To a large extent we are often unconscious of those influences in our surroundings which go to make a pleasing impression as a whole. For instance, few of us when walking down a London street of dwelling-houses have observed the details which cause one street to differ from another.
It is not merely the architecture of the houses, but the treatment of their windows, and, to a remarkable extent, the way in which the front steps are kept and the door furniture is carried out, which helps to convey an impression of prosperity, cheerfulness, and good taste.
On the other hand, the forbidding exterior of some London mansions is due to the fact that the doorknocker and handle have been painted dark green or brown to match the door.
There is, however, among those
A simple but effective design for a knocker that would be in harmony with a well-made door Messrs. Hampton & Sons who can afford it, a liking for doors of handsome panelled mahogany, or of beautifully carved wood; one may even see sometimes the entire door made of oxidised copper.
Many of the older London houses have genuine mahogany doors of the Adams' period. There is a very beautiful example in Mansfield Street, Cavendish Square, that is a joy to the observant by-passer. The original door-knocker by the celebrated designer also remains.
It is not, however, necessary to have elaborate door furniture to obtain a good effect. Nothing really looks better than a well-made door with a simple octagonal handle and fittings to correspond kept well polished. Handles of an average size can be bought for about four or five shillings, the letter-plate for five or six shillings and the knocker for six shillings or so. A slight economy is effected by having the handle on the letter - plate, but the result is not so attractive.
An aurora of spoilt paint is sometimes noticed around the doorhandle owing to the fact that proper precautions have not been taken to protect it during the cleaning process. A semicircular piece of card should always be cut and held flat against the door while it is being cleaned, first on one side of the handle and then on the other. This will prevent the paint from being touched. Some maids follow this mode of procedure, but others have to be instructed in it.
With regard to letter - plates, plain designs are more popular than incised, but there is an almost infinite variety of patterns from which a selection may be made. Those with the simple Adams' border of the ribbon-and - reed or laurel - leaf pattern look very well, but one must, of course, have the handle and knocker decorated in a similar fashion. With the usual octagonal handle a plain letter-plate is correct.
When the centre rail of the door is narrow, a vertical, instead of a horizontal, letter-plate must be used, otherwise this is to be avoided, as it is less convenient for receiving letters. It also affords an inquisitive individual a better opportunity of getting an unauthorised peep into the interior of the hall.
Oxidised door furniture is not often used, but the writer has seen it look very well on a grey-painted door, with which it formed a harmony of soft and pleasing colouring.
The designing of door furniture offers a great opportunity to the modern
A door-handle in an Adams design that would look well in brass on a mahogany door
Messrs. Hampton & Sons
An elaborately wrought knocker in the French style brass-worker, of which he has made good use by producing some fine designs. An example of one of these is seen in a ring-shaped knocker with a couple of dolphins'
Escare & Denelle. Ltd.
A fine example of a modern hand-wrought brass knocker, simple but dignified in treatment heads carved in the lower part of it. This style of work also gives more scope in the treatment of the bell-push, which is usually of the plainest and most uninteresting description. In hand-wrought brass a far better appearance can be gained. This style of work looks very well on the door of a house which is treated throughout in
Birmingham Guild of Handicrafts, Ltd.
A letter-plate with handle attached. The knocker should be of similar design in order to produce the best effect
Messrs. Hampton & Sons the modern manner, but would, of course, be incongruous on the door of one furnished after some bygone period.
An artistic letter-plate, with handle decorated with ribbon - and - reed border in the
Messrs. Hampton & Sons