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Patrick A. Snadon

(b New York, July 24, 1803; d Orange, NJ, Jan 14, 1892).

American architect. From the 1830s to the 1850s he was one of the most influential architects in the USA. His work ranges from major government and institutional buildings to ornamental garden structures; his main contribution to American architecture was his introduction of the European Picturesque in his designs for Italianate and Gothic Revival country houses and cottages. With his partner, Ithiel Town, he also refined and popularized the American Greek Revival. He revolutionized American architectural drawing through rendering buildings in romantic landscapes rather than in the analytical, Neo-classical style that preceded him. In 1836 he helped form the American Institution of Architects and advanced professionalism in American architecture through his scrupulous office practices, being, for example, the first American architect to use printed, standardized specifications.

At the age of 16, Davis left school in New York to work as a type compositor in Alexandria, VA. During this time, probably influenced by reading contemporary Gothic novels, he made drawings of prison and castle interiors akin to Piranesi’s engravings of imaginary prisons. In ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b London, 1728; d Annapolis, MD, 1804),

American silversmith and clockmaker. He was primarily a merchant, but his workshop produced a small number of pieces that can now be identified. His diary is concerned in large part with his passion for gardening, but is also a valuable resource for the American silver trade in the late 18th century....

Article

Robin B. Williams

Town plan for the second largest city in Georgia. The Savannah plan is celebrated today as one of the finest urban layouts in the world, yet it had limited influence outside Georgia. Conceived in the context of Enlightenment idealism, it is rivaled in its sophistication in America only by the plan of Washington, DC. In 1733, General James Edward Oglethorpe founded the Georgia colony and laid out Savannah as its capital. Its network of numerous squares and broad streets dedicated a greater percentage of land to the public realm than any other city plan in history and created a model of humanly scaled urbanism.

Oglethorpe devised a plan linking the region to the city in which each freeholder received a roughly 45-acre farm lot, a 5-acre garden lot and a 60×90 ft (c. 18×27 m) town lot. The town plan reflected the utopian ideals of the colony with an egalitarian network of wards, each originally 675×675 ft (205×205 m) in size and centered on a public square. Yet, within each ward, blocks and streets establish subtle hierarchies. Pairs of “trust lots” reserved for public buildings flank each square to the east and west, while to the north and south lay four residential “tything” blocks, each comprising ten residential town lots set in two rows of five divided by a lane. The plan also employed two classes of streets: civic streets include principal streets 75 ft (23 m) wide on axis with each square and those running east–west between the wards, and, half their width, secondary streets 37.5 ft (11.5 m) wide skirting the squares; utilitarian streets include principal streets 45 ft (13.7 m) wide running north–south between wards and lanes 22.5 ft (7 m) wide subdividing the tything blocks. Despite dramatic social and technological changes since ...

Article

Michael Symes

[ Whateley ]

(d London, May 26, 1772).

English writer, garden designer and politician . An MP from 1761 until his death, he served as a Treasury Secretary in 1764–5, helping to draft the Stamp Act (1765), a key document in events that led to the American Revolution in 1775. Whately’s writings include his Observations on Modern Gardening, for which he is perhaps best remembered. This work describes a large number of English landscape gardens, some in great detail, and attempts to analyse and categorize them. It was considered by his contemporary Horace Walpole to be ‘a system of rules pushed to a great degree of refinement’ (‘On Modern Gardening’, Anecdotes of Painting in England, ed. R. N. Wornum, 1849, iii, p. 807). Whately described gardens as such (e.g. Stowe, Bucks), as well as in relation to farms (e.g. The Leasowes, W. Midlands), parks (e.g. Painshill Park, Surrey) and ridings (e.g. Piercefield, Gwent). He examined specific features, such as buildings, rocks, trees and the form of the land, and this led him to reject overtly emblematic uses of temples, statues or inscriptions—all of which featured in early 18th-century English gardens—in favour of less contrived effects. Visitors to gardens would often use the ...