American Architectural History - High Georgian

High Georgian- Residential

Vernon House

Newport, RI

Benjamin Harrison, 1760

The Vernon House is a stunning example of High Georgian design in a residential setting. Some trademark High Georgian characteristics are:

  • steeply sloped hipped roof

  • decorative balustrade at Widows walk

  • large decorative door

  • alternating curved and peaked dormer

  • clapboard siding and interior shutters

This house also had Chinese paneling on interior walls, indicating interest in trade with distant cultures.

In addition, this house served as Compte de Rochambeau's headquarters during the Revolutionary War, during which General Washington and Lt. Jefferson strategized at this house.

High Georgian - Religious

Touro Synagogue

Newport, RI

Peter Harrison, 1763

The Touro Synagogue is the oldest surviving synagogue in America, dating back to 1763. It was built in the High Georgian style, and exemplifies that through it's architectural characteristics such as:

  • shallow sloped roof

  • painted brick, emulating smooth stone construction which equates to civic importance and permanence

  • very plain exterior with only a decorated portico hinting at elaborate classical interior

  • Vitruvian classical column proportion

This prominent structure was a testament to the religious freedom experience in the Rhode Island colony. The architect, Peter Harrison, had never been in a synagogue before, so he largely worked from books.


High Georgian - Commercial

Brick Market

Newport, RI

Peter Harrison, 1722

The Brick Market was built in the High Georgian architectural style and featured these design traits:

  • shallow sloped roof

  • brick exterior -- equates to civic importance

  • alternating peaked and curved pediments

The building was inspired by/imitative of Inigo Jones' Banqueting Hall in London as published in books.