Shallow Ped in Dulwich

by robertmcnicol

Also in Dulwich (in fact, right opposite the very good Dulwich Picture Gallery) is this cunning little split ped. The rest of this large Victorian detached family home is all plain, sensible, understated brick with hardly any ornamentation. The porch, however, betrays a soupçon of self-importance. In fact I’d argue that the porch, with it’s pediment broken reservedly at the bottom (rather than the more theatrical top splits), is crucial for the overall impact of the house. Yes, we are proud of our home and want you to appreciate the importance of entering it, but we don’t boast about it. Yes (this façade says in a Brian Sewell voice) we know about history but we don’t rigidly adhere to a Palladian dogma or follow the diktats of fashion.

Perhaps it’s too narrow and glib to insist on this mixture of restraint, pride, willful ignorance and unfashionability as the predominant tendencies of the Victorian middle classes, but I think this house certainly would have catered for a particular clientèle. And this minor use of one or two Classically inspired features certainly spread through the suburbs into the Victorian semis and terraces, though of course part of the reason was that this sort of design was cheap and easily mass-produced.

And it was snowing. Which was nice.

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