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Title: American renaissance; a review of domestic architecture
Author: Dow, Joy Wheeler
Language: English
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Garden Front.]

                         AMERICAN RENAISSANCE


                       ILLUSTRATED BY NINETY-SIX
                           HALF-TONE PLATES


                            JOY WHEELER DOW


                       [Illustration: colophon]

                               NEW YORK:
                          WILLIAM T. COMSTOCK

                          Copyright, 1904, By
                            JOY WHEELER DOW

                      Press of J. J. Little & Co.
                         Astor Place, New York


_This review of American Renaissance originally appeared as a series of
papers in the “Architects and Builders’ Magazine,” and the interest
shown in them as they were brought out and the later inquiry for these
numbers of the Magazine have led the publisher to suggest the propriety
of putting them in more permanent shape._

_With this in view the author has carefully collated the articles, added
some new illustrations, and in some cases the plates have been enlarged
where the subjects seemed worthy of fuller representation than was
possible in the limited space allowed in the Magazine._

_The book is intended to be an impartial outline history of American
domestic architecture from Colonial times to the present day, and the
salutary influence upon it of whatever has been good in past building

_How well the subject has been presented, it remains for the readers of
the following pages to judge._



CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

   I. ETHICS                                                          17

  II. ART AND COMMERCIALISM                                           30

 III. THE ANCIENT RÉGIME AND--ANDREW JACKSON                          40

  IV. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF A NATIONAL SCHOOL                          51

   V. THE GRAND EPOCH                                                 61

  VI. EARLY 19TH CENTURY WORK                                         79

 VII. THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD                                         89

VIII. REIGN OF TERROR--ITS NEGATIVE VALUE                            108

  IX. FASHION IN ARCHITECTURE                                        118

   X. ADAPTATION                                                     132

  XI. CONCERNING STYLE                                               149

 XII. CONCLUSION                                                     156

      INDEX                                                          173


_Frontispiece_--Garden Front of Bennett House, New Bedford,
Epoch 1840.


I--In an Old Time Renaissance Garden.

The Governor Smith House at Wiscasset, Me.

II--Doorway, Washington Square, North, New York City.

III--Pickering House, Salem, Mass. Erected A.D. 1649.

Cole House, Farmington, Conn.

IV--If you want atmosphere and plenty of it, go to Salem.

Historic Atmosphere in a Modern Dwelling,--Silvergate.


American Renaissance Dwelling by an imitator of
Richardson. Date about 1890.

VI--Doorway at Bristol, R. I.

VII--American Renaissance and Analysis.

VIII--The Newly Invented Architecture and Analysis.

Eastover, Terrace and Peristyle.

IX--Eastover: Garden Front.

X--Not every Architect is Able to Give you this Atmosphere.
Page House, Danvers, Mass.

Money will not buy the Cotton Smith House.

XI--Victims of Commercialism, Belmont Houses, New
York City.

Chimney-piece, American Renaissance. Designed by
T. Henry Randall.

XII--Simplicity of Art, Wadsworth House, Middletown,

Efflorescence of Commercialism.

XIII--Mantelpiece, American Renaissance. Epoch 1806.

Orne-Ropes House, Salem. Epoch 1720.

Both name and identity of its designer have in all probability been
irrevocably mislaid in oblivion, but he was an architect.

XIV--Doorway, Means House, Amherst, N. H.

XV--Munro-French House, Bristol, R. I. Epoch 1800.

These apprentices essayed no stunts.

An Ancient Farm-house at Durham, Conn.

XVI--So far as teaching architectural art is concerned
it must be admitted that our public schools have
been a dead failure.--_Modern Farm-house._

Type of Farm-house. Epoch end of Eighteenth Century.

XVII--Peristyle to a House in Wyoming, N. J. (1897).

American Renaissance, 1899.

XVIII--Detail, Princessgate, 1896.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,” etc.

XIX--Wyck, Germantown. Epoch A.D. 1700.

XX--Doorway, Philadelphia Club.

XXI--Derby-Ward House, Salem, Mass. Seventeenth Century.

Souvenir of Abigail and Deliverance Hobbs, two
alleged witches of Topsfield, Mass.

XXII--Modern Cottage with a Germantown Hood.

Modern Cottage with a Dutch Hood.

XXIII--Germantown Motive Applied to a Modern Cottage.

Type of Early Connecticut House, Stratford, Conn.

XXIV--Type of Early Connecticut House, Middletown, Conn.

XXV--Johnson House, Germantown, Pa.

House at Hackensack, N. J. Eighteenth Century.

XXVI--House at Bogota, N. J. Eighteenth Century.

XXVII--Mount Vernon-on-the-Potomac. River front.

XXVIII--Mount Vernon-on-the-Potomac. West front.

XXIX--A Salem Gateway, Nichols House.

Hoppin House, from the close, Litchfield.

XXX--House of Captain McPhædris at Portsmouth, N. H.

XXXI--Doorway at Warren, R. I.

Chimney-piece, American Renaissance, 1899.

XXXII--Morris House, Germantown.

Wister House, Germantown.

XXXIII--Wyck, Germantown.

Terrace and Garden Front of a House at Wyoming,
N. J., 1899.

XXXIV--John Cotton Smith House, Sharon, Conn.

The Deming House, Litchfield, Conn.

XXXV--Ford Mansion, Morristown, N. J. Eighteenth Century.

Doorway with Hood, Lynn-Regis, 1897.

XXXVI--Morris House, Philadelphia.

XXXVII--Winter View of Eastover.

Rosewell, Gloucester County, Va.

A Ghost of the Grand Epoch.

XXXVIII--De Wolf-Colt Mansion, Bristol, R. I. Epoch 1810.

XXXIX--Local Color, Old Philadelphia.

XL--House with the Eagles, Bristol, R. I.

The Norris House, Bristol, R. I.

XLI--Chestnut Street, Salem.

XLII--West approach and entrance to De Wolf-Middletown
House, Bristol, R. I. Built in 1808.

The Back Buildings of Philadelphia.

XLIII--The Captain White House, Essex Street, Salem.

XLIV--Doorway, Silvergate.

Doorway, Watkinson House, Middletown, Conn.

XLV--Watkinson House. Epoch 1810.

Benefit Street, Providence, R. I.

XLVI--Modern Chimney-piece.

XLVII--Grace Church Rectory, New York City.

XLVIII--No. 23 Bond Street, New York City.

Doorway on East Fourth Street, New York City.

The Sargent House (Common East), New Haven,

XLIX--Sun Dial, Grace Church Rectory.

L--House of Mrs. Richmond-Dow, Warren, R. I.

View from the close, same subject.

LI--House on High Street, Middletown, Conn.

Bennett House, County Street, New Bedford.

LII--Doorway, New York City.

LIII--The De Zeng House, Middletown, Conn.

The Roberts House, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

LIV--No 1 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Waterbury House, Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street,
New York.

LV--Remaining Half of the Colonnade, New York City.

Typical architecture of the transitional period.

LVI--“And that house with the coopilows his’n.”

A Fifth Avenue Mansion during the Reign of Terror.

LVII--“I think that Dante’s more abstruse ecstatics,” etc.

LVIII--“There were the sincere radicals----”

LIX--“And the Scaramouches.”

LX--Franco-American Roof. Typical example.

Jacobin architecture was at least symmetrical.

LXI--“I never was so glad to get home in my life.”

LXII--Ultra-fashionable Queen Anne architecture.

Fashionable House, Eastlake School.

LXIII--Bellwood, Madison, N. J. Epoch 1878.

LXIV--A Queen Anne House at Short Hills, N. J. Frederick
B. White, architect.

An Ultra-fashionable Colonial House of the Present
Day, 1904.

LXV--A Country House, San Mateo, Cal. Bruce Price
architect, New York.

LXVI--Doorway at Sharon, Conn.

LXVII--The Château of Chenonceau.

LXVIII--Kingdor, Summit, N. J.

Canterbury Keys, Wyoming, N. J.

LXIX--The Louvre, Paris.

LXX--House of W. K. Vanderbilt, Fifth Avenue and Fifty-second
Street, New York City.

LXXI--Lambton Castle, England.

LXXII--Haddon Hall, England.

LXXIII--Charlecote Hall, England.

LXXIV--Hampton Court, Wolsey Palace.

LXXV--Hampton Court, South Palace.

LXXVI--Chambord, “The Valois Shooting-box.”

LXXVII--Azay-le-Rideau. The celebrated _coup d’œil_ of the

LXXVIII--Elevation of a Country House for Mrs. H., at Morristown.

LXXIX--Kingdor, front elevation.

Kingdor, detail.

LXXX--A Cottage at East Orange, N. J.

LXXXI--Doorway, Bristol, R. I.

LXXXII--Mitchell Cottage, East Orange.

LXXXIII--Detail, Mitchell Cottage, East Orange, N. J.


Princessgate, rear.

LXXXV--Eastover, the west front.

LXXXVI--Searles Cottage. Exemplifying architectural style.

The Modern American Dwelling. Exemplifying

LXXXVII--Style and the picture.   Middletown, Conn.

Detail in South Eighth Street, Philadelphia.

LXXXVIII--Detail, Silvergate.

LXXXIX--Miss Simplicity--her house.

Detail, Princessgate.

XC--Green Tree Inn, Germantown.

XCI--Princessgate (modern) developed from Dutch and
English Farm-house Motives.

Try to have the rear of your house as attractive as
the front.

XCII--Biltmore, in North Carolina.

XCIII--House of H. W. Poor, Tuxedo, N. Y.

XCIV--House of H. W. Poor, Tuxedo, N. Y.

Phillips House, Lawrence, L. I.

XCV--Garden Gate at Wyoming, N. J.

Window of a Dining-room, Wyoming, N. J.

Edgar House, Newport, R. I.




The magnificence of this subject, even of a single branch--the domestic
phase--is disproportionate to a review in one volume, in the scope of
which, I fear, I cannot achieve much more than a respectable
introduction. But even an introduction, like the overture to an opera,
is better begun at the beginning.

Civilized man, and especially one of Anglo-Saxon descent, is a
home-loving creature. To him the dwelling-place stands for his most
important institution. The arts, sciences and traditions he pursues,
mainly as they are to minister unto it, and its fruition is the goal of
life. About this dwelling-place, then, there must be a very great deal
to be said, indissolubly associated as it is with everything in life
worth having--one’s childhood, parents, children, wife, sweetheart, and
next to these one’s own personal comfort--one’s hours of leisure and
recreation. Therefore, just so much as domestic architecture departs in
an impersonal, artificial way from whatever relates to or reflects these
associations, just so much does it err--does it fail. It will be
obvious, upon a moment’s consideration, that any cold-blooded practice
or discussion of academic formulæ, alone, looking to the development of
American domestic architecture, is hopelessly inefficient.

The home one builds must mean something besides artistic and engineering
skill. It must presuppose, by subtle architectonic expression, both in
itself and in its surroundings, that its owner possessed, once upon a
time, two good parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and
so on; had, likely, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, all
eminently respectable and endeared to him; that _bienséance_ and family
order have flourished in his line from time immemorial--there were no
black sheep to make him ashamed--and that he has inherited heirlooms,
plate, portraits, miniatures,




pictures, rare volumes, diaries, letters and state archives to link him
up properly in historical succession and progression. We are covetous of
our niche in history. We want to belong somewhere and to something, not
to be entirely cut off by ourselves as stray atoms in boundless space
either geographical or chronological. The human mind is a dependent
thing and so is happiness. We may not, indeed, have inherited the house
we live in; the chances are we have not. We may not remember that either
of our parents or any of our grandparents before us, ever gloried in the
quiet possession of as ideal a homestead as is illustrated in Plate I to
convey the atmosphere intended; but for the sake of goodness--for the
sake of making the world appear a more decent place to live in--let us
pretend that they did, and that it is now ours. Let us pretend that God
has been so good to us, and that we have proved worthy of His trust.
With this amount of psychological preparation, I believe it is possible
for every cultivated American man or woman to approach the subject of
American Renaissance architecture--domestic architecture--in the true
spirit of understanding.

By American Renaissance I allude to no “American eclectic style.” That
term “eclectic style,” which so frequently crops out in treatises upon
architecture, were you to follow it up, would be found to signify, as a
rule, merely American nonsense and aberration. And I suppose there is no
nation which may show such an imposing array of architectural nonsense
as the United States during the last fifty years of their independence.
Certainly no nation has evolved a national style of architecture,
intentionally, as is constantly urged upon American enterprise. Such a
thing could have no historic value, while it could not escape being
vulgar and monotonous. Characteristic architecture is of very slow
development, and although there have been building epochs of remarkable
activity, in none is the progress appreciable from year to year.
American Renaissance differs from that of other countries only as it has
been affected by the local conditions and requirements of America. Good
Renaissance--I regret there is a sight of building that is bad--is like
good-breeding, pretty much the same the world over, differentiated only
by local color or custom.



The predominant local color which distinguishes American Renaissance has
been given to it by what has been our great national building commodity,
i. e., wood. The Greeks and Romans built of stone when they had the
money to pay for it, as does everybody else; otherwise, people in new
countries fall back upon a less expensive material. Our less expensive
material was wood. Both stone and wood have grain, and have to be used
with the same careful regard to it. Whether we build our columns up of
stone or wooden sections--latitudinal in the one case, longitudinal in
the other--to support a cornice also constructed in sections according
to the convenient sizes of commerce for the particular material, makes
no difference to the canons of art so long as we are not trying to
deceive or to imitate one material with another simply with that end in
view. It is extremely doubtful if our American ancestors were ever
guilty of premeditated deception. Their material was an honest material;
it had to be fashioned in some way, why not after the manner of the
Renaissance? In our own day of numerous short-comings in matters
architectural it rarely enters the head to deceive upon this point.
Notwithstanding the tremendous resources now at command we yet prefer
wooden columns to stone ones for dwelling-houses. As national wealth has
increased, however, there has been that natural tendency, of course, to
carve the Renaissance details of stone, and the white marble porches of
Washington square, North (see example, Plate II) may be cited as
splendid bits of American Renaissance. But if we go further, and by
reason of accumulated affluence erect the entire structure of the new
Colonial house in stone--columns, cornices, window and door casings,
etc., strange to say we lose an indefinable charm--a certain warmth and
personality with which American history has invested wood. Besides, the
fashion and style of Renaissance motive and detail is as suitable to
wood as it is to stone; and if the first named material is not quite so
durable it is much more easily repaired and replaced.

In English Renaissance, local conditions commonly restricted the use of
wood to the interiors. In American Renaissance, the plenitude of this
material enabled the Colonial builders to use it for the outside as



Erected A. D. 1649.]


and with great advantage, for it permitted the Colonist to elaborate the
elevations of his dwelling, gaining thereby warmth, cheerfulness and
grace, and all easily within his means. Without the slightest danger of
bankruptcy he could proceed to embellish the curtilage with arched
gateways, ornamental fences, terrace rails and summer-houses _ad lib._ I
have selected, to suggest such amplification, the photograph of an
old-time Renaissance garden in the rear of the Watkinson house at
Middletown, Connecticut (Plate I), also the photograph of an ancient
house at Farmington (Plate III). The latter has a beautiful Renaissance
gateway which would be an impossibility in stone. I believe it is called
the “Cole house,” and that its owner is a cousin of President Roosevelt.
It serves my purpose, too, on another count--its color scheme. I am not
prepared to say just why two particular shades of common brown paint
should be so effective for certain kinds of Colonial houses. Certainly,
this one frankly disavows any allegiance to architectural stonework. It
fairly proclaims itself to be a wooden building, while all we can say is
that those unerring sensibilities within us by which we distinguish
right from wrong are satisfied beyond the shadow of doubt, and so we
have no great need to question the whys and wherefores upon a purely
ethical point. In Salem, Massachusetts, there are numerous examples of
brown Colonial houses. Extremely effective in themselves, they make the
most beautiful photographs imaginable (see Plate IV). Within the radius
of a few squares you may obtain half a dozen equally charming glimpses
of Colonial scenery. Indeed, if you want atmosphere, and plenty of
it--go to Salem.

Had America been settled and colonized two centuries earlier, under a
Tudor king, most likely there would have been a Gothic influence in the
early work. It is difficult to know in our day how it could possibly
have been exploited in wood, and there is no excuse for our attempting
anything of the kind at this time of unlimited resources in the building
trade. Battlements, keeps and moats were Feudal protectory measures, and
would have been worse than useless constructed of anything inflammable.
About the only legitimate Gothic architecture expressed in wood which




“Silvergate,” Summit, N. J. (1901.)]

has stood the test of time, is represented by the 17th and 18th century
châlets of Switzerland, and I doubt if even Yankee ingenuity could have
evolved anything half so good. As a matter of fact we have no ancient
Gothic exemplars. It is said that the old Pickering house on Broad
Street in Salem, built A.D. 1649 (see Plate III), was a replica in wood
of a Jacobean tavern in England, namely, the Peacock Inn, Derbyshire.
The venerable dwelling at Salem has passed through many vicissitudes,
and in 1842, when the influence of John Ruskin was so misused in
America, the Pickering house was largely remodeled, so that it is
impossible to say, to-day, how successful an adaptation of Jacobean work
this was. But even Jacobean architecture is scarcely Gothic architecture
since England incorporates it with all the rest of her Renaissance.

Sir Christopher Wren was supreme upon the architectural stage of England
when the prosperity of the American colonies was sufficient to warrant
the academic study of domestic architecture upon this side of the
Atlantic, and Sir Christopher was the very life of the English
Renaissance in its stricter sense. During this great history-making
epoch, the giant forests of America came into excellent play for
following out--if often in a crude and kind of miniature way--whatever
the prodigious architect executed in stone. There was no bit of classic
detail from either Athens or Rome, transmitted to London through what I
may call the “Florentine Clearing-house” presided over by Palladio,
Sansovino, Scammozzi and their contemporaries, but what could be carved
more readily in wood; and time and history have thrown a glamour over
all this wooden development of ours, and established its right of
succession with a hall-mark.

But the main point in favor of Renaissance architecture, it must be
remembered, was that it lent itself extremely well to the Anglo-Saxon
home-feeling. It emanated from a land that had reached the pinnacle of
attainment in the arts of peace--Italy--and it was so easy to fashion
and make minister to most Anglo-Saxon home requirements. Luckily, the
Colonial builders were conservative artificers, neither so clever nor so
restless as this generation, or they, certainly, could not have resisted
the eloquence of false prophets and knavish architectural promoters and
fakirs who came their way. And we should have been deprived of our
illustrious inheritance, which, happily, cannot be taken from us now.

Fortunately for American architecture, Sir Christopher Wren was what we
would call in our vernacular “all right.” He had a good thing, an
inexhaustible mine for supplying ideas for all manner of buildings, and
he worked it for the best interests of all concerned. His reputation and
success have fired many a modern, would-be Wren to dare to try the
experiment of some rival kind of architecture. Such is the aspect we
have now of the late H. H. Richardson and his Romanesque style (Plate

Trinity Church in Boston was a superb design when it was finished, and
continues to be so to-day. But its best influence, I fear, has been
perverted forever. A quarter of a century ago Richardson was hailed as
an apostle equal with Wren, and America went mad, not in a Romanesque
revival, but in a carnival of it, by which I mean to say it was
burlesqued. It is sad to reflect that such a genius as the man who
designed the church in Boston should have allowed himself to succumb to
the wiles of the flatterers enough to be drawn into the disgraceful
saturnalia which followed so close upon his brilliant début.

Now the home of the Romanesque was not Florence. It pretended to nothing
of the court of Lorenzo the Magnificent, which, if it stood for
anything, was elegant living. Mediæval, benighted south of France was
the home proper of the Romanesque, and its proper medium of
expression--churches, cloisters, and monasteries. What could such a
style of architecture contribute to the Anglo-Saxon home? Absolutely
nothing. And when Trinity Church was finally completed, Richardson had
practically exhausted everything there was in the newly borrowed style.
He could have gone on, probably, raising ecclesiastic edifices,
designing an occasional library or two in good form, without directly
cribbing from his masterpiece; but neither he nor his imitators--and
they were legion--cared a fig for the ethics or proprieties of
architecture. They appear to have been actuated alone by the same
principles of expediency which govern the


[Illustration: SHIRLEY-ON-THE-JAMES. _See Chapter V._]


Date about 1890.]

“New Art” movement. They invented an exaggerated architectural grammar,
without doubt derived from the old mediæval cathedrals in the south of
France, but so vulgarized as to establish a clear case of libel for
those eminently respectable prototypes. This grammar the rabid reformers
proceeded to apply to every kind of secular building in America, finally
to American dwelling-houses themselves. They did not reckon with their
grandparents for an instant, not they. They apparently took the keenest
delight in walking rough-shod over every sacred home memory. They openly
insulted the very ancestors to whom they owed existence. But the balance
of good and evil there is in the world cannot be disturbed so suddenly
or arbitrarily. Outraged history was not slow to assert itself, and
after a while would have no more of the dwelling-house Romanesque. I
regret to say that Richardson’s imitators were not the last of their
race, and that there have been other and as rabid architectural
reformers, of whom I shall speak in the next chapter.



