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Sam Jacob

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The Origins of Half-Timbering: 2000 Years of Non-Stop Nostalgia

Sam Jacob Studio harbours a long-held fascination with Half-Timbering. In this essay, Jacob examines the historical, cultural, and aesthetic roots of the style.

It’s fair to say that “Mock Tudor”—that black and white facade treatment—has a less than glowing reputation. Take these sneering lines from John Betjeman’s Slough, for instance:

It’s not their fault they often go / To Maidenhead / And talk of sports and makes of cars / In various bogus Tudor bars.

(Perhaps those very same bars that Martin Freeman’s character in The Office notes have “a sign in the toilet saying: Don’t get your Hampton Court”.) “Mock Tudor” is often accused of “bogus”-ness, of lacking authenticity, of fakeness, and many other types of architectural sin.

"Moe's Tavern" from "The Simpsons". Image via "The Simpsons" / FandomLittle Moreton Hall, England. © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Moreton_Hall#/media/File:LittleMoretonHall.jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Christine-Ann Martin</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY 3.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Christine-Ann MartinAnne Hathaway's Cottage, England. © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_architecture#/media/File:Anne_Hathaways_Cottage_1_(5662418953).jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Tony Hisgett</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Tony HisgettDeath of Harold (detail from the Bayeux Tapestry). © <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_Tapestry_scene57_Harold_death.jpg">Wikimedia Commons user Myrabella</a> available in the Public Domain. Image Courtesy of Myrabella+ 6