Sunday, August 12, 2007

Post-Richardson Architectural Sculpture

When HH Richardson died in 1886 at the even then young age of of 48, his influence was already spreading across America, and it would continue to do so for another decade and a half. What is not always appreciated is he also originated a style of architectural sculpture that can still be found from coast to coast.

It is my working hypotheses (which I check when ever and where ever it is possible - so feel free to venture an opinion) that much of the carving was done by itinerant carvers, many of them recent immigrants from Italy, Germany and the British Isles. These carvers followed the style as it moved West, while behind them, in the East, a new style emerged from the 1893 Columbian Exposition that made their carving techniques "old-fashioned", the kiss-of-death in America, even then.

Texas in particular fell to the charm of Richardson's big, brassy, brawling, bawdy building genre and a series of county courthouse (of which Texas has more than 250) were designed, notably by architect James Riely Gordon that contain a profusion of ornamentation. But it was not just large public buildings that were so ornamented. Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota's most fashionable address sported a number of Richardsonian mansions, several with note worthy sculpture on them, as did the much small town of Cortland, New York. But enough of this. It is now time to take a break and for you to go out and take a closer look at the nearest Richardsonian architectural sculpture. If you live in the Ukraine it might be a long way, so you best get started.


jlpatters77 said...

Looks like I'll have to go out and have a look around Old Louisville. I'll email you any of my "finds" in this genre

A Single Man said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog, Einar. Don't fret about being a voyeur...I put it all out there for all to see.


Doc said...

Thanks for commenting on Doc's Place, and for going to the trouble of setting up an account to do so. I did not know that the words were literally carved in stone, but when I quoted them I was wishing for good old days that I missed by way of not having been born yet. I know very little about the topic you discuss here, so I'll bookmark you and return when I may be able to able to appreciate more than the pictures.

Peace, Doc

STL GUY said...

Walt Lockley is a thief. He's displaying photographs on his website that he claims are his own-in fact a number of them were shot by an ex-friend over 20 years ago in St. Louis and the surrounding area (including Hannibal and Columbia, MO). Do not associate with this person-he is a charlatan and not to be trusted.

Einar said...

I am curious as to what pictures you are referring to? I found no St. Louis on his site. In any case I am always going to go with a proven friend over an annomous internet finger-pointer.

Walt said...

Walt here. For anyone who might care, I am not a thief.

True that STL GUY and I, long ago when we were friends, shot photographs -- lo-fi even by the standards of 20 years ago, on 110 film, developed in drugstores. He's furiously emailed me that some incidental images on my own website are his. But he didn't say which ones. He hasn't responded to my email offering to remove them if he would identify them, so I am also curious which images he's referring to.

Absolutely nothing to do with this blog or any of my architectural sculpture work with Einar, thus inappropriate here and sort of a jerky classroom 20-year-old lugie-on-the-neck. That's the story.

I do like "charlatan", though. Hoping for an upgrade to "mountebank". I guess I'd have to wear a checkered vest and possibly actually steal something.