Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@GrahamH wrote:

. . . . the Dutch Billy format was so very effective in lending individuality of architectural expression to each house while also creating a coherent and impressive whole, in a manner that the oft-celebrated reticent Georgian terrace with idiosyncratic doorcases never could.

In this respect, I think the gable-fronted house is eminently more suited to the Irish psyche, with its desire for independence of style and declaration to the world irrespective of the wider consequences. The Billy format enabled free expression at roof level, while reining owners’ flights of fancy into an organised collective that was thoroughly pleasing to the eye.

Beautifully expressed Graham! We just haven’t begun to appreciate the extent, or the complexity, or the sophistication of this pre-Georgian gabled tradition. . . . . and I think you’re absolutely right to make a connection with the national psyche. Is there any other phase in our artistic development where so much of the political and cultural complexities of our national identity came bubbling to the surface. A cascade of confidence and creativity that while it may have been expressly ‘loyalist’ in it’s inseption (I believe), became ‘national’ by virtue of what it wasn’t, . . . it wasn’t English.

In blissful ignorance of all of this, there was yet another glossy architectural piece by Robert O’Byrne in the Irish Times ‘weekend’ supplement on Saturday recounting the glories of Irish 18th century classicism, as if we haven’t read all this stuff before, a hundred times.

Once again the sixty plus years of creativity and craft that gave us gabled, almost baroque, cityscapes (comparable to some of the finest in Europe) hardly got a mention, just a couple of dismissive phrases predictably centred on the perceived excesses of rococco plasterwork as though created by some grunting Neanderthals fumbling in a cave, too stupid to know that all the homo-sapiens were doing Robert Adam this season to a colour card from Wedgewood. If this guy was any more shallow, he’d evaporate!

Am getting angry now, . . . better stop before I have to start editing out stuff.

P.S. we may have underestimated the number of surviving twin Billys, I think the suggestion was six, . . . looks like there might be a couple more 🙂

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