Not very long ago two enterprising architects in a Western State
succeeded in inventing a characteristic style of architecture of some
merit. I do not know its name. I am not sure that it has any. But as it
is likely to be somewhat in vogue for several years to come, I may as
well print herewith a simple recipe for combining its essential

Recipe: First, you must endeavor to find some valuable fragment of
ancient Greece or Rome, preferably a pedestal for a statue, base of a
column, or even the shaft itself and capital, which should not be too
attenuated, however, and is to be translated, if necessary, from a
cylindrical form into a rectangular one. Now, here is the scheme:

Punch your elevations full of rectangular holes in seemly rows, divide
them into latitudinal sections by


[Illustration: DOORWAY, BRISTOL, R. I.]

several belt courses of East Indian flat-carving, and bore a
semi-circular opening or a series of them (they may be semi-ellipses if
preferred) upon the ground line or the projected edifice to afford a
mode of ingress and egress corresponding, proportionately, to the same
convenience designed for bees in a bee-hive. Next, pour in Alice in
Wonderland’s “Drink me” elixir to make it grow, and await results of the
magic drug. This is the critical moment. All must work harmoniously,
and, having reached the height limit imposed by the elevator
manufacturer, perhaps, quickly cap the building with some red,
corrugated tiles, if you choose, in the form of a Moresque roof,
ornament with lantern and flagstaff, and, behold!--the charm
operates!--the great American “sky-scraper” of a commercial city has
been achieved.

It is not within the province of this review to enter into a discussion
of the problem of housing commercialism. It is odd that nobody hints how
posterity is going to laugh at us, censure our cupidity, and eventually
raze every one of our hideous “sky-scrapers” that shall be left
standing. It is odd that the present congestion of Manhattan as a crime
against decency, with all the idle land that is adjacent and available,
is not painfully manifest in this so-called year of grace MCMIV. But it
is within the province of this review to say that whenever the soaring
kind of architecture precipitated itself upon the Anglo-Saxon
dwelling-house there was a tremendous crash and revolution. It was
telescoped, it was flattened--grotesquely flattened, but still it was
remarkable for ingenuity, for cleverness, and, above everything, for
novelty, as would be a dwelling-house loaned by another planet. So
strange, indeed, this newly-invented architecture grew that it became
simply impossible to prevail upon ancestral ghosts, legends and
folk-lore, that habitually are part and parcel of the habitation of man,
to have anything to do with a device _à la mode_ that appeared to be in
every way so very much better suited to the needs of a Roman bath-house
after the manner of Alma Tadema. The following lines from Edgar Allan
Poe’s “Ulalume” may aptly express the injured feelings of those
sentimental amenities:

    “Oh, hasten!--oh, let us not linger!
     Oh, fly!--let us fly!--for we must.”




Moresque Spain                0 per cent.
Moresque Algiers              0    “
Moresque California Mission   0    “
East Indian                   0    “
Newly reclaimed land          0    “
Chinese ornament              0    “
Modern invention              0    “
Anglo-Saxon home atmosphere 100    “]




Moresque Spain                10 per cent.
Moresque Algiers              10    “
Moresque California Mission   10    “
East Indian                    5    “
Newly reclaimed land          10    “
Chinese ornament               5    “
Modern invention, pure        50    “
Anglo-Saxon home atmosphere   00    “]


For convenient reference of the reader a sample of this newly-invented
architecture is respectfully submitted (Plate VIII), and a very clever
sample it is. The inventors of the style themselves could have done no
better; only the irresistible melancholy in the rhyming of Poe’s poem is
not easily put out of the head, especially when, as in this case, it
happens to be extremely appropriate. So let us continue:

    “And we passed to the end of a vista,
     But were stopped by the door of a tomb--
     By the door of a legended tomb.”

Certainly it is unfamiliar environment from which one’s mind naturally
reverts to his childhood (you must have had a childhood)--reverts to the
wondrous houses we visited in the impressionable days of long ago. Ah,
they were a very different kind of houses, were they not?--houses with
significance, houses with personality, if building material may ever be
said to incorporate that. They had a history to tell. They had legends,
too. As we think of them they seem to have been literally covered with
legends, some of them cut with the jack-knife deep in the attic
timbers. But they were all legends that appeal to happiness. They were
not the legends of tombs. And the old sensations come back to us again.
Perhaps it is just as the afternoon light begins to fail so that we can
no longer read, and the sunset is very beautiful.

No, no, the vagaries of geometrical invention will never supplant those
first loves!

For you, then, when your lamp is lighted--I hope it is not the dazzling,
16-candle-power electric bulb of commercialism, made still further
terrifying by a gorgeous glass globe--for you I have a treat in store to
soothe the nerves the newly-invented architecture has indescribably
rasped. It is a “sure enough” old-fashioned house. To borrow the style
of Ik Marvel in his “Reveries of a Bachelor,” I can see how you will
carefully put this book where you will not miss it to show your
architect in the morning. You will remember the number of the page that
you do not waste the time of a busy professional man in finding the
place; and this is about what you will say to him: “I do not know how
good the architecture is, that


[Illustration: EASTOVER.

The Garden Front.

A modern development of Annapolitan architecture under the Colonial
régime in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Time of George II.]

the old house on Benefit Street in Providence represents (Plate VII);
but I do know it has just the atmosphere that reaches the inner man, and
that is the atmosphere I want.”

But not every architect is able to give you this atmosphere (Plate X).
None of the architectural schools teach it, and commercialism in some
form usually doles out the architect’s bread and butter, so that he is
accustomed in his work to reduce your proposition to a cold calculation
of so much house for so much money. He is made to _smile grimly_ (with
Mr. R. H. Davis’s kind permission) over what he considers your
sentimental impracticality, then says: “We build houses by the cubic
foot, you know.” And after the size, position, number of rooms, etc.,
are determined, then, whatsoever art may be applied just as well as not
without materially adding to the cost is made to serve as the meek
handmaid of commercialism; and I must say of this applied art as we see
it every day, exemplified in America, it certainly looks the part.

All through the Berkshires, wherever a commanding eminence rises in the
midst of natural loveliness, the bristling odd conceits--they are not
art--of the prodigious captain of industry who has made his money by
always “driving three in a buggy,” testifies that even in his
dwelling-place he calculates to get the worth of every dollar, and every
dollar is made to show--a veritable monument to his commercial sagacity.
But to my mind, Sharon in Connecticut, which lies some fifty miles,
perhaps, to the southward of the Berkshires, is the most beautiful
inland village we have in New England. Architecturally, it is not
remarkable either for good or bad work; but toward the lower end of the
main street there is one startling beauty in the fabric of the John
Cotton Smith manse. (See illustrations, Plates X and XXXIV.) As an
appreciative tenant is about vacating, I suppose the envious eyes of
commercialism will soon light upon this charming exemplar of Colonial
days with an idea of adding extensions, verandas or what not to make it
“real stylish like.” But for once, commercialism will be disappointed,
for I am told that money will not buy the Cotton Smith house.

The despoiler of beautiful landmarks, however, is




rarely idle. He knocks first at one door, and then at the next. New
houses or old, it makes no difference so long as the design be good, and
worth spoiling. The Cotton Smith mansion is one bright particular
exception that goes to prove the rule, for, ordinarily, commercialism
suffers no rebuke, and especially is this true of New York City. Here,
whatever commercialism wants it takes without more ado. A “sky-scraper”
would pay the owners of the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and
Eighteenth Street much better than the admirable and famous twin
mansions (Plate XI), that until lately occupied the site, so this good
architecture was promptly sacrificed to an object which is sordid and

But into what absurdities will the all-worshipful rate per cent. theory,
which is conducive of such splendid quantity and such meagre quality,
not eventually lead us? Already, we have a “flat-iron building” which I
have seen measured by art standards in a contemporary review. I mean to
say that such a thing was, in all good faith, attempted. We find the
opinion expressed that the “flat-iron building” was a necessity, and as
a necessity we should endeavor to make art harmonize with it somehow.
In all the hardness of our hearts we accept the greedy commercial
theory, as the people of Moses accepted the divorce bill, that
“sky-scrapers” are a necessity; but they are not. We should be
unquestionably better off without them. They are only the lame device of
the epoch in which we live to facilitate business until such time as we
shall interfere with our neighbor’s daylight beyond all endurance, and
here we must perforce desist. Well, one may toady to commercialism
himself, if he likes--if he conceives that such a course is really going
to be to his advantage; but he cannot make art do it.

To the contrary, art is itself a very jealous god, and does not permit
the serving of two masters, at least, two such antithetical masters as
itself and commercialism. Art demands that there shall be, first, a
sinking fund absolutely within its own control, irrevocable, and forever
charged off the commercial ledger. Commercialism has no adequate sum of
money that is available for the purpose. Because we define art as
dexterity and as cunning, we have been determined to make it fit the
exigencies of commercialism; but we



The Belmont Houses, Fifth Ave. and 18th St.]


Designed by T. HENRY RANDALL, Architect.]



The Wadsworth House, Middletown, Conn.]


have not succeeded. It is, indeed, a grand misfit, because we do not
define art rightly. Yet people appear not to want to divine the true
definition, no doubt on account of a well-founded premonition that it is
going to be an unequivocal rebuke to the selfishness that exacts a
certain rate per cent. of return out of everything. Commercialism may
defer, but cannot defeat, the enevitable. Art means charity. Now if it
were only that kind of charity which the lexicon of commercialism
defines as the giving of tithes of whatever a man possesses to the poor,
we could still manage as did a certain rich young man we have read about
in the lesson. And like him, not being entirely satisfied in our
consciences nor with results, we could demand, as did he, what we yet
lack, what latent phase of cunning we have overlooked? And it will then
become our turn to be the exceeding sorrowful party, for there is no
cunning about it. What this generation yet lacks--we have quite
everything else--is a sufficiency of the vast, comprehensive form of
charity that was intended to be the end and object of every life. That
is the synonym of art.



Veneration for ancestors, and for what ancestors knew, has not been
regarded as an American virtue. Yet there was a time entirely beyond the
memory of this generation when traditions were religiously handed down
and respected in America. It is heresy to suppose that the Colonial
builders were _au fait_ in the science of æsthetics. They were not.
There was more excuse for ignorance upon their part than there is for
ignorance upon ours; but architecture as a fine art was as little
understood by the farmer at large in pre-revolutionary times as is
evidenced by the modern farmer whose concrete ideas upon the subject are
so charmingly set forth in the curiosity I have been fortunate to secure
for this chapter (Plate XVIII). Only, no Colonial farmer would have
dared to perpetuate such originality, even though he dreamed it in his




Orne-Ropes’ House, Salem.]

dreams, which is the only way he could possibly have conceived it. The
unalienable right of the American citizen to build whatever he pleases
has precedents running backward only to the 4th of March, 1829, when
that popular hero, General Andrew Jackson, was inaugurated. This appears
to have been the red-flag signal of license for all the vast output of
American Jacobin architecture, which, of course, is not to be confused
with the _Jacobean_ of England, the seemingly innocent contraction of
the suffix having the effect of a disenchanter’s wand.

Previous to this advent of rabid democracy there lingered a vestige of a
certain code of social restrictions which once regulated architecture
almost as absolutely as it did the private affairs of every family in
the land. Once upon a time the house-builder would have no more thought
of departing from what I shall call “the straight and narrow path” of
precedent in architecture than he would have been guilty of a religious
defection such as wilfully absenting himself from meeting, or an ethical
defection such as purposely remaining single. This abrogation of
personal liberty bore rather roughly, perhaps, upon the individual; but
it was the very salvation of architecture, being the censorship to which
we are indebted for whatever true inspiration we are enabled to draw out
of the Colonial exemplars. “Precept” was the word upon which the
American Renaissance was founded. The Colonial builders builded as they
were taught to build, not as they may have wished to experiment. And let
us see, for a moment, who their masters were, that we may be in a
position to understand something of the reason for their success.

While, in olden times, the architect and the builder were often united
in the same person, it must have been a very differently equipped
individual from the one who awaits his customers behind the pretentious
signboard thus lettered which nowadays adorns the front of many a
contractor’s place of business; because this legend has come to mean
extreme mediocrity in both callings. Nor does the word “architect” alone
signify everything it should in a great commercial era such as ours. I
have heard the head draughtsman of a noted modern architectural office
in New York City distinguish one of his principals from the other



of the firm by a very significant expression, viz.: “Mr. ---- is an
_architect_.” And I am constrained to discriminate with equal severity
when I see the illustration or the usual “modern American house,” so
called, placed in “deadly parallel column” beside a Colonial exemplar
erected a century ago. Nobody, as a rule, can inform us who made the
drawings of our fascinating prototype. Both name and identity of its
designer have, in all probability, been irretrievably mislaid in
oblivion; but he was an _architect_! (See Plate XIII).

In some recent and necessary researches for this and other work I have
run across the names of a few of these architects. Their biographies are
not to be found in libraries, though they merit shelf-room beside those
of our greatest heroes, statesmen and authors. Samuel McIntyre of Salem,
Massachusetts, and Russell Warren of Bristol, Rhode Island,
respectively, are _two_ I could mention in particular that should be
done up in full levant with notes and comments upon their work and
times, edited by Mr. Russell Sturgis or some one else equally competent
to do so. And then the fun of it was that many a most refined and
skilful artificer of the ancient _régime_ never considered the propriety
of adding the word “Architect” to his subscription. I suppose he fancied
he lacked his diploma or the requisite reputation afforded by some
stupendous public work. Yet, Fouquet with his celebrated _Vaux le
Vicomte_, or Louis XIV at Versailles had no better architectural advice
than had the colonists of America. The greatest architects of the world
really directed the planning of the Colonial houses. Unseen, the
master_hands_ and _minds_ were working through the agency of deferential
and obedient apprentices.

These apprentices essayed no--what boys denominate--“stunts” (see Plate
XV), and their masters, to whom they frequently served life-long
apprenticeships, affected no “stunts” either. Sir Christopher Wren,
himself, and Inigo Jones never tried “_stunts_” nor did Palladio in
Italy, before them, nor even the great Michelangelo. Now, if there ever
was an architect justified in exploiting “_stunts_” it was Michelangelo,
to whom marble or pigments, chisels or brushes were as subservient as to
magic. But what did this



Munro-French House, Bristol, R. I. A. D. 1800.]


architectural giant do when summoned to Rome to look after the
construction of St. Peter’s? In the eyes of American commercialism, he
made a goose of himself, he simply missed the chance of his life. He
waived jealousy, he waived ambition, patronage and emolument because he
preferred the serving of God and of his art to the serving of self.
Fancy such a thing in our day! Michelangelo requested that all the plans
of his illustrious predecessor, Bramante, the original designer of the
cathedral, be brought to him: and fully appreciating the responsibility
of the complex work that had descended to him by the rightful heirship
of true art, Michelangelo emphatically declared he conceived it to be
his duty to carry forward Bramante’s design, and, moreover, that
wherever the intercedent tinkers had departed from this design, just so
much had they erred. How strange this policy sounds placed in contrast
to the ethics of American expediency! No doubt, the mighty Renaissance
fabric at Rome has lost inestimably because this remarkable man could
not live to complete it. In our day, we have changed all that. The main
chance is not now _art--it is money_. We are still the America of
Martin Chuzzlewit plus population. Our greatest architect is our
greatest “stunt-master” and bears to American commercialism the same
relationship that a certain society leader bears to his equally noted
patroness. And it does not require the perspicacity of a Voodoo woman
either, to see how ephemeral, in comparison to the ages of good
architectural development, is this modern American extravaganza, which,
not unlike the airy creatures who enjoyed existence in the dream of the
White-King in Lewis Carroll’s classic, “Through the Looking Glass,” is
liable to go out of vogue _bang!_ at any moment, upon his majesty’s--or
rather upon _true art’s_--awakening.

In Plate XV there is presented a type of American farm-house of the
early eighteenth century. Engraved upon a tablet let into the front wall
of the chimneystack appears the impressive date 1727. This house is
still standing in an admirable state of preservation nearby a quaint old
village called Durham, in Connecticut. It was erected by a man named
Miles Merwin, and a lineal descendant of its builder still occupies it.
When he visited this house last summer the interior




impressed the writer fully as much as the exterior. It seemed to me that
the same influence came back again that rushed over my senses when first
I beheld the worn steps to the royal tombs at Westminster. It was so
very old and replete with atmosphere! It had so much history to tell
that one’s most natural inclination was to sit down quickly upon the
roughly hewn doorsteps bedabbled by streaks of sunlight filtering
through the foliage, and just listen. Ah, how ridiculous it would be to
imagine that the wonderfully satisfying lines of the roof, the delicious
overhang of the gable, the relationship of the stone chimney and the
proportions generally were evolved by Miles Merwin himself, out of a
printed book upon the æsthetics of design! For neither Miles Merwin nor
his master-builder may be said to have originated the house they
erected. I do not fancy, for one moment, that they ever contemplated
such an ill-advised departure from precedent. They had been taught how
to construct three or four different kinds of roofs, and they simply
selected the one most suitable to the needs of this case. It was the
influence and teaching of more than one great architect that designed
the ancient farm-house at Durham. And now you need no longer conjecture
why Colonial architecture is so good and remains in fashion. You know.

Select, if you please, the detail of the hooded entrance. A modern
house-builder requested to supply some unique shelter for the doorway
would understand you to mean that you wished him to invent something
which, by the way, is a task infinitely agreeable to the modern
practitioner. It is safe to aver that the adviser of Miles Merwin,
whoever he was, had never invented anything in his life. He would not
have dared to try the experiment in architecture, at any rate, more than
had he been the indentured apprentice of a Florentine architect.
Although I can, very easily, imagine him quoting his grandsire that this
particular kind of hood he was recommending to his principal, with its
deep cornice, was an exceptionally rigid and durable one. The truth of
which observation time has sufficiently demonstrated. It was “Old
Hickory” who issued the emancipation proclamation to young America
absolving him from the time-honored and universal fealty to Art. But
young America was deceived; it was a


[Illustration: PERISTYLE TO A HOUSE IN WYOMING, N. J., 1897.]

[Illustration: AMERICAN RENAISSANCE, 1899.]

campaign lie. Young America was not emancipated at all. Another master
was set over him, and that master was unrelenting expediency, who
forthwith usurped the throne of deposed art. Perhaps we are just
beginning to suspect the ruse after seventy-five years of license and
anarchy in art matters. What we did was simply to exchange a legitimate
sovereign for a coarse, unlettered and brutal demagogue, of whom every
American, young and old, by this time, should be heartily ashamed.

And I think the present generation is somewhat ashamed notwithstanding
the fact that our modern system of public instruction, liberal as it
purports to be, is painfully lame in the department of the arts. They
are like so many sealed books to the scholars who are expected to shape
our history. The policy of Donna Inez in Byron’s great epic was to
withold natural history only from her son’s course of studies. Our
policy is to disseminate all the natural history available. The mixed
class in physiology recites its lessons unblushingly. We encourage the
sciences. The farmer builds his house, to-day, with the best of sanitary
arrangements; they are nearly perfect, he installs hot-water heaters
and electric lights, he keeps in touch with the moving procession upon
all points save one.--What does he know about Art and American

The example of modern farm-house (Plate XVI) herewith respectfully
submitted indicates the modern farmer’s limitations. So far as teaching
architectural art is concerned, it must be admitted that our public
schools have been a dead failure.

But let us not look upon these things too gloomily, and lest the reader,
by this time, discover some sinister intention upon my part to slur the
memory of the hero of New Orleans, I wish to state that, personally, I
have only the greatest respect and admiration for a man who positively
refused to be frightened. Like Napoleon, Jackson was unquestionably the
man for the hour--the times, and devilishly bad times they must have
been by 1837 to have grown inimical to the very commercial interests
that had let them loose. By their aid, however, are we not permitted to
see ourselves somewhat as others see us, so at last, we shall have
discovered the true mission of these times in the economy of art?


[Illustration: DETAIL, PRINCESSGATE. 1896.]


    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not, the Pierian spring;
    For shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    But drinking largely sobers us again.]


[Illustration: WYCK, GERMANTOWN. EPOCH, A. D. 1700.

“The charm that is not deducible by mathematics.”--MISS POLLY FAIRFAX.]



