Monday, 15 October 2012

Lamport in Diapers

Lamport is a small estate village roughly halfway between Market Harborough and Northampton. On the main road you can see a pair of magnificent swans rearing up on the gate posts to the mid seventeenth century Lamport Hall, and turning into the village one notices
the charming juxtaposition of the Hall to All Saints church. The village street runs inbetween them without visual hindrance from the Hall, and it's down here that we will find the polychrome brickwork of the 1854 estate cottages. We often seeing decorative brickwork like this, but on this scale? It's as though someone read the plan wrong, as in Spinal Tap's miniature Stonehenge. We call it  'diaper', meaning an ornamented pattern, a word also used by our friends across the Atlantic for nappy. Quite how that happened is a mystery, unless it's to do with criss-cross patterning being water and whatever-else-proof. My second photograph above (doesn't England look good at this time of year?) is of another Lamport estate house positioned deliberately, one imagines, a little bit away from the madding crowd. 


Stephen Barker said...

Peter, are these cottages the responsibility of the same member of the Isham family who introduced Garden Gnomes into this country from Germany? The asthetic taste in the family went downhill in the Nineteenth Century compared to the previous 200 years.

Peter Ashley said...

Crikey Stephen, I didn't know about any gnomes. Honest. But think you're quite right about Isham's tastes at this time. Garden gnomes can be very jolly, but personally I have only enjoyed them once. Viz: on the cover of George Harrison's triple album All Things Must Pass.

Stephen Barker said...

There is one survivor. It is about 9 inches tall and when I last saw it, it was under a glass dome in the library. Originally There was a large rockery in the garden where the gnomes were grouped in little scenes such as mining. I think they came from the Black Forest area in Germany. I believe there was an interest in Spiritualism as well.

Philip Wilkinson said...

The OED is a mine of information on this word: Diaper was the name of a kind of fabric, a sort of linen. It sometimes had a geometrical pattern on it, hence the use of the word for patterned brickwork. It was sometimes used to clothe the nether parts of babies, hence the American usage for what we Brits call nappies. Shakespeare uses "diaper" for a kind of cloth in The Taming of the Shrew.

Love the second photograph, with the house in its landscape setting: so English.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Wilko, I knew you'd know. Or had the right dictionary. I am designing a nappy now that has a decorative brickwork pattern on it.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I'm sure you know the estate cottages in Walcote, they have a restrained diaper pattern using blue bricks only. For many the most interesting feature is the Jensen Interceptor gently rotting away outside one of the cottages where it has been parked for several decades.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou for that Anon. Next time I'm near Walcote I shall take a look at both diapering and Jensen.
I have blue brick diamonds on my own home, with part of them sadly removed by the insertion of my bathroom window.

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Visitinghousesandgardens said...

I really like Lamport (and the hall). Seems like this part of England has a wealth of beautiful buildings in it.

Peter Ashley said...

Dear Visitinghousesandgardens. Yes indeed, there is indeed a lot more where these came from.

Kendra said...

Lovely stuff on gnomes and diapers, and Lamport is a gem. However, speaking as a local: Northamptonshire/Leicestershire/Rutland are jealously kept secrets!

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