Italianate 1840-1870

Victorian-age architects seeking a respite from Classical and Gothic styles found inspiration again in England, where John Nash had harkened back to the Italian Renaissance to create picturesque villas. This style featured the bold expression of forms associated with Renaissance design: boxy volumes with a frieze of small attic windows, deep eaves supported by corbels, round-arched windows, barely-pitched or flat roofs, and sometimes a tall, asymmetrically-placed campanile-style tower.

The emergence of cast-iron and press-metal technology made the production of elaborate detailing like brackets and cornices more economical. This expanded the range of projects to which this elaborate style could be applied, spreading from small residential buildings to larger commercial structures like the Richards Building on Broad Street. Architectural pattern books like Andrew Jackson Downing’s 1842 “Victorian Cottage Residences” helped to popularize Italianate forms at the residential scale.