Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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A few more examples of gabled houses in England that directly relate to our ‘Dutch Billys’

This is a detail from a John Cleveley painting of Deptford Docks near Greenwich showing a splendid ‘Dutch’ gable on the house on the right. This house was called ‘The Master Shipwright’s apartment’ and it substantially survives today, lost in a maze of warehouses and unfortunately I couldn’t get access to photograph it. The curvilinear gable, now reduced, masked a close-coupled twin pitched roof and construction of the house has been dated to 1708.

A low quality copy of a photograph of a dimutive ‘Dutch’ gable on Almshouses in Clapton Pond in Hackney. The almshouses were founded in 1665, but the Dutch gable may be slightly later.

A series of Dutch gabled houses on The Strand in Topsham. Topsham is on the south coast of Devon on the River Exe near Exeter. Local tradition has it that these houses were built around 1700 by merchants involved with the cotton trade with Holland and that they were built in brick carried from Holland as ballast. One of the houses is actually called ”The William of Orange House”.

The tendancy, in English architectural history circles, is to see these houses as something of an anachronistic phenomenon stylistically linked to the busy decorative strapwork gables of the sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries, rather than as any kind of coherent new, Dutch inspired, phase. They could be right, or it could be that these houses represent the beginnings of a parallel English ‘Dutch Billy’ movement that simply didn’t get off the ground due to the greater influence of the flat parapet fashion emanating from London.

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