Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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


@Devin wrote:

It was 18 Duke Street, with the increased spacing of windows on the second floor – which your text hasn’t addressed

You’d better offer good explanations or theories for the window arrangements of those if you’re accusing someone of not understanding things properly.

I thought I just dealt with 18 Duke Street.

The windows on the first and second floor don’t line up, they didn’t have to. ‘Billy’ composition wasn’t dependant on a grid, the pedimented gable was such a strong and dominant feature of the design that we often see a reasonably flexible approach to the fenestration, which was almost a secondary feature of the facade, that is at least until the attic storey is reached, at which point there was usually considerable care taken to line up the upper most window [or pair of windows] with the roof ridge [or pair of roof ridges].

As we’ve seen in dozens of cases there was also a whole category of ‘Billy’ which incorporated fewer, and often wider, bays on the principal first floor compared with the floors above and below. I imagine this had to do with facilitating the desired interior fit-out scheme, which I think is the explanation you’re looking for at no. 41 Stephen’s Green.

nos. 41 – 43 Stephen’s Green. I’ve dotted in below the probable original gable profile of the three houses [no.41 being a twin ‘Billy’]

The particular spacing of the windows on the first floor of no. 41 reflects the interior layout where the primary staircase occupies the two storey space corresponding to the right-hand third of the facade. The other two first floor front windows are arranged to be symmetrical to the reception room behind.

interior views of the main stairwell looking back towards the entrance door and the front window . . . . and the front reception room

No. 66 Capel Street falls into the same category as no. 3 Duke St. [Marks + Spencer site] and I just don’t have time at the moment to deal with all the issues that surround those particular buildings.

Regarding Brooking’s map/prospect, yes triangular gables predominate, but perhaps 50 – 60% of Dublin Billys hadn’t been built by 1728 and much of what Brooking depicts would have been building stock that pre-dates the surge in curvilinear-gable building which most people recognise occurred post-1690.

For example no. 41 Stephen’s Green wasn’t built until 1745, on land leased from James Wilkinson, and nos. 42 and 43 were built by the intrepid Billy builder, Benjamin Rudd, perhaps a year or two later. These houses and no. 44 [a probable twin-Billy] built by Wilkinson himself in 1748 or 9 were not only full-on Billys with panelled interiors and cruciform roofs, they were in a sense a repudiation of the Palladian box formula as most immediately represented by ‘Tracton House’ built on the adjoining corner site at no. 40 Stephen’s Green a couple of years earlier in 1744.

On the various conjectural reconstructions I’ve attempted, these have been concentrated in areas of former Billy streetscapes, so it hardly surprising that curvilinear gables predominate, that’s not to say that triangular gables weren’t present in large numbers elsewhere.

Is that OK?

Latest News