Henry Hobson Richardson

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Henry Hobson Richardson
BirthplacePriestly Plantation St. James Parish Louisiana, USA

Richardson, Henry Hobson


Born Sept. 29, 1838, in St. James, La.; died Apr. 27, 1886, in Brookline, near Boston, Mass. American architect.

Richardson was graduated from Harvard University in 1859 and from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1865. He worked in New York from 1865 to 1874, at which time he moved his practice to Brookline.

The most influential American architect of the 1870’s and 1880’s, Richardson made masterful use of massive Romanesque forms to create emphatically solid compositions, which were at times imbued with romanticism. Works from this period include Trinity Church in Boston (1873–77) and the Allegheny County courthouse and jail in Pittsburgh (1884–88). Richardson’s buildings, which served as a basis for a specifically American architectural tradition, have a precisely functional organization. The austere simplicity of the facades of the Marshall Field wholesale store in Chicago (1885–87, no longer standing) anticipated the Chicago rationalist buildings of the 1880’s and 1890’s. Richardson’s wooden houses (for example, the Bryant House in Cohasset, Mass., 1880) were the prototypes of compact and comfortable shingle-faced dwellings.


Hitchcock, H. R. The Architecture of H. H. Richardson and His Times, new ed. Cambridge, Mass., 1966.