9:49 PM, March 19, 2012

The exhibit of selected watercolors has been replaced by a fresh selection, now depicting 19th century southern homes. Houses shown in the paintings include the Bragg mansion of Mobile, the Pease Home of Columbus, the Burris house, the Varner-Alexander house of Tuskegee, the William A. Dawson house of Spring Hill, the Stone-Young plantation of Montgomery, and the Holliday-Cary house of Auburn.

The Bragg mansion is featured in a watercolor titled "Home of General Bragg," but in fact the house was built by the general's brother Judge John Bragg in 1855. The home is known as the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion after the family who lived in the house from 1930s to 1965. During this time the home was maintained so well as to become an architectural icon of the city of Mobile, and today "Mobile's Grandest Antebellum Mansion" functions as an event venue and historic house museum (website).

A rendering of the Holliday-Carey house, located on 360 North College Street in Auburn, is also on exhibit. Built by Mathew Turner, this raised cottage is remarkable for it's central, spiral staircase. Floor plans, photographs of, and more information about the house are included in the LADC's guide to Auburn-Opelika Architectural Hidden Treasures.

A work by Brendan A. Bond titled "An American House 1840" provides not only the painting of a house, the Stone-Young plantation, but a written history framing the image. He wrote,

"The Stone-Young plantation home, located on the Alabama River near Montgomery, Ala., was built during the Greek Revival in 1840. It stands today as a symbol of life on a grand scale for the few and slavery for the many. / The facade was designed to create an atmosphere of pomp and splendor. The symmetry of the ornate exterior was dictated by classic precedent. / Unlike houses of Mobile and New Orleans of 1800 it is without French or Spanish influence. The ornamental iron work is used sparingly. Unlike Georgian houses it is without a fanlight entrance, brick quoins or a hipped roof. / Large clay and lime deposits and a lack of cut stone resulted in classic walls built of stuccoed brick chiseled to imitate stone joints. / True to Greek style is the low pitched roof. Thus heavy metal sheets were used which were brought from Northern ports as ballast in return for Southern cotton. River transportation was the sole means of communication. / Structural members were of hand hewn beams because of an abundance of good timber and slave labor. The floors were hand hewn planks extending the full length of the room. All joints were mortise and tennon with oak pins. Nails were used sparingly and were hand made. / High ceilings and tall shuttered windows were used chiefly because of long hot summers and mild winters. The window panes were moderate in size because of availability and ease of transportation. / Rooms were heated by means of a fireplace. Chimneys are simple in design and flush with the exterior walls due chiefly to lack of classic precedent for chimneys. / The kitchen was placed apart from the house for fire protection and the free house from unpleasant noise, heat and odors. Food was carried thru an arcade to the house and served in covered trays. Only house servants lived near the house. Other slaves were isolated at a distant slave colony. / Slaves produced much fine work under the direction of itinerant craftsmen and plantation owners, usually schooled in classics abroad."

Also packed into Bond's painting is a regional map, framing art and details taken from the house's architecture, plans, and a side elevation.

 An American House" by Brendon A. Bond

Above you can see the rendering, done by Bond, compared to a black and white photograph of the plantation house.

Over one hundred architectural renderings were painted by School of Architecture students between the years of 1917 and 1942 and are now housed in the Auburn University Libraries Archives and Special Collections. Digital images are available at http://content.lib.auburn.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/architecture+watercolors/.

Many of the houses that were painted have entries in the Historic American Buildings Survey, and more information and photographs of the buildings can be found by searching the Library of Congress records, or the Historic Map Works online database.

Posted by Angelina Smith | in Digital Collections, Exhibits & Displays, World Wide Web | Published on: March 19, 2012 |

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