Facades & faces

June 3rd, 2006

netherwitton hall

Nether Witton Hall, Northumberland. Pevsner in ‘The Buildings of England: Northumberland’: “…c.1700-1710…square block seven by three bays, with top balustrade and quoins. All windows with pediments, but three varieties used in an order difficult to follow: straight-sided open, segmental open, and segmental open with scrolly ends.”

netherwitton hall

The effect of the facade is quite disconcerting and amusing. What system governs the arrangement of the differently treated windows? The decision to have three pediment variations seems too much for the building and leads to an interruption of rhythm. Even the Palazzo Farnese makes do with less variety on each storey. The eccentricity of the pattern undermines the authority of the building and, after all, makes it likeable.

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