It is unfair to place these humble beginnings of American Renaissance
beside such highly developed architecture, for example, as English
“Country Life” exploits week after week, under its heading of “Country
Homes, Gardens, Old and New” as to make one believe that England must
have an unlimited store for the magazine to draw upon. And this is all
the more remarkable because one’s recollection of English landscape as
it reveals itself through windows of the railway carriages along the
main routes of travel--especially along the Great Eastern road from
London to Kings Lynn--distinguishes it little from that uninteresting
stretch of country which lies between Trenton and New Brunswick on the
Pennsylvania railroad. Evidently, all these magnificent halls were
erected long before the advent of railways, and are in no way
affiliated with the vulgar wake of commercialism. Accessibility, which
governs so largely in America, must be a matter of supreme indifference
to possessors of great estates in England, or, it seems to me, the
railway lines would meander in such a manner as closely to skirt the
confines of a magnificent demesne, occasionally. It is unfair to a
country whose visible architectural development is barely two centuries
old to bring it in contrast with one where no building is really ancient
without a history dating backward three or four hundred years, at least.

We, perhaps, fancy we have in America some modern country estates quite
worth while mentioning and which might easily withstand the odious
ordeal of comparison; but can the reader name one in the same category
with such a country seat as is illustrated in “Country Life” for July
12, 1902, described as “Osmaston Manor, Derbyshire” (Plate XXVI)?--and
this is a number of the periodical picked up without especial
selection--“Biltmore,” in the North Carolina mountains, possibly, with
the H. W. Poor house at Tuxedo, New Jersey, as an alternate choice, one


[Illustration: “Extremely humble, yet genteel.”


13th and Walnut Streets.]

Renaissance, the other Jacobean. But certainly, Newport, with its
miserable crowding and elbowing of American pretentiousness, much of the
pretentiousness belonging to the modern invention type of architecture,
offers no comparison at all. The Hunnewell gardens and some others we
have seen photographed and discussed of late look more like tree
nurseries than Renaissance gardens, while nearly all the modern American
show places illustrated from time to time in the different magazines
deal only with that primitive kind of splendor indigenous to provinces.

No, we may not compare American Renaissance after this manner. We are
entirely too young a nation for that kind of architecture which
presupposes a renowned antiquity which we lack. But what we may do
becomingly is to select the homely and humble cottages of Great Britain,
such cottages as the one we are shown where lived the poet Robert Burns,
for instance. Place those, if you please, beside the farmhouses of our
Colonial régime, and then you may be surprised to find we have something
to be proud of, even though it be the fashion to belittle these
essentially good antecedents by modern architectural scholars. I am
reminded herein of the story that is told of a noted professor of
music--Kullak, who, having discovered that the number on the programme
which the orchestra had rendered to the great delight of everyone, was a
Strauss waltz (it must have been one of the less known as “Autumn
Leaves,” it could not have been the hackneyed “Blue Danube,” which has
been so much overrated), turned to his pupils, ever loyal to their
master’s prejudices, beside him, and furtively whispered, “Well, don’t
say anything about it, boys; but it’s awfully nice!” The sentiment thus
expressed is the cultivated sentiment of the average architect toward
the early Renaissance of America. He appears to be constrained by some
artificial position--some pedantic make-believe that allows him to
acknowledge the merit of a Witch-Colonial exemplar (see Plate XXI), with
only the poorest kind of grace.

But I have already explained why the old stuff remaining in America is
so “awfully nice” as to charm all unprejudiced artists who have studied
our history, so that mystery about it, I trust, need be no




longer. The paramount business in hand is to get rid of American
nonsense, to put it entirely out of the head, if possible, that nothing
may stand in the way of returning meekly and in a receptive spirit to
those ancient and honorable first principles of ours which were
unerring. This surgical-like operation accomplished, let us see what may
be done with the Derby-Ward house, erected A.D. 1680 in Salem (Plate
XXI), to make it habitable, convenient and desirable to-day.

At this stage of the art of house-building, upon which subject there has
been so much written and published, an architect would yet be considered
plumb crazy who had the temerity to submit such a picture to a
prospective client as the kind of house best suited to his needs. Yet,
why not? Has the reader no imagination? Can he not see how, given a
generous forecourt, with prim flower beds, a brick walk and box, this
frowning prototype of “Scarlet Letter” morals and punishment would take
on a very different aspect, its repelling severity mollified by a little
gracious environment? And we do not stop here, by any means. We make a
feature of the entrance, either by the aid of a true witch entry or a
bewitching hood shadowing a roughly-hewn platform resting upon a wide
step, say 16 inches, returned on two sides--the inviting kind. We repair
the cornice and embellish the overhang with moulded or turned drops at
effective intervals. We re-knit the rifts in the single chimney, making
a clustered stack of it above the roof. We flank the main edifice with a
becoming woodshed which deft handling will transform into a most
delightful loggia. And then we visit the nearby shop of an upholsterer.
If the tiny panes of glass in the windows have become through age
iridescent, more delicate than that of Tiffany favrile manufacture, so
much the better for the figured dimity or the bobbinet we intend to hang
against them, perpendicularly, not looped, but simply hemmed, and with
deep valance. By this time the scheme will have easily dawned upon the
mind of the sceptical onlooker. No longer does he adjudge us entirely
crazy. Why, no; we commence to be artists now--indeed, magicians! He
quotes Kullak, involuntarily.

We have ordered a hot-water heater installed, likewise sanitary
plumbing, and a range, these being the




only contracts we have signed with modern invention. All the rest has
been of the most conservative architectonic development.

“But the plans! One has to live in the house after it is built, you
know. Can you make it liveable with only the one chimney, and that in
the very centre?” we are asked. I think we can. Let me submit one
solution of the problem, at any rate, and you are quite at liberty to
take it home and improve upon it as much as you please.

These Witch-houses are the pioneers of the procession. Nothing older
than they has been able to withstand the vicissitudes of our erratic
climate’s racket, though contemporary with them are the early houses of
Connecticut, which have been admirably described in a book by Norman M.
Isham, A.M., and Albert F. Brown. The Sumner house at Middletown,
illustrated herewith (Plate XXIV), exhibits a method of construction
which I believe is peculiar to the State of Connecticut alone. It
consists of a 3-inch offset at the second story, and continuing around
the four sides, the gables projecting 3 inches more. A great central







chimney again dominates the plan, which, it is true, taxes modern
ingenuity to make a graceful feature of the interior. A relic of old
Stratford (Plate XXIII) supplies another interesting type for
reincarnation. It is more generous in the matter of chimneys, but has
less pitch to the roof. The photograph reveals a texture to the shingled
sides which we may hardly obtain in modern work, though at a small
additional cost, for the sake of art purely, we may use the wide-gauge
shingles, but must see that they line accurately, as they do on the old
house at Stratford. They are an unwarranted affectation, the ragged
butts generally used to obtain archaic atmosphere in the houses of our

We shall see that in New York State and in New Jersey the Dutch
influences prevailed in the early architecture, and in Pennsylvania, the
German. It is all good architecture, however. The Dutch hoods are
habitually at the eaves, while the German hoods which separated the
first and second stories were often carried around the entire building,
as flounces upon a skirt (see Plates XXV and XC). The hoods are all
fascinating, thoroughly architectonic, yet how little have they been
studied and developed in modern design! The niceties of their
application and use are little understood by the average architect, who,
ordinarily, would think he was wasting his client’s money to exploit
anything of the kind. You see, he forgets that his client has spiritual
needs as well as physical ones. The gambrel roofs of the Dutch houses
have come to be commercial commodities and are continually resorted
to--no, are continually parodied, I mean to say--by modern builders who
cannot tell what this immutable art principle we are talking about may
be. They are simply magnificent, the roof lines of the old stone house
at Hackensack, N. J., shown in Plate XXV, yet they are not good enough
for the modern inventor, he must try some fancied improvement in the way
of a grotesque pitch, for which he racks his brain. Of these same
fancied improvements I could supply examples _ad infinitum_, but they
could only pain the reader, however great a favor I might be doing
American commercialism.

And now I must pause again for the present, because I am come to the
doorway of Wyck at Germantown (Plate XIX), and before it the
architectural critic







(From English “Country Life.”)]

prefers to linger in silent admiration--to told his arms as the musical
critics used to do when Patti was at the zenith of her powers, but while
thoroughly enjoying every fine artistic _nuance_ of the performance, a
disturbing premonition reminds him--warns him that if paid to criticise
and not to praise he will, in all probability, lose his employment. They
have no bit of architectural detail in England that the Germantown
doorway need be afraid of. Of course you will go into ecstasies over it;
I do. But you will experience difficulty in finding an architect capable
of grasping the idea sufficiently well for you to incorporate the charm
of it in the new house you are planning to build. The modern
dwelling-house is conceived so differently, plotted so differently, with
unsympathetic T squares and triangles, and is governed so strictly by
materials easily milled, and easily nailed in place by the carpenter, as
to put that element of graciousness which signifies so much to our lives
and happiness--that “charm not deducible by mathematics,” that makes us
think, and whereby we eventually become better men and women in the
world, absolutely beyond the pale of realization.



Then there came a time when the legitimate development and prosperity of
the colonies produced, not what the forcing box of commercialism has
produced--a _moneyed class_ under obligations to no one--but an
_aristocracy_ whose _noblesse oblige_ vouchsafed the encouragement of
architecture in common with other arts and refinements. And if there
remain to us, yet fairly intact, a representative town of this
aristocracy that we may go to look at, to-day, to see what it was like,
I should say it was Anne Arundel Town (Annapolis), the ancient capital
of Maryland.

The best description of Annapolis in that relation which concerns us
most--its fascinating old houses and their history--is written by T.
Henry Randall in the “Architectural Record” (New York), Vol. 1, No. 3.
Indeed, I regard this description as the most valuable



paper to American Renaissance that has appeared in periodical
literature. Besides this article on Colonial Annapolis, wherein all its
remarkable buildings are duly accredited and illustrated, editions _de
luxe_ in folio, on Colonial architecture, may also be had of the Bates &
Guild Company, of Boston, publishers, containing splendid photogravures
of the Chase house, the Harwood, Hammond or Lockerman house,[1] the
Brice-Jennings house and other enchanting representatives of our most
celebrated régime. These revered authorities, together with Westover,
Shirley and Brandon--plantations along the James River--are so well
presented in this way to architectural students that I have concluded to
reserve the space at my disposal to other subjects which, while nearly
as interesting, and exemplifying nearly as well the particular phase of
our architectural history under discussion, have a decided advantage in
that they have been little exploited (with the exception of Mt. Vernon)
in books.

But no writer upon American Renaissance can afford to slight the subject
of Annapolis in the letterpress of his work, for its didactic value is
immense. The very plan of its streets was formulated according to the
principles of art uninfluenced in the smallest degree by America’s
ubiquitous ogre, commercialism, which was here relegated, by municipal
ordinance, to certain extremely restricted sections of the city, beyond
which it trespassed at its peril. The relation these patches of
territory bore to the whole equalled, perhaps, one-fourth. In other
words, the Annapolitans looked upon commercialism as the mere machinery
of their household, and the idea was to sacrifice no more room to its
offices than was absolutely necessary. Commercialism during the grand
epoch was essentially a steward’s department, and the Annapolitans would
have been the last people in the world to tolerate its meddling with

Moreover, Annapolis stands for the supreme moment of the grand epoch. It
was here that the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United
States was formally ratified in 1784, and here Washington went through
the ceremony of returning his commission as commander-in-chief of the
army to the august



The West Front.]

power whence it had come to him. The constitution itself owes its first
glory to Annapolis, where the initial proceedings were held. Annapolis
and American Renaissance are, therefore, indissolubly associated. You
speak of one and the other follows as a natural consequence. The
amplification of the American dwelling-house was here carried to a
higher degree of excellence and refinement than has been elsewhere
attained, before or since, for Annapolis was practically finished by
1770, and, happily for this generation, has staid so.

It is disappointing that there should be no good place to “sup and
lie”--to resuscitate, a rather poetical archaism--in Annapolis, no snug
old tavern with the king’s arms upon a sign-board still swinging over
its door. And Annapolis, besides, is most inaccessible and expensive to
reach; yet every student of American Renaissance should contrive to
make, at least, one pilgrimage thither during his lifetime to gain, if
possible, a better idea of the most characteristic development his
national school of architecture has seen.

After Annapolis, the honors of American Renaissance are divided between
a score of more or less historic towns, among them the Colonial capital
of New Hampshire claiming especial recognition. Portsmouth also has the
atmosphere which means the elixir of life to the housebuilder in quest
of inspiration. To breathe this atmosphere here, at his ease, however,
will cost him $4 per day at the Rockingham; but then, what enthusiast is
there who would begrudge $4 for the sake of making the acquaintance of
such a raving, tearing beauty as the house built by Capt. McPhædris in
1723 (see Plate XXX). I could tell you how the bricks to build it were
all imported from England, only, this trite piece of information is so
applicable to Colonial houses generally as to be of little real interest
to the reader, who, I imagine, cares not at all whether the bricks were
imported from Kamtschatka or manufactured in a nearby kiln. But when I
say that his house cost Capt. McPhædris something like the equivalent of
$30,000, I receive instant attention, because a modern admirer might
think himself warranted in exploiting an adaptation with just about
one-third that sum of money. Of course, he would fail, that is, to carry
out the scheme properly. The principal rooms of the first




story are paneled in wood from floor to ceiling, and the panels are
beveled flush panels--the most expensive kind.

Here is a wonderful old house intensely affecting to stand and
contemplate. It seems to be sinking into the earth, as many old houses
in England have the appearance of doing, and possesses a tone like a
Stradivarius violin, which cannot be counterfeited. The day in the
summer of 1896, when I spent a delightful hour in its company, was a
sort of reception day, I remember. There were many summer visitors
calling, and they “de-ared” it and gushed over it as society people gush
over a Chopin étude, because they think it proper to do so, without
appreciating the subtle sentiment of the thing at all. It is not so much
an affair of one’s education as it is an affair of the heart. People
must have the right kind of a heart and the right kind of a charitable
nature before they may really enjoy either a Chopin étude or the
McPhædris house at Portsmouth. To quote the lines of Holofernes in
“Love’s Labor’s Lost”: They

    “Find not the apostrophes, and so miss the accent.”

While Portsmouth is on the main line of travel north from Boston, it is
still almost as much neglected as Annapolis, and it is a great pity that
many of its once splendid mansions are falling into decay. The Governor
Langdon house, the Ladd house and others should receive the attention
they bestow upon such priceless relics in Salem, where everything of the
kind is jealously guarded. But Salem is so distinctly illustrative of
early nineteenth century work that I intend to refer to it later, under
that head, likewise to Providence and Bristol, in Rhode Island, and
Middletown, in Connecticut.

New York and Boston have practically nothing left of the grand epoch.
The Walton house of Pearl Street and the Hancock house of Beacon Street,
respectively, with all their less noted colleagues, have passed into
history, the Walton house (i.e., in its original splendor) before the
advent of photography; so that we have not even pictures of it of any
value. The Jumel mansion (A.D. 1758) perched upon a dizzy height
overlooking the Harlem, is a sole survivor intact whose permanency is
threatened at the time I write.




[Illustration: DOORWAY AT WARREN, R. I.]

[Illustration: CHIMNEY-PIECE.


But Philadelphia, with Fairmount Park and Germantown contiguous, is
still, historically, very interesting, the most celebrated relics of
this vicinity being the Chew house at Germantown, and the Arnold-Shippen
house (called “The Dairy”) in Fairmount Park. Presentments of the famous
Chew house (still standing) will be found, however, in every illustrated
history of the Revolution, including the popular juvenile, “Boys of
’76”; but pictures of Wyck, at Germantown (see Plate XXXIII) equally
historic, are rare, as are also the pictures of some other places I
shall mention, and which I have taken much pains to obtain for this

Wyck is the oldest house in Germantown, at least, part of it is said to
be, and its extreme length, together with the great passage there is
through it to an inner court or garden, make it the most curious as
well. Stenton-in-the-Fields has many legends and things to commend it to
the antiquarian, but it is not pretty at all, and does not appeal to the
architect, who is much more attracted to the Wister house, numbered 5261
Main Street, and to the Morris house (both appearing on Plate XXXII),
standing a little farther along upon the old turnpike, both of which,
like the Strauss waltz I mentioned in a preceding chapter, are _awfully
nice_. Germantown itself is much overrated and disappointing. It is not
a picturesque town like Annapolis or Portsmouth or Salem, and lacks
character generally.

Journeying into Philadelphia we shall find hidden away in the midst of a
cheap, _bourgeois_ neighborhood in South Eighth Street another Morris
house (Plate XXXVI) belonging to the grand epoch. This stunning relic is
rarely photographed, and then the professional photographer sets up his
camera directly in front of it, uses his wide angle lens, which is sure
to distort, and he cannot avoid cutting off part of its base line, and
foreshortening the dormer windows. This Morris house has outlived all
the friends and acquaintances of its youth. Down by the Delaware River
there may linger a vestige, here and there, of the old-time gentry; but
most of the architecture which may be called “old,” in Philadelphia
proper, belongs to a later generation.

Again, let us turn in the direction of Annapolis, not




because it is an irresistible magnet that the student of architecture
feels, more or less, all his life, but because he cannot afford to miss
Alexandria. And I do not mean Alexandria itself, for it is pathetically
decrepit. The Carlyle house[2] is a wreck, and the Fairfax house is
ugly. But I mean to say he cannot afford to miss Mount Vernon, which is
usually reached via Alexandria. If time is limited in Washington, cut
out the new Library of Congress, which is a _political_ job, one degree
more vulgar than a _commercial_ one. Indeed, if worse comes to worse in
the matter of time, cut out everything but the Capitol, only, be sure to
see Mount Vernon! (Plates XXVII and XXVIII.)

Familiar as everybody is with its pillared portico high above the
Potomac, and good as many of the modern photographs are of this
effective view of the mansion-house, he who has never visited Mount
Vernon can form no idea of the enchanting beauty of that Colonial
estate. The ride on the electric road from Alexandria is through a
country scrubby enough and rough enough to send dismay to the most
persevering tourist; but do not dismay, for at the end a transformation
scene awaits you which you will never forget, and if you be an
architect, will supply inspiration worth many times your travelling

Walking out upon the magnificent stretch of greensward that overlooks
the river, one cannot but agree with Washington in preferring Mount
Vernon to every other country seat of America. I can think of none that
equals it naturally, while architecturally, it is thoroughly admirable
from stylobate to cupola.

Within, the wainscots, cornices and chimney-pieces are models of
excellence; and if, perhaps, we could nowadays achieve better success in
ventilating bedrooms than was achieved by Washington with his, we must
own, we are still largely the debtor party by the amount of education we
imbibe relating to what Eliza Southgate calls--in her edifying book of
letters of a girl written eighty years ago, bound between samplers,
concerning Sunswick, the Delafield house on Long


[Illustration: WYCK, GERMANTOWN.]


Modern Development of the Carlyle House, Alexandria, Va.]

Island--“Ease, elegance and hospitality,” and which we carry away with

As one looks back from the west gate toward the manse which he sees at
the end of a vista of verdure, another conception of the first American
comes to him which no biographer out of all he has had seems to have
thought worth while delineating. Washington has always been our greatest
military commander. We were convinced of that long before our visit to
Mount Vernon, but he has _not_ always been our greatest connoisseur of
American Renaissance.

Colonial estates as carefully restored and preserved as Mount Vernon are
extremely scarce, especially throughout the South. I number among my
acquaintances some enthusiasts who spent several weeks in Gloucester
County, Virginia, a year or so ago, and who did me the honor of writing
glowing accounts of some ancestral halls they had discovered there. They
were not architects, and could hardly have judged of the architectonic
merit of their find; but as the names of the plantations were
euphonious--names like “Elmington,” “Whitemarsh,” “Todsbury,” and
“Rosewell,” I was anxious to see the pictures they brought home, one of
which, with their permission, appears on Plate XXXVII. Visions of more
estates like Jefferson’s Monticello, Madison’s Montpelier, Sabine Hall,
Westover and Shirley easily flitted across my brain; but alas! I was
doomed to disappointment! The photographs revealed many typical Virginia
plantations entailed and beautiful, but not at all remarkable
architecturally. In my anxiety to know the truth about Virginia I
repeated the question, “Were there no houses as nice as
Shirley?--nothing as nice as Shirley?” (see Plate V), when, after
considerable explanation and some excuses, there was left but frankly to
own that the great plantations I had enumerated were the homes of the
wealthier planters and proprietors under the royal patents, and as a
matter of fact, there was nothing in Gloucester as representative of the
grand epoch as was Shirley-on-the-James.

Throughout New England and the middle States isolated examples of
exceptionally good Colonial architecture are still numerous, and some of
them in good repair. There will be just one, perhaps, to a town




(The front has not been altered.)]



