Saturday, September 22, 2007

Regency Style - Part II

I promised information on Regency building materials. But first a reminder. If you would like to win a signed copy of No Regrets, sign up for my news letter which will be coming out in the next two weeks and will announce the winner. Good Luck.

Back to our regular program~~
One reason why buildings in earlier eras had regional style was that the builders used local materials. Transportation was a nightmare if you recall. By the Regency more and more similarities were creeping in and to add to that in 1774 the London Building Act defined what a town house should look like. More on townhouses in a future blog.

Stone was a common building material if it was close by. Bath for example was made almost entirely of stone.

But unless it was close at hand, brick was the medium of choice, particularly in London.

Most building timber was imported, because English oak was no longer readily available. Timber was imported form Norway and the Baltic states or the West Indies, either oak or yellow deal for construction.

Glass is a subject that could deserve a blog on its own. Two kinds were available in the Regency (for building) crown glass and cylinder glass. Crown glass was the best. Made by blowing a bubble of molten glass then poking a hole in the end and flattening it. This is a picture of it being made in the 18th C. Panes were cut from the flattened sheet and were very fragile, hence the need for sturdy support structures, mullions, and glazing bars. The fact that they could rarely make panes larger than 16" x 18" is a reason why we see either small windows, or many paned windows from this period and earlier. They did not use the bull's eye glass of the Tudor era, it was dangerous and considered substandard. It came back as a fad in the Victorian era.

Cylinder glass was a cheaper, but type of glass, often used for upper stories, servants quarters, or in nursery areas, because since it was thicker it was less likely to break.

Wrought Iron is my last topic for today. It often shows up in my stories, because elaborate gates were made of it and they date back to the 16th century. In the 18th century it became a serious vogue to add decoratative railings, balconies, window grills etc and can be seen today all over Europe. It was used inside as well as out. In the Regency it was also used for torch lights and boot-scrapers.

But as I mentioned before. They were never ever painted black. That is Victorian. I gave you a picture of the Apsley House railings in a previous post, so here is a picture of the cast iron baluster at Osterley Park, designed by Adam.



Next time we will look at some more interior stuff. Until then Happy Rambles.