Fretwork Spandrels, Gable Ends

In the days before form followed function (and we were glad of it), people liked to add

whimsical touches to their homes. Life was a whole lot more grim in those days with a

higher infant mortality and epidemics that swept through otherwise healthy populations

and created nothing but grief. So people had a real incentive to decorate their homes in

wild and unusual ways. The radical woodwork of the nineteenth century is an expression

of hopeful aspirations- aspirations of happiness and of good health and of good cheer.

Back in those nearly-forgotten days, a happy marriage was a thing people actually

expected, not some sort of one-in- a million long shot. The woodwork of even the smallest

cottage reflected this lovely vision. It said “ This is a happy home." Fretwork spandrels

serve no useful purpose beyond being an absolute delight to the eye.