Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A row of early- or mid-19th century cottages is often an ornament on a town street or in a village. Gothic glazing with small glass panes, panelled doors, and flattened arches are all features that one might expect to find in this sort of row, and very decorative they can be. But here in Farthingstone, the builders had a different, possibly unique, decorative agenda. There's not only a winning combination of stone with brick arches, but also something bizarre: a multi-coloured collection of embedded pottery fragments, glass bottles, clinker, and oyster shells. Fragments of white, blue, yellow, and brown can be seen; there are whole cups in there, and bits of the necks of bottles. It's quite extraordinary, and even on this roughly north-facing frontage, where the sun doesn't get much chance to catch the pottery fragments, there's still a kaleidoscopic effect. One gets the impression that someone has seen a shell grotto in a landscape garden and decided to bring something of that kind of fantasy to a residential row using down to earth materials like old pots. And so, on a quiet village street, where one might least expect it, English buildings are calmly getting on with being eccentric. And yes, that does appear to be a model grey squirrel, legacy of more recent times, making its way along the wall.