, I used to think there must be a style called Spooky American Gothic, but I now know that's the American take on Italianate. However, the Bidwell Mansion is Italianate by any nation's definition - the others you mention just scrape in too. Take a look at Osbourne House (considered a prime example) really it's only a hybrid of "Georgian architecture" (itself a loose imprecise term evolved from Italian/Palladian architecture) with a couple of seigneurial/belvedere towers stuck on the top for good measure. It's a pity we can't say that only attempts to faithfully copy Italian architecture (like Cliveden) can represent the style, but we can't because that would be wrong. I think it has to be accepted that it's a pretty loose and all encompassing style - do alter the captions to explain this though if you want to, and in the text to; but it'll be hard to find references to state a particular building is a poor example of the style - that's the problem.  Giano  08:45, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I think you are absolutely correct on all counts. Thank you for the cogent explanation and happy new year. Candleabracadabra (talk) 14:23, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
The whole subject is a debatable ambiguity. From you post, I just checked out Category:Italian Renaissance Revival architecture in the United States and saw Humble Oil Building and Kindel Building to name but a few in that category; to be frank' I don't think I have the energy or will to even go there. All we can do is make sure that the images shown here at Italianate architecture are at least vaguely in that style. Happy New Year to you too Candleabracadabra. Regards.  Giano  21:09, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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