Headquarters of His Excellency General Washington during the Winter of

[Illustration: DOORWAY WITH HOOD, LYNN-REGIS. 1897.]

which played its part in the American Revolution, and where any one
might suppose there would be more that had survived the menaces of
commercialism. This is the case at Morristown, New Jersey, where the
Ford mansion (see Plate XXXV) is a lone patriarch whose simple lines
make a neighboring and hideous Franco-American roof constructed during
our Reign of Terror--the seventies--all the more ugly and exasperating.
Then there are some towns like Litchfield, Connecticut, whose claims for
Colonial architecture are hardly warranted. There are but two good
exemplars in Litchfield to see, and but two indifferent hotels to stop
at. As a friend of mine expresses it: “When I dine at one I always wish
I had dined at the other.” The two good examples are, namely, Professor
Hoppin’s house (Plate XXIX) and the Demming house (Plate XXXIV),
standing nearly opposite on North Street. They have both been altered
and enlarged, and are therefore so much injured. The fronts of each are
happily intact. Modern amplification often makes me wish I could borrow
the efficacious sign that used to hang upon the wall of an old saw mill,
across which was rudely inscribed the impressive legend: “Don’t monkey
with the buzz-saw!” Only, for my purposes, I should omit “the buzz-saw,”
substituting therefor “this house.” I sincerely believe a great deal of
good could yet be accomplished in that way, or, rather, much evil

A number of celebrated relics properly belonging to this chapter, which
is already overstepping the limits assigned to it, I have failed to
mention. The foregoing form but a very imperfect list of living
representatives of the grand epoch. Still, taken each as a type, they
fairly cover the historic period cited. My selections present houses
variously constructed of stone, of wood, of brick, and of stucco. They
are all original designs, original as the times and the conditions which
prevailed in the colonies suggested or permitted--original as the
literary styles of authors are dissimilar and original, for every art
has its grammar, its glossary, and whatever transcends is not art, but
_aberration_. It ought to be entirely unnecessary for me to say this;
but I have lately been confronted with a startling misapprehension upon
this point even among architects.






Of course, these Colonial houses are Renaissance, because Renaissance,
since Mediæval times, has been the connecting link history has found
convenient to unite the present with the past. Yet there is not a
building in either England or France or Italy like any of them. They are
intensely American in every line, and express as much American history
as George Bancroft was able to express in his great literary work.
Architecture is not architecture which does not express history. St.
Paul’s Cathedral in London is strictly Renaissance, yet who shall say it
is not _original_, that it is not _English_ Renaissance, and
architecture above everything?

The Renaissance of America has as much if not more local color than that
of Great Britain. And I do not believe there is an architectural scholar
in the country who would have the hardihood to declare the vast treasure
house of English Renaissance to be a weak imitation of an older school.

No, I cannot clearly make out what the promoters of the newly invented
modes of building expect to teach us. There are two lines of poetry
wholly irrelevant to architecture, but so irresistibly significant of
the propositions of “New Art” in all its guises, that I may not do
better than append them here, to wit:

    “He might be taught by love[3] and her together--
     I really don’t know what, nor Julia either.”
             _Don Juan, Canto I, LXXXI._


[Illustration: DE WOLF-COLT MANSION, BRISTOL, R. I. EPOCH 1810.]



To the brief but brilliant interregnum lasting from the beginning of the
nineteenth century until the year 1825 we are indebted for some
excellent domestic architecture. The end of the ancient régime in
America, at least up to the war with Great Britain in 1812, was marked
by a healthy and material progress which seems to have encouraged
domestic architecture before everything. It presents no phases in common
with that ancient régime in France from which we borrow the title. With
us it was not a case of Du Barry and revolution; for the last remnant of
America’s aristocracy passed away amid the pleasantest of surroundings,
the only regret being that our gentry failed to bequeath to their
children those rare qualities of eminent nobility which they themselves
enjoyed to such perfection, and which are so charmingly indicated by the
houses they erected--the houses they could not make out to take with
them, to which it is still our privilege to pay visits and respects.

Looking backward, let us pay an imaginary visit to Bristol, R. I., in
1810--Bristol at the height of its Renaissance. Perhaps your engagement
is an invitation to supper or high tea at George De Wolf’s, on Hope
Street. (See Plate XXXVIII). They entertain elegantly, and this evening
the entire grounds comprised within the close are illuminated by
lanterns. One lingers in an enchanted garden, intensely absorbed
conversing with the architect of it all--Russell Warren; the scene
delightfully recalling a visit to Versailles, and the work of Louis
XIV’s famous gardener architect, Le Nôtre. It is thus you nearly fail to
heed the interruption caused by the servant who approaches along the
box-bordered walk to say that supper is served in the large dining-hall.
I only wish I had the space to continue this make-believe reminiscence;
but the economy of the age in which I live forbids.

I once wrote for the _House Beautiful_, also for the _Architectural
Review_, papers wholly devoted to the



Renaissance architecture of Bristol, and anyone who should be
particularly interested in this local development of his national school
I would respectfully refer to the indexes of those publications. There
are no Colonial houses exactly like those of Bristol. It has a unique
development of its own. If the De Wolf-Colt mansion-house is the most
elaborate of its contemporaries it is not the more remarkable. The house
once belonging to Captain Churchill, sometime master of our queen of
privateers, the “Yankee,” erected in 1807, is a most fascinating
exemplar of its genus (Plate XL). Nearly all the Bristol houses have
parapet rails, the detail of which is exquisite. The rails of the
Churchill house are particularly fine, while gracefully poised upon a
ball at each corner is a carved American eagle, perhaps intended to be
emblematic of the victories gained over the British by their intrepid
master. Another uncommon development greets us in the Norris house
(Plate XL). It has two parapet rails, to accomplish which distinction
the third story is narrowed up, I should judge about two feet all around
the building. The De Wolf-Middleton house, situated on a peninsula
forming Bristol harbor, called “Papasquæ,” erected in 1808, is still
another splendid home with flanking wings and intermediate passages, in
which respect savoring of adorable Annapolis. (Plate XLII). The view
shown is really the rear-view though it be the carriage approach.

Then follow so many beautiful things in Bristol to describe that I quite
despair of making selections. There are doorways--bewitching doorways
galore, one or two I have already used to illustrate American
Renaissance, and I hope to find room for others without prejudice to
other towns.

Under the title “A Salem Enchantment,” in the _House Beautiful_ for
November, 1902, may be found somewhat more of an account of an
interesting town filled with early nineteenth century work than is
possible here. What Annapolis is to the grand epoch Salem is to the
first quarter of the nineteenth century. Federal Street, Essex Street,
Broad and Chestnut suggest a panorama of edifying domestic architecture.
But of all the grateful impressions that stamp themselves indelibly upon
the mind, one in particular has



[Illustration: THE NORRIS HOUSE, BRISTOL, R. I.]



microscopic definition. It is the house on Essex Street once belonging
to Captain Joseph White, a retired sea captain. (Plate XLIII). A
sensational interest may attach because the captain was murdered for his
money in it some seventy years ago; but outside of this interest the
architectural student will find in this building as satisfactory an
example of its times as exists anywhere. Then, its splendid state of
preservation will also delight the heart of a connoisseur, for I cannot
conceive of its being at any time in its history more beautiful than it
appears to-day. Photographs of it are extremely rare. The Salem
guide-books and local histories in referring to the admirable domestic
architecture of Salem--which, by the way, they do not half
appreciate--curiously omit even mentioning the Captain White house. One
may learn all he wishes concerning the Witches and Hawthorne; but facts
about the _parc aux cerfs_ in the reign of Louis XV are more easily
obtainable than facts concerning this historic dwelling in Salem.

Providence, R. I., is also extremely rich in early nineteenth century
material; but Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut, where any one
might wander expecting to find something worth one’s while, have been
done over and badly done at that. Instead of bothering with these two
places, go to Middletown. I have already drawn upon Middletown to
illustrate this review, though much remains to which I shall hardly do

The Watkinson house on Main Street, built about 1810 (see Plates XLIV,
XLV and LXXXVII), illustrates exceptionally good early nineteenth
century work, also its mate, the General Mansfield house, nearly across
the way.

The porch of the Watkinson house is beautifully proportioned, exquisite
in detail, with a curvilinear ceiling in plaster. The columns rest upon
brownstone bases, and these in turn upon a brownstone platform, from the
famous Portland quarries located upon the opposite side of the
Connecticut river, and which supplied New York City for so many years
with its principal building material. The Watkinson house is
home-feeling personified; but this is not all. You walk from the iron
gateway through another gateway--a








JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]



wooden one not visible in the picture, and then again through still
another gate, when, all at once, the vision of an old-time Renaissance
garden extending far down toward the river surprises and delights the
eye. The garden is furnished with all the traditional paraphernalia
appropriate to it; and under curious arbors, by trellises into miniature
boscages, one wanders enchanted.

I have spoken of the efflorescence of commercialism, and I tried to find
for a foregoing chapter an illustration of heaping meretricious ornament
upon itself which I needed at that time; but now I have the pleasure to
show you the true efflorescence in connection with architecture, the
efflorescence with which the Greatest of all architects has most to do
in bringing to perfection.

I do not think I may conclude an article upon early nineteenth century
architecture in America without a paragraph in reference to that which
exists, and is likely to remain for some time, in the traditionally
blue-blooded section of Philadelphia bounded by Chestnut and Pine
Streets east of the Schuylkill river. (See Plates XX, XXXIX and
LXXXVII.) And all things considered I do not know that we have improved
very much, if any, upon those old Philadelphia city house plans in any
of the newer designs exploited in such variety both in New York and
elsewhere. Without the private street at the rear of the lot we cannot
hope to do anything very satisfactory, and in those private streets--the
entrance for the tradespeople to the houses--Philadelphia has a
tremendous advantage at the outset. This amplification of the
backyard--the dignity afforded it by an independent gateway upon a
street of its own, the pair of doors with a transom opening into it from
the staircase hall recessed by the rounded corner of the back building,
and the disposition of the back building itself, all present dazzling
opportunities to the architect not only for effects but for comfort and
convenience. The mezzanine dining-room with windows upon two sides has
unlimited possibilities which they seem never to have fully grasped or
appreciated in Philadelphia. I only wish I had the restoration of one of
those old Philadelphia houses with _carte blanche_ to do with it as I
liked. Confining the entire mechanism of the ménage to the
back-building, the heat of




the kitchen, the odors of the culinary operations, and the plumbing is a
splendid economic scheme. I should think that the system of plumbing of
the old houses would need to be renewed by this time, which I have no
doubt is being attended to, as I believe, according to the latest social
canons, one may not better establish himself in Philadelphia than by
reclaiming one of these ancient domiciles in what has, perhaps, become a
somewhat problematical neighborhood.

Certainly, it must be lots of fun to rehabilitate the paneled shutters,
to tie them with ribbons run through the rings, to restore the marble
steps to immaculate whiteness once more, to make the smiling fan-top
doors smart again with new paint, to brighten the windows with curtains
that may be often re-laundered, and lastly, to go to Wanamaker’s for a
new busybody.[4]

Then comes the happy day when we may set up our household gods in a way
infinitely to our liking, and reëstablish in business that ever willing,
all ’round faithful servant--the back-building, which Philadelphians
assure us has cured the case of many a _malade imaginaire_, with almost
human instinct, by unexpectedly taking fire. (See Plate XLII.)



JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]



The trick enigmatical nature sometimes plays the gentlest parents by an
offspring who, notwithstanding their constant solicitude--the constant
bending of the twig--turns out to be a disappointment, not to say a
positively black sheep, has its analogy in art. And of such curious
analogy no more picturesque example exists than that supplied by what
has come to be known as our “Transitional period”--a hopelessly ordinary
offspring of a civilization highly cultivated and refined.

To see the Transitional period in its popular aspect, which is its worst
aspect, no better spectacles may be borrowed than those once worn by
Charles Dickens, the novelist, to write his “American Notes” and “Martin
Chuzzlewit.” Only, it will not do to pass final judgment from a scathing
arraignment of crimes to the extent of burlesquing the subject, as
happens at times in Dickens’ books. There is the documentary evidence
to be sifted and examined which, I am very sure, will lessen and correct
the scandal materially. And if I have hitherto neglected to avail myself
of such evidence, permitting the scandal of the Transitional period to
appear as common gossip in these articles, it was for dramatic effect
and for contrast. In the present article I propose to make reparation,
and direct the magnifying power mainly upon that which is good.

It was somewhat unfair of Dickens to expect that we should have achieved
architectural grandeur in the brief time at our disposal; but I regret
that his uncomplimentary description of the City of Washington in the
forties is yet graphic in a degree of the present capital, though vast
appropriations by Congress have been frequently lavished upon it, and
misspent. We know that Dickens was not always prejudiced, by the
encomiums he bestowed upon the scenery of New England, for instance, and
the pretty girls he chanced to meet during his visit, who it seems
contrived to be born in America despite the banal times and hideous
fashions which, I am glad, could not wholly disguise them. However, as
complete sets of the works of Charles Dickens are to be found upon the
shelves of every public library, and secondhand copies of “American
Notes” and “Martin Chuzzlewit” may be picked up for a few pennies at the
bookstands, nobody need miss the salutary influence of many of the
criticisms. Not so easily may the American student provide himself with
a copy of the diary of Philip Hone, though it be a much more instructive
and faithful commentary upon the Transitional period than anything
Dickens ever wrote. For I think the two volumes sell for $7 net. There
are no pirated copies to be had, of course, no cheap editions, as is
usually the case with the more reliable sources of information it is
obligatory upon us to look up would we follow cause and effect in the
history of American art. Here indeed our own copyright law is a positive
hindrance to the acquisition of knowledge. Few architectural students
can afford $7 for a purely literary work devoted to the Transitional

Mr. Hone wrote his journal from day to day as Samuel Pepys wrote his,
without idea of publication, and, consequently, without exaggeration,
praise or ridicule for effect. He wrote things down as he saw them. He
was not writing to correct popular abuses. He was, apparently, governed
in his avocation by no other desire than the simple one of keeping a
diary. And it is this unaffected form of diary that makes its contents
more and more valuable as time goes on.

When Dickens has “Martin Chuzzlewit” entertained in New York society he
constructs for our edification an amusing farce which we enjoy as a
farce, though the author himself pretends to be in very earnest; but
when Philip Hone relates of an assembly ball with great difficulty
arranged owing to the painful lack of homogeneity and even suitability
of the available personnel, another and serious phase of the case is
presented, because it is sadly true. Under the ingenuous pen of this
diarist, we may see James Gordon Bennett the elder wrangling with the
unliveried servants for admission which, we are told, the management
finally consented to extend upon the one condition that the account of
the ball which was to appear in the _Herald_ the following morning
should at least be “decent.” I believe that is the word Mr. Hone uses.



At any rate, we realize as never before how disorganized the social
fabric must have been at the period, and how it had deteriorated from
that of the older régimes. It is all but ludicrous, that entry in the
diary where the connoisseurs gather in Barclay Street to pay their
respects to such mediocre art as was exemplified by the allegorical
series of paintings called “The Voyage of Life.” The reader remembers
the old engravings of them, I dare say, very well. But we know that the
connoisseurs did do this very silly thing, because Philip Hone’s diary
is indisputable and exact evidence uncolored. It is incredible,
nevertheless, that a political expediency should have caused the whole
nation to forget so readily the proficiency in art matters attained by
preceding generations, and, presto! resolved its most representative
spirits into an unpromising class of abecedarians.

There is a tone often noticeable throughout the memoirs of Philip Hone,
who sometimes made trips abroad in the sailing packets of his day,
thereby extending the scope of his own horizon, as though he were a bit
ashamed of the crude provincialism of his compatriots when it was the
custom to speak the English language incorrectly, and when the three
Rs--“Reading, Riting and Rithmetic”--were all the academic preparation
for a life of usefulness that was required. Indeed, if he were quick at
figures, could follow Webster’s spelling book, and make neat flourishes
with his pen, no young man of the Transitional period need ever have
despaired of positions and promotion.

The question often heard, now-a-days, “What chance has a man for
self-cultivation in a boom town?” applies very nearly to the metropolis
of the Transitional period.[5] What use more profitable could one have
found for his time than speculation in real estate, if one could buy a
house for $25,000, as did Philip Hone, and sell it within a few years
for $60,000? Certainly, there was little inducement to pursue art in
such a phenomenally active market for values. The best that could be
expected of the very busy man of the day was to send his son betimes to
college and to Europe, the liberal education, it is true, often
unfitting him again for business as it was transacted in America. There
was a manufacturer of Transitional furniture who sent his son to Paris
to learn cabinet-making of those most renowned of European artificers;
and I have it from the son himself that he was, afterwards, obliged to
unlearn and forget all his Parisian training in order to meet the home
demand for cheap and tawdry stuff. Fancy!

The art prophet which this bourgeois epoch produced corresponded exactly
to it--just such a one as might be naturally expected--John Ruskin, old
fogy with ideas of no practical value to communicate to the world, but,
like Browning and Emerson, full of words, rhymes and sentences. Ruskin
conceived a violent passion _à la_ Plato for the Gothic mode of
building. He affected to deplore the “foul flood of the Renaissance.”
And his great theory was that as the leaves of plants nearly always
terminate in a point, it was intended by nature that man should take
pattern therefrom for his architecture. To make a theory so point-device
consistent Ruskin went so far as to criticise those leaves of plants
which terminate in other ways. Imagine some classic writer tracing the
origin of the Roman arch to lily-pads which may have floated in the

The only really clever observation concerning architecture Ruskin
ever made was the metaphor he applied to the great mediæval
cathedrals--“frozen music.” But he was not a purist of Gothic
architecture in the truer sense. Had he been so, he would have defended
the Tudor castles of England against Renaissance obtrusion; for the
Tudor architecture was a true development of the home idea, legitimate
and historical, while that of the Gothic cathedrals was not intended to
serve for dwelling-houses by any possible contingency. Yet Ruskin
persisted in the feasibility of an anomalous adaptation, something, as a
matter of fact, that nobody has achieved with very great credit. For
rectories and parish houses the ecclesiastic Gothic may serve as far as
sentiment and harmony are desired; but for practical uses it is a
failure applied to dwelling-houses. Grace Church rectory is extremely
disappointing within if we consider all the disiderata of a modern home,
however suggestive of comfort it may be to the casual observer. (See
Plate XLVII).


[Illustration: NO. 23 BOND ST., NEW YORK.]


[Illustration: EAST FOURTH ST., NEW YORK.]

The Richmond-Dow house at Warren, R. I., shown in Plate L, is a typical
example of Ruskin Gothic when the poet’s influence was at its height.
For the romantically inclined individual of the Transitional period but
one course was open, namely, to build himself a Ruskin Gothic cottage.
The stone cottages like the Richmond-Dow cottage were the better sort,
and if the narrow lancet windows tended to make them a little gloomy
they were otherwise not half bad; but the wooden cottages with the
perpendicular battens are execrable. Another very decent stone cottage
in ecclesiastic Gothic is shown in Plate LI. It has a charming setting
on High Street at Middletown, Ct., and again the interior, like Grace
church rectory, is a disappointment. The delightful window overlooking
the lawn is not nearly so nice from the inside. The fibre of quartered
oak was generally too tough for the planes and chisels of the
Transitional joiners, who always preferred to work in white pine, and
leave to the makeshift grainer the responsibility of doing it up to
simulate oak. We are, all of us, familiar with that forlorn art of

Then, in order not to forego in the ecclesiastic Gothic cottages another
indispensable makeshift--the American veranda--the Transitional
architects desecrated rood-screens and chancel carvings. Happily,
now-a-days, nobody would think of copying Ruskin in a dwelling-house.
People may like to read a conventional gift-book occasionally, and take
up “Sesame and Lilies” from the drawing-room table when they have time
to kill, and want to get away from everyday life and practical things.
Moreover, the most selfish and unscrupulous people in the world are apt
to have a vein of sentimental efflorescence in their nature which will
reveal itself, when they read Ruskin or Browning, with a zest that is

But the Transitional period as we have come to know it best was not a
Gothic revival, but a poverty-stricken application of Renaissance motive
and detail out of the midst of which I have proposed to try to find
something commendable--something to praise. Well, I think I shall have
done so when I throw upon the imaginary screen I have so often suspended
before my very patient audience, the picture of the doorway in East
Fourth Street, New York City (Plate XLVIII). And were it a “truly”
phantasmagoria I were conducting, I know it would be difficult for an
audience to restrain itself--not to cry “Ah!” after the manner of the
gallery, because I know how this picture affects me, and can discount
the reader’s enthusiasm accordingly. The adjoining windows are out of
proportion to the doorway, and badly spaced, but are faithful to the
epoch. One must not expect too much of a Transitional house. The part of
the window shown belonging to No. 23 Bond Street--(see Plate XLVIII),
has better proportions, though the doorway beside it is not half as
beautiful as the one on Fourth Street. Still, we owe it to an uncommon
episode that this doorway has been photographed at all, and to which my
acknowledgment is given, though I do not altogether approve the
sentiment of the episode.

