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Joseph W. Martin Memorial Home (Charles Smith–William Winslow House)

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Charles Smith–William Winslow House
c. 1850, Russell Warren. 624 Main St.
  • Joseph W. Martin Memorial Home (Charles Smith–William Winslow House)

What initially compels attention here is the authority of the cube, with the exaggerated projection of its roof, and (when visible above the projection) its culmination in a forceful cupola out of a low hip. The elevations are perhaps less satisfying in their stylistic disparity and somewhat disjointed handling of ornamental treatment, however revealing of the possibilities and confusions of an eclectic approach in the mid-nineteenth century. The Italianate capping and sills of the upstairs windows seem at odds with the “English Baroque” enframement of those below, the Egyptoid columns of the porch, and the Federal entrance (so much at odds with the rest that it may represent a later effort to return a Victorian door treatment to the Federal style approved by Neo-Colonial taste). There is also an abruptness about the sculptural projections of the upstairs window heads and the windowsills throughout which seems at odds both with the Greek Revival emphasis on the broad, planar block and with the frivolous linearity of the enframement of the windows downstairs, as though he could not quite make up his mind as to what his approach to plane versus projection should be. In this house, it seems, a Greek Revival architect grapples uneasily with unfamiliar design trends emergent toward the end of his career. But these varied stylistic sources are all employed with a degree of originality and defined with a crispness of execution. Notable especially are the ornamental qualities of the upstairs bracketing, elongated like that of a console table, as a complement to the overhang above. Inside, only remnants of the original treatment remain. The long-time second owner of the house was among the village ship captain elite. His schooner, Metamora, was in regular trade with British Guiana.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Joseph W. Martin Memorial Home (Charles Smith–William Winslow House)", [Warren, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-WN8.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 457-458.

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