The other day who should pass through Providence on the way to view the mansions of Newport but Michael Rouchell, of New Orleans, founder of the Louisiana chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. No ICAA honcho can pass through Providence without taking in the capital’s famous State House, opened in 1901 after the design of Charles Follen McKim of McKim Mead & White, the leading architects of the Gilded Age.
We got there just a minute or two before entry is barred at 4:30 p.m. However, a Capitol Police officer kindly bid us enter and said we could visit and take pictures from spots on the Great Staircase from which he could keep us in view. The General Assembly was not in session. The place was empty. So in we stepped to behold its wonders. The central elements of the State House as rendered by McKim are exercises in the purity of classical form, capable of ennobling the meanest of spirits. Heaven forbid that the rapscallions we Rhode Islanders elect to send into this paragon of marble proportions should ever come to frame their legislative epiphanies from within the walls of a lesser shack.
Below are some of the photos I shot. The exteriors were snapped after we had left the building, with the sun’s rays slanting in from the horizon, but photographic protocol demands that they be exhibited first. The top shot I had taken years before.