Peter Harrison

(1716—1775) merchant and architect

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Born in York, England, he settled in America in 1740 and designed various distinguished buildings of the Colonial period. He was a practitioner of Palladianism, presumably gleaned from various standard works sponsored by Burlington which he had in his own library. He drew on Gibbs for his King's Chapel, Boston, MA (1749–58), and Christ Church, Cambridge, MA (1760–1), and on Gibbs and Kent for the Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI (1759–63). For his Brick Market, Newport, RI (1761–73), he was influenced by Jones's Old Somerset House, illustrated in Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus (vol. 1). The clarity of his remarkably advanced Redwood Library, Newport, RI (1748–50), points to Neo-Classicism, and appears to have inspired Jefferson. He was the most talented architect working in America at the time, and it is known he possessed a fine architectural library, destroyed by an anti-Loyalist mob in 1775.

Bridenbaugh (1949);Dictionary of American Biography (1943);Downing & Scully (1967);Placzek (ed.) (1982)

Subjects: Art — Architecture.

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