Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Carrickblacker House
I’m not sure that Carrickblacker House was ever in the same category as Richhill and the house was so heavily Victorianized that it’s difficult to say whether the gable feature on the front facade was any earlier than 19th century in origin. It is unlikely that the N.I. Dept. of Environment would have permitted its demolition as recently, as 1988, if the structure retained any substantial late 17th century fabric. Nevertheless Carrickblacker is still an interesting case and worth investigating.

Richhill is an extremely inportant house that was originally one of a group of similar structures that also included Waringstown House, in neighbouring Co. Down. These houses demonstrate that the ‘Dutch’ gable – as an architectural feature – had been transmitted to Ireland by English settler families by the 1660s, but the curvilinear gable was to appear only rarely in urban locations at this time and the trend was then away from gable fronts and towards an architecture of projecting eaves with carved console brackets and small discreet dormers.

another view of Richhill House, Co. Armagh

a detail of one of the side dormers at Waringstown House, which has the same profile as Richhill and was built shortly afterwards in about 1667. The front facade of Waringstown was altered and extended less than fifty years after it was first built and the gabled features we presume it had were removed at this time

The story of the Dutch Billy is the story of how [and why] the the curvilinear ‘Dutch’ gable made a dramatic return to popularity in the 1690s and sustained that popularity, particularly in the realm of street-architecture, for the next several decades.

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