Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Tully D. Bowen House, Providence, RI

The Tully Bowen House, Providence, RI. 1853 Photo: Mr. Ducke


The Tully D. Bowen house (not to be confused with the Tully Bowen house, oy!) was built in 1853 for a cotton manufacturer and was designed by Thomas A. Tefft. Again, this is a sober design characteristic of Providence, but instead of the usual brick and brownstone, this house is faced entirely in brownstone (fancy!) and follows Anglo-Italianate design. The house is a  symmetrical plan cube with the usual division between the first and second floors. Some aspects of the house give it a more grandiose presence than other Providence homes. It has more complex pedimented window moldings on the first and second floors (the segmental arched third floor windows are just like the later Lippitt house). Quoins at the corners with somewhat elongated long elements assure that they don't look silly in comparison to the massing of the facade. The front door lacks a porch, but has an elaborate if severe surround of Tuscan pilasters surrounding an arched door. The glass surround is particularly glassy here, looking like a door set into a great window. The house has no projection in the center, and the cornice is small with brackets and dentils, so in vogue with anglophilic Italianates. I do wonder, since so many Providence cornices lack a large frieze and architrave molding, if it was part of the vogue to shorten the full entablature. It definitely makes the facade look larger and less broken up. One cool aspect is that the brownstone retaining wall around the property is intact, allowing us to appreciate the house as it was intended with all of its parts. It's a lovely composition, especially because of the varying effects the light has on the stone, something Downing would have loved.

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