Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Georgian farmhouse

click photo to enlarge
I have long been of the opinion that, as far as relatively modest housing goes, eighteenth century architects managed to do more with less than architects of any other period. That's not to say that architects of the Victorian, modern, seventeenth century or any other period couldn't produce good design within cost limitations - they could - but perhaps not as consistently. Georgian buildings often achieve their appeal through the careful management of proportion. This was a feature that became increasingly lost as the nineteenth century progressed. The Victorians too often applied ornament to achieve their effects, and it needed the Arts and Crafts architects, such as Voysey, to show how things such as the relationship of wall to windows and the massing of a building could be used to make appealing structures.

Today's photograph shows a brick building that is essentially of 1772, with earlier parts, and some Victorian additions. It seems to have started life as a Fenland farmhouse - Moneybridge Farm - but is today a residence known as Brownlow House, named after the Georgian family whose cypher can be seen on the stone plaques over the front and back doors. I could have chosen a better example to illustrate my point, but this one has the symmetry typical of the period, with a doorway given prominence by its central position and a wooden case and triangular pediment. The windows have stone surrounds, and brick lintels with an emphasised keystone. Obvious C19 additions are the Westmorland slate roof and the gable chimney stacks: these would have replaced pantiles and similar brick stacks with less detailing. What makes this building particularly interesting is that it forms part of a larger group with brick and pantile outbuildings that date from the same time as the house. Of special note is the tall dovecote with a wooden, white painted turret with two tiers of flight holes.

Brownlow House sits next to a road that follows the River Glen. I took my photograph from a parallel road on the other side of the river, and used the large conifer to balance the composition. The broken clouds that periodically admitted brief shafts of sunlight looked better converted to black and white than they did in colour, so that is how I present the image.

Another eighteenth century Fenland farmhouse can be seen here.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 6.3mm (30mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On