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"Qui Transtulit Sustinet": William Burges, Francis Kimball, and the Architecture of Hartford's Trinity College

Christopher Drew Armstrong
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 194-215
DOI: 10.2307/991590
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/991590
Page Count: 22
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Abstract

William Burges's master plan for Trinity College in Hartford has long been considered more as the product of fantasy than as a serious proposal for the reconstruction of the college campus. Understanding the significance of the project within both Burges's oeuvre and the history of late-nineteenth-century architecture has been hampered further by the absence of any clear relationship between the master plan and the college as it was finally built. In this essay, the reconstruction of Trinity College is considered in the context of contemporary events in Hartford and Burges's design as the product of a crisis in architectural thought that erupted in 1872 after it was decided to rebuild the Connecticut State Capitol. Based on material conserved in the Trinity College archives, the author proposes that Burges's master plan was conceived as a response to the failure of the design competitions for the State Capitol and as a rigorous statement of the architect's vision of an architecture for the nineteenth century. The architecture of Trinity College as built further underlines the desire that the buildings embody the qualities of modernity demanded in connection with the Capitol competitions, and the often remarked similarity between Trinity's "Long Walk" and the contemporary work of H. H. Richardson testifies to the skill of college architect Francis Kimball in merging Burges's proposal with elements of a distinctly American architecture.

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