Sunday, December 04, 2016

Built to impress

click photo to enlarge
The first two houses that we bought and lived in suffered from a problem that many buildings have suffered from down the ages - more money was spent on the front than on the back and sides. One was built in the early 1900s and the other in the 1930s. In each case the quality of the bricks on the main elevation was better than those elsewhere. Ornament in the form of stone/concrete arches, oriel windows, and large bays appeared on the front, but not on the back, or where they did, in simpler, more pared down form. The fact is, those houses and many other buildings had relatively more money spent at the front for a reason that is obvious - to impress the buyer and passers-by. Interestingly, and refreshingly, this wasn't so pronounced in a house we bought that was built in the late 1970s. Our current house, part of which is oldish and part relatively recent uses the same quality materials throughout but has a much more "composed" facade.

Constraints of this sort did not affect the affluent builders of the country houses of the Georgian period - all elevations aimed to impress. At Belton House the main (south) facade and the rear (north) elevation are almost the same. The east elevation is composed with symmetry in mind, is flusher than either north or south, but then doesn't have the main entrances that those feature. Only on the west, where stables, courtyards and other ancillary buildings are found does the main house lose something of its imposing appearance. And here this is compensated for by those subsidiary buildings being large, ornate and monumental.Today's photograph shows Belton House's plainer east elevation from one side of the wide avenue of trees that frame it. Incidentally, my composition was prompted by the desire to find a composition that was a little different, that emphasised the building's setting, but also by a desire to minimise the featureless blue sky.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Belton House, Lincolnshire
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 42mm (84mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On