No. 23 Bond Street was once the property of a great beau of the
Transitional period named Harry Ward. He had money besides. Now, it is
very easy and natural for a great beau of any epoch, with money besides
to believe that because the Sabbath was made for man, the six other
days were made for him, also. Alas! no mistake could be more
unfortunate, and of this the doorway has long stood as mute evidence. In
coming into possession of No. 23 Bond Street, in his time a fashionable
neighborhood, Harry Ward decorated and refurnished the house in a way
which may be said to have been the last word upon the subject of
household art of the period; and, to recur to a Transitional
colloquialism, “he had his girl picked out.” But there were inimical
circumstances which precluded the nuptial celebration, so they could not
live in the house. Then Mr. Ward died, and, I believe, bequeathed No. 23
Bond Street, in fee-simple, to his sweetheart. This sweetheart, like
Edith Bartlett in “Looking Backward,” rode on the top of the coach, and
consequently she also coveted the six days that were not made for man,
very much. The dispensation seemed unnecessarily cruel. We may not judge
of the motives that induced her to rebel, and to keep the house as long
as she lived a sacred memorial to Mr. Ward and to have nothing moved or
changed from the way he had ordered it during his lifetime; but we know
that without



a superabundance of wealth, she could not have gratified a sentiment
wherein a sinister and selfish side out-weighs its virtue. You see, how
very few of us may be trusted with money! For it would have been a so
much finer monument to Mr. Ward had this house been bestowed by his
legatee upon some poorer though deserving couple whom the Lord had
destined to be of use to Him:--it would have been infinitely better
dedicated as a museum of the Transitional period for its didactic
benefit to art students; but I fear I am the only human being, excepting
the care-takers perhaps, who has derived any tangible satisfaction from
No. 23 Bond street since the sad dénouement which closed it so tightly
to the busy stream of life constantly passing.[6]

I suppose the finest specimen of Transitional domestic architecture
extant in the United States is the Bennett house on County Street in New
Bedford (see Plate LI, also Frontispiece), erected about 1840, for a
full description of which I would respectfully refer the reader to the
_Architectural Review_ (Boston) for July, 1901. There is nothing
disappointing about this Transitional exemplar; it was one of those
grateful notes of hope at a season of national melancholia. Wonderfully
imposing from its great size, it will grieve the reader to learn that
the magnificent pile is already crumbling from lack of appreciation, and
it will not be long before the dealer in second-hand building materials
carries it away, piece by piece, to his yard, so little do the people of
New Bedford care for the most interesting building by far that their
city possesses to-day. The Bennett house is the only successful
adaptation of the Greek-temple motive, _pur et simple_, to domestic
purposes that has come to my knowledge.

And here I want to say a single word about restoration. If by any chance
you live in a house of the Transitional period that illustrates as good




View from the Close.]




as that of the de Zeng house on High Street in Middletown (see Plate
LIII), don’t try to make it Colonial as I have seen a tendency among
ill-advised people to do of late. Let me say to you that you have
something already so much ahead of average modern Colonial--“as she is
spoke”--that it would be a sin against the decalogue of art to alter or,
indeed, do other with it than religiously to guard. Just keep your
Transitional exemplar in the same admirable state of repair in which you
see the de Zeng house at Middletown--and enjoy it. You will thereby have
fulfilled your duty to art and to the future generations who will rise
up and call you blessed.

The foregoing paragraph applies equally to the Roberts mansion at the
northeast corner of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia (Plate LIII). For
the sake of goodness, don’t try to colonialize it! There are several
houses in Philadelphia that resemble the Roberts house--the
Dundas-Lippincott house and the Willstack house being two of them, but I
think neither so admirable.

I do not know that I should ever build myself a house to live in after
the manner of the Transitional period even after such delightful and
exceptional models as are supplied by the Bennett, Roberts or de Zeng
houses, but if I already possessed one, I should rest content that its
architecture could not be improved by any material alteration I could

In the _Architectural Review_ for February, 1902, the reader may read
about the Transitional houses of lower Fifth Avenue, New York City, also
of that celebrated row facing Washington Square. The Waterbury house
(see Plate LIV) was demolished last winter, so that its entrancing attic
windows screened by the crosses of St. Andrew will no longer delight the
visitor who returns to the old neighborhood.

The venerable Colonnade on Lafayette Place (Plate LV) probably makes its
last public appearance in this review as among the remains of our
Transitional period. Half of it is already gone, while the other half is
in imminent danger. This row of dwelling-houses should not be confounded
in any way with that other row known as London Terrace of Chelsea
village (Twenty-third Street), because the Lafayette Place


[Illustration: DOORWAY, NEW YORK CITY.]




houses were the “real stuff,” those of the London Terrace are sham in

In the Colonnade there dwelt at different times many noted individuals.
When the first John Jacob Astor decided to devote some of his money to
art, the Astor library and other gracious projects, he looked about him
for some men of a gentler type than those with whom he had rubbed elbows
in the accumulation of his wealth--men of some literary and artistic
achievement who would be competent to direct the proposed outlay. Such
spirits were rare in the forties, and Mr. Astor had difficulty in
finding them. He induced the poet Halleck to become his protégé, and
Washington Irving to pay him extended visits. I am not sure that
Washington Irving was considered a guest of Mr. Astor when he lived in
apartments at the Colonnade, but as he was often entrusted with various
commissions in matters of literature and art, and the financing of same
for Mr. Astor, who lived just over the way, it was nearly the same

Washington Irving spoke and wrote the English language correctly, an
uncommon accomplishment in his time, and for which the American people
paid him nearly a quarter of a million dollars in royalties. He was the
dilettante par excellence of his epoch, who, without having anything in
particular to say, said it very gracefully. They did not pay according
to real genius in the Transitional period, for otherwise, Poe should
have made a fortune with two of his poems alone--namely, “The Raven” and
“The Bells,” which we know, as a matter of fact, he did not. However,
Washington Irving had his own mission to perform, though it must have
been with extreme reluctance that he quitted his snug bachelor quarters
at Wolfert’s Roost for the then palatial surroundings of the Colonnade
even to serve Mr. Astor. For if you accept the hospitality of very rich
people--and if you can do anything worth while you do not want for
invitations--you are generally expected to return every penny’s worth of
it in some way. Niecks in his “Life of Chopin” relates how when the
“grand artiste” was asked to play after dinner at the hôtel of an
opulent host, he begged off, pleading that he had eaten so very little,
which was true enough, for the malady from which he suffered sadly



[Illustration: WATERBURY HOME, FIFTH AVE. AND 11th ST.]



Its Positively Last Appearance]


impaired his appetite. But we are not all such consummate masters of our
art as was Chopin of his, and do not dare say such things, however well
merited they may be. Washington Irving saw that he could be of service
to his country by telling the “old gentleman,” as he alludes to his
patron in the “Life and Letters, etc.,” how to avoid banality and
vulgarisms, and the Astor library was the largest and most important
public charity that had yet been attempted.

In an age when the anatomy of charity is under the microscope of many a
millionaire as to-day, it seems discouraging that its secret is yet
likely to remain unrevealed. But let us acknowledge to ourselves, are we
not hindered to a very great extent by that awkward condition imposed
upon us by every religion that one hand is not to know what the other is
about? And of course, you know, that really takes all the fun out of



Alison, Carlyle and all the great historiographers who have essayed the
French Revolution go into long preambles of the causes leading up to the
principal drama, antedating, by some years, the assembling of the
States-general. I am very fond of the opening chosen by Charles Dickens
for his “Tale of Two Cities,” namely, “It was the best of times, it was
the worst of times.” The contradictory statement is yet so graphic as to
suggest to my mind all the preamble I need for a chapter upon the Reign
of Terror in American domestic architecture, especially as I have
already touched upon the remote causes in preceding chapters.

If money was ever to be made without the impending shadow of nervous
prostration and heart failure--I mean a decent sum of money, a
competency--that opportunity presented itself with dazzling splendor in


[Illustration: “And that house with the Coopilow’s his’n.”--BRET HARTE.]


the loyal States of the Union during the latter years of the civil war
and those immediately succeeding. All kinds of property advanced in
value, no matter what the kind was. Anything--even cobblestones would
have been a good purchase. The great boom of the Transitional period was
entirely eclipsed, and people who never expected to be wealthy, people
with the humblest ambitions, people whose callings, ordinarily, would
not warrant any such hopes, had affluence literally forced upon them. I
am sorry that most of the fortunes thus made had to be lost again upon
the inevitable return of normal conditions--sorry as I am when I read a
story of Captain Kidd, that the treasure-box has always to sink out of
sight at the moment when the happy finders are rejoicing, and the future
seems assured.

I do not know of a political economist, not excepting Henry George, who
has had “the nerve,” shall I say, to attribute any of the blessings of
civilization to war, pestilence and catastrophes. Yet, as nearly as a
spectator may judge by effects, these direful things are all conducive
to the greatest amount of comfort and ease of those who do not dwell
too close to the points of friction. The swifter is dissolution, up to a
certain ratio, at least, with the number of births, the greater the
wealth, per capita, for the survivors. The survivors of the civil war
who lived in the undevastated territory of the Northern States were
largely a happy lot. It began to look for them as though God had decided
to abolish the odds in favor of the bank, so to speak, and that life
would be, henceforward, a square game affording everybody a chance to
nibble at the crust of prosperity, not each one subject to gain only as
another is bereft. Some inexorable condition appeared to have given way,
for, at last, there was enough to go ’round--yes, more than enough; and
with their surplus funds mounting higher and higher, these alarmingly
prosperous people were much addicted to the erection of houses with

In the books of published designs which circulated at the period,
dwelling-houses of this class were called “Italian villas,” although as
we have come to know the Italian villa, especially since the art of
photography has brought it to our intimate acquaintance, we fail to


[Illustration: “I think that Dante’s more abstruse ecstatics meant to
personify the mathematics,”--DON JUAN.]

see any actual resemblance. The house with the cupola in America was, in
effect, a newly-invented style or architecture of its era, no doubt
suggested by the sumptuous villas of the Italian Renaissance, since they
have always suggested prodigious opulence, and would naturally attract a
people who had suddenly become rich. Besides, in no other style of
building that I have seen could a dollar be made to make more show than
in the cupola-house of our Reign of Terror. The art of pretentiousness
was never better understood, and no art has responded more quickly to a
popular demand.

The photograph of a house, which I have not the heart to publish,
recalls to memory the story of an old gentleman, now some years
deceased, who at the height of his career started out to build the most
fanciful house that anybody could possibly imagine. “Fanciful” was the
word he used, and appears to have been the favorite adjective of
Jacobinical builders. It seemed to me that he succeeded marvelously
well, as I cannot picture to myself a greater number of odd conceits in
a limited area than he achieved, nor do I see how the scroll-saw could
be made to perform greater wonders; but I knew not the resources of
those clever artificers. A still more fanciful house, he told me, which
he afterwards discovered, caused the ambitious builder of whom I write
to grow somewhat dissatisfied; for after all his pains his own house had
failed to capture the prize. He had not made it fanciful enough. His
property, however, advanced so rapidly in value upon his hands, and was
considered so beautiful withal by those of the ultra-Jacobin party, that
about the year 1869 he was enabled to dispose of his disappointment for
$50,000. And I do not want to leave you to suppose that in this sale
there were considerations of exchange or mortgages entailing a modicum
of equity as the only cash transaction happening so frequently in the
difficult real estate deals we effect to-day. No, the $50,000
represented all cash, which ample fortune, together with, perhaps, as
much again, this remarkable person managed to lose in the national
liquidation of the early seventies. Fancy $100,000 getting away very
easily from any one in his right senses now!

The only explanation that can be offered why so many of the snug
fortunes of those best and worst of


[Illustration: “There were the sincere Radicals.”]


[Illustration: “And the scaramouches.”]

times miraculously disappeared is to be found in the hypothesis that the
majority of the people were utterly incompetent both by education and
experience to manage the vast amounts of money that had, as magic,
rolled up while they slept.

But there were two kinds of Jacobin houses, there were the sincere
Radicals (see Plate LVIII), and the Scaramouches (see Plate LIX). In
other words it was another struggle between the Girondists and the
Mountain--the moderately-minded folks and the ultra-revolutionists.
Examples of the Scaramouches are becoming difficult to obtain, they give
the present generation such indescribable pains in the head to be
continually seeing them that every year their owners cause them to be
altered or to disappear altogether one after another. A perfect
nightmare of a house upon which I relied for my _pièce de résistance_ in
this chapter was recently remodeled before I could make a picture of it
in all its pristine extravagance; and the next reviewer of Jacobin
architecture will find the Scaramouches still rarer acquisitions. But I
truly regret when I see a Jacobin house of the better sort (see the one
illustrated in Plate LVIII), losing its character to make conform to a
later fashion in architecture because of certain didactic purposes which
it would serve as originally designed.

This Jacobin house exhibits a very creditable composition after the
manner of the Reign of Terror; and if we accept the standard by which we
judge the newly invented architecture of our own day which I had the
honor to illustrate in the second chapter of this review (see Plate
VIII), the Jacobin house has but one fault--a fault, by the way, that
admits of argument, too--it is out of fashion. The two designs are
equally original, equally dauntless and equally successful from the
standpoint of harmony, good lines, balance, proportion and all the more
obscure terms artists invoke to impress the neophyte while often groping
in the dark, themselves for the touchstone whereby they may discern what
is good and what is bad in architecture.

Now, every well-trained mind has the sense of order developed to a very
high degree, and everything that tends toward order and harmony is,
naturally, grateful to it; while that which tends to disorder, want of



[Illustration: “Jacobin architecture was, at least, symmetrical.”]

purpose and method is always repugnant. Hence, if we eliminate the
matter of fashion, I cannot see wherein newly invented architecture has
any material advantage over that less recently invented except that, in
some ways, we have in the former a much simpler design. The Jacobin
house is over-decorated; but we must give it odds as in a handicap to
make up for the progress in matters of taste the nation is supposed to
have made in thirty-five years. Strip it of its meretricious ornament,
if you please, and I prefer the lighter grace of the Jacobin exemplar.

Still, granted for the moment that these two antithetical schools of
design, both palpable products of the modern brain enfranchised from all
considerations of precedent, are equal measured by the laws of harmony
and logic alone, it does seem almost beyond belief that the newly
invented architecture of this epoch, for which such fine promises are
made in all good faith by representative architects, is destined to
acquire quite the discreditable reputation of the Reign of Terror, and
by the inconstancy of fashion. Yet, is it not inevitable?

The only attribute that perpetuates a style of architecture in the
resistless march of events is the historic atmosphere the said style may
be made to embody. For this and nothing else has posterity the slightest
use. Clever as were the architects of the Jacobin houses--and I consider
some of them to have been very clever--clever as are the inventors of
our newest type of building expression, there are no inherent qualities
in the work of either school of design that will serve historical
succession. Invented architecture has no more atmosphere than exists
upon the surface of the moon. It may divert popular fancy for a time. We
may discuss the subtleties of mass and moulding to satiety. To the human
heart by which we live, dependent upon personal associations, these
abstract discussions mean just about as much as love means in tennis.
Harmonious lines have merely a negative value, they do not grate upon
the nerves, they do not offend the eye; but unless the personal
reminiscence--the history of one’s antecedents--is discernable through
the academic integument, the lines, themselves, cannot long satisfy the
mind reaching out for companionship in all its concerns.


[Illustration: “I never was so glad to get home, in my life.”]

Were it not for these psychological needs of ours, one might do much
worse, even now, than build himself a not too grotesque Scaramouch
house. Jacobin architecture was, at least, symmetrical (see Plate LX),
and in plan that it was eminently sensible cannot be denied. The rooms
were square, commodious and airy, amplified by numerous bay-windows,
besides being so arranged as to open en suite with either folding or
sliding doors. The windows were tall, generally extending from floor to
ceiling, affording the best of light and ventilation. The second story
enjoyed the relative advantages of the first, while every cubic inch of
the third story was available for bedrooms owing to the economy there is
in the Mansart roof. Then, piazza space was generous to a fault, a
porte-cochère went without the saying, and I must add that in all this
there was a gracious note. Indeed, there is no good reason that I can
see why we should not exploit Jacobin architecture to-day, save one, and
it is just _that_:--“Man cannot live by bread alone.”



The milestones of art are the signboards of history. Political moves may
or may not signify. Treaties international are usually effected by
skilful diplomacy, foes may be bluffed by naval and military manœuvres;
but the art of a nation betrays its innermost confidences--the stuff
whereof ’tis made.

If, however, as happened at the Centennial Exposition in 1876, a
political advent coincides with one in art, that milestone becomes an
epoch-marker extraordinary. In 1876 the arts of the world, for the first
time, were made to pass before this people as an alluring pageant, and a
general desire to avail ourselves of them returned to replace the vacuum
that had existed since the platform of Andrew Jackson denounced the
refinements of life as attributes of an overbearing aristocracy,
patroons and manor-lords, and necessarily




fraught with every danger to a nation’s liberty and strength.

But let us see how unintelligently, nevertheless, we went about the new
art movement. Like the North American Indian who habitually first learns
the vices of civilization, we were not slow to discover the meretricious
in whatever art the old world chose to exhibit, and this we began
assiduously to adapt, especially in the field of applied ornament.

A school of design called the “Eastlake school” (Plate LXII), I believe,
was the first to emerge from the confused mass of ideas with which the
American brain became suddenly surcharged. As the Rococo in France had
been called down by the Empire, so was our Scaramouch architecture of
the Reign of Terror, with all its extravagant circular work, called down
by the Centennial, and straight lines innumerable--congeries of straight
lines--became the rage. Mouldings were no longer returned, but died
against perpendicular members the faces of which were also ornamented by
lines. With the jig-saw still dangerously convenient there was shortly
evolved from the Eastlake propaganda, at first devoted to the
manufacture of furniture, an American travesty of the eighteenth century
châlet of Switzerland. The historic châlets were covered with ornament.
On close inspection, however, this ornament was easily seen to be hand
carving of the most skilful description; but never mind, our jig-saws
could fake it sufficiently well to please a not over-fastidious public
taste, and it is hence we derive fashionable house number one.

But the Eastlake style was not the only product of the Centennial.
Contemporary if not coördinate was the Romanesque revival undertaken by
H. H. Richardson (see Plate V), also a certain type of Victorian-Gothic
(see Plate LXIII) associated more or less with the name of Richard
Morris Hunt, neither of which could be expressed in wood, and therefore,
represented the more expensive fashions. The references to the
Romanesque revival which occur in Chapter I of this review will answer,
I hope, for that fashion in architecture, so I will proceed with some
desultory reflections upon the Victorian-Gothic style.

Mr. Hunt was probably the most remarkable


[Illustration: “BELLWOOD,” MADISON, N. J. EPOCH 1878.]

architect this country has produced. His professional training occupied
some twelve years of his life, which he spent mostly in universities
abroad. He told me this himself when I called upon him, now many years
since, for encouragement and advice. He sat me upon a high stool in his
private office, and related about twelve chapters of his memoirs, as
nearly as I can recollect, i. e., one chapter for each year of his
prodigious scholarship, all of which I have no doubt was intended for my
good, which I trust it has, in some measure, accomplished. Returning to
this country laden with scholastic honors, for twenty-five years this
brilliant _diplomé_ concerned himself principally with academic detail.
Rarely did he go beyond the integument of a structure with his
characteristic impress, apparently satisfied to decorate according to
the canons of the Ecole des Beaux Arts the architecture _sui generis_ of

About this time the Victorian-Gothic school of design was advertising
its merits, in which school Mr. Hunt found a congenial medium to exploit
his essentially grammatical detail, and Bellwood at Madison, New
Jersey, supplies me a fine example of this once very fashionable
architecture and of Mr. Hunt’s work of that period. In 1897 I was
consulted by Mr. Bell, who had purchased the place from Mr. Twombly,
regarding a proposed extension to the house. Although not at all in
sympathy with what Montgomery Schuyler calls Mr. Hunt’s “staccato
style,” I remembered the episode of Michelangelo and the plans of St.
Peter’s by Bramante, and advised that the ruling spirit in any new work
directly attached to the main building of the estate should be
Victorian-Gothic notwithstanding that the style had gone completely out
of vogue, and I, myself, had been obliged to remove some of the interior
woodwork for Mr. Bell, which, while academic in every line, was crying
ugly--so ugly that nobody could look at it a minute without
irritability. But my devotion to art lost me the only profitable part of
the work, for Carrère and Hastings were subsequently employed to erect
an Elizabethan end which I have taken care not to show in the
illustration, not because of lack of architectonic merit in the
extension, but because it impairs just so much of the historic value of
the subject.

