‘Dutch Billys’

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  • #799825

    Anonymous

    Glaslough appears to be a strange case whatever way you look at it. Mark Bence-Jones, who is normally a fund on information on country houses, gives us nothing on the early history of Castle Leslie [Glaslough].

    That little [Maynooth Studies] history, records that Sir Thomas Ridgeway constructed a square castle on the site in the wake of the Ulster Plantation and the house then grew up around that, possibly constructed by Bishop John Leslie in the 1660s. The estate then passed in 1671 to John’s eldest son, also John Leslie, who was Dean or Dromore and who died in 1721. John’s brother, Charles, was a controversial character, being both an Anglican clergyman and also a supporter of the Stuart cause and this created some discomfiture for the Leslies during the reign of William & Mary and subsequently. Charles was an energetic pamphleteer against all non-Anglican sects including Quakers, Jews, Deists and Roman Catholics. He must have cut a strange figure at the Stuart Court in exile, steeped as it was in all the trappings of Popery, when he found refuge there in 1710 after his pamphleteering activities finally crossed a line the authorities couldn’t ignor.

    It’s a pity that more information on the pre-1860s Glaslough House hasn’t emerged yet, the religious/political conflicts in the Leslie family would make an investigation of its architectural expression a particularly fascinating case study.


    that Glaslough House image again

    a photo of Turvey House, North County Dublin, before its demolition in 1972

    All we can tell from that one image is that there are some distinct similarities with Turvey, not only in the fact that it was built around an earlier tower house, but also in that there are obvious grounds for believing that Turvey was also triple gabled. A further parallel can be found in the fact that successive owners of Turvey were also beset with troubles relating to their religious allegiance.

    #799826

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    And then there’s Richhill, in Co. Armagh

    #799827

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Actually I came across something else in the last few days whih reminded me of the Glaslough image… need to remember where, but it wasn’t that far away.

    #799828

    Anonymous

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    And then there’s Richhill, in Co. Armagh

    A place i know well that and its famous gates… and the ongoing fight between the owners of Richill Castle and the Northern Ireland Office.

    Also quite close in Portdown was Carrick Blacker House, since demolished which despite being Queen Anne, kept the dutch gables for good measure.

    #799829

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Carrick Blacker House was what I was thinking off, I think, or maybe it was something else…. hmmm seen too many pictures of places in Armagh this week

    #799830

    Anonymous


    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.

    #799831

    Anonymous

    This may well have been posted here before…I thought it was a great find

    #799832

    Anonymous

    Here’s one from before Devo bought it.

    Jesus, the last time I saw Mill St it was held together with a pigeon-shit and feather render. Wonder what the inside is like?

    On the subject of three bays, saw this lovely one in Carlingford.

    Not far from the above is Ghan House, 1720’s ish, more on it later, but it contains lovely shouldered door cases, dog legs and mouldings. I know nothing about plasterwork but they look pretty early.

    Nice panels behind the bannister too. Speaking of which any ideas on how old the panelling in the Long Hall is?

    #799833

    Anonymous

    Yikes! Obviously I should have said triple gabled, not three bay regarding that Carlingford House.

    #799834

    Anonymous

    There was also a category of three storey house, that turns up mostly in provincial centres, which had a facade that reduced from five bay to three on the top floor, but which was probably not originally gabled. Below are examples from Dyer Street in Drogheda and just over the bridge in Leixlip. I think these houses are related to the triple gabled house type, but in houses of this type the outer windows on the top storey are invariably centred over the space between the windows below in a way that didn’t happen too often in the case of altered gabled houses where the priority was to match the attic storey windows to the centre of the gable locations above, regardless of the fenestration spacing below.

    I think these houses relate to the gabled tradition in that if the triple gabled house type hadn’t existed, it’s unlikely that the reduction in windows on the top floor of a five bay house of this type, in Georgian times, would have been deemed acceptable.

    #799835

    Anonymous

    This is a tasty triple gabled house called Barnham Court in West Sussex that illustrates the point about the attic storey fenestration being dependant on the gable positioning and how this often meant that the outer windows had to drift in respect of the five bay fenestration below.

    Note how the tricky challenge of dealing with the rain water outlets from the valleys between gables was resolved by concealing a channel above the strong projecting string course below the attic storey, a devise that also deflected attention away from the imperfections in the window spacing.

