Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

Home Forums Ireland ‘Dutch Billys’ Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’


@GrahamH wrote:

. . . . this tells us gabled houses were still not held as the pariahs that we have been led to believe they were by this point.

That is the point exactly.

We’ve struggled to explain the apparent existence of houses with strong ‘Billy’ characteristics on streets, like Moore Street on the north side and South Leinster Street on the southside, on plots of ground where Rocque shows only open space in 1756, and the answer seems to be that ‘Billys’ remained a respectable architectural option right up into the 1760s.

This would also help explain why whole terraces of houses that have clear transitional features, like the three storey sections of Eccles Street, were being built in the 1770s, as discussed previously.

That the adoption of Georgian conformity was no foregone conclusion, and that the gabled tradition was resilient, widespread and deeply rooted, is the picture that I think is emerging here and it shows us that Luke Gardiner and his circle had a battle on their hands to dislodge the Dutch Billy from it’s position as the cornerstone of Dublin street-architecture.

This also begins to explain what Oliver Grace was at with that famous high level perspective of the Mall in Sackville Street in 1749, commissioned by the said Luke Gardiner. The minimal display of chimneys and the total absence of visible roof structures were not random omissions, they were deliberate acts, essential to provide clarity to what amounted to an architectural manifesto, a declaration of war on the Dutch Billy.

It’s deeply satisfying to find out that fifteen years later, the outcome of Gardiner’s stylistic crusade, begun with the laying out on Henrietta Street in the1720s, was still somewhat in the balance.

Ok, you’ll get people who’ll say that Barker was barking mad, or he was barking up the wrong tree, he wasn’t illustrating real streetscapes, and it true that he may not have been anticipating the actual form that these new Pembroke Estate streets might take, but the point is that he was filling up the space on the map with house types that were current in the streetscapes around him, he wasn’t making judgement for, or against, he was just tryng to offer a realistic image of what a new Dublin streetscape might be and it’s surely instructive that from his vantage point in 1764, he apparently concluded that a new Dublin streetscape, without ‘Billys’, was inconceivable.

That is, until he was got at and told to do it again . . . . without the ‘Billys’.

Latest News