Technically, Bellwood is admirable. It looks to me just like the Earl of
Beaconsfield and the Congress of Berlin or the period at which the
Victorian age was in the midst of glory, but from the standpoint of
true, Anglo-Saxon home feeling, it does not satisfy. Mr. Hunt was an
academician above everything. We see this one idea in all his early
work, its culmination regardless of ugliness being exploited in the
_Tribune_ Building in Park Row.

But a new mission in life awaited Mr. Hunt. After all these years of
mediocrity of talent, and when he was passed fifty years of age, it was
as if some angel had descended in the night while he slept, and had
whispered the one magic word with which he was ever after to immortalize
himself, namely--“Adaptation!” For suddenly, without a word of warning,
this remarkable man designed the house of W. K. Vanderbilt at the corner
of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-second Street, the pioneer and a very
beautiful adaptation of French Renaissance which made its architect
famous almost before it was completed (Plate LXX). More than this his
success with the new medium of expression in which Mr. Hunt soon
received other commissions, attracted to his office the life-long
clients of other architects to whom no angels had whispered, and who
were without sensations of their own. Notably was it so in the case of
Mrs. Gerry, who had just come into possession of her father’s money, and
who did not hesitate to turn down her father’s architects as well as
those who had faithfully served her husband in order that Mr. Hunt might
build her new house at Sixty-first Street; while even the late Cornelius
Vanderbilt would not positively decide upon the amplification of his
enormous dwelling at Fifty-eighth Street until Mr. Hunt had consulted
with his architect. This was a signal tribute to Mr. Hunt, and required
the greatest delicacy upon his part, to which I believe he was equal.

In justice to the apparent partiality of the adaptation angel for Mr.
Hunt, I must say that he was not entirely alone in her favors, but that
there were other architects who had learned how to adapt English
Renaissance of the Georges as cleverly as Mr. Hunt could adapt French
châteaux, and who were, therefore, not seriously inconvenienced. But I
see I am running before my



FREDERICK B. WHITE (deceased), Architect.]


horse to market, and must reserve the consideration of this later
architectural development for a chapter upon the art of adaptation while
I return for the present to “Fashion in Architecture.”

And now I come to a much execrated style of architecture--the Queen Anne
style, the last direct influence of the Centennial Exposition and the
first fashion to incorporate the vital spark of Anglo-Saxon home
feeling. It was the suggestion of historic home atmosphere, though much
disguised with American nonsense, that appealed to the better educated
people without their knowing it. They thought Queen Anne architecture to
be merely another clever fashion, more clever because odder and stranger
than any of its predecessors; indeed, the architects themselves, most
expert with its vagaries, could not have told you the real secret of its
popularity. Like all fashions in architecture, it was burlesqued and
ruined while its most active votaries still living have passed on to a
higher plane--the plane of adaptation--and do not like to reflect upon
the Queen Anne houses they once erected. The fact of it was, the nation
was groping in the dark, and if the truth must be told, it is groping
in the dark still; but we have learned this much beyond refutation: a
purely sensational and affected style of architecture such as was the
Queen Anne style practised in this country is relegated now to the cheap
speculative builder; the better class of Americans know that the secret
of successful architecture does not lie in odd conceits and invention,
at any rate.

There was once a young man named Frederick B. White, whose short and
brilliant life is worth putting on record here. For if there was ever an
architect who was _facile princeps_ with Queen Anne architecture, it was
he. He came from Princeton University at a time when the revival was in
its first flush, and nobody, it seems to me, ever grasped the spirit of
the style in so admirable a way. In Plate LXIV I have the honor of
presenting an edifying example of this architect’s work, the Queen Anne
dwelling-house at its best, and between this example and the Queen Anne
house shown in Plate LXII the reader will, without doubt, note many
degrees of deterioration in both taste and harmony.



BRUCE PRICE, Architect.]

To make his audience at the Brooklyn Tabernacle laugh the late Dr.
Talmage called the Queen Anne style the most abominable of all styles of
architecture. But when legitimately developed there is nothing the
matter with the Queen Anne style at all. It was the Jacobin and bastard
features without antecedents and _raison d’être_ that brought it into
ridicule, and caused a composite style of American dwelling-house, Queen
Anne in motive but Romanesque in detail, to make the necessary apologies
to the public in the guise of an improved substitute. (See Plate LXV.)
Though an avowed composition crossed by this strain and by that, the
Queen Anne substitute was yet academic and correct in all its detail,
and has survived to this day. I mean to say that this ingenious
composite style is still exploited by representative architects. It can
be made to simulate home-feeling after a fashion, although there is
always that bizarre note present which characterizes fashion as its
first object, while by no stretch of the imagination may we associate
our ancestors or history with such a palpably modern American
suburbanite as is illustrated herewith.

I know not whose perspicacity it was that first discovered in the
Colonial exemplars of the Grand Epoch a fashion the popularity of which
was soon to eclipse all the foregoing fashions I have enumerated, and
which, moreover, continues to be most in vogue. But the Colonial germ,
during the early eighties, seems to have been in the air and sporadic
throughout the country. It is the greatest fallacy, however, to say, as
many learned reviewers of Colonial architecture do, that its symmetry,
restfulness and good proportion generally caused it to rise superior to
other schools of design, because that is not true. The preceding styles
properly developed all had compensating virtues. The secret of the
Colonial revival was the same inherent vital spark that had previously
commended the Queen Anne architecture, only the Colonial houses
possessed it to a far greater degree. For it was not only English
history, always intimately associated with our own, that they expressed,
but authentic memoirs of the American people themselves.

To the first Colonial revivalists the true merit of the Colonial houses
was entirely latent in them, though

[Illustration: THE H. A. C. TAYLOR HOUSE, NEWPORT, R. I. EPOCH, 1885.

(From a sketch by the Author.)]

influenced by it as by a magnet: and I regret that the cleverest
architects to-day are still working upon the fallacious formula of
symmetry, restfulness and good proportion while they often garble
American history with much interpolated foreign material and
anachronism. I do not want the reader to suppose that the
ultra-fashionable Colonial house herein illustrated (Plate LXIV), was
the work of the cleverest architect in America, but I needed to make
clear this point about interpolated material, and so have selected a
most unblushing example of it.

On page 129 I submit a hurriedly executed sketch of one of our earliest
adaptations of a Colonial house of the Grand Epoch. This house was
designed in 1885 by some of our cleverest architects indeed, though it
is extremely doubtful if they had any deeper purpose in it than to
exploit a fashionable dwelling for Newport at the time. To-day, these
same architects would do it very differently. On no account would they
put two Palladian windows with huge sheets of plate glass in such close
conjunction as is seen in the sketch imposing triplet windows with
cornices, elaborated by



“By evening I was so tired looking at fashionable architecture that my
invitation to supper at Aunt Muriel’s was grateful beyond words. We had
sugar-cured ham (cured on the place), home-made bread, toasted and
buttered, Ceylon tea, brewed at table from an antique Dresden
tea-caddie, old-fashioned raised cake, and honey as put up by the

applied ornament directly overhead. Such modern obtrusion would be
relegated to their draughtsman who has set up in business for himself,
and to whom they might direct the poorer-class client seeking a
low-priced plan. Experience alone has taught these architects that the
closer the adaptation up to a certain point, the greater the success. I
do not believe that they ever think of expressing history in executing
their designs. Certainly, they do not look upon their profession as
eleemosynary to make the world a more beautiful world, a kindlier world,
a happier world for mankind generally. The chances are they are still
figuring very closely with American cunning and expediency for
commercial martinets, whose favor means the largest commissions, and
whose unwelcome personal influence we so often run across when least
expecting in modern architecture, and which is sure to disenchant us
with it.



A representative architect in New York city has declared impressively,
“We are no longer architects, but adapters!” To him, looking upon his
own achievement and that of his contemporaries as well as the general
tendency of the times in which we live, it seemed, indeed, he
had framed an unimpeachable aphorism. It is a funny thing about
architecture:--nearly as it concerns our every day needs, much as it is
criticised about our ears, our knowledge of it, nevertheless, continues
to be absurdly inexact and experimental. I am speaking now of
architecture as a fine art, not as the science of an engineer. One has
only to read the reviews to note how little the authors themselves know
to tell us, how they go ’round and ’round the animal, with more or less
entanglement, as we have read of picadors doing in a bull fight. And
when they have finished can we call


[Illustration: “It seemed they were coming to--to a river--a sombre,
swift-flowing river, and a huge gray building resting upon arches
spanned its width. Ascending a little elevation in the road, further up,
the vision becomes clearer and fascinating to the dreaming horseman. It
is the Château of Chenonceau.”--MISS. POLLY FAIRFAX.]

to mind a single statement wherein they have committed themselves to
anything definite? The whole proposition architectonic is to the average
reviewer an egregious bugbear before which he is anything but sure of

He hints at the mysteries of design, half advocating, half condemning,
the two salient American traits--namely, originality and enterprise; for
he readily sees that if he commends those traits unequivocally, he must
acknowledge the architects of our Reign of Terror to have been the
greatest of all American architects whose work has passed into history,
as they were assuredly the most original and enfranchised. And this, of
course, would never do for the Della Cruscan critic of America.

Upon the other hand, he is expected, by a species of professional
jealousy which is somehow perennial, to cavil at that kind of
architecture called at the present time “adaptation.” From which
fault-finding the reader gathers that adaptation is but a polite synonym
for cribbing and thieving from the masterpieces of antiquity. Then,
while preparing his argument, numerous contradictory things suggest
themselves to the reviewer that are exceedingly difficult of
assimilation. If he be fair, sincere with himself, while caviling at
adaptation, how can he make use of such a class of architecture as we
have exemplified in every-day acquaintances like Trinity Church by
Upjohn and Grace Church by Renwick, two intensely American designs, yet
gauged by the standard of modern criticism, out and out adaptations of
mediæval Gothic! Again, it will not do for him to endeavor to extricate
himself with credit by declaring that adaptation belongs by right only
to ecclesiastic edifices, for there, before one in a moment, stands the
Capitol at Washington sharply cutting a piece out of the blue sky on the
horizon of Maryland, the pride of every American citizen, acknowledged
to be the most successful specimen of American Renaissance of its class
(legislative buildings), yet the most loyal to its Italian antecedents,
making the newer State capitols with domes look tawdry in consequence,
proportionately as they are less Italian and significant historically.
So that altogether the case appears to be one hopelessly involved and


[Illustration: KINGDOR, SUMMIT, N. J.]



[Illustration: THE LOUVRE.]

To cry out against adaptation is nothing new, peculiar to our day. It
was ever thus from history’s early hour. Popular criticism in France
during the seventeenth century was against the Louvre, Fontainebleau and
Versailles as being Italian palaces without significance in France, save
that of national vacuity in the creative faculty. Saint-Simon, in his
memoirs of the epoch, makes out Louis XIV. and his principal architect,
Hardouin-Mansart, to have been unskilful bunglers. But to us, the
splendid monuments are French Renaissance without dissent, thoroughly
French and historically correct because they coincide with the
legitimate, historic development of that nation’s art. They have become
part of the French landscape, Italian no longer, just as the now
familiar town house of W. K. Vanderbilt, at Fifth Avenue and
Fifty-second Street, which in 1883 (see Plate LXX) was so intensely
French as to seem entirely out of its element in New York, has gradually
grown to look to us what it really always was, i. e., good American
Renaissance adapted from the Valois propaganda of architectural
composition. In the more recent day of Ruskin it was the fashion to
belittle the work of Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren as work of no
inspiration; and I have no doubt there were architects, once upon a
time, envious of the talents of Michelangelo, who did not hesitate to
say the great Italian simply copied.

In lieu of further recurrence to all that has since transpired, and is
transpiring to-day with the same moral, I should say without
qualification that adaptation--let us call it so until we discover a
better term--is the soul of architecture, presupposing the highest kind
of talent, most extended education, and artistic susceptibility.

How would it fare with an author who coined words habitually in
preference to using those given in the dictionary, or who invented a
syntax of his own? But, of course, nobody in his right mind would do
this. The object of literature is simply to adapt the words and
sentences to express our thoughts original so far as we know. In
architecture we have the analogy. An architect is bound to adapt in
spite of himself; and conversely, the poorest adapters are the poorest
architects in whose hands the art of adaptation falls into



manifest plagiarism--plagiarism mostly of these architects’ more
successful contemporaries in America. But the varying requirements of
individual cases compel even those architects to adapt or else invent to
meet contingencies where no precedent is available, so in practice it
has come to be that nobody copies anything exactly.

Certainly, nobody copies a building of an earlier epoch that is
susceptible of reincarnation to-day. I explained this point very
clearly, I imagined, in an article I wrote for the _House Beautiful_ in
May, 1901, entitled “How to Make a Successful House,” which magazine
holds the copyright thereof, so that I cannot use the particular
reference here I should like to use. The economy of the age would not
let an architect reproduce Lambton Castle, for instance (see Plate
LXXI), fascinating proposition though it be, and the architect wanted to
do so, and could afford the expense of making the necessary minute
examination, the necessary drawings and measurements, which I can assure
you would be a work onerous and tedious almost beyond endurance for the
impatient temperament of an American. Centuries have elapsed, and the
province of the architect now is to make the castle perform its whole
process of evolution noiselessly in his brain, and come down to date so
as to meet the problem of a twentieth century home without disturbing
the illusion of its history, a process entailing concerted tension of
heart and brain to which the conditions imposed by mere abstract
architectural design are puerile.

I have selected a Tudor castle because the field is practically
untouched in American Renaissance and modern architecture generally. If
there be fashion in adaptation, the fashion has been for Elizabethan and
Jacobean adaptations rather than Tudor; but the real reason why we have
no creditable offspring of that delightful old rambler--Haddon Hall (see
Plate LXXII), in America is to be found in the fact that no American
architect capable of exploiting the thing has thought about it or else
he has lacked the opportunity, more probably the latter. I have often
contemplated that ancient and wonderful staircase on the castle terrace
while thrilling romances architectural have filled my


[Illustration: LAMBTON CASTLE.]


[Illustration: HADDON HALL.]


[Illustration: CHARLECOTE HALL.]

head, though no appreciative client materialized to employ me.

Charlecote Hall (Plate LXXIII) dwells in a unique borderland of the
Elizabethan style. What a gracious subject this beautiful edifice
supplies for adaptation to date. Any progressive American architect
should be able to do it--in fact, he should be expected to improve
somewhat upon the original with all the modern science there is at his
command. It is true that metal window frames and sashes are not
manufactured ordinarily in this country, but it is high time they were,
and their appearance in the catalogues of what they would call in
England our “ironmongers” cannot be delayed for long, if indications
count for anything.

The open-timbered work of Elizabethan houses in America has become very
common, and I do not know that I may add any observations of importance
concerning this treatment. In the _House Beautiful_ for March, 1901,
will be found an article upon the subject, mostly in reference, however,
to a cottage named “Canterbury Keys,” illustration of which herein
appears (Plate LXVIII). Open-timbered work is also common to France,
Holland and Germany, and, notwithstanding an occasional inimical critic
upon the way we construct it in America, is thoroughly good
architectural development, and will continue to live in the history of
the future because it has history of the past to tell--delicious
reminiscences of snug old Anglo-Saxon homes. Moreover, Elizabethan
architecture instances a scientific focus of the Gothic and Renaissance
spirits, habitually unfriendly, where under the hand of the master these
spirits are made to coalesce in love and tranquillity delightful to see.

Mr. Gotch in his “Early Renaissance of England” calls all three schools
of design--Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean--uniformly Renaissance
development because all were influenced by the architecture of Italy,
though the Tudor style, hardly perceptibly; but the real English
Renaissance, classified for the better understanding of the term,
belongs to the later development under the Georges. And it was to this
subdivision of the mighty subject that American Renaissance served its
apprenticeship, although the articles of indenture, I contend, were
legally canceled by the





responsibilities of the “Grand Epoch” (see Chapter V). If there ever
existed a condition of unproductive tutelage in America as is imputed by
envious critics, it was during the Transitional period. In the earlier
chapters of this review, I have defended American Renaissance against
all detracting imputations concerning its legitimacy, its honor and its
merit, and I do not think I wish to amend anything I have said.

In Plates LXXIV and LXXV I submit two remarkable views of Hampton Court,
one, the Wolsey palace in the earliest Renaissance, according to Gotch,
and the other the South palace (time of William and Mary) by Sir
Christopher Wren, in the latest. The latter façade has already served
for American adaptation, and in all probability will continue to do so,
being very easily adapted to American use. And if the feat be
historically accomplished the resulting composition becomes, _ipso
facto_, American Renaissance, not English, however exotic it may at
first appear, and although it be the custom to call such an
architectural development “pure adaptation.” But when we consider that
St. Peter’s cathedral at Rome was once an adaptation, the beautiful
library of San Marco by Sansovino, also an adaptation, the Louvre and
Fontainebleau, adaptations as well, I do not know that we need be
particularly scandalized, nor do I doubt for one moment that, if our
work be good, it will soon outlive an appellation of uncertain
reflection--a word, nevertheless, which every so often must play its
part in the history of art.

The school of design which has proved the greatest attraction to the
blossoming genius of America is, of course, French Renaissance,
preëminently at the time I write. To say that an architect is a Beaux
Arts man is equivalent to speaking of a certain much advertised brand of
whiskey, in that compliments are superfluous. You call him “a Beaux Arts
man,” and--“_that’s all_.”

No Brahmin of India has his faith more absolutely defined than has the
Beaux Arts man his. And he must progress, and ply his art as though he
were a bishop on the chess-board, always in a designated line, and
always with the same local color of the place of his matriculation
except, we shall say, when he is off





for a spree, which, to be sure, does him no credit, and he dabbles in
Colonial, Elizabethan and other diversions. But his art is French
Renaissance, not the graceful Renaissance of Pierre le Nepveu at
Chambord (see Plate LXXVI), nor the romantic Renaissance so insinuating
of Azay-le-Rideau (see Plate LXXVII), the designer of which no modern
ascription names, but the colder, impersonal, mathematical Renaissance
of the time of Viollet-le-Duc or the ultra, over-decorated Renaissance
of the last exposition, and the present generation of French architects.
The Ecole des Beaux Arts (Department of Architecture) is essentially a
school of material art to which there is no spiritual side. It is the
art which we measure by metres and centimetres, not an art we may
measure by psychical balances and our affections. And the personal side
of architecture--the side which ministers so largely to us when we come
to that complex embodiment of our joys and sorrows complete in the one
word “home”--well, sentiment has nothing to do with the case in the
estimation of the Beaux Arts man.

Of all the historic châteaux in France, Chenonceau (see Plate LXVII)
has received the most attention from American architects. Replicas of
its fascinating _tourelles_--some faithful, some deformed--greet one
very frequently in the modern residences of America. We have to
recognize the Chenonceau dormers, too, though they be dwarfed and
squatted according to the limited roof space at the disposal of the
American designer. Such tremendous roofs as were supported with ease by
the formidable walls of the old châteaux are prohibitory with us, that
is, if we cipher with American expediency and commercial economy. But
the right way to adapt a French cháteau is really to make believe
restore one, pretending for the nonce, that one is M. Pierre Lescot, M.
Claude Perrault or M. Gabriel, and that the king or some grand seigneur
of the realm has commanded one’s services for the purpose. As in the
elevation of the house for Mrs. H. at Morristown (see Plate LXXVIII) I
made believe to myself that the mediæval _tour_ was genuine, already
there, but requiring immediate restoration. It was easy to set imaginary
masons to work pointing the machicolations and curtain. I made believe
that long disuse had



vanquished the portcullis, leaving its yawning pockets to be disposed
of. Commercialism said “wall them up,” not I. It would be a pity to lose
a particle of the thirteenth century atmosphere that consents to linger.
So I decided upon a bold innovation as the privilege of adaptation. I
could anchor the chains for holding up the glass canopy over the
carriage entry, in those pockets that once housed the arms of the
portcullis; and thus, the spooky old _tour_ could be saved intact. The
main part of the American château is in this case supposedly modern,
developed from motives supplied by the minor châteaux of France--the
_manoirs_, the _fermes_, with a little American household planning
within, necessary for comfort.

But you have noticed that no American, however rich, has yet amassed
sufficient fortune to warrant an undertaking anything like an adaptation
of Chambord (see Plate LXXVI). A class of architecture in itself, the
Valois shooting-box is quite too tremendous in extent for any modern use
as a private domicile. The palace of Fontainebleau, also, would entail
most too much of a contract for even the president of a trust, and I
may add to these names, delightful to pronounce, the Louvre (see Plate
LXIX), which the people of Philadelphia alone had the hardihood to
caricature in a municipal building. Shades of François Mansart, what
crimes have we enacted in thy name! [My acknowledgments to Mme. Roland].

