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Doors And Doorways

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



DURING the Gothic periods, when utilitarian considerations were the all-important factors in the treatment of rooms, no special attention was given to the doors.

These were usually made in the form of vertical boards of oak secured together with ledges, or a frame-work on one side only, and were either rectangular in shape or had the typical Gothic-shaped heading. The jambs and lintel were either of stone or timber, according to the position of the door. Examples of doorways with the plain-shaped heading are those at Great Dixter (Fig. 9). Another example of a similar type of door is that at A, Fig. 48, in which the spandrils formed by the shaped heading are carved with leaf work. Long strap hinges were the type commonly used to hang the doors.

In rooms, the walls of which were panelled, the door often formed part of the scheme of panelling, and in some cases was almost indistinguishable. B in Fig. 48 shows a Tudor Gothic door, which really forms a part of the panelling. The doorway at C, Fig. 43, is also a replica of the panelling.

When, during the Elizabethan period, the long stretches of panelling were broken up at intervals by pilasters, as described in the chapter on panelling, it became customary to place a pilaster at either side of the door. In consequence the door began to receive more individual treatment. An example of the use of pilasters flanking a doorway is shown at Lyme Park (Fig. 22). A doorway of the late Elizabethan period is illustrated at C, Fig. 48, and shows the use of the arcaded panel. The pilasters are carved with strap work, and have Ionic capitals. A feature reminiscent of the Tudor Gothic period is the use of the linenf old panel in the pedestals.

D in Fig. 48 shows an early Jacobean doorway in which the moulding of the architrave is stopped near the bottom in the traditional Gothic style.

Elaborate doorways were used in large mansions and in important positions such as the entrances to halls. The simple panelled door, often with a quite plain architrave, was used for the lesser doorways.

Another form in vogue throughout the Tudor Gothic, Elizabethan, and Jacobean periods was the internal porch described in the chapter on the Elizabethan Period, and an example of this type of lobby is given in Fig. 15.



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