Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection

Trinity Church,
Boston, Massachusetts (1872-1877)

 
Trinity Church, Boston
Unidentified Photographer. Trinity Church, Boston, ca. 1877-ca. 1890. Albumen print photograph. 15/5/3090.00237. Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
     
“In Trinity Church, 1872-77, the general vertical massing and polychromy revealed traces of High Victorian Gothic, but the strong geometric order and the French Romanesque ornament motifs were new. The tower would have been taller and more inventive, but structural problems due to the spongy soil of Boston’s Back Bay necessitated a shorter tower. It was decided to pattern the lantern of the tower after that of the Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain, so that to many observers it seemed that Richardson had added a new style to the repertoire already in use, and that he had made reference to specific historic monuments especially desirable. Such a revivalist assessment, however, completely missed the continuity and unity based on a carefully studied plan that were Richardson’s most important contributions.” (Source: Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. p164-5).

The Trinity Church Parish House appears to the left of the image. Two towers designed by Hugh Shepley after Richardson’s death were added to Trinity Church in the 1890s. Since those towers do not appear in this image, we can date the photograph before those additions.

 
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This page last updated July 1, 2002

 

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