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Title: Deciphering the 'Dutch houses' : Netherlandish architectural influence in East Kent, 1550-1750
Author: Charles, Alison Christina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 1222
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the so-called 'Dutch' houses of east Kent constructed between 1550 and 1750. The buildings represent a localised, east Kentish reflection of a broader Netherlandish architectural tradition visible elsewhere in England and globally where the 'Dutch' had a notable presence. East Kent was chosen, as previous research focuses predominantly on gable shapes and attributes the buildings to fashion or 'strangers' from the Low Countries. Moreover, existing contextualisation overlooks local circumstances and architectural developments across England and Europe. Hence this study explores why the buildings look like they do, are where they are and are regarded as 'Dutch'. Hundreds of 'Dutch buildings' have been analysed using a questionnaire, classification and typology, and the results contribute to knowledge in several important ways. Firstly, the buildings' external appearance and 'Dutchness' are now more clearly intelligible. Above all, the 'Dutch houses' are unique constructions rather than copies of structures in the Low Countries. Their hybrid, relatively homogeneous, Anglo-Netherlandish appearance reflects Flemish and Dutch stylistic inspiration, and incorporates numerous features perceived to be Netherlandish. Secondly, archival research enables an informed judgement on strangers' involvement in constructing the 'Dutch houses'. Since most examples have no documented Netherlandish links and are concentrated in clusters irrespective of where Netherlanders lived, direct input by the strangers is less likely than the local propensity towards 'Dutchness' and wider Anglo-Netherlandish cultural climate. Thirdly, such broader contextualisation has identified additional factors encouraging the development of the 'Dutch houses' including the proximity of east Kent to London and the continent, its above average wealth and the indirect effects of the strangers' presence. Fourthly, a subjective visual approach to assessing the buildings has been pioneered, which has reinterpreted and redefined their 'Dutchness'. Finally, investigations into timings and locations have resulted in a novel developmental timeline for Netherlandish influence on east Kentish buildings.
Supervisor: Brittain-Catlin, Timothy ; van den Heuvel, Danielle Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: NA Architecture