Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’
The more one delves into the building stock surrounding Leinster House, the more the Duke’s famous proclamation that fashion would follow him to the southside raises a wry eyebrow. Not only did he set up camp in the midst of an existing hill-Billyland, the culturally bereft aristocracy of the mid-18th century merely followed him over like sheep, cooed a little over his classical plans, and then continued to do what they had always done – build their beloved gabled houses!
Great work Graham and that’s an interesting interpretation. I wonder though if there’s a distinction to be made by the 1750s between the aristocracy and the rest of the property owning classes.
In the early days of Dutch Billys, the aristocracy (and the very wealthy) were at the forefront of the ‘Billy’ movement and it would seem that the merchant classes dutifully followed by the simple expedient of embellishing the functional triangular gable with a curvilinear ‘Dutch’ profile to capture the prevailing mood.
OK that’s simplistic, but the point is that by the 1750s (and beginning twenty years before that) the introduction of Palladian taste in town house design seems to have remained exclusively an upper class thing. It would be an interesting exercise to try and identify the first modest sized house in Dublin to follow the flat parapet, lateral roof pattern of the palacial scale houses being developed by Luke Gardiner etc.
As you say, even if these houses on Kildare Street weren’t originally gabled to the street, the fact that they owe more to the ‘Billy’ tradition in plan and building practice, is itself an eloquent testimony to the grip that the ‘Billy’ tradition had on development in Dublin.
Another house that’s not on Rocque (1756), but has distinct ‘Billy’ attributes is 14 South Leinster Street. This is just around the corner from the grand four bay ‘Georgian’ houses designed by Cassells and others that would have lined the north end of Kildare Street for perhaps fifteen years or more by the time this house was in-filled in a gap in the streetscape facing College Park.
the site on Rocques map, marked with a red X
the two bay facade of 14 South Leinster Street with widely spaced windows of similar, rather than diminishing height.
rear view showing a twin roof profile (hipped) and an apparently contemporary return with arched heads over some of the window opes.
again the twin roof profile from the front with the ridges coinciding with the placement of the windows.
This house is enigmatic, it has an odd plan with the staircase starting out in the back corner (on the return side) and then moving into the centre of the plan at the rear, but it has features that more comfortably fit with the ‘Billy’ tradition than the ‘Georgian’. The house hase chunky corner fireplaces with a large stack on the right and a secondary stack serving the upper floors on the left and that roof profile, though of a comparatively shallow pitch, again looks more twin ‘Billy’ tradition than anything that is characteristically ‘Georgian’.