spacer Henry Hobson Richardson Henry Hobson Richardson

While a Harvard undergraduate, Henry Hobson Richardson decided to become an architect. At that time, no schools in the United States taught this profession, so Richardson trained in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts, studying there between 1860 and 1862. After an apprenticeship in France, he returned to America in 1865. He settled first in New York City, but in 1874 he moved his practice to the Boston area. Richardson, who soon became the most admired American architect of his day, found much of his inspiration in the reinterpretation of the medieval Romanesque style.

English painter Sir Hubert von Herkomer was on his second painting expedition to America when he undertook this likeness. He noted in his diary that Richardson was "as solid in his friendship as in his figure. Big-bodied, big-hearted, large-minded, full-brained, loving as he is pugnacious." Richardson drew up exterior designs for the artist's English country house, which was built in the 1890s, presumably as payment for the portrait.

Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914)
Oil on canvas, 1886
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
On extended loan from Mrs. Henry H. Richardson III

Enlarged image

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