BG Top
BG Top
The History The Restoration Architecture Audio/VIsual Photo Gallery Contact Us

The Architecture of Hollybush Mansion

Hollybush is unique among South Jersey structures, incorporating local materials with an Italian-type design.

The Architecture of Hollybush Mansion
Hollybush is an Italian-style villa, or, as the theorists of the mid-19th century might have said, “an irregular villa in the Italian mode.”

The mansion is an 18th-century, central hall-type home, with the formal parlor and library, both boasting trompe l’oeil artwork, to the left of the hall and a more informal sitting room/dining room combination to the right.  A kitchen service wing is behind the dining room. The right front section is pushed forward so that the main hall can turn at a right angle, locating the staircase between the sitting room and the dining room. The house is constructed of South Jersey ironstone, from a local quarry along the Chestnut Branch. It ranges in color from ochre to orange to deep red and purple. The mansion's surface is enlivened by a coarse aggregate of tan pebbles. The stone is laid as random rubble. There also are small cast-iron balconies, with railings of the same grapevine pattern, on three sides of Holllybush’s tower.

The mansion's two-level/three-level combination under the same horizontal cornice line is a peculiarity of the Delaware Valley region and may have originated with the Philadelphia architect John Notman, who designed a number of suburban villas in the Philadelphia area in the mid-19th century. The architect of Hollybush has not yet been identified, but he was obviously familiar with the Notman designs, as well as with the writings of landscape/architect/horticulturist Andrew Jackson Downing. Hollybush incorporates almost all of the aesthetic and practical suggestions which Downing had made in his popular book Rural Residences (1842), including the irregular massing; the wide, overhanging roof planes; the dark, reddish-brown paint that originally matched the stone on the exterior; the internal chimneys to conserve heat; the campanile, or tower, that rises above the front entrance; the hydraulic pump that originally raised water from a nearby pond to a tank in the attic; and the winding drives and irregularly planted trees and shrubs which created the beautiful, park-like setting in which the house was situated.

 

BG Bottom
BG Bottom