Perspective of the Smithsonian Institution Building's South Tower

ID: SIA2012-0407 and 92-9488 and 92-9489

Creator: Renwick, James 1818-1895

Form/Genre: Paper

Date: c. 1848

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 92, Box 7, S11/Item 286

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  • This drawing, drafted by architect James Renwick, Jr., depicts his Romanesque scheme for the Smithsonian Institution Building. It is a perspective of the central southern tower as seen from the southwest and was done in pencil on paper.
  • James Renwick, Jr., began his design of the Smithsonian Institution Building with a Gothic castle and eventually reworked it into a Romanesque castle. This later design won him the competition in 1846 to be appointed architect for the design of the Smithsonian's first building.


  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Smithsonian Institution Building South Towers
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Hints on Public Architecture containing, among other illustrations, views and plans of the Smithsonian Institution : together with an appendix relative to building materials, prepared, on behalf of the Building Committee of the Smithsonian Institution, by Robert Dale Owen (Book)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Competition


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • See Neg. #s SIA2012-0408, SIA2012-0409, SIA2012-0410, SIA2012-0411, and SIA2012-0412 for additional sketches by Renwick.
  • Part of a collection of 16 Renwick drawings which were acquired 8/21/1991. This drawing matches William Pierson's sheet 23 from the collection of original Renwick drawings. See "Renwick Drawings" binder for more information.
  • This image was reproduced by wood engraving for plate ten of Robert Dale Owen's "Hints on Public Architecture," New York: G. P. Putnