16th Century Marble Door Surround

Marble Door Surround © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias

Following yesterday’s Anne of Cleves House post, here is the first of the architectural detail shots I took that same morning. What’s interesting about this photograph is the carved numbers 1599 on the right — likely a date stamp — which means this door surround must have been an addition over 60 years after the house was built. Also, I’d love to know why the initials IS are carved on the left — the stonemason’s signature?

You’ll notice the squint metal bar across the wooden panels of the door, typical of 16th buildings, something I’m familiar with as I live in one myself with its sloping floors, undulating ceilings and oddly-angled door and window frames. You wouldn’t guess this from the outside as the facade is painted sandstone and must have been added much later. And even once inside the age of the building isn’t immediately apparent — there are a few woodworm-eaten floorboards and exposed beams, but none of the dark oppressive variety that run like tracks across the ceiling. Which as far as I’m concerned is a good thing.

18 responses

  1. this brings out lots of very interesting details – the black and brown woods,rusted and faded colorations, all brings out the age with the date stamp providing proof if it even needed one :). It is very interesting to think that this building has survived the elements for 400+ years.

  2. Love your stories and thoughts around your pics! 500 years.. must be around the time of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grand mother and father

  3. I don’t think the IS is a stonemason’s mark. Those marks tend to be more discreetly positioned and a little more creative.

    I guess these are the initials of the first owner of the house.

    • Ah, I hadn’t thought of that! I guess, since the house was originally built for Anne of Cleves in the 1530s, and 1599 is around 60 years later, perhaps it was whoever lived in the house at that point in time, as the door surround must be a later addition.

      I took a walk to Anne of Cleves House yesterday to talk with the people who work in the shop/museum and ask some questions about the building, but it had closed for the winter on 31st October and are not open again until April. So I will have to be quite patient for some answers!

    • Thanks Katie! It’s a 16th century building really, as it’s four storeys high and we’re on the top two floors, so not quite as quaint and English as you might imagine, although the grey-brown woodworm eaten beams certainly add character.