Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@gunter wrote:

The whole point of the last 16 pages of this thread is that we can demonstrate that we did have ”coherent gabled townscapes” here

Hmmmm, while certainly there’s evidence of coherence in places – eg. the views of the old Custom House and King George statue from Brooking with a dense vista of tall gabled houses behind on Essex Street – bunches of small-scale triangular-gabled houses and drainpipes running accross elevations in ‘front room’ locations such as College Green does not give reassurance.

@gunter wrote:

Amsterdam was a metropolis in the 17th century, with intense urban activity, a boom in mercantile trade, and streetscapes that were probably an average of two storeys taller than comparable streetscapes in Dublin at the time. With these obvious differences it’s probably better not to attempt direct comparisons, but it has to be noted that the situation equalized dramatically in the early 18th century when Holland went into a quiet period

@gunter wrote:

As a historic city, Lubeck is about as different from Dublin as you can get

When I say “We never had a Lubeck or an Amsterdam here” I’m referring to the ‘seriousness’ of the gable architecture rather than to comparability with their periods of prosperity or form.

I haven’t been to Lubeck but I can see from searching on it that it’s a very different city.

@gunter wrote:

and whereas gabled houses in Amsterdam were always more elaborately decorated than their Dublin counterparts, was the ‘gabled townscape’ of Amsterdam really more ‘coherent’ than the gabled townscape of Dublin?

Yeah, I would describe Amsterdam’s ‘open air museum’ of the 17th century as a very coherent townscape.

@gunter wrote:

In Dublin, we know that Georgian houses didn’t evolve organically from gabled houses, they were introduced, fully formed, into the streetscape ………… [though] There is evidence that the first handful of Georgian interlopers incorporated corner fireplaces

True. The 1750s Richard Castle house, 42 Upper O’Connell Street, has corner chimney breasts above first-floor level, but the usual flat, mid-wall ones below that.

(Likewise, wall finish didn’t go straight from panelling to plaster, with early examples panelled up to dado level.)

@gunter wrote:

but otherwise, from the start, they were the total dead-pan brick box we had to get used to for the next hundred years.

Ok, you don’t like Georgian houses – I think that’s clear by now! But you wouldn’t really want to go reconstructing gabled houses / gables in Dublin, would you? Whenever it’s done it just looks toytown-ish – eg. the Bailey pub or 66 Capel Street. We have an 18th century Rennaissance city – let’s deal with it!

@gunter wrote:

What we’re looking at here on College Green is a terrace of six Dutch Billys with the gable of the second house altered and built up into a flat parapet to look more like the newer terrace of standard Georgian house to the left. We know this [to a pretty high degree of certainty] because we can see exactly the same thing happening all over the city. To see the process in action, you only have to look back at the recent Stephen’s Green post.

The reduced number of top-floor windows / flat parapet combo is generally speaking the dead giveaway, the suckerpunch clue of a former gable house. That they might have been like that from the start is just a flirty possibility of something that might have happened after the decision was taken that Dublin was going to look like (a pared-down version of) London rather than Hanover.

@gunter wrote:

[The process of Georgianising of gabled houses] is documented in the print and photographic record all across the city, as it is evident in the record of gabled streetscapes throughout Europe, but with substantially less effect in places where the architectural legacy of earlier generations has traditionally been somewhat more respected.

Or where the gable didn’t fall into distaste.

@gunter wrote:

Three grainy views of the three George’s Street [Limerick] houses, that appear originally to have been built with a high flat parapet and tiny lunette windows in the attic storeys

There is a similar group in Cork, opposite the sidestreet entrance to Bishop Lucey Park (I’m waiting for someone from Cork to post them up) – though their lunette may be more in the spirit of the Georgian ‘Diocletian’ window. Roofs are front-to-back and about 45 degrees. Hipped at the front, gabled at the rear and with high parapets. They may not be particularly early, but it would be worth having a look at them.

@gunter wrote:

OK, but in the 1940s photographs, these houses look much more ‘plain’ than they would have done originally, with the undoubted loss of detail and depth in the capping pediments and in the fitting of recessed Georgian type windows in place of the thicker framed, smaller paned, much busier, original ‘flush type’ early 18th century windows.

….. with exposed sash-boxes.

I disagree re the original appearance of the gables!! Plain curved gables are readily seen in the contemporary material showing gabled houses. The Longford Street houses may indeed have had decoration – but not necessarily anything more than some moulded coping or a basic pediment.

You do welcome disagreement, don’t you? Otherwise we would just get ‘the gunter view’ on Dublin’s gabled tradition. And that wouldn’t do, would it? 😉

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