More About Doors And Doorways
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
A VERY common practice of the Elizabethan and Jacobean craftsmen was the use of various debased versions of the classic orders in their door casings. They usually took the form of flat pilasters joined at the top with a flat cornice and frieze. In some instances a fan-shaped heading was introduced between the cornice and the top of the door, as in that shown at D, Fig. 48. As the 17th century developed, the doorways tended to assume a less bizarre appearance, and the purely Jacobean craftsmen became to a certain extent influenced by the spirit of true classicism as practised by Inigo Jones. A, Fig. 87, is a Jacobean doorway, in which it will be seen that the worker has made use of the broken pediment. This doorway should be compared with that at B, which was designed by Inigo Jones.
Jones's preference for stone and plaster usually resulted in the doors being painted to match the walls. He made the doorway a feature of vast importance in the room, and in some instances it took the form of a full classic order with columns and entablature. Webb, who favoured wood panelling, usually left the woodwork of his doors in their natural state. C, in Fig. 87, is typical of his work, especially in the use of the broken architrave supported at the overhang by half pilasters. The doorway at Thorpe Hall (Figs. 56 and 57) shows similar features.
D, Fig. 87, is a doorway of Wren's design. Like Webb, his rooms were usually panelled with wood, and the doors were consequently treated to show the natural grain. They did not assume such a dominating character as the earlier doors of Jones's design. The carved frieze is typical of the period.
With the revival of the more purely Palladian style in the first half of the 18th century, the doorway again became more important. In many instances the architrave and heading, although of wood, was painted to match the plastered walls, while the door itself was left natural. A, Fig. 88, was designed by William Kent, and shows the fashionable use of a piece of sculpture in the broken pediment. B is a Gibbs doorway. Pieces with flat cornices such as this usually had a plaster panel above, treated in accordance with the scheme of the room.
The later Palladian designers, such as Sir William Chambers and Sir Robert Taylor, often used classic pilasters flanking the architrave as in C, Fig. 88, and A, Fig. 81. The flat cornice, as in these examples, became common towards the end of the century. The Adam School usually favoured the use of shallow brackets in place of the classic orders supporting the cornice, although in some cases pilasters and capitals were used, as in E, Fig. 85. D, Fig. 88, illustrates the use of the flat brackets. Adam doors usually had the edges of the panels fluted as in D, in place of the bevelled and moulded finish of the earlier examples.