Monday, May 31, 2010

Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe (1663 etc)

click photo to enlarge
This is the second photograph of Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe in Settle, North Yorkshire, that I have posted on PhotoReflect. But, whereas the earlier one was a detail taken well after sunset, this one was photographed as I walked by with some evening light still illuminating the clouds. It's a building I've known all my life, and one that has intrigued me ever since I studied architectural history.

The building has been a cafe and bakery for many years. I seem to recall that part of it was once a flower shop. I imagine that today the upper rooms are either storage or flats, but, it clearly wasn't always so. The taller, leftmost section was obviously built as a house, and from its symmetry and quoins is either of eighteenth or early nineteenth century century vintage, or is a refacing of an earlier building: probably not the latter due to its height. The lower range on the right was, no doubt, two houses of the date (1663) carved on the figurative datestone that gives the building its name. Also on the datestone are the letters "I C". These are probably the initials of the first owner who had the house/s built. The lower height of the buildings and the stone mullions in two of the upstairs windows (as well as the datestone itself) all point to a structure of the seventeenth century. However, it has clearly been "modernised" in the eighteenth and/or nineteenth centuries. The upper windows have been regularised and probably admit more light than they originally did. Both shop windows are likely to be nineteenth century additions that replaced smaller openings, and the rendering and black and white paint will also be a finish that supplanted the original rubbed mortar over stone.

The charm of this particular building is not only its memorable name, one that draws the eyes of all who pass it by, but also its colour and the architectural contribution that it makes to the small town's market place. The fact that the subdued facade doesn't feature garish modern advertising is both surprising and pleasing. I took this photograph as a record of the building, but also for the fine sky and the atmosphere and blue-tinged shadow that the low light of the fast disappearing day gave to the scene.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On