Perhaps the most inviting and as little explored field of architecture
suitable to domestic purposes in this country that I can think of to
suggest to our talent is the opportunity we have in the Swiss châlets of
the eighteenth century. There is a great variety of types from which to
choose--high-roofed châlets and low-roofed châlets, châlets of stucco
and châlets of wood. And there never was a sounder theory than that of
Switzerland concerning the construction of wooden edifices. I do not
except Norway, nor Sweden, nor Japan, for the ancient[7] châlets of
Switzerland are in academic Gothic, if you please, architecturally of a
high order which has withstood the vicissitudes of art and awaits the
homage of future generations. To American architects who still have



[Illustration: DETAIL “KINGDOR”.]

more to do with wood than any other building material these châlets
should prove both instructive and useful. Mr. Jean Schopfer has
contributed, in the _Architectural Record_ (New York), two very
interesting papers about the eighteenth century châlets, and I will
devote what remains of my space in this chapter to an American châlet I
had some little difficulty in prevailing upon its owner to have, but
with which, now that it is finished, he has assured me he is perfectly
satisfied. (See Kingdor, Plates LXVIII., LXXIX.)

Cypress, which in this part of the country has come to be our main
reliance in the absence of good white pine, answers admirably for
American adaptations of these Colonial houses--let us call them--of
Switzerland. Most any size timbers may be specified without bankrupting
the client or inconveniencing the contractor, while some durable stain
will form an excellent ground for a venerable patina by infinitesimal
particles to attach itself. I confess my only disappointment in Kingdor
was that I was not permitted to carve the scriptural legends in archaic
missal text that should always adorn the long horizontal timbers of a
“truly” châlet. For in the most part of the adaptation it became my
privilege, much to my unspeakable delight, to say to the black beast
that besets the path of all architects--namely, the everlasting spirit
of commercialism--expressively what Beau Brummel tells the importunate
bailiffs in the play: “Oh, go and walk in Fleet Street!”


[Illustration: A COTTAGE AT EAST ORANGE, N. J.

JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]


[Illustration: DOORWAY, BRISTOL, R. I.]



The result of the best adaptation is the gradual formation of a national
style of architecture. The closest adaptation that has been exploited in
America both in recent and what we call our ancient work, compared with
its separable prototypes, who shall say is not unmistakably modern and
American? Style is never evolved by the empirical architecture of
irrepressible inventors. Invention belongs to science. Happily, in the
field of art, everything was planted, arranged and cultivated for us
ages ago, so that we have only to wander as children, in an enchanted
garden that our days are not half long enough to encompass. We observe,
but wait for the planchette to move--to guide.

Style in architecture and literature alike is something which shapes
itself unconsciously to the mind--something which will neither be
coerced nor cajoled, but obeyed. Style selects its craftsman rather than
craftsmen their style. Style is the master, and we are the students ever
observing, listening, trying to understand, waiting for our cue, and
finally speaking our lines according to the histrionic ability there is
in each of us, for style is eminently dramatic.

But the moment we set up for ourselves and say, “Go to, let us make a
style!” that moment we miss our usefulness in the economy of art.

I knew of a young student of literature who, convalescing from an attack
of grippe, was found by his physician one day, sitting upright in bed
surrounded by a lot of new-looking books. As the visitor failed to
conceal some surprise, the enthusiast hastened with an explanation for
which the reader is scarcely better prepared. “Doctor,” he said. “I am
reading Kipling for style!”

Now, no matter how encouraging to the physician was the patient’s
interest in the books, it was a most discouraging thing as a matter of
art. For you don’t want to read anybody to copy his style, much less a





JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]

contemporary of your own. And no architectural student should want to
imitate the style of his master or employer, for it is heresy. It is

If you have not sense enough to listen to your own muse, to study the
history of art for yourself, to speak the language of architecture as
all your honored predecessors have spoken it, following religiously the
splendid historical chart that is ever at your service for reference
while leaving your style to take care of itself--I am sorry for you.

In my own very limited scope of usefulness, I am quite willing to
confess that I have never bothered about style, and do not consider that
I have any worth mentioning; although, I suppose, an occasional
architect is annoyed past endurance by somebody who comes with an
illustration of a particular piece of my work which has appeared in the
magazines, requesting that my style be copied. Of course, it is not my
style that is desired, but the expression of Anglo-Saxon home feeling as
opposed to whatever is advectitious--out of place there--however correct
academically, and according to the rules of harmony, good form or
anything else you choose to call it. All tendency in myself toward
mannerism, prejudice, partisanship and eclectic theory I have endeavored
to repress, for I found that good style needed no suggestions from me.

Good style means the historical note which measures the success of an
architectural design. It is the distinct theme we must be able to
recognize throughout, no matter how elaborate or original the
accompaniment. To exemplify which point I have selected the Searles
cottage, erected in 1889, at Block Island (see Plate LXXXVI), not
because it was erected without regard to expense or financial returns,
for there is much domestic architecture in America erected quite as
independently of either consideration which would ruin my argument were
I to use it; but because the Searles cottage is one of the most original
designs in American Renaissance, without in the least compromising good
style, that I know of in contemporary work. It is said to have been
designed by a decorator, but in that case merely adds another instance
of the truism that there are decorators who should be architects and
architects who should be decorators. The illustration shows the


[Illustration: PRINCESSGATE.]

[Illustration: PRINCESSGATE--REAR.

JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]



JOY WHEELER DOW, Architect.]




building in process of construction, but let us place it beside the
illustration of a very recent example of modern house and see what
happens. I think thereby will be conveyed to the mind of the reader more
insight of the difference between style and fashion in architecture (see
Plate LXXXVI) than could be accomplished by writing in a week. At last
we see a house with a cupola where the cupola has a recognized mission,
and pleases rather than offends, as occurs also at Mount Vernon, in
Virginia (Plates XXVII and XXVIII), and where it crowns the roof of the
McPhædris house at Portsmouth (Plate XXXI). Here are instances where we
should miss the cupola as part, not so much of the design, perhaps, as
of the style, the historical atmosphere, were it absent. It would be the
incomplete sentence, in other words, where the original thought had not
been completely expressed.

I am aware that the Searles cottage is not one that, ordinarily, would
be called “pretty.” The cottage I designed for Mr. Mitchell, at East
Orange (see Plates LXXX, LXXXII, LXXXIII and XCI), I dare say answers
to that description better, as does also Princessgate, at Wyoming, N. J.
(see Plates XVIII, LXXXIV, LXXXIX and XCI), but I am speaking now of
style, the picturesque is something else again. I can fancy the beginner
in architecture leaning over his drawingboard and saying, “Well, that’s
the funniest Colonial house I ever saw!” But the first year of his
course will correct the slight astigmatism from which he suffers. For,
even should he fail to pursue the engaging study of style, style is so
insinuating, because of the immense significance it has behind it, that
very soon it will be speaking to him. And while the student feels it
only in that first intangible stage, unable to say to himself what it
is, even while people aver that the Searles cottage was entirely
misplaced on the treeless coast of a pelagic isle, while they tell him
that no use could be found for it except as a kind of casino, yet there
will begin to dawn upon him an uncontrollable appreciation, just as
began to dawn upon the aged auditor in the pit of the old-time playhouse
at Paris during the production of a masterpiece by Molière, till, toward
the end of the second act, no



Watkinson House, Middletown, Ct.]



[Illustration: DETAIL--SILVERGATE.]

longer master of his enthusiasm, he cried out to the author on the
stage, “_Courage, Molière! Voilà la vraie comédie!_” And in good
architectural style do we not see a comedy indeed, faithfully enacted?
Yet, of the thousand and one things that have gone to make architectural
style all intimately connected with human events the influence of
individuals has counted least. One generation of builders has taken up
the work where its immediate predecessor stopped. Each generation
commits its blunders, while each adds the imperceptible trifles of such
intrinsic value, taken together, as to have produced style.

The fashions of architecture--they perish. Style endures.



The eye of an artist differs structurally not at all from the eyes of
other people. His constant having to do with lines, values and all that,
gives him an enviable facility in delineation, the same facility that
training would impart in any other vocation; but it is the man--the
artist temperament that exists behind the ocular sense that denominates
the artist, a matter of pure luck, however, or of birth, which amounts
to the same thing.

When nature issues his temperament to a man, she stamps on the back of
it the words “not transferable” rubricated. By no effort of his own can
he bestow his temperament upon anybody else nor materially alter it
within himself. He looks upon things always in a certain way--envious
folks call it a squint--never may he see them in any other. He struggles
with a personal bias so strong, that, in nine cases out of ten, he had
much rather die than have to live his life contrary to the cherished
autonomy imposed by temperament.

The artist contends with a temperament unusually exacting and, at times,
very inconvenient. I remember having to ride my bicycle twelve miles one
afternoon some years ago, to a bakery in another town from where I
lived, to gratify a whim of temperament, I suppose, for some
particularly delicious tea rolls that were manufactured there. I felt I
could not possibly get along with the plain bread and butter I knew we
had for supper. I purchased the rolls, and was tying the precious
bundles to the handle-bars of my wheel when a carriage drove up in front
of the bakery. It contained two rather unprepossessing women who were
evidently acquainted with the baker’s wife, judging from the familiar
way they called to her from the curb. The baker’s wife came out upon the
doorstep, and inquired what kind of bread she should bring them. It was
then, without an idea of causing the slightest shock to the
sensibilities of the man they saw, with a bicycle, they replied with
picturesque indifference--“Oh, any kind, just so long as it is bread to
fill-up on!” Overhearing this I could not help making the necessary
mental memoranda what unpromising subjects for art influences were the
temperaments of these women--how little education could really do for
them! how utterly impossible it would be for them to change their
temperaments, and how, in all probability, they had much rather be dead
than to be continually harrassed by the fastidious obligations of art!

But the case I have chosen is, perhaps, extreme. There is a pleasure for
most temperaments in art--a certain happiness that it contributes in a
mild way. The average temperament experiences through art a sensation
akin to that produced by music, and like music to the average
temperament, art is by no means a necessity. It is merely the graceful
accomplishment to be cultivated after the serious business of life is
off the stage for the day, and we turn to playthings; whereas in the
case of the artist, it is his whole existence. My mother ridiculed me
about episodes like that of the rolls, but always commended my talent
for drawing. Although I tried to explain, she refused to believe that my
talent for drawing was only one result of the




temperament which sent me for the rolls. For does it nor naturally
follow that if any old bread will do to live on, why, any old house will
do to live in, and I should have had no interest for anything better,
certainly no incentive to the laborious grind of the drawingboard?
Still, in no instance, I believe, is art or charity--for they are one
and the same--wholly absent, if sometimes obscure, in the temperaments
of civilized people. Without the artistic sense, charity is the uncut
diamond, it yet accomplishes its own mission; while again, the gentle
passion reveals itself in singular guises, we recognize it with a little
patience. Unique among which guises let me cite the astute financier’s
well-known love of flowers,--and here let me tell you something besides!
It may be a strange observation, but the love of one’s fellow beings,
and an inordinate love of flowers, in a man, rarely go together.
Robespierre, at the fête to the Supreme Being, walked ahead of his
colleagues, laden down with flowers, and away back in the morning of
time the avocation of Cain was the cultivation of flowers. So, whenever
you see a man passionately fond of flowers (professional florists
excepted) you may know that every atom of charity which, normally,
should be distributed throughout his whole nature, has been focussed at
this one point; and it behooves you to mind the painted notice to small
craft you have seen suspended from the guardrail of an awe-inspiring
ocean liner in port, namely--

    .                                       .
    . Keep clear of this ship’s propellers! .
    .                                       .

In his conservatories, surrounded by brilliant flora from all over the
world, it is quite different; here you will find your astute financier
the most charming of hosts; but in your business deals with him, have a

No true artist could be entirely happy to look at the world from the
financier’s standpoint. He may listen attentively to the cunning of
expediency fascinatingly unfolded, for his own good, for the good of his
family, and the assurance of the future, he may heartily wish to
exchange temperaments with that financier, temporarily, till he shall
have gained independence of the world commercial, in vain. The



temperament again will not let him. He is perfectly aware that there is
not half enough in the world to go round, and that he must divert the
earnings of other people somewhat into his own coffers if he is to be
entirely comfortable; but he had rather that circumstances divert these
earnings than his own cupidity. He hopes that God will, after a little,
see how hard He has made it for the people individually, and order a new
dispensation. It may be a forlorn hope, but it is none the less a hope
divinely implanted in every true artist and in every other charitable
nature. What else is it that applauds the dramatic note whenever and
wherever it is struck, even though it be the Laura Jean Libby kind from
the melodrama and the threadbare theme of the indigent heroine who
arraigns the conventional villain thus--

“I’d rather be the poor working-girl that I am than all your cruel gold
can make me!”

These are the sentiments which reflect those of every true artist. The
profession of architecture even more than that of the ministry should be
entered without hope of much financial gain. For the sake of goodness
don’t believe any such Munchhausen stuff about it as you, perhaps, read
in a popular magazine lately. The preacher’s service to God is direct,
something which He must take into consideration at least every Sunday;
while the service of the architect is indirect--so subtle indeed as to
create the natural fear in a student’s mind lest God forget about him
entirely, even to the barest livelihood. Professor Ware of the school of
architecture at Columbia College once told me that if he paused for one
moment to consider how very few of the new class of pupils which every
year assembled to be instructed could succeed by reason of the
inexorable laws of supply and demand alone, he could not teach them.
“But,” he added with a twinkle of satisfaction in his eye for having
placed his finger squarely on a grim but unerring philosophy--“I had
much rather starve to death in a profession that I loved than in a
business that I hated, since success in everything is achieved only by
the same meagre percentage.”

I am not forgetting that the profession of architecture is frequently
turned into a business enterprise, run



[Illustration: Try to Have the Rear of Your House as Attractive as the

upon business principles, used merely as a means to an end, and that end
financial success--a state of things which has retarded the development
of American Renaissance more than any other one factor--but this leads
me back again to art and commercialism, to which I have already
consecrated a chapter of this review. Let us consider for the present
only the different kinds of architects we have in America, so
differently equipped as to cause positive amazement while cataloguing
them. What diversity of talent confronts us! talent, in some cases, one
would say, that scarcely concerned architecture. I can think of no other
profession which has quite so many branch specialists. Incredible as it
may seem, there are prominent and successful architects--trained
architects of ability--who are able to draw plans but who cannot draw
elevations, and others who can draw elevations but cannot plan. There
are architects who are skilful draughtsmen who cannot design, architects
who can design but cannot draw at all, architects who can only write
specifications and superintend--two very important branches of the
profession, however, that usually go together--while stranger still,
there are practising architects who can neither design nor draw nor
write specifications nor even superintend, but who possess a wonderful
business aptitude and personal magnetism by which they command clients
for their partners or draughtsmen who actually prepare the drawings and
the other instruments of service.

This class of architects is, by no means, confined to America or to the
epoch.[8] As long ago as the reign of Louis XIV in France, Jules
Hardouin Mansart was a shining example of the financier-architect. The
description of him given in Miss Wormeley’s admirable translation of the
memoirs of Saint-Simon[9] is so intensely interesting that I believe I
cannot do better than to quote the fragments which succeed:





[Illustration: HOUSE OF H. W. POOR, TUXEDO PARK, N. Y.

T. HENRY RANDALL, Architect.]

“He [Hardouin Mansart] was ignorant of his business. De Coste, his
brother-in-law, whom he made head architect, knew no more than he. They
got their plans, designs and ideas from a designer of building named
L’Assurance whom they kept, as much as they could, under lock and key.
Mansart’s cunning [his name was probably assumed for what we would call
in America an ‘ad.’] lay in coaxing the king by apparent trifles into
long and costly enterprises, and by showing him incomplete plans,
especially for the gardens, which instantly captured his mind, and
caused him to make suggestions: then Mansart would exclaim that he never
should have thought of what the king proposed, went into raptures,
declared he was a scholar compared to him, and so made the king tumble
whichever way he planned without suspecting it.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“He made immense sums out of his works and his contracts, and all else
that concerned his buildings, of which he was absolute master, and with
such authority that not a workman, contractor or person about the
buildings would have dared speak or make the slightest fuss. As he had
no taste, or the king either, he never executed anything fine, nor even
convenient for the vast expenses he incurred.”

The episode about his bridge at Moulins that floated down the river to
Nantes is excruciatingly funny as told by Saint-Simon, but I must not
appropriate the space necessary for its relation.

I cannot think, however, that the damage of an occasional Hardouin
Mansart in France or a Mr. Pecksniff, I may say, in England, to the
architecture of either country has been anything like as great as that
done American Renaissance by their numerous colleagues upon this side of
the water. That our modern architecture is as good as it is, is no less
than remarkable, considering, too, how we are always trying to make it
pay financially. And when at last there comes a scintillating
opportunity where an architect is no longer obliged to turn out a
rent-trap, a manufacturing plant, or something else that will pay a
given percentage upon the investment, as happens in the case of a large
country house, the marks of our national trade are very apt to obtrude
themselves in a hundred amusing ways. The commercial habit cannot be
relinquished in a moment, and thus, unconsciously, we betray ourselves.

Of the modern country seats of America, I should select Biltmore (see
Plate XCII), in the North Carolina mountains--the masterpiece of Richard
Morris Hunt--as standing first and foremost at the time I write. It is
one of the very few examples of domestic architecture we have that can
be compared with the historic castles of England to which I have
referred and we are accustomed to seeing illustrated so beautifully in
_Country Life_. We call Biltmore French Renaissance now; it will be
American Renaissance later on. No other of Mr. Hunt’s designs can begin
to equal it. You may observe that Ochre Court at Newport has a fine
elevation to the sea. It is true. But the place is much marred by an
overgrown servants’ wing, while the notorious Marble-house appears to
have been created under pressure when the artist was overworked, for it
has neither his inspiration nor individuality, merely representing
several thousand cubic feet of classic architecture which would serve to
better advantage for a plate in a text-book. But at Biltmore, we have
an original design with the necessary attributes--attributes which I
need not take the trouble to enumerate again, having been so particular
about the reader’s making their acquaintance in the other chapters.

I remember I also mentioned the house of H. W. Poor, Esq., at Tuxedo
(see Plates XCIII and XCIV), as an example of modern work in America
that might withstand the odious ordeal of international comparison.
Really, it is a very simple thing, the Anglo-Saxon home idea; for the
life of me, I do not see why we have so little of it. The Jacobean
manor-house historically developed to date is an admirable medium of
expression, and in the illustration in Plate XCIV we may discover one
other example of good American Renaissance. If you think the Tuxedo
house looks too English to be called that, place it, it you please,
beside Blickling Hall in Norfolkshire, a genuine Jacobean prototype,
several fine illustrations of which will be found in the _Architectural
Record_ for October, 1901. Upon the long gallery of the latter, I think,
Mr. T. Henry Randall, the architect of Mr. Poor’s house, has improved.
The gallery of Blickling Hall has some


[Illustration: H. W. POOR HOUSE, TUXEDO, N. Y.

T. HENRY RANDALL, Architect.]


T. HENRY RANDALL, Architect.]

ugly features. In my opinion, this American architect understands the
adaptation of a Jacobean manor-house better than any other of his day.

It is style and historical development--not fashion--that produces the
architectural comedy--its story, its personality, its life. And now that
I am about to speak again of the most popular kind of houses of all in
America--Colonial houses, notwithstanding the very great number of them
erected during the last decade or two, I am yet almost in despair of
finding illustrations where the architectural comedy, its personality
and life are to be sufficiently discovered. Perhaps the firm of
architects who have been most noted as specialists in this line have
done nothing better than the house they designed in the eighties of the
last century for Mr. William Edgar, on Beach Street in Newport (see
Plate XCV). This design was always very much superior to that of the
Taylor house, of which I drew a sketch for Chapter IX; and as time goes
on the gap between them widens, while I do not see that the Edgar house
loses by contrast with a number of much more pretentious successors in
the same style of composition.

That there is so much room for general improvement in America is what I
have to offer in extenuation for the questionable sarcasms into which I
have sometimes fallen in these articles. Because of its salutary
influence, I have found sarcasm useful in scoring my points, preferring
it greatly to flattery, which D’Israeli used, he averred, for the same
purpose--he “found it useful”--adding, “and when it comes to royalty you
want to lay it on with a trowel.” I do not know that the simile holds
good as far as that, and I fear my sarcastic allusions have already
become fatiguing.

In glancing back over what I have written, I find yet another class of
architects and another theory of architecture to which no credit has
been given. I refer now to that class of architects who publish books of
readymade plans, and who advertise for clients in the periodicals, and
to their theory of architecture which does not allow that the artist
enters into the proposition. This is as I understand it, at least, from
one of their advertisements, which reads, “Plans made _not_ by an
_artist_, but by an _architect_.”

