Windows, glazing and making the building weathertight have dominated works at 18 Ormond Quay since the start of the year. This has involved the comprehensive refurbishment of six original sash windows dating to 1843, and the reinstatement of eight sash windows to their original design that had been replaced on the front and rear elevations during the 20th century.
These works, as well as the manufacturing of new shopfront windows and doors, has been entrusted to Lambstongue, historic window contractors.
Repairs to the upper floor windows has involved splice insertions, and in some places wholesale replacement, of decayed parts of the sash frames known as ‘box casings’. This has also involved the identification of original paint layers in advance of refurbishment, the original colour being a variation on ‘purple brown’ – a traditional colour for windows in the early 19th century.
This appears to imitate a rosewood finish, which was a highly fashionable timber for quality furniture in the same period. We have taken our cue for this colour for the sash windows, imparting a wonderfully rich and punchy dart of cherry that complements the newly wigged, buff-toned brickwork.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the moulded shop windows were found to be beyond repair when they were removed, with extensive decay uncovered to their inner faces. The decision was taken to take precise dimensions of the original frames and have them replicated, including the chunky ‘cable’ moulding that dresses the outer face.
The design of the shop windows was carefully considered by the Trust and the project architect, James Kelly, and formed one of the most challenging design aspects of the project. They are based on a multi-paned shop window design that would have been commonplace in Dublin until the abolition of duty on glass in 1845; two years after 18 Ormond Quay Upper was rebuilt in 1843.
From 1845, larger sheets of heavier plate glass became more affordable, resulting in larger expanses of glass in shopfronts without the need for extensive glazing bars. But before this date, windows composed of smaller panes of 'improved' cylinder and crown glass would have been the standard solution, and is therefore the design we have arrived at.
Lambstongue have done a sterling job in manufacturing the new windows, with lambstongue glazing bars of European oak precisely matching the profiles of glazing bars surviving on the upper floors. The fanlights of the windows have been populated with a scattering of hand-blown cylinder glass to evoke some of the ‘movement’ the glazing originally created, avoiding an over-dosage of replication.
The handsome double-leaf entrance doors have been made to an 1840s Dublin profile, projecting a stern, ‘mausoleum’ air on the streetscape.
Works have also continued in cleaning, graft-repairing and repointing the cut granite to the shopfront which has now been revealed in all its glory.
The scaffold has disappeared under a cloud of steam today as the final cleaning of the repointed brickwork takes place. All awaiting the Big Reveal in April 2018!