Sunday, February 7, 2021

Ledbury, Herefordshire

A word in your shell-like 

Walking along the main street in Ledbury during a past pre-lockdown trip, I chanced upon this small gem. It was an example of having the chance to look slowly at part of a street I’d previously only driven along, and the subject of my photograph was one of several small pleasures hereabouts. It’s a door canopy marking the entrance to an otherwise unexceptional looking house that had been made over to a retail use of some sort and happened to be on the market when I passed. I couldn’t find out anything much out about it but the front seems to be that of a small early-Georgian house, four windows wide with a dentil eaves course and two dormers in the roof. The brick has been painted white.

This shell-like door canopy is the stand-out feature. It’s a kind of design not uncommon in the early-18th century, in which the canopy over the door is fashioned like a ribbed scallop shell. The ribs converge at a central feature, in this case a tiny head (more often it’s a scroll of some sort). The ribs in this example have been ornamented with rows of protruding hemispheres that diminish in size as the space gets narrower towards the centre. A dentil course runs around the outer edge of the canopy and the whole thing rests on scroll brackets. I’ve seen similar ones dated 1720, and mounted on rather bigger houses than this one – it’s a delightful and rather swanky adornment to an otherwise modest house.

The canopy and the brick front are maybe an addition to a much earlier house. The building next door, which also has a brick frontage, apparently has an old timber-framed structure hidden behind and Ledbury has many Tudor and Stuart buildings. But who knows? It’s enough for me that it yielded this charming Georgian door canopy to admire on a dull morning, helping to make a short trip more pleasurable.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Philip,

We used to live near Weobley in Herefordshire for many years, so Ledbury was a frequent and popular port of call.

So, yes, we recognise this delightful gem of an architectural detail. Strange to see it now so many years on....

Anonymous said...

There's one of these at Beaminster on the Evershot Road. Not quite as ornate though. CHJ