One of the oh so many remarkable artifacts in the V&A is the large window/facade of the house belonging to Sir Paul Pindar. Why is it remarkable? Well, believe it or not, it is a timber frame construction, built in London around 1600, that survived the Great Fire of 1666 and was saved from demolition in 1890. (I find it quite breathtaking thinking about it.) As you can see below it has a personality all its own – extremely imposing (and causes a definite crick in the neck when you stand and survey it in all its glory).
If you click on the image above it will take you to the V&A Museum page covering design and construction of various parts of the house and the facade itself has been closely studied each time it has had to be moved.
As a rare example of period and place, I find it fascinating and, although impossible, would love to be able to take a molecule of its essence and inject it into some element of this rambling model I’m playing with.
I’m not talking curly bays and fancy glass but more of a minute hint of a smidgen of flavour from the carved elements, the figure head supports and decorated panels. The merest breath of a fleeting, ephemeral impression, a suggestion of a respectful nod to the real McCoy. An evanescent something.
Well, that’s enough of that fantasy.
What am I actually doing?
Till now, work has been dotting around the whole construction. Sometimes in order to let other areas dry out or set, other times to let thoughts germinate and develop a little further before laying hands on a problem. For example, I’ve backed off the Long Gallery whilst I work on the areas around it, and am intermittently working on the stairwell that rises in one corner of the gallery.
Another example would be the avoidance of completing any particular face of the main building. This has meant that, although it started with a sort of frontage and the Great Hall, kitchen etc, I’ve never completed any part of the front face. Now that the sitting room is well on its way with the ladies busy inside, it seemed a good time to get down to the externals of this aspect of the model.
The sitting room is directly over the private dining room and, together, their outer walls make a nice meaty problem to solve, setting the style for most of the frontage.
They need to be separate, removable pieces as the upper room has a good inch-worth of jetting out over the bottom one. The jetting could have been built into a hinged door and, although I like that idea I wanted to be able to use every inch of the upper floor area and not have it swing off into space with the odd stool plus or minus one of the women.
Making a start
So trying hard to keep Sir P’s house in mind (and no, I’m not building a pub – if you’ve clicked on any of the above V&A links, you’ll know what I mean), I’ve started on the sitting room wall outer face.
At the moment I’m at the stage of shuffling possible layouts around (without losing the bits) to see what pleases the eye today. Tomorrow I might think differently, so it’ll be left lying around for a while to let the thought try to mature. Meanwhile the inner face needs decorating.
I forgot to say, the plan is for the two outer walls to slide out to reveal each of the room’s inner workings, so all elements of the sliding wall decoration have to be either very thin or stop at or well before the top and bottom edge areas so as not to hamper the sliding action. This means that any internal paneling should preferably be paper thin and I’m using wafer like sheets of obeche stained with light oak.
Lots of cutting, squaring up, swearing and trying again will be called for so it should keep me busy and happy whilst the outer layout plans fester and ferment away.
Site of interest:
A Room to Let in Old Aldgate – Spitalfields Life – super photos