Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Day-Taylor House, Hartford, CT

The Day-Taylor House, Hartford, CT. 1858
The Italianate style was extremely popular in Connecticut; I have shown you several New Haven examples, and, although there are less, Hartford nonetheless has an excellent collection of Italianate homes. Among the varieties Hartford presents, the Day-Taylor house, constructed in 1858 is one of my favorites. It stands on Wethersfield Avenue among a large collection of Italianates dominated by Armsmear, the home of Samuel Colt. The house is a particularly crisp version of the irregular plan with some irregularities of its own. The expected irregular plan calls for the recessed wing to be wider than the projecting section; on the Day-Taylor house, however, the recessed wing is about the same size as the projecting part, giving the house a far more vertical emphasis. Horizontality is reasserted in the choice to continue the cornice line around the tower. In the Norton house, the cornice line is broken by the tower, but continuing the cornice as the architect of the Day-Taylor house did makes the tower look more like an appendage on the roof rather than an independent tower.

One of my favorite details in this house is how the cornice forms a full pediment on the projecting section with an arch to accommodate a central round top window. This type of pediment treatment was known from antiquity and can be seen in the Palace of Diocletian at Split. The attic windows are varied between segmented arched, flat, circular, and arched, making an interesting pattern, and a belt course that defines the third story gives the house the appearance of having a particularly tall entablature. The windows have elaborate cast iron hood moldings, a feature that became more popular as the 1860s approached, and those on the projecting section are filleted. Iron is also displayed in the well preserved balconies beneath the windows. The way the porch wraps around the tower rather than being broken into two sections, one a portico in front of the door and one running along the recessed wing further deemphasizes the tower.

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