|The Swann-Daingerfield House, Alexandria, VA. 1802/1833-99|
The cornice is of particular interest. Although the brackets, horizontal moldings, and dentils are common enough, the architrave molding, instead of being broken by the brackets into horizontal segments, curves sinuously around them, creating an interesting, almost Spanish Baroque, pattern. The window surrounds are also a treat. They are jigsawed so that their rectangular shape is enlivened by suggestions of brackets and ears; they are topped with a dentiled cornice, which is curved on the central window. These seem to be characteristic of Alexandria; another house nearby also has similar cut-out window surrounds. The porch is interestingly designed on this house. Instead of just surrounding the central door, it covers the central three bays. Additionally, the posts are spaced and the stairs are built so that there are wider openings in front of the windows flanking the door where one walks up the steps. The central section is divided into two smaller bays without stairs. This diffusion of the porch ascent from the center to the sides can be seen in some fancier examples of Italianate, and it seems to me this suggests grandeur. The design of the porch is simple, consisting of arches and panels in the spandrels with carved cartouches serving as the keystone; the porch looks similar to that on the Marshall house. Although I am not sure about when the stylistic changes were made, I would guess they occurred sometime in the 1860s. I believe this partly because of the elaborate nature of the forms, which are, however, not as complex as one might expect from an 1870s remodel. The roundness of the porch arches also is a more 1850s/60s design; in the 1870s segmental arches and filleted rectangles were more popular.