Notman, John

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Notman, John (1810–65). Scots-born architect, he worked with W. H. Playfair before emigrating to the USA in 1831. He designed Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA (1836–9), one of the finest of all C19 cemeteries of the Picturesque landscaped type. He followed this with Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA (1848), and Capitol Square, Richmond (1850–c.1860), one of the USA's first public parks laid out in the informal style. His houses included Nathan Dunn's Cottage, Mount Holly (1837–8—in the Regency exotic eclectic style), and Riverside, Burlington (1839—in the Italianate style), in NJ; neither survives, but both were published in A. J. Downing's A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1841). His Prospect Villa, Princeton, NJ (1851–2), was a sophisticated Italianate asymmetrical villa that could easily have been transported from the Edinburgh suburbs. Among his large and always competent buildings were the NJ State House (1845–6—largely destroyed), the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum (1845–8), both in Trenton, NJ, and the Athenaeum Philadelphia, PA (1845–7), the last a palazzo no doubt prompted by Barry's Clubs in London. His best Gothic Revival works were St Mark's Church, Philadelphia (1847–52), and the Cathedral of St John, Wilmington, DE (1857–8), but he was equally fluent in the round-arched styles (e.g. St Clement's Church, Philadelphia (1855–9) ). He embraced new techniques and at the rebuilding of Nassau Hall, Princeton (1855–9), employed rolled-iron beams, one of the first such instances in the USA. His practice declined from c.1860, and the Demon Drink may have played its part in this, as well as in his comparatively early death.

Bibliography

A. Downing (1967, 1967a);
Greiff (1979);
Placzek (ed.) (1982)