First Presbyterian Church (or Downtown Presbyterian Church)

William Strickland
1849-51



Front facade (the corner towers are cropped in the photo)

Strickland was supervising the building of the Tennessee State Capitol when this church was built. Whereas his other works alluded to Gothic or Neoclassical sources, here the details are Egyptian-influenced--a strange choice for a Christian church! By way of contrast, see, the Egyptian Building (formerly the Medical College of Richmond) in Virginia.
 
The cavetto cornice and the lotus-bud capitals are common in Egyptian works (see, for example, the Temple of Isis at Philae). The relief design of the sun disk and cobra is a common motif in Egyptian art. (See, for example, a painted relief at the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu.)
 

Views of the nave

 

Views of the rear addition

 

Views of the interior

In spite of the dark interior, the colors of the decoratively painted columns are spectacularly radiant.


See also by Strickland: Tennessee State Capitol and Grace Episcopal Church.

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© 2002 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

Page maintained by Mary Ann Sullivan, sullivanm@bluffton.edu