‘5 Famous Front Doors from Around the World’January 10, 2013
Whether real or fictional, a work of art or incredibly simple, your front door is where your home really begins. It is one of the first things visitors will notice, and is the entrance through which you will welcome them, making it one of the most important aspects of your property.
Colour, style, size – even minute details such as the knocker or bell – can leave a lasting impression and, as such, over the years there have been a huge number of front doors that have become imprinted on the public’s mind. Here we explore some of the most famous front doors throughout the world in our top 5 list of favourites…
10 Downing Street
At the historic office and home of the British Prime Minister, the incredibly famous Georgian door at 10 Downing Steet has seen some of the world’s most powerful people pass over its threshold. Constructed from bomb-proof metal, the door is painted with a high gloss black paint now synonymous with Government, and the door, which is constantly guarded by a police officer, has become the backdrop to countless political announcements.
The Downing Street door was originally made of solid oak, but after the IRA attack in Whitehall in 1991 it was replicated with bomb-proof metal for optimum security. Additionally, the door has not always been black, and from 1908 – 1916 it was a dark green.
Over the years the door has been the subject of a fair few talking points – such as on April Fools Day in 2006 where it was claimed it had been replaced with a red door and when it was decorated with pink lights to raise awareness of breast cancer in October 2011.
The Florence Baptistery is a religious building in Tuscany whose reputation for Catholicism has been heavily overshadowed by its three sets of beautifully designed bronze doors. The South Doors were created by Andrea Pisano in 1329. However, the North and East Doors – which are much more famous in comparison – were designed and created by Italian Renaissance artist Lorenzo Ghiberti.
The North Doors, which were first commissioned in 1401 and took an astonishing 21 years to complete, consist of 28 gilded bronze panels. 20 of these panels depict scenes from Christ’s life as told through the New Testament. The lower 8 show the evangelists and Church Fathers Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine.
In 1425, Ghiberti got a second commission for The East Doors and these took an even longer 27 years to complete. These doors are made of 10 panels, which all portray passages from the Old Testament, for example the panel ‘The Story of Joseph’. The East Doors were later referred to by Michelangelo as the ‘Gates of Paradise’ and they are still invariably called this name today.
Bag End was a Smial (or hobbit hole) in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional Shire region in Middle Earth. Situated in a village called Hobbington, Bag End was home to Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist in Tolkien’s much acclaimed novel The Hobbit.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Bag End was its circular green door with a round brass knob, and to avid fans of Lord of the Rings there is probably no door more famous. Not only is it a pivotal part of the story and features a fascinating interior, but it is also here that the fantasy story first begins, when Gandalf knocked upon it with 13 dwarves and a story to tell.
The famous playwright’s birthplace and family home in Stratford-Upon-Avon is a beautiful 16th century house with a fairly small and unimpressive entrance very typical of the time. The house itself is located on Henley Street and is believed to have been where William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood.
The fairly simple and relatively modest home would have been, in the 16th century, a substantial dwelling and it belonged to John Shakespeare, William’s father, who was a glove maker and wool dealer. The house was originally divided into two parts to allow him to carry out his business from the same premises.
Shakespeare’s family home is now a small museum, owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and is an extremely popular attraction for visitors and members of the public. The door, which is low in height, has amassed a notoriety of its own due to the fact that many guests have to stoop to enter – almost as if in respect to its famous owner.
221b Baker Street
221b Baker Street is the London address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, as created by the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As postal addresses with a number followed by an initial normally indicate a separate address within a larger, often residential building, it is likely that Holmes’ apartment was part of a Georgian terrace which, at the time, was situated in a high-class residential district.
There has been huge controversy over the years regarding the door number 221b as, when Doyle first wrote the novels, the houses on Baker Street only ran to 85. However, in the 1930s the road was elongated and the door numbers were renumbered, with house 221 becoming the Abbey Society premises. Almost immediately, the building society started receiving correspondence from Sherlock Holmes fans all over the world. This occurred in such volumes that the Abbey Society even had to appoint a permanent ‘secretary to Sherlock Holmes’ to deal with it.
However, in 1990 a Sherlock Holmes museum was opened on the street at number 237 and, after a long-running dispute, was eventually granted special dispensation by the local council to change the number to 221b.
If reading about these famous doors has inspired you to update your own, why not give the professionals here at WindowWorx a call? Our team of fully trained, highly experienced specialists offer a comprehensive service and can supply, install and maintain an impressive range of superior standard doors.
Whether you require UPVC double glazed door to improve your energy efficiency, a composite door for maximum security or a patio or bi-folding door to enhance your garden and living areas, we guarantee to have your perfect door amongst our range. And although we can’t promise it will make your home famous, we will definitely beat Ghiberti’s efforts and vow to complete in much less than 27 years!
So for more information on our door range, and to speak to one of our experts, get in touch with the friendly team at WindowWorx today!
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