An American Masterwork
"Stonehurst," the romantic name the Paine family chose for their 109-acre country place, paid homage to the elemental beauty of their stony, glaciated land on a “wooded hill,” or hurst in old English. Completed in 1886, Stonehurst is a masterpiece of integrated design created by two Boston-based visionaries, architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, whose work continues to inspire culturally and environmentally sensitive design. The splendid integration of house, interiors and grounds at Stonehurst anticipated the unified organic architecture practiced by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 20th century.
The Collaboration of Richardson and Olmsted
“He was the greatest comfort and the most potent stimulus that has ever come into my artistic life.” —F.L. Olmsted on H.H. Richardson
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Henry Hobson Richardson were neighbors, good friends and colleagues. Stonehurst is the crowning achievement of their collaboration, beautifully expressive of the unity of their artistic ideals.
Richardson and Olmsted worked closely on dozens of commissions. Their cooperative designs for public parks, commuter rail stations, public libraries, community centers, and country houses like Stonehurst reshaped America's designed landscape.
The Architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson
“His life passed into his buildings by ways too subtle for himself to understand.” —Phillips Brooks on Richardson, 1886
Henry Hobson Richardson (1838–1886) was the first architect to secure international acclaim for his uniquely personal and distinctively American style. He has been called the father of modern architecture in the U.S. for his bold concepts, direct forms, fluid floor plans and straightforward expression of structure and materials. Like Mark Twain, Winslow Homer and other game-changing creative personalities of the era, Richardson was a major player in America's cultural coming of age.
The Landscapes of Frederick Law Olmsted
The father of the public park movement in America, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) was far-sighted in his belief that parks, parkways, and residential communities were essential social institutions with great humanistic appeal. He believed passionately that immersion in nature could refresh and uplift city-dwellers, that the natural and the built could meld into a harmonious landscape, and that such harmony could inspire people to seek more harmonious community relations. In this belief, his Central Park is his greatest legacy.