Sound familiar?

An excerpt from Samuel Mordecai’s Richmond In By-Gone Days eloquently reminisces on the “flush times” Richmond experienced after the War of 1812, during the mid-late 18-teens, and it sounds quite familiar to what many markets across the country are recovering from today.  He is quoting Washington Irving’s description of speculative real estate mania from the … Continue reading Sound familiar?

Matching carriages in Latrobe perspectives

Latrobe made his presentation perspective on the “Clifton” house on this particular piece of ground just come to life.  Just as he had done with previous, important presentation drawings for residential commissions such as the Pennock House or Sedgeley Villa, he depicted the owners of the home engaged in some activity, and even illustrated the … Continue reading Matching carriages in Latrobe perspectives

Creating a chronology of architect George Tolman – update

New additions to the chronology are highlighted in blue.

As I research George Russell Tolman, a Richmond architect transplanted from New England and once parter of Richmond’s “dean of architecture” Marion J. Dommon, I am developing a chronology of his life events.  Here is what I have so far:

1848, Dec 5 George Russell Tolman born to Joseph & Elizabeth Tolman in Boston, Mass

1860 Living in Boston with parents (Boston Ward II, Suffolk, MA), age 11

1870 Living in Boston with sister’s family, brother & father; employed as a draftsman

1870s Partners with George F. Moffette to form Boston firm, Moffette and Tolman

1876 Moffette and Tolman design Charlestown Savings Bank

1880, Jun 9 Living in Boston w/ sister’s family (Ulmans’), brother & father.  Brother Albert & George listed as architects

1882 Illustrates “12 sketches of old Boston buildings”

1888, Oct Married to Eva Frances Tolman in Boston, Mass

1887 Illustrates for Porter’s Rambles in Old Boston, New England

1888, Oct Married to Eva Frances Tolman in Boston, MA

1889, Jun Leaves Boston, MA (and wife), possibly for Kittery, ME

1889 Works for Treasury Department as a draftsman at Kittery, ME Navy Yard Continue reading “Creating a chronology of architect George Tolman – update”

The Original Clifton Drawings at Library of Congress

Spring break is past now and it seems I have been all too lax in reporting my research findings.  Prior to the break I took a trip up to Washington, D.C. to visit the Library of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Division, where the original Clifton drawings are preserved and housed in cold storage.  My appointment with Reference Librarian Marilyn Ibach resulted in the most incredible research session of my academic (and professional) career thus far.  After 2 hours of carefully studying and inspecting the two drawings, I came away with such an immense feeling of fulfillment and respect for that opportunity.  The drawings were absolutely incredible — especially the perspective.  One simply cannot grasp the level of detail from reproductions in books.  I took many pictures of both, front and back, and although I am not certain that I uncovered a spectacular clue to our mystery, I do have a much clearer understanding of the exactness of the site and detail imparted from Latrobe. (Click on the images throughout this post for a larger version.)

Back side of the perspective drawing.

The inspection began with the back side of the Clifton perspective drawing.  A handwritten inquiry “Belvidere?” was inscribed in pencil on the lower center portion of the paper, identified as staff notes.  On the lower left corner were additional internal staff notations that we deduced were from the Conservation Division for Preservation, when the drawings were sent to be preserved.  There was also some discoloration and staining (possibly some watermarking) along the right hand side from top to bottom.  Otherwise, there were no pricking marks that I could detect (we did not expect to see any) or any surface disruptions that would have seemed original to the drawing.  These details are hardly visible from any reproductions generally accessible in books today.  Also hard to notice is the indication for use of square columns at the attached portions of the wings to the main building, while the two free-standing columns at either side are to be round.  I also wondered if Latrobe envisioned a tumbled or more natural stone for the foundation of the structure.  I detected some pink randomized splashes of color along that area. Continue reading “The Original Clifton Drawings at Library of Congress”