Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back Street Code

This is one of the locations I was enthusing about in my last blog. If you go off the beaten track and wander in the back streets, you'll come across this sort of place. Possibly this has been a stable for the richer classes who lived in one of the Georgian tenements in Baggot Street or perhaps in Merrion Square. The photograph had a very dreary sky, so I painted it the exact blue of the sky behind me on the day - just an awkward but well meaning attempt at authenticity! I'm not sure how authentic these window are either but they appear to have been renovated in the style of the period. Georgian houses were rather small and rooms didn't boast the amount of space of the later Edwardian and Victorian buildings. I was wondering what this kind of space was signified. Certainly it's managed to hang on where similar building have long perished. There is some sense of a not too distant past and the knowledge that it constitutes a rapidly disappearing space in our cities. It's a nod to older times, but when it was initially built, would this building have been regarded as picturesque? I doubt it. It's one of the codes we use when we look at older buildings and this involves not only memory but also the received codes about interpreting the past. The latter derive from books, television and film and our expectations are very much driven and shaped by these classifications.