Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mountsorrel, Leicestershire

Bricklayer’s classical

After my recent encounters with garagiste’s corrugated iron and chunky fragments of railwayana, perhaps this blog could do with a some more polite architecture. So here’s a lovely house from the 1780s on the main street in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, a small town I have known for years and mused about before.

The winning combination of brick arches and the building’s classical proportions typify the late Georgian period. Those urns, swags, stucco stringcourses, and white balusters give the facade that bit of extra interest and, indeed, swagger. We can be a bit Adamish, the house seems to say, even if we are in a provincial town in the Midlands. The white stucco details stand out effectively against the background of red brick, a material that’s been common here for some 200 years. There was a local brickworks from the early-19th century, but when this house was built the prevailing materials in the town were probably Mountsorrel granite and Swithland slate. So from brickwork to stucco, from doorstep to rooftop urns, this is a building that stands out.


Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Interesting camera angle - did you have to lie on the ground to get it?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Almost. What I want for Christmas is a wide-angle lens!

bazza said...

I'm sure I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for English brickwork (that's what first brought me to your Blog Philip).
But what interests me about this façade is the faux-balcony pillars (is that what the 'white balusters' are?) I think they really add interest to this delightful building.
I’m experimenting with a new idea of mentioning the music I’m listening to while posting or commenting. Right now it’s 'Dissatisfied Blues' by Brownie McGhee from the album 'Back Country Blues'.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Philip Wilkinson said...

Bazza: Yes, that's the white balusters, balusters being the vertical supports for a balustrade. (York Bowen, Piano Music, played by Stephen Hough.)

Stephen Barker said...

Philip you are no doubt familiar with the former Rectory at Church Langton in the south of the county. It is a very similar design and I believe it to be the work of the same architect, working for the Revd. William Hanbury (the younger) The Hanbury family held the living at Church Langton for about 150 years until 1900. During the Eighteenth Century it was one of the wealthiest livings in the county and could no doubt support the building of a fine Rectory.

The use of a blank balustrade can be seen on a contemporary building on the High Street in Market Harborough. In this case the building was purpose built as offices for solicitors a role it still fulfils.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Stephen: Yes, the rectory at Church Langton is similAr. I don't know the Market Harborough building you mention, so will look out for it next time I'm around there.

Stephen Barker said...

Update both Mountsorrel and Church Langton Rectory have been attributed to the Leicestershire Architect, William Henderson of Loughborough. He is also responsible for Stanford Hall 1771-74 and Wilford Hall 1781 both in Nottinghamshire.