    Barnham Court is an immaculately preserved Grade 1 listed building, as you’d imagine, but unfortunately more contemporary images of the front are partially obcured now by trees. English Heritate date the house to circa 1640 and the brickwork has been linked to that at the Dutch House at Kew, built in 1631. These dates are a good eighty to ninty years earlier than Irish examples of triple gabled houses and for this reason it is unlikely that there is any direct link between the two traditions, although a handful of under-studied English examples may approach a bit nearer to 1700.

    #799836

    Anonymous

    Here’s another view of that triple gabled house at Barnham Court, west Sussex, with its clever rain water disposal system tucked away around the corner from the front facade.

    That prominant projecting, indented, cornice, here executed in brickwork, reappears in timber as the classic eaves detail to a dormered roof in the next phase of English domestic architecture, a tradition that we shared for a good twenty years before we unexpectedly took up the curvilinear gable and ran with it for the bulk of the next fifty years. Both traditions were ultimately killed off by the questionable charms of the flat parapet.

    Above is a view [circa 1760], by Thomas Sandby, of Beaufort Buildings, a residential development built on the site of Buaufort House just south of the Strand in London in the 1680s. Several of the houses may have been remodelled in the interim and some dormers certainly look enlarged, but the general streetscape with its repeating pattern of projecting eaves and ranks of dormers is probably substantially original and gives a good idea what a post-gabled [London] and a pre-gabled [Dublin] streetscape looked like.

    #799837

    Anonymous

    @gunter wrote:

    Orangism did not start with the foundation of the Orange Order in 1795, Orangism was a hundred years old by then and it would be a lot easier for the rest of us to explore the extraordinary cultural legacy of Orangism, and maybe begin to celebrate its many cultural achievements in Ireland, if the Orange Order put down some of its baggage.

    Are we sure that “Dutch” billies are part of this Orange tradition.. My perception on the matter is that this building style was near pan-european in the 18th century, and it’s just the Dutch happened to retain the style to the modern day, while the trend fell out of fashion almost everywhere else in the 19th century.

    #799838

    Anonymous

    @simon.d wrote:

    Are we sure that ‘ Dutch’ Billies are part of the Orange tradition?

    Actually Simon, there would be no consensus at all that the Dutch Billy is part of the Orange tradition, and most people seem inclined to dismiss the notion as nothing more than a simplistic interpretation of a whimsical nickname whose provenance has not been established. If it does emerge that the Dutch Billy was an early expression of ‘Orangism’, one of the surprising things will be that the Orange tradition itself is completely unaware of the fact.
    None of which means it wasn’t so.

    Niall McCullough had a typically elegant formula for addressing the appearance of Dutch gables in late 17th and early 18th century illustrations of the city, in Dublin, an Urban History including those of Francis Place; ‘Place shows curvilinear ones – more obviously redolent of a Dutch phase of influence, and perhaps by then imbued with a political cachet in loyal Dublin.’

    A combination of Dutch influence with a loyal cachet is probably as far as most people will go with the Orange factor, but this may be because of a certain distaste for the idea, or maybe a disinclination to believe that such an explanation could possibly be credible, or just the belief that there is sufficient explanation for the sources of the Billy tradition elsewhere.

    To my mind, there are four potential sources for the Billy tradition:

    1. Immigration, especially of builders and tradesmen familiar with similar gabled house traditions in provincial England, but also occasionally in Holland and elsewhere.

    2. ‘The persistence of antique forms’, i-e continuity from known indigenous [ – or previously imported – ] gabled traditions of medieval origin, flowering, as it did elsewhere, into a curvilinear gabled phase.

    3. Transfer by trade or other commercial or cultural links [including dissemination by pattern book] with places where the curvilinear gabled tradition was strong, i-e Holland, the Baltic, northern France and provincial England.

    4. The Orange celebratory factor.

    The question is; what weight is to be attached to each source?

    In my opinion, there is a definite case for no. 1 being an important factor, given the fact that the bulk of the builders, developers and tradesmen that we have records for are English, with a high proportion being evidently first or second generation immigrants, i-e prime candidates for being in a position to transfer a building tradition.

    The problem with this explanation is the absence of a clearly defined parent tradition; many areas of Britain can offer one or two elements that made up the Billy tradition, but nowhere seems to have the full package in sufficient strength to be a completely convincing source location.

    Personally, I’d rate this factor as probably not more than 25% of the explanation.

    No. 2 is a compelling factor for only a comparatively small number of known examples and some of these could equally be vernacular simplifications of full blown Billys, rather than the other way round. The bigger problem with the continuity argument is the fact that, across the whole spectrum of Dublin street-architecture, from the speculative terrace to the high status town house, the gabled continuity was clearly interrupted by a phase of development in the 1670s and ‘80s that did not feature gable frontages and which, as far as we can tell, was indistinguishable from contemporary building practice in the fashionable areas of London – and built by the people that we talked about at no. 1 above.

