Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@GrahamH wrote:

One slight element of doubt creeps in though in respect of the window pattern, . . . what would explain the skewed positioning to the right of the central bays? . . . perhaps just a casual attitude to the exterior

I think so, just the same relaxed attitude to window spacing we saw at 30 Jervis Street etc.

We’re probably drawing too many conclusions from a copy of a copy of a painting, but it is curious that Van der Hagen seems to depict these houses as differing in colour as though they weren’t faced in brick!

detail of the Van der Hagen painting.

The broad, low, curvilinear, gables almost look Central European Baroque rather than the Dutch inspired, red-brick, classic Billy we’re used to. All the more curious since you’d imagine a guy with a name like Van der Hagen would have painted them more ‘Dutch’ had they been more ‘Dutch’.

A rough stab at putting the original gable profile back on, based on a bit of an amalgamation of the features of both the left-hand and the right-hand house.

Perhaps Waterford, being a port city, did receive architectural influences from central Europe, or perhaps we’re seeing again that struggle we saw earlier with the towering Marrowbone Lane house, the challenge of convincingly capping the wider house with a single curvilinear gable!

It seems likely that it was this design challenge that led to the popularity of twin and tripple gabled solutions, one of which can be seen nine doors down the quay in the Van der Hagen painting.

I take all of these larger houses as pretty strong evidence of the ‘top down’, rather than ‘bottom up’ origins of the Dutch Billy movement.

Had the ‘Dutch Billy’ been a vernacular development of earlier post-medieval gabled houses, it’s very doubtful that the owners of prestigous new mansions, like this, would have felt the need to, one way or another, incorporate curvilinear gables into their facades!

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