Polychrome Brick – who did it first, who did it better ?

Original post 13 June 2020

This is the 1872 #ChineseMissionChurch in Little Bourke, by Crouch & Wilson, a great example of #polychromebrick, 3 colours, highlighting voissoirs, quoining, diaper patterns, the lot! I’m now thinking Melb might be the capital of polychrome like this, though there’s examples elsewhere, England, France, Netherlands, Germany even Sweden, but can’t find anything much written about it.

Started here in a big way by #JosephReedArchitect with St Michaels in Collins St, 1863-66, he said inspired by Gothic/ Romanesque things he’d seen in Lombardy, but I reckon def he just really liked the latest London trends, designing this only 4 years after the one that kicked it all off, #WilliamButterfield’s 1850-59 #AllSaintsMargaretStreet (pic 2). Other English architects soon ran with it too, like pic 3: House, Cornhill Market, Banbury, William Wilkinson, 1866.

Never really took off amongst everyday stuff in England, but on the continent it got quite popular (I think) by the 1880s (like here) and into the 90s – some examples: 3: house in Vichy, 1893, 4: row houses in Lille, 5: Grand Market Hall, Budapest, 1897, 6: Stockholm – but still possibly more common here than anywhere else, and our version more strident, usually brown with cream edging everywhere and added diamond or diapers, which European examples usually more subtle, and based around stripes.

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