Bored nearly to death by having to listen to unwelcome


[Illustration: GARDEN GATE AT WYOMING, N. J.]

[Illustration: WINDOW OF A DINING-ROOM.]


art discussion which to them does not seem either necessary or practical
in what they consider a purely utilitarian business for housing the
people, they have conceived a positive aversion to architecture as a
fine art. I do not know exactly what they mean by the affectation and
exaggeration they exploit if it is not intended to be artistic; but it
is quite possible they deprecate all that, themselves, as the necessary
amount of tawdriness the American people will have, feeling the while
unequal to educating such hopeless material. For it may be that I do
these wholesalers of printed plans a great injustice--it may be they
realize, as do other architects, only too keenly, that architecture is
the cubic measure of art, and requires an artist of the third power to
fuss with it successfully, in which case I fancy I recognize even
greater method in their madness.



Alexandria, Va., 71, 72;
  Fairfax house, 71;
  Carlyle house, 71.

Alice in Wonderland, reference, 31.

Alison, Archibald, historian cited, 108.

American Notes, Dickens’ criticisms in, 89-91.

American Renaissance explained, 17-20;
  its local color, 21-27;
  sincerity of, 21-23;
  various observations concerning, 21-27;
  its derivation, 25-27;
  outraged by modern Romanesque, 27-29;
  Andrew Jackson’s influence upon, 41, 48-50;
  early architects of, 42-44;
  designing a farmhouse in, 46-48;
  modern farmer’s knowledge of, 40, 49, 50;
  not taught in schools, 35, 49, 50;
  contrasted with architecture of England, 51-53, 77;
  restoration of an old house, 55-57;
  various motives, 57-60;
  roofs, 60;
  development under aristocracy, 62-78;
  Washington connoisseur of, 73;
  originality of, 76, 77;
  in Annapolis, 62-64;
  in Bristol, 81, 82;
  in Salem, 82, 83;
  in Middletown, Conn., 84, 85;
  in Philadelphia, 85-88;
  influence of Ruskin Gothic, 95-97;
  influence of Civil War, 108-17;
  of Centennial Exposition, 118-20, 125;
  Colonial revival, 128-31;
  adaptations, 132;
  criticised by writers, 132-34;
  apprenticeship of, 140-41;
  injured by financiers, 131, 166;
  traditions of, 40-42;
  legislative buildings, 134.

Amplification, modern, houses injured by, 75.

Annapolis, Md., 62-65, 68, 70, 82.

Anne Arundel Town, 62.

Applied ornament, 120, 131.

Architectural Record, articles in, mentioned, 62, 147.

Architectural Review, articles in, mentioned, 80, 102, 104.

Architecture, ignorance concerning, as a fine art, 132-33, 171;
  adaptation, soul of, 136; contrasted
with literature, 76, 136;
  plagiarism in, 137, 151;
  Jacobin, 41, 111-15, 117;
  Elizabethan, 138-40;
  Tudor, 96, 140;
  Queen Anne, 125-28;
  Jacobean, 25, 41, 138, 140, 168;
  Romanesque, 28;
  Gothic, 95-97, 146;
  French Renaissance, 123-24, 135, 142-44;
  eclectic style a fallacy, 20;
  not taught in schools, 35, 49, 50;
  newly invented, 30-33, 114;
  American extravaganza, 46;
  atmosphere necessary to, 116;
  modern Colonial, 128-30;
  cubic measure of art, 171.

Architects, different kinds of, 163-65;
  publishers of plans, 170-71.

Arnold-Shippen house, Fairmount Park, 69.

Art and charity, 38, 39.

Art and commercialism contrasted, 37-39.

Artist temperament, 156-61.

Astor Library, mentioned, 105, 107.

Astor, John Jacob, 105, 106.

Atmosphere necessary to architecture, 116.

Azay-le-Rideau, château of, 143.

Back-buildings of Philadelphia, 86-88.

Bancroft, George, his history of United States cited, 77.

Bates & Guild Co., publications by, 63.

Beaconsfield, Earl of, mentioned, 123;
  his use of flattery, 170.

Bell, Frederick A., buys the Danforth place at Madison, N. J., 122.

Bellwood, Madison, N. J., 121-23.

Belmont houses, New York City, 37.

Bennett house, New Bedford, Mass., 102, 104.

Bennett, James Gordon, his account of an assembly ball cited, 92.

Berkshires, modern architecture in, 35, 36.

Beau Brummel, quoted, 148.

Blickling Hall, 168.

Biltmore, North Carolina, 52, 167.

Bond Street, N. Y. City, No. 23, 99-101.

Boston, Mass., Scarcity of Colonial houses in, 68.

Bramante, architect, 45, 122.

Brandon, Va., mentioned, 63.

Brice-Jennings house, Annapolis, mentioned, 63.

Bristol, R. I., 68, 80-82;
  Capt. Churchill house (house with the eagles), 81;
  doorways, 82;
  De Wolf-Colt house, 80, 81;
  De Wolf-Middleton house, 81, 82;
  Norris house, 81.

Brown, Albert F., book on early Connecticut houses, 57.

Browning the poet mentioned, 95, 98.

Burns, Robert, cottage of, 53.

Canterbury Keys, Wyoming, N. J., 139.

Capitol at Washington, 71, 134.

Carlyle house at Alexandria, Va., 71;
  adaptation of, 71.

Carlyle, Thomas, cited, 108.

Carrère and Hastings, extension designed by, 122.

Centennial Exposition, its influence, 118, 120, 125.

Charity, its relation to architecture, 38, 39;
  anatomy of, 107.

Charlecote Hall, 139.

Chambord, château of, 143;
  mentioned, 145.

Charm not deducible by mathematics, 61.

Chase house, Annapolis, mentioned, 63.

Chenonceau, château of, 143-144.

Chew house, Germantown, 69.

Chopin, étude by, cited, 67;
  quoted, 106.

Coles house, Farmington, Conn., 23.

Colonial houses in Switzerland, 147.

Colonial houses, modern, 154;
  scarcity of good ones, 169;
  ultra-fashionable, 130.

Colonial revival, 128-30.

Colonnade, N. Y. City, 104-6.

Congress at Berlin, reference, 123.

Connecticut, early houses in, 57, 59.

Country house for Mrs. H. at Morristown, 144.

Country Life, the English periodical, 51;
  illustration from, 52.

Cupolas (see chapter Reign of Terror, 108) correctly placed, 153.

Curious analogy between art and nature, 89.

Cypress as a building material, 147.

Delafield house on Long Island, 72-73.

Dickens, Charles, his criticisms, 89-91;
  quoted, 108.

Don Juan, quotations from, 49, 78.

Du Barry, Madam, mentioned, 79.

Durham, Conn., Miles Merwin house, 46-48.

Dutch influences in New York and New Jersey, 59.

D’Israeli, his use of flattery, 170.

Early Renaissance of England, book by Gotch, 140.

Eastlake School of Design, 119-20.

Eclectic style, its fallacy in architecture, 20.

Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 121, 142;
  graduates of, 143.

Efflorescence of commercialism, 85.

Elmington, Gloucester Co., Va., 73.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, mentioned, 95.

English Renaissance under the Georges, 124, 140;
  a vast treasure house, 77;
  various other allusions, 22-27, 51-53, 61, 77, 96, 138-41, 168.

Fanciful houses (see Reign of Terror), 108.

Farmhouse, modern, 49, 50.

Farmington, Conn., Coles house, 23.

Field of art an enchanted garden, 149.

Financier architects, 164.

Financiers, their love of flowers, 160;
  their influence upon American Renaissance, 131.

Flat-iron Building, N. Y. City, 37.

Florence, Italy, mentioned, 28.

Fontainebleau, Château of, 135, 142, 145.

Ford Mansion, Morristown, N. J., 75.

Fouquet, minister of Louis XIV, mentioned, 44.

Fourth Street, N. Y. City, doorway, 99.

French Renaissance, 123-24, 135, 142-44.

French Revolution cited, 79, 108.

Gabriel, architect, mentioned, 144.

George, Henry, cited, 109.

Germantown, Pa., 70;
  Colonial houses in, 69, 70;
  Morris house, 69;
  Wyck, 60, 61, 69;
  Stenton-in-the-fields, 69;
  Wister house, 69.

Gerry, Mrs., engages Mr. Hunt to be her architect, 124.

Girondists and mountain, cited, 113.

Gloucester Co., Va., 73, 74.

Gotch’s Early Renaissance in England, 140.

Gothic architecture, in wood, 24;
  recommended by Ruskin, 95-97.

Grace Church, N. Y. City, 134;
  rectory, 96-97.

H. Mrs., her house at Morristown, N. J., 144.

Haddon Hall, 138.

Hackensack, N. J., old house in, 60.

Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 105.

Hampton Court, Wolsey palace, 141;
  South palace, 141.

Hancock house, Boston, mentioned, 68.

Hartford, Conn., mentioned, 83.

Harwood house, Annapolis, mentioned, 63.

Hawthorne, Nat’l, reference, 83.

Historical succession in architecture, 116.

Hone, Philip, diary of, 91-94.

Hoods, Dutch, 59, 60;
  Germantown, 59, 60.

House Beautiful, articles in, cited, 80, 82, 137, 139.

House with the eagles, Bristol, R. I., 81.

How to make a successful house, reference, 137.

Hunnewell Gardens, cited, 53.

Hunt, Richard M., architect, 120-24.

Invented architecture, 30-33, 114-16.

Irving, Washington, 105-7;
  Life and Letters, mentioned, 107.

Isham, Norman M., book on early Connecticut houses, 57.

Italian villas, cited, 110-11.

Italian palaces, 135.

Jackson, Andrew, 41, 48, 50.

Jacobean architecture, adaptation, 168;
  Renaissance, reference, 25, 41.

Jacobin, architecture, 41;
  see also Reign of Terror, 108.

Jones, Inigo, mentioned, 44, 136.

Jumel mansion, N. Y. City, 68.

Kidd, Capt., treasure, reference, 109.

Kingdor, Summit, N. J., adapted from the Swiss Gothic, 147-48.

Kipling, Rudyard, read for style, 150.

Kullak, the musician, anecdote concerning, 54;
  mentioned, 56.

Ladd house. Portsmouth, N. H., mentioned, 68.

Lambton Castle, 137-38.

Langdon, Gov., house, Portsmouth, N. H., mentioned, 68.

Le Nepveu, Pierre, architect, cited, 143.

Le Nôtre, landscape gardener, reference, 80.

Lescot, Pierre, architect, cited, 144.

Library of Congress, mentioned, 71.

Lines, their effect upon the mind, 116.

Litchfield, Conn., 75;
  Demming house, 75;
  Hoppin house, 75.

London Terrace, 104-5.

Looking Backward, reference, 100.

Louis XIV, 44, 135;
  J. H. Mansart’s influence upon, 164-65.

Louvre, Paris, 135, 142;
  caricatured, 146.

Love’s Labor’s Lost, quotation from, 67.

Lower Fifth Avenue, houses on, 104.

“Man cannot live by bread alone,” cited, 117.

Manhattan, congestion of, 31.

Mansart, François, mentioned, 146.

Mansart, Jules Hardouin, 135;
  described by Saint Simon, 165.

Marble house, Newport, criticised, 167.

Martin Chuzzlewit, mentioned, 46;
  criticisms in, 89, 91-92.

Marvel, Ik, quoted, 34.

McIntyre, Samuel, architect, 43.

McPhædris house, Portsmouth, N. H., 66, 67, 153.

Medici, Lorenzo de, court of, mentioned, 28.

Metal window frames, 139.

Michelangelo, architect, 44, 45, 122, 136.

Middletown, Conn., 68, 84;
  de Zeng house, 103-4;
  house on High Street, 97;
  Watkinson house, 23, 84, 85;
  Sumner house, 57;
  Mansfield house, 84.

Miss Polly Fairfax, quotation, 61.

Mitchell cottage, East Orange, N. J., 153.

Modern American dwelling, 61, 153.

Modern obtrusion in a Colonial house, 131.

Molière, anecdote concerning, 154-55.

Monticello, Va., 74.

Montpelier, Va., 74.

Morris house, Germantown, 69.

Morris house, Philadelphia, 70.

Morristown, N. J., 75;
  Ford mansion, 75;
  house at, 144.

Mouldings, Eastlake School, 119.

Mt. Vernon-on-the-Potomac, 71-73, 153.

New Art reference, 29, 78.

New Bedford, Mass., its most interesting landmark, 102.

New Haven, Conn., mentioned, 84.

Newly-invented architecture, 30-33, 114-16.

Newport, its congestion, 53;
  H. A. C. Taylor house, 130, 169;
  Edgar house, 169;
  marble house, 167;
  Ochre Court, 167.

New York City, absence of Colonial relics in, 68;
  Washington Square, North, 22, 104;
  Walton house, 68;
  Waterbury house, 104;
  Colonnade, 104-6;
  23 Bond Street, 99-101;
  doorway on East Fourth Street, 99;
  congestion in, 31;
  injured by commercialism, 37;
  houses in lower Fifth Avenue, 104;
  Flat-iron Building, 37.

Niecks’ Life of Chopin, quoted, 106.

Ochre Court, Newport, mentioned, 167.

Open timbered work, 139.

Osmaston Manor, Derbyshire, 52.

Palladian windows, 130.

Palladio, architect, 26, 44.

Parc aux cerfs, 83.

Paris cabinet makers, 95.

Patina on Swiss châlets, 147.

Patti, Adelina, and the musical critics, 61.

Peacock Inn, Derbyshire, reference, 25.

Pecksniff, architect, character from Dickens, 166.

Pennsylvania, German influence in, 59.

Pepys, Samuel, diary of, 91.

Perrault, Claude, architect, mentioned, 144.

Philadelphia, Pa., Colonial houses in, 70;
  aristocratic section, 85, 86;
  backbuildings, 86-88;
  peculiarity of architecture in, 85-87;
  municipal buildings caricature of Louvre, 146;
  Morris house, 70;
  Roberts house, 103-4;
  restoration of an old house in, 86;
  Willstack house mentioned, 103;
  Dundas-Lippincott house, 103.

Pickering house, Salem, Mass., 25.

Poe, Edgar Allen, quoted, 32, 33;
  Poems, 106.

Poor, H. W., House at Tuxedo, N. Y., 52, 168.

Portland, Conn., quarries at, 84.

Portsmouth, N. H., 66-68, 70;
  McPhædris house, 66, 67, 153;
  Ladd house, 68;
  Gov. Langdon house, 68;
  Rockingham Hotel, 66.

Princessgate, Wyoming, N. J., 154.

Providence, R. I., 83;
  Mme. Brown mansion on Benefit Street, 35.

Psychological needs of domestic architecture, 61, 116.

Psychological preparation to understand architecture, 19.

Quartered oak, toughness of, 97.

Queen Anne architecture, 125-28.

Queen Anne and Romanesque composite style, 127.

Queen Anne house at Short Hills, N. J., 126.

Queen Anne house ultra-fashionable, 126.

Randall, T. Henry, architect, article by, referred to, 62;
  architect of Mr. Poor’s house, 168-69.

Renwick, James, architect, mentioned, 134.

Restoration of houses in Philadelphia, 86.

Reveries of a Bachelor, quoted, 34.

Rich young man in Bible, cited, 39.

Richardson, H. H., architect, 27-29, 120.

Richmond-Dow house, Warren, R. I., 97.

Robespierre, his love of flowers, 159.

Rockingham Hotel, Portsmouth, N. H., 66.

Rococo style, cited, 119.

Roland, Madam, quoted, 146.

Romanesque architecture, 28, 120.

Roofs, French Renaissance, 144;
  gambrel, 60;
  Mansart, 117.

Rosewell, Gloucester Co., Va., 73.

Ruskin, John, 25;
  advocates Gothic architecture, 95-98;
  mentioned, 135.

Sabine Hall, 74.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, cited, 77.

St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rome, 45;
  an adaptation, 141.

Saint-Simon, Memoirs of, quoted, 135, 165-66.

San Marco, Library of, 142.

Sansovino, architect, references, 26, 142.

Salem, Mass., 24, 68, 70, 82;
  Derby-Ward house, 55;
  Pickering house, 25;
  Capt. White house, 83.

Scammozzi, architect, reference, 26.

Scaramouch houses. See chapter, Reign of Terror, 108, 117.

Scarlet Letter morals, 55.

Schopfer, Jean, articles by, 147.

Schuyler, Montgomery, quoted, 122.

Searles cottage, Block Island, 152-54.

Sesame and Lilies, 98.

Sharon, Conn., 36;
  John Cotton Smith house, 36, 37.

Shingles, wide gauge, 59.

Shirley, Va., cited, 63, 74.

Skyscrapers, 37;
  recipe for, 30, 31.

Southgate, Eliza, Letters of, quoted, 72.

Staccato style, 122.

Stenton-in-the-fields, Germantown, not pretty, 69.

Stratford, Conn., old house in, 59.

Stunts, architectural, 44.

Sturgis, Russell, mentioned, 43.

Style, architectural, see Chapter XI, 149.

Style an architectural comedy, 155.

Sunswick, Delafield house, Long Island, 72, 73.

Swiss châlets, 25;
  travestied, 120;
  adaptation of, 146.

T squares and triangles unsympathetic, 61.

Tadema, Alma, mentioned, 32.

Tale of Two Cities, quoted, 108.

Talmage, Dr., his comment on Queen Anne architecture, 127.

Temperament, artist, 156-61.

Through the Looking-glass, quoted, 46.

Todsbury, Gloucester Co., Va., 73.

Tombs, royal, at Westminster, mentioned, 47.

Tribune Building, New York City, 123.

Trinity Church, Boston, 27, 28.

Trinity Church, New York City, cited, 134.

Tudor castles, 96, 138.

Tuxedo, N. Y., H. W. Poor house, 52, 168.

Twombly, H. McK., mentioned, 122.

Ulalume, quoted, 32, 33.

Upjohn, architect, reference, 134.

Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 124.

Vanderbilt, W. K., house of, 123, 135.

Vaux le Vicomte, mentioned, 44.

Versailles, mentioned, 80, 135.

Victorian-Gothic, 120-122.

Viollet-le-Duc, architect, reference, 143.

Voyage of Life, series of paintings, 93.

Walton house, N. Y. City, mentioned, 68.

Ward, Harry, and his house, 99-101.

Ware, Prof. W. R., his philosophy, 162.

Warren, Russell, 43, 80.

Washington, George, his taste in architecture, 73.

Washington, D. C., 90;
  Capitol at, 71, 134;
  Library of Congress, 71.

Washington Square, North, N. Y. City, 22, 104.

Westover, Va., mentioned, 63.

White, Fred’k B., architect, 126.

Whitemarsh, Gloucester Co., Va., 73.

Wiscasset, Maine, Gov. Smith house, 19.

Witch-Colonial exemplars, 54, 57.

Witch-house, modern, plan of, 58.

Witches, Salem, 83.

Wolfert’s Roost, Tarrytown, mentioned, 106.

Wormeley, Katharine F., her translation of Saint-Simon, 164.

Wren, Sir Christopher, 25, 26;
  mentioned, 27, 44, 136, 141.

Wyck, Germantown, Pa., 60, 61, 69.

Yankee, the, U. S. privateer, 81.


[1] This house is known by three different names.

[2] On Plate XXXIII is presented a modern adaptation of the Carlyle
house at Alexandria, which may convey to the reader some faint
suggestion of the pleasantness of the original in the hey-day of its

[3] It was some new kind of love Julia hoped to invent.

[4] A kind of looking-glass peculiar to Philadelphia and usually
attached to a second-story window, whereby the occupants of a house may
“keep tab” of not only whatever is occurring up and down street, but of
whoever is bold enough, under the circumstances, to ring the front door

[5] The panic of 1837 broke the boom for a while, but it was
practically rehabilitated by the inauguration of Harrison in 1841.

[6] Within the last year death has removed the faithful mourner, and
the house has been turned into a kind of sweat shop, consequently the
photograph on Plate XLVIII cannot be duplicated. The inner doorway
of the vestibule has been taken away bodily, no doubt to adorn some
modern Colonial house, also the tapering posts of wrought iron, and the
starting newel of the staircase. Mockery of an intense drama!

[7] Pay no attention to the modern Swiss châlets. They are infected
with the architectural maladies we have in America.

[8] There is one other kind of architect I have failed to include who
I believe is indigenous to America. I refer now to the man who can
neither draw, design, write specifications nor superintend, and who
has no business ability, but who belongs to the genus “angel” of a
theatrical company, who pays the rent of an expensive suite of offices,
and becomes a special partner, perhaps, but by no stretch of courtesy,
I should say, should be truthfully called an architect.

[9] Versailles Historical Series--Hardy, Pratt & Co., Boston.

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