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Southeast View of "Sedgeley Park," the Country Seat of James Cowles Fisher, Esq.

ca. 1819 Thomas Birch Born: Warwickshire, England 1779 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1851 oil on canvas 34 1/4 x 48 3/8 in. (87.0 x 122.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1993.41 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing


Gallery Label

Elegant and stately, this house was the first private residence designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, an architect of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington.  Latrobe designed the house and its well-ordered gardens between 1799 and 1802, high on a bluff overlooking the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia.  Such environments reinforced the idea that even in a country dominated by wilderness, Americans could carve out settlements reflecting the high style of European sophistication.  For this family, such aspirations proved short-lived.  In 1836 family members sold the property to a real estate speculator, who allowed the gracious mansion to fall into disrepair. In 1857 the city of Philadelphia acquired the property, demolishing the derelict structure and incorporating the land into Fairmont Park.

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - domestic - Fisher

Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Architecture Exterior - religious - church

Figure group - family

Landscape - park - Sedgely Park

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Thomas Birch

Born: Warwickshire, England 1779 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1851

More works in the collection by
Thomas Birch