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Mould, Jacob Wrey

Mould, Jacob Wrey (1825–86). English-born architect and designer, who emigrated to the USA in 1852. He was said to have been a pupil of Owen Jones, assisting the latter with the polychrome decorations of the Crystal Palace, London (1851), and with the illustrations for some of his publications. Mould also worked with Lewis Vulliamy, designing the great staircase at Dorchester House, London (1850–63—demolished 1929). In NYC he designed the polychrome All Souls' Unitarian Church and Parsonage (1853–5), in an Italian Romanesque style (known as ‘The Church of the Holy Zebra’), which introduced structural polychromy to the USA. By the 1860s he was designing in the so-called High-Victorian style of Gothic, and with the First Presbyterian Church, Bath, NY (1874–7), he demonstrated a familiarity with Viollet-le-Duc's illustrations. As assistant to Olmsted and Vaux (from 1858), he also designed numerous decorations, including the Ruskin-inspired carvings for the Terrace, Central Park, NYC (1858–70). He collaborated (1871–4) with Vaux on the design of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History (both before 1874, and both in NYC, although only one wing of each was completed (1880) to their plans). For a short time in the early 1870s Mould was Chief Architect for Central Park, NYC, where he designed several buildings (some on his own and some with Vaux), many of which no longer exist, although the Sheepfold (1870–1) is now the Tavern-on-the-Green restaurant. From 1875 until 1879 Mould was in charge of the Department of Public Works, Lima, Peru, where he designed the public parks and a polychrome mansion (c.1879). Returning to NYC, he designed the architectural features in Morningside Park (1880–2), and made several designs for the Department of Public Parks (1885–6). Among surviving buildings may be mentioned Holy Trinity Parish School, NYC (1860—now the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St Sava), and St Mary's Episcopal Church, Luzerne, NY (1873–80). Many of his purely decorative, non-architectural designs anticipated the Aesthetic Movement. Mould's career was varied; he was a song-writer and translator of opera libretti as well as a designer and architect, and he seems to have been regarded as a genius, although his unconventional, even eccentric lifestyle, put many possible clients off.


C. Cook (1972);
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, xxviii/1 (Mar. 1969), 41–57;
Kowsky (1980);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Summerson (ed.) (1968);
Jane Turner (1996)

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