Travelling back from the Lakes, it was time for my annual pilgrimage to Mackay Hugh Baillie-Scott’s Lancashire masterpiece, Blackwell near Bowness, Windermere – a truly wonderful house. Below are some of my happy snaps taken on the phone (please forgive the quality).
If you’ve never been before, Blackwell is well worth a visit… the house excels as a beautifully kept ‘walk-in art exhibit’. It is a fantasy house every bit as much as, say, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover. I am trying to learn some of the lessons of the excellent crisp presentation at Blackwell, for when I advise my colleagues on the care of Walter Brierley’s house, Hollins Hill, a.k.a. The Haworth, Accrington.
Continue reading “Blackwell – The Arts & Crafts House”
I have visited Dunham Massey in Cheshire over many years and have observed how it has grown into a lively modern visitor destination, with the National Trust undertaking a phased programme of conservation and development for well over a decade.
I have to be honest, the hall is good but unadventurous, architecturally speaking. There have been three historical halls since the 1600s. They have been spectacularly painted in a series of bird’s eye view illustrations and the best of the three was perhaps the 1690s hall. This, as far as I can tell, was a courtyard design replete with Dutch gables, corner towers, huge leaded light windows and other Elizabethan and Jacobean features. It seems to have been a lively building with several phases. It was unfortunately replaced, or perhaps encased, in the 1730s by a very plain brick building designed by John Norris, a largely unknown architect. It was a very conservative and dated design but it at least it had the typical Georgian qualities of efficiency, harmony and balance.
The main façade and interior, however, was completely reworked in Edwardian times by Joseph Compton Hall, another unknown designer, into something even less interesting! I can see that he was trying to introduce some warmth and interest but, to be honest, it was probably better before altered it. The eaves and dormers either side of his odd Carolinian style focal point are too domestic for such a large building. Consequently, Dunham has nothing to match the dramatic Palladianism of nearby Lyme Park. What there is, however, is beautiful workmanship in a lovely orange Cheshire brick and, most importantly, a gorgeous der park setting. Continue reading “Dunham Massey”
We have just counted 440 messages of support in the campaign to save Edgar Wood’s Long Street School buildings. The messages will form part of Viridor and Heritage Lottery Fund THI grant submissions.
Click here to view some of the comments received.
This summer I have been visiting Hampstead Garden Suburb, in north London on a series of day trips. Hampstead was a pioneering garden suburb designed by Raymond Unwin, Barry Parker and Edwin Lutyens with many other Arts & Crafts Movement architects contributing buildings. Mervyn Miller’s book on the suburb has been indispensable!
I love this suburb and enjoy deciphering the nuances of design that Parker and Unwin pioneered and liked to use. Unlike their other estates, Hampstead’s buildings were designed by a wide range of Arts & Crafts architects, so there is a lot for the architectural historian as well as the town planner to see.
Continue reading “Hampstead Garden Suburb”
This is the painting I use as my header image on lots of things. It is Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer) by the German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840). It is something of an icon for Romanticism.
Continue reading “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog”
Every town and city has its story, but few have a history that is essential to understanding how the modern world was made. Manchester was the first industrial city and arguably the first modern city.
I have been enjoying this new book (edited by Alan Kidd and Terry Wyke), having got a complementary copy for contributing a photograph. It is a critical history of Manchester and how it developed into an international city. It covers the social, political and industrial history rather than the architecture but has lots of background information for significance and conservation reports, including a very useful historical timeline.
Details are HERE.