    10% of the explanation, at best.

    Frankly, no. 3 is unlikely to be a particularly significant factor, much as it might be an attractive idea to see ourselves retrospectively in a European context.
    @simon.d wrote:

    My perception on the matter is that this building style was near pan-European in the 18th century

    Yes, ‘pan-European’ . . . . except London and the fashionable urban centres of England, on which Dublin society styled itself in every other aspect of its material culture, [see anything published by Toby Bernard].

    Expecting architectural pollination of the order required to explain an entire building tradition as distinctive and as geographically contained as the Dutch Billy is asking a lot of trade or cultural links that don’t appear to have been either, especially remarkable, or in any way peculiar to Ireland.

    Again, 10% of the explanation at best.

    Which brings us to No. 4 and back to that contentious ‘Orange’ explanation.

    To me, the compelling factors here are:

    [a] The time line, is a near perfect fit;

    Before 1690, the handful of examples we have of curvilinear gables can each be seen as a special case and their distribution is consistent with new money flirting with stylistic experimentation, not the emergence of a new tradition. After 1690, the situation reverses, the curvilinear gable becomes ubiquitous in new urban construction, establishing a new tradition, while new money starts experimenting with typologies beyond the gabled tradition, e.g. Joshua Dawson’s Mansion House, or Speaker Connolly’s Vitruvian Castletown.

    The distinctiveness of the geographical spread;

    Just as the Williamite conflict enveloped, and was confined to, the island of Ireland, so the Dutch Billy tradition was distinctively Irish in distribution and while Dublin was evidently the cradle of the tradition and always had the greatest concentration, it is clear that the tradition quickly spread to most of the other urban centres of Ireland, each of which had been transformed, in one way or another, by the conflict.

    [c] Popularity across the full social spectrum;

    The Billy tradition displays an unusual degree of common purpose across the social spectrum as though a shared peril overcome had given rise to a shared method of expressing relief/joy at the outcome. From the very small house of the shopkeeper or artisan craftsman to the great house of the brewery magnet or the city alderman, the architecture was essentially the same, distinguished only by scale, expenditure on detail, or, in some cases, a multiplicity of gables.

    [d] Evidence of a Williamite cult;

    Orangism didn’t drop out of a clear blue sky in 1795, the practice of celebrating King William clearly began almost immediately following William’s triumphant entry into the city where the King’s birthday and the date of the Battle of the Boyne quickly eclipsing all previous protestant festivities commemorating the 1641 rebellion. Even Swift was moved to compose an ode in gushing praise of the deliverer. In England, William’s star may have slowly faded as the country seemed to be embroiled in perpetual continental war and people remembered that he was Dutch, but in Ireland, despite some mean spirited new restrictions on the wool trade, there were few obstacles on the path to idolization. Commentators were struck by the contrast. Writing in 1751 [three monarchs later], the ever reliable Mrs. Delany, still grumpy from a cold she had contracted while attending the 4th Nov. celebration of King William’s birthday on College Green, observed that ‘King William’s . . . memory is idolized here almost to superstition.’

    Did an idolization of the deliverer and a desire to put an indelible stamp on the city, combine with other factors to create the Dutch Billy tradition?

    I think it probably did.

    #799839

    Anonymous

    The significance of the remains of Riversdale House had been flagged repeatedly in representations to Dublin City council over the years, yet the last visible remains of the house were swept away recently during the course of adjacent flood defence works to the Camac River in Kilmainham.


    The façade of Riversdale house, Kilmainham, prior to demolition in the 1960s

    Riversdale House was an extremely rare example of a high status house from the 18th century gabled tradition [probably originally including Dutch Billy gables] constructed entirely in stone rather than brick. The house was constructed about 1725 by a Dublin lawyer called John Fitzpatrick who sold it shortly afterwards to a legal colleague, Simon Bradstreet. The Bradstreets resplendently resided in the mansion throughout the 18th century, adding to their holding and tending the formal gardens that stretched out in front of the house up to a splendid wrought iron gateway fronting the highway at Old Kilmainham.


    O.S. map showing Riversdale House [outlined in red] set at the rear of formal gardens.


    The entrance gate on Old Kilmainham disappeared early in the 20th century and was reportedly shipped off to Malahide, where I haven’t yet been able to find it

    At what point the uber refined entrance door of the house acquired its signature statue of Shakespeare is still unclear, but the great house, long since converted into a tenement with a plain 19th century roof, was substantially demolished in the mid-1960s.


