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Grace Episcopal Church

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1847–1855, William Strickland. 1895, rebuilding. VA 231, Cismont vicinity, Keswick

Better known for his Greek Revival buildings in Philadelphia and Nashville, Strickland designed only a few Gothic Revival structures, of which this is the best surviving example. The drawings are at the University of Virginia. Construction was funded by Mrs. William Cabell Rives of nearby Castle Hill (PI41), and the cornerstone was laid in 1848, but the church was not completed until 1855. The interior and roof were rebuilt after a fire in 1895. Stylistically, Strickland appears unaware of the Gothic revolution sparked by Pugin and Ruskin in England and looks back to the earlier “Gothick” mode. He may have owed a debt to his fellow Philadelphian Thomas Ustick Walter, and his 1843 design for the Baptist Mariner's Church, unbuilt but intended for Norfolk. Grace Episcopal resembles Walter's design in style and massing and in the large window in the tower. However, Strickland's window is placed higher and is essentially nonfunctional, shedding light only in the cramped tower space. Of particular note are the “stovepipe” finials, wonderfully oversized forms.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard Guy Wilson et al.
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Citation

Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Grace Episcopal Church", [, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-PI40.

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 139-140.

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