Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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I would suggest that seeing a non-grid-like rigidity in window spacing as somehow a flaw might be down to generations of Georgian conditioning in the matter of architectural evaluation, but if that’s true, your conditioning ptobably won’t allow you to accept that 🙂

Dormers and gables seem to have been mutually exclusive design elements at this time and in Dublin I think dormers are more usually associated with institutional buildings [RHK, Old Custom House, Library Square, Trinity etc.] than domestic streetscape buildings. The large late-Victorian gables and associated fancy brickwork at no. 41 Stephen’s Green replaced lower twin hipped roofs which in turn replaced twin blind gables.

rear view of twin at no. 41 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .rear view of standard Billy at no. 43

Judging from the evidence of the rear, the attic spaces at no. 41 were not originally habitable until the front half of the roof was raised, by close to a meter, in the late 19th century. The job was done quite sensitively and while the pair of dormers probably resulted primarily from the arrangement of rooms within the expanded attic, the duel composition at least had the benefit of reflecting the original facade treatment.

grainy aerial view of this block dating to the 1950s, before no. 44 [the white painted house] was demolished [in 1969] as part of the contentious Hume St. redevelopment.

The reason that I suspect no. 44 was originally also a twin-Billy is again the particular window arrangement that you’ve been drawing attention to. The top floor and large transverse hipped roof seen in the aerial view are likely to have been a 19th century alteration, possibly occassioned by the destructive storm that wrecked no. 45 next door in Jan. 1839, recounted in the Georgian Society records and in O’Dwyer’s ‘Lost Dublin’. The pattern of three large windows on the first floor and four narrower windows on the second floor, is the same as we saw at 34 Molesworth St. and 32 Usher’s quay, both pretty certain twin-Billys, and we know that no. 44 was contemporary with the Rudd Billys at 42 and 43 and that it had a panelled interior with a barley-suger-banister stair.

The further fact that Tudor shows this stretch of streetscape as a terrace of [ – ok slightly generic – ] Billys in his ‘1748 Fireworks’ print is corroboration of a kind. Does anyone have a high resolution copy of this print by any chance? the NLI on-line copy is too indistinct to post.

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