    The entrance door of Riversdale House with the statue of Shakespeare above it.

    What remained until recent weeks was the lower half of the west gable wall, which formed the property boundary and the party wall with a slightly later house called Millbrook House which had been constructed on the adjoining site entered from Lady Lane. Importantly, the remaining section of gable wall included the south-west corner with the front façade of which the first 1170mm survived including the jam of the westernmost window. This visible window jam belonged to the first floor not the ground floor as the ground level had been built up at the time of the demolition, probably using the rubble of the house for this purpose.


    The remains of the west gable wall of Riversdale House before its recent demolition with Kilmainham Mills in the distance beyond to the west


    The replacement wall looking east

    Had the will been there, an excavation of what should be the guts of a full ground floor, together with the evidence of construction detail that a close examination of the remaining gable wall could have provided, would have formed the basis for a reconstruction of the old house as part of a wider redevelopment of the site. For a discussion of reconstructing lost buildings, see thread of that title.


    A sketch section of one of the reconstruction proposals in the ‘90s that didn’t come off

    The current Dublin City Development Plan states:
    FC037
    ‘It is an objective of Dublin City Council to carry out a survey and study of the remains of the ‘gabled tradition’ of buildings and assist in the conservation, recording and in some cases the restoration of representative examples of these houses so as to prevent this legacy being lost’

    Empty words to put in an empty space.

    #799840

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    Apologies if already here – just dont recall seeing it…. the former Stafford St, now Wolfe Tone

    [attachment=0:1imphcui]wolfetone.jpg[/attachment:1imphcui]

    #799841

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster

    And Haymarket

    [attachment=0:14cwbvr7]haymarket.jpg[/attachment:14cwbvr7]

    #799842

    Anonymous

    A rare view of those reproductions on Lamb Alley. They almost look authentic from this distance.

    http://www.maxlearning.net/Mike/BI-Travel_htm/Ireland_Dublin.htm

    #799843

    Anonymous
    #799844

    Anonymous

    I hadn’t seen the Flora Mitchell version before, very cute.

    Flora Mitchell was drawn to all those crumbling parts of Dublin where remnants of the gabled tradition could still be found in the 1950s and ’60s. In this case, as the caption says, the subject mater of her painting was long gone and she had to base her representation of the Swift birth-place on a 19th century print, which itself may have been partly conjectural. It’s interesting how she rationalized the profile of the curvilinear gable, a feature which is less clearly represented in the original print.

    Whether the house in question was the actual house in which Swift was born in 1667 is open to speculation. Swift had the advantage of being venerated in his own time so it is possible that his birthplace was widely known to his contemporaries and never subsequently forgotten. On the other hand, in high-lighting the birth place of a notable citizen there is a vererable urban tradition of fixing on the nearest presentable house and letting time and repetition do the rest.

    Could the house depicted in the Hoey’s Court print date to the 1660s?

    It is just possible. Brick construction was well established in the city by the mid-17 century and was becoming the norm in the grand expansion of the Restoration period which was occurring at exactly the time of Swift’s birth and if the various claims we’ve made in recent times for the Clancarty House on College Green are true, then sophisticated curvilinear gabled houses were being built in Dublin in the mid-1660s, but whether this sophistication would have infiltrated the street-architecture scene in back-land locations like Hoey’s Court already by the mid 1660s is another matter.

    Even allowing for the uncertainty about the original gable profile, and the roof structure behind it, in most respects the elevation of the Hoey’s Court house looks more likely to date to 1700 than 1660. If we’re looking for parallels, the house that the Hoey’s Court house most closely resembles, in the density of its façade fenestration and general detail and proportion, is the ‘Ireton’ house in Limerick [albeit a storey taller] which was a circa 1700 rebuilding and re-fronting of an older house and there is the suspicion of a re-fronting too about the Hoey’s Court house, with the odd stepping of the first floor string course as though a pre-existing step in the floor levels inside had to be accommodated. Also the unusual profile of the gable might conceivably have derived from the need to screen some untidy existing roof profiles belonging to an earlier house.


    the 19th century print on which the Flora Mitchell painting is based compared with the façade of the ‘Ireton’ house on Nicholas Street in Limerick

    Certainly, the heavy sash windows and the relieving arches over the windows in the attic storey would seem to link the façade to the main phase of the Dutch Billy tradition, which still leaves open the possibility the house behind this new façade may well have been mid 17th century and conceivably therefore the house that himself might have been born in.

