Thursday, March 26, 2015

Town Hall, Bourne, Lincolnshire

click photo to enlarge
All Renaissance architecture draws its inspiration from the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome. English Renaissance architecture also borrows from the work of the Italian Renaissance architects who revived this style well before the architects of our islands mastered it. However, English architects, once they had come to grips with the challenge, showed themselves to be not only adept at using the traditional vocabulary of the style, but also capable of using these forms in new and interesting ways.

An example of this can be found in the 1821 town hall (former Sessions House) at Bourne in Lincolnshire. The architect, Bryan Browning, is not someone of national note. He is a regional practitioner who built much that is typical of the time and a few buildings that cause one to stop, look and think. His Bourne building has the piano nobile, pediment, Doric columns, arches, balusters etc typical of many other buildings of the Georgian period. But the way he disposes these parts is quite unusual. On a narrow, 3-bay elevation, he squeezes into the centre the form of a triumphal arch. This, quite unusually, contains a recessed entrance, a double staircase, columns, balcony and windows. Flanking it are shallow arches with windows above, the rightmost arch forming a passage through to the building's rear as well as offering further entries. Is it a dog's dinner or an innovative use of the elements of the classical style. I think it's definitely more the latter than the former.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm (52mm - 27mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On