Friday, December 19, 2008

Lower Swell, Gloucestershire

Eastward ho!

Only a couple of miles from the Stow house in the previous post is this cottage on the edge of the village of Lower Swell. Very unusually, it’s in a style influenced by the architecture of India – what the builders of the 18th and 19th centuries, taking a wild linguistic lunge at sophistication and missing the target somewhat, called the ‘Hindoo’ style. It’s not that like a real Indian building, but it is heavily influenced by the great Cotswold house of Sezincote, all onion domes and lantern-like pavilions, begun in 1805.

This cottage was built a couple of years later as a spa, a chalybeate spring having been discovered nearby. The spa was not a success, but the building remains, now a house, its pineapple-finialled doorway, ogee-topped windows, and fir-coned dormers testimony to a very English idea of ‘the East’. The windows in the flanking cottages, just visible in the photograph, have the kind of multifoil tops, as if made with a pastry-cutter, that you also see at Sezincote. It’s weird, but just right.

1 comment:

Peter Ashley said...

Open it as a curry house NOW! With big neon lights saying 'Swell Curries Here!'. Only jokin'.