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Carolyn Seymour House (Hawkhurst or Hawxhurst)

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Hawkhurst or Hawxhurst
1882, Dudley Newton. 66–66½, 68 Kay St.

The first of these shingle houses, the Sargent House, is a puzzling and ambitiously singular effect from an original if uneven architect who here failed to unify the syncopated rhythms and shapes which he seemingly intended. A discordant row of vertical features rises from the flared shingle wall at the second story level, dominated by a polygonal tower with a peaked cap and an unexpectedly monumental window. Though centered in the main, flank-gabled mass of the house, it hardly appears so because of the lopsided overload of two more disparate shapes in line with the others containing service functions at one end of the house, both gabled but to different heights. The higher culminates in another of Luce's gable escutcheons, which needs a subdued color contrast to hold its place in the compositional melange. Moreover, the entrance and window bays across through stuccoed first story are out of sync in both shape and rhythm with the features above. Finally, the delicate linear detailing of the varied windows and their tensely asymmetrical placement (derived from contemporary progressive English examples popularized in such journals as the imported Studio) complete this layered counterpoint. The charm of the ingredients and the mannered picturesqueness of the image may justify the owner's affectionate “Abode” as the Germanic nickname for her cottage, although the overall result falls short of the repose that her label implies.

By contrast, the architectural rationale for the Seymour House is clear. There are porches along both sides, one for entrance, the other a sitting area with a balconied view porch above. An off-center bay window marks the living room projection between two of the walls with an unusual Queen Anne mix of patterned shingling. This appropriately turns wavy in the climactic attic gable, where acanthus leafage (or is it seaweed?) writhes, possibly with Art Nouveau inspiration. Dudley Newton was Newport's chameleon architect of his period. Having earlier mastered Richard Morris Hunt's Stick Style, here he rises to the challenge of Queen Anne. Soon we shall see him capably parroting other stylistic fashions. This cottage for a New Yorker was split apart and turned into a duplex in the 1930s.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Carolyn Seymour House (Hawkhurst or Hawxhurst)", [Newport, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-NE112.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 554-554.

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