Monday, August 25, 2008

Lyndhurst, Hampshire

There are a lot of red brick buildings in Lyndhurst, and they glow a rich orangey colour in the afternoon sun. One of the more striking ones, the Stag Hotel, was built, on the site of an old coaching inn, in 1907 – it’s hard not to miss this as the date is emblazoned both over the entrance archway and on this bow window. The building has many features of the typical pub of the time – leaded-light windows, etched glass, ornate details – but they combine with the warm brick and clay tiles to create an air more of good taste than of brash pubbishness.

Talking of taste, this window seems to show that whoever designed the building wanted to pay homage to recent architectural fashions. The numerals show the influence of Art Nouveau, the curvaceous decorative style that was sweeping Paris metro stations and big houses in Belgium but which made less impact in England. And those hearts: they seem to be an allusion to the work of the great Arts and Crafts architect C F A Voysey. Voysey often used heart motifs – on wallpaper, key escutcheons, and other details – and the architect of the Stag no doubt learned from Voysey’s flair in other areas too: the Arts and Crafts master was good at bow-windows, for example.

It’s this mixture of elements and styles – Edwardian pub, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts – that makes this building a show-stopper. And that makes it catch the eye as you pause and look around you when caught in one of Lyndhurst’s notorious traffic jams. Even gridlock can have its compensations.


Peter Ashley said...

I love this. And the fact that you obviously did a one-handed job out of your car window. (If you'll pardon the expression.) There's a pub frontage like this in Leicester, with that same fabulous lead bow front, like an antique cattle trough. And that 1907 monogram is certainly worth getting run over for.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thank you, Peter. I'll be looking out for more leadwork from now on, and photographing it if circumstances and safety permit. I doubt if I'll come across many more such OTT numerals, though.

Jason said...

nice picture~ :-)