    In any other city, this would all have been researched and resolved and there’d be access to the excavated basement from the delightful little museum and coffee shop now sitting on the site.

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  • #799825

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    Glaslough appears to be a strange case whatever way you look at it. Mark Bence-Jones, who is normally a fund on information on country houses, gives us nothing on the early history of Castle Leslie [Glaslough].

    That little [Maynooth Studies] history, records that Sir Thomas Ridgeway constructed a square castle on the site in the wake of the Ulster Plantation and the house then grew up around that, possibly constructed by Bishop John Leslie in the 1660s. The estate then passed in 1671 to John’s eldest son, also John Leslie, who was Dean or Dromore and who died in 1721. John’s brother, Charles, was a controversial character, being both an Anglican clergyman and also a supporter of the Stuart cause and this created some discomfiture for the Leslies during the reign of William & Mary and subsequently. Charles was an energetic pamphleteer against all non-Anglican sects including Quakers, Jews, Deists and Roman Catholics. He must have cut a strange figure at the Stuart Court in exile, steeped as it was in all the trappings of Popery, when he found refuge there in 1710 after his pamphleteering activities finally crossed a line the authorities couldn’t ignor.

    It’s a pity that more information on the pre-1860s Glaslough House hasn’t emerged yet, the religious/political conflicts in the Leslie family would make an investigation of its architectural expression a particularly fascinating case study.


    that Glaslough House image again

    a photo of Turvey House, North County Dublin, before its demolition in 1972

    All we can tell from that one image is that there are some distinct similarities with Turvey, not only in the fact that it was built around an earlier tower house, but also in that there are obvious grounds for believing that Turvey was also triple gabled. A further parallel can be found in the fact that successive owners of Turvey were also beset with troubles relating to their religious allegiance.

    #799826

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    And then there’s Richhill, in Co. Armagh

    #799827

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    Actually I came across something else in the last few days whih reminded me of the Glaslough image… need to remember where, but it wasn’t that far away.

    #799828

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    @paul Clerkin wrote:

    And then there’s Richhill, in Co. Armagh

    A place i know well that and its famous gates… and the ongoing fight between the owners of Richill Castle and the Northern Ireland Office.

    Also quite close in Portdown was Carrick Blacker House, since demolished which despite being Queen Anne, kept the dutch gables for good measure.

    #799829

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    Carrick Blacker House was what I was thinking off, I think, or maybe it was something else…. hmmm seen too many pictures of places in Armagh this week

    #799830

    Anonymous
    • Offline


    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.

    #799831

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    This may well have been posted here before…I thought it was a great find

    #799832

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    Here’s one from before Devo bought it.

    Jesus, the last time I saw Mill St it was held together with a pigeon-shit and feather render. Wonder what the inside is like?

    On the subject of three bays, saw this lovely one in Carlingford.

    Not far from the above is Ghan House, 1720’s ish, more on it later, but it contains lovely shouldered door cases, dog legs and mouldings. I know nothing about plasterwork but they look pretty early.

    Nice panels behind the bannister too. Speaking of which any ideas on how old the panelling in the Long Hall is?

    #799833

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    Yikes! Obviously I should have said triple gabled, not three bay regarding that Carlingford House.

    #799834

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    There was also a category of three storey house, that turns up mostly in provincial centres, which had a facade that reduced from five bay to three on the top floor, but which was probably not originally gabled. Below are examples from Dyer Street in Drogheda and just over the bridge in Leixlip. I think these houses are related to the triple gabled house type, but in houses of this type the outer windows on the top storey are invariably centred over the space between the windows below in a way that didn’t happen too often in the case of altered gabled houses where the priority was to match the attic storey windows to the centre of the gable locations above, regardless of the fenestration spacing below.

    I think these houses relate to the gabled tradition in that if the triple gabled house type hadn’t existed, it’s unlikely that the reduction in windows on the top floor of a five bay house of this type, in Georgian times, would have been deemed acceptable.

    #799835

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    This is a tasty triple gabled house called Barnham Court in West Sussex that illustrates the point about the attic storey fenestration being dependant on the gable positioning and how this often meant that the outer windows had to drift in respect of the five bay fenestration below.

    Note how the tricky challenge of dealing with the rain water outlets from the valleys between gables was resolved by concealing a channel above the strong projecting string course below the attic storey, a devise that also deflected attention away from the imperfections in the window spacing.

    Barnham Court is an immaculately preserved Grade 1 listed building, as you’d imagine, but unfortunately more contemporary images of the front are partially obcured now by trees. English Heritate date the house to circa 1640 and the brickwork has been linked to that at the Dutch House at Kew, built in 1631. These dates are a good eighty to ninty years earlier than Irish examples of triple gabled houses and for this reason it is unlikely that there is any direct link between the two traditions, although a handful of under-studied English examples may approach a bit nearer to 1700.

