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160 8 An Architect of the Nineteenth Century The end of the Bryant-Rogers partnership coincided with continuing radical changes in architectural fashions in the United States. As noted, for a brief period the High Victorian Gothic style had supplanted the Second Empire style in the design of many of the most prominent architectural landmarks. Nonetheless, the High Victorian Gothic also lost favor by the late 1870s. In its place came the Queen Anne style, another English import , and the American Colonial Revival movement. With the completion of Trinity Church in Boston, a revival of the Romanesque style as interpreted by its architect, H. H. Richardson, also began to have a major impact . Richardson himself moved to Brookline, outside Boston, in 1874 after he won the commission to design Trinity Church on Copley Square, but he had already introduced the style to Boston with the Brattle Square Church on Commonwealth Avenue in 1869–73. Bryant’s reaction to this fertile period of American architecture is not known, but the few large projects of his that have been identified suggest that he worked hard to maintain his practice in the face of increasingly strong competition from the new generation of architects. Louis Rogers was not the only architect Bryant had trained who left him in 1877. For a brief period, roughly 1874–76, Henry Nelson Black worked as a draftsman in the Pemberton Square office. Like Rogers and James G. Hill, Black was from Malden. Born in 1850, he was twenty-four in 1874, the first year the city directory provides a listing for him. Presumably he was a student in the Bryant and Rogers office before that. On June 20, 1877, there occurred a devastating fire in St. John, New Brunswick. Hoping to repeat the success he had enjoyed in Hartford, in late July Bryant took his draftsman to St. John, where they established an office under the An Architect of the Nineteenth Century 161 firm name of G. J. F. Bryant and Black. This firm lasted only a few months, until January 1878, at which time Black continued on his own in New Brunswick. Two buildings, a commercial block and a hotel, have been identified as having been designed by this short-lived Canadian branch office.1 During the closing years of the 1870s, Bryant worked with at least one more architect of exceptional ability, Clarence Luce. Born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, in 1854, the son of a mill manger, Luce grew up outside Northampton and attended the Williston Seminary from 1867 to 1870. As a student in the “Scientific Department,” Luce had the opportunity to take courses in linear and perspective drawing, surveying and engineering , and designing plans and models. He entered the Bryant and Rogers office on May 1, 1870, and after eighteen months was promoted to head draftsman. On March 1, 1874, Luce established his own practice in Boston, but spent a good deal of time in Northampton during the rebuilding after the Mill River Valley flood of that year. He returned to Boston in 1875 to work as an architect in Bryant’s Pemberton Square office. Soon after, Luce designed the Massachusetts Building at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The city directories record his sharing an office with Bryant until 1879. As with so many architects who worked with Bryant, however, we have only fragmentary information to interpret shared projects. In Luce’s case there is only one building, the Maplewood Congregational Church in Malden (1877–78), for which there is an account of the two men working together.2 Luce continued to practice on his own in Boston until 1884, when he relocated to New York City. There he joined two other Bryant alumni, Edward H. Kendall and Francis H. Kimball; all three became quite successful as New York architects. The association between Bryant and Clarence Luce is particularly intriguing , as the young architect became one of the leading early exponents in Boston of the Queen Anne style as first developed in England by Richard Norman Shaw. Before the style evolved into a variation of the Colonial Revival in this country, the early examples followed the precedents of English vernacular architecture during the reign of Queen Anne (1702–14). Two houses by Luce are perhaps the most outstanding surviving examples of Shavian Queen Anne design in the Boston area. These are the remodeled carriage barn at Mt. Vernon and Brimmer streets on Beacon Hill for Frank Hill Smith (1878), and the Edward Stanwood...


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