    #799836

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    Here’s another view of that triple gabled house at Barnham Court, west Sussex, with its clever rain water disposal system tucked away around the corner from the front facade.

    That prominant projecting, indented, cornice, here executed in brickwork, reappears in timber as the classic eaves detail to a dormered roof in the next phase of English domestic architecture, a tradition that we shared for a good twenty years before we unexpectedly took up the curvilinear gable and ran with it for the bulk of the next fifty years. Both traditions were ultimately killed off by the questionable charms of the flat parapet.

    Above is a view [circa 1760], by Thomas Sandby, of Beaufort Buildings, a residential development built on the site of Buaufort House just south of the Strand in London in the 1680s. Several of the houses may have been remodelled in the interim and some dormers certainly look enlarged, but the general streetscape with its repeating pattern of projecting eaves and ranks of dormers is probably substantially original and gives a good idea what a post-gabled [London] and a pre-gabled [Dublin] streetscape looked like.

    #799837

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    @gunter wrote:

    Orangism did not start with the foundation of the Orange Order in 1795, Orangism was a hundred years old by then and it would be a lot easier for the rest of us to explore the extraordinary cultural legacy of Orangism, and maybe begin to celebrate its many cultural achievements in Ireland, if the Orange Order put down some of its baggage.

    Are we sure that “Dutch” billies are part of this Orange tradition.. My perception on the matter is that this building style was near pan-european in the 18th century, and it’s just the Dutch happened to retain the style to the modern day, while the trend fell out of fashion almost everywhere else in the 19th century.

    #799838

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    @simon.d wrote:

    Are we sure that ‘ Dutch’ Billies are part of the Orange tradition?

    Actually Simon, there would be no consensus at all that the Dutch Billy is part of the Orange tradition, and most people seem inclined to dismiss the notion as nothing more than a simplistic interpretation of a whimsical nickname whose provenance has not been established. If it does emerge that the Dutch Billy was an early expression of ‘Orangism’, one of the surprising things will be that the Orange tradition itself is completely unaware of the fact.
    None of which means it wasn’t so.

    Niall McCullough had a typically elegant formula for addressing the appearance of Dutch gables in late 17th and early 18th century illustrations of the city, in Dublin, an Urban History including those of Francis Place; ‘Place shows curvilinear ones – more obviously redolent of a Dutch phase of influence, and perhaps by then imbued with a political cachet in loyal Dublin.’

    A combination of Dutch influence with a loyal cachet is probably as far as most people will go with the Orange factor, but this may be because of a certain distaste for the idea, or maybe a disinclination to believe that such an explanation could possibly be credible, or just the belief that there is sufficient explanation for the sources of the Billy tradition elsewhere.

    To my mind, there are four potential sources for the Billy tradition:

    1. Immigration, especially of builders and tradesmen familiar with similar gabled house traditions in provincial England, but also occasionally in Holland and elsewhere.

    2. ‘The persistence of antique forms’, i-e continuity from known indigenous [ – or previously imported – ] gabled traditions of medieval origin, flowering, as it did elsewhere, into a curvilinear gabled phase.

    3. Transfer by trade or other commercial or cultural links [including dissemination by pattern book] with places where the curvilinear gabled tradition was strong, i-e Holland, the Baltic, northern France and provincial England.

    4. The Orange celebratory factor.

    The question is; what weight is to be attached to each source?

    In my opinion, there is a definite case for no. 1 being an important factor, given the fact that the bulk of the builders, developers and tradesmen that we have records for are English, with a high proportion being evidently first or second generation immigrants, i-e prime candidates for being in a position to transfer a building tradition.

    The problem with this explanation is the absence of a clearly defined parent tradition; many areas of Britain can offer one or two elements that made up the Billy tradition, but nowhere seems to have the full package in sufficient strength to be a completely convincing source location.

    Personally, I’d rate this factor as probably not more than 25% of the explanation.

    No. 2 is a compelling factor for only a comparatively small number of known examples and some of these could equally be vernacular simplifications of full blown Billys, rather than the other way round. The bigger problem with the continuity argument is the fact that, across the whole spectrum of Dublin street-architecture, from the speculative terrace to the high status town house, the gabled continuity was clearly interrupted by a phase of development in the 1670s and ‘80s that did not feature gable frontages and which, as far as we can tell, was indistinguishable from contemporary building practice in the fashionable areas of London – and built by the people that we talked about at no. 1 above.

    10% of the explanation, at best.

    Frankly, no. 3 is unlikely to be a particularly significant factor, much as it might be an attractive idea to see ourselves retrospectively in a European context.
    @simon.d wrote:

    My perception on the matter is that this building style was near pan-European in the 18th century

    Yes, ‘pan-European’ . . . . except London and the fashionable urban centres of England, on which Dublin society styled itself in every other aspect of its material culture, [see anything published by Toby Bernard].

    Expecting architectural pollination of the order required to explain an entire building tradition as distinctive and as geographically contained as the Dutch Billy is asking a lot of trade or cultural links that don’t appear to have been either, especially remarkable, or in any way peculiar to Ireland.

    Again, 10% of the explanation at best.

    Which brings us to No. 4 and back to that contentious ‘Orange’ explanation.

    To me, the compelling factors here are:

    [a] The time line, is a near perfect fit;

    Before 1690, the handful of examples we have of curvilinear gables can each be seen as a special case and their distribution is consistent with new money flirting with stylistic experimentation, not the emergence of a new tradition. After 1690, the situation reverses, the curvilinear gable becomes ubiquitous in new urban construction, establishing a new tradition, while new money starts experimenting with typologies beyond the gabled tradition, e.g. Joshua Dawson’s Mansion House, or Speaker Connolly’s Vitruvian Castletown.

    The distinctiveness of the geographical spread;

    Just as the Williamite conflict enveloped, and was confined to, the island of Ireland, so the Dutch Billy tradition was distinctively Irish in distribution and while Dublin was evidently the cradle of the tradition and always had the greatest concentration, it is clear that the tradition quickly spread to most of the other urban centres of Ireland, each of which had been transformed, in one way or another, by the conflict.

    [c] Popularity across the full social spectrum;

    The Billy tradition displays an unusual degree of common purpose across the social spectrum as though a shared peril overcome had given rise to a shared method of expressing relief/joy at the outcome. From the very small house of the shopkeeper or artisan craftsman to the great house of the brewery magnet or the city alderman, the architecture was essentially the same, distinguished only by scale, expenditure on detail, or, in some cases, a multiplicity of gables.

    [d] Evidence of a Williamite cult;

    Orangism didn’t drop out of a clear blue sky in 1795, the practice of celebrating King William clearly began almost immediately following William’s triumphant entry into the city where the King’s birthday and the date of the Battle of the Boyne quickly eclipsing all previous protestant festivities commemorating the 1641 rebellion. Even Swift was moved to compose an ode in gushing praise of the deliverer. In England, William’s star may have slowly faded as the country seemed to be embroiled in perpetual continental war and people remembered that he was Dutch, but in Ireland, despite some mean spirited new restrictions on the wool trade, there were few obstacles on the path to idolization. Commentators were struck by the contrast. Writing in 1751 [three monarchs later], the ever reliable Mrs. Delany, still grumpy from a cold she had contracted while attending the 4th Nov. celebration of King William’s birthday on College Green, observed that ‘King William’s . . . memory is idolized here almost to superstition.’

    Did an idolization of the deliverer and a desire to put an indelible stamp on the city, combine with other factors to create the Dutch Billy tradition?

    I think it probably did.

    #799839

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    The significance of the remains of Riversdale House had been flagged repeatedly in representations to Dublin City council over the years, yet the last visible remains of the house were swept away recently during the course of adjacent flood defence works to the Camac River in Kilmainham.


    The façade of Riversdale house, Kilmainham, prior to demolition in the 1960s

    Riversdale House was an extremely rare example of a high status house from the 18th century gabled tradition [probably originally including Dutch Billy gables] constructed entirely in stone rather than brick. The house was constructed about 1725 by a Dublin lawyer called John Fitzpatrick who sold it shortly afterwards to a legal colleague, Simon Bradstreet. The Bradstreets resplendently resided in the mansion throughout the 18th century, adding to their holding and tending the formal gardens that stretched out in front of the house up to a splendid wrought iron gateway fronting the highway at Old Kilmainham.


    O.S. map showing Riversdale House [outlined in red] set at the rear of formal gardens.


    The entrance gate on Old Kilmainham disappeared early in the 20th century and was reportedly shipped off to Malahide, where I haven’t yet been able to find it

    At what point the uber refined entrance door of the house acquired its signature statue of Shakespeare is still unclear, but the great house, long since converted into a tenement with a plain 19th century roof, was substantially demolished in the mid-1960s.


    The entrance door of Riversdale House with the statue of Shakespeare above it.

    What remained until recent weeks was the lower half of the west gable wall, which formed the property boundary and the party wall with a slightly later house called Millbrook House which had been constructed on the adjoining site entered from Lady Lane. Importantly, the remaining section of gable wall included the south-west corner with the front façade of which the first 1170mm survived including the jam of the westernmost window. This visible window jam belonged to the first floor not the ground floor as the ground level had been built up at the time of the demolition, probably using the rubble of the house for this purpose.


    The remains of the west gable wall of Riversdale House before its recent demolition with Kilmainham Mills in the distance beyond to the west


    The replacement wall looking east

    Had the will been there, an excavation of what should be the guts of a full ground floor, together with the evidence of construction detail that a close examination of the remaining gable wall could have provided, would have formed the basis for a reconstruction of the old house as part of a wider redevelopment of the site. For a discussion of reconstructing lost buildings, see thread of that title.


    A sketch section of one of the reconstruction proposals in the ‘90s that didn’t come off

    The current Dublin City Development Plan states:
    FC037
    ‘It is an objective of Dublin City Council to carry out a survey and study of the remains of the ‘gabled tradition’ of buildings and assist in the conservation, recording and in some cases the restoration of representative examples of these houses so as to prevent this legacy being lost’

    Empty words to put in an empty space.

    #799840

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    Apologies if already here – just dont recall seeing it…. the former Stafford St, now Wolfe Tone

    [attachment=0:1imphcui]wolfetone.jpg[/attachment:1imphcui]

    #799841

    Paul Clerkin
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    And Haymarket

    [attachment=0:14cwbvr7]haymarket.jpg[/attachment:14cwbvr7]

    #799842

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    A rare view of those reproductions on Lamb Alley. They almost look authentic from this distance.

    http://www.maxlearning.net/Mike/BI-Travel_htm/Ireland_Dublin.htm

    #799843
    #799844

    Anonymous
    • Offline

    I hadn’t seen the Flora Mitchell version before, very cute.

    Flora Mitchell was drawn to all those crumbling parts of Dublin where remnants of the gabled tradition could still be found in the 1950s and ’60s. In this case, as the caption says, the subject mater of her painting was long gone and she had to base her representation of the Swift birth-place on a 19th century print, which itself may have been partly conjectural. It’s interesting how she rationalized the profile of the curvilinear gable, a feature which is less clearly represented in the original print.

    Whether the house in question was the actual house in which Swift was born in 1667 is open to speculation. Swift had the advantage of being venerated in his own time so it is possible that his birthplace was widely known to his contemporaries and never subsequently forgotten. On the other hand, in high-lighting the birth place of a notable citizen there is a vererable urban tradition of fixing on the nearest presentable house and letting time and repetition do the rest.

    Could the house depicted in the Hoey’s Court print date to the 1660s?

    It is just possible. Brick construction was well established in the city by the mid-17 century and was becoming the norm in the grand expansion of the Restoration period which was occurring at exactly the time of Swift’s birth and if the various claims we’ve made in recent times for the Clancarty House on College Green are true, then sophisticated curvilinear gabled houses were being built in Dublin in the mid-1660s, but whether this sophistication would have infiltrated the street-architecture scene in back-land locations like Hoey’s Court already by the mid 1660s is another matter.

    Even allowing for the uncertainty about the original gable profile, and the roof structure behind it, in most respects the elevation of the Hoey’s Court house looks more likely to date to 1700 than 1660. If we’re looking for parallels, the house that the Hoey’s Court house most closely resembles, in the density of its façade fenestration and general detail and proportion, is the ‘Ireton’ house in Limerick [albeit a storey taller] which was a circa 1700 rebuilding and re-fronting of an older house and there is the suspicion of a re-fronting too about the Hoey’s Court house, with the odd stepping of the first floor string course as though a pre-existing step in the floor levels inside had to be accommodated. Also the unusual profile of the gable might conceivably have derived from the need to screen some untidy existing roof profiles belonging to an earlier house.


    the 19th century print on which the Flora Mitchell painting is based compared with the façade of the ‘Ireton’ house on Nicholas Street in Limerick

    Certainly, the heavy sash windows and the relieving arches over the windows in the attic storey would seem to link the façade to the main phase of the Dutch Billy tradition, which still leaves open the possibility the house behind this new façade may well have been mid 17th century and conceivably therefore the house that himself might have been born in.

    In any other city, this would all have been researched and resolved and there’d be access to the excavated basement from the delightful little museum and coffee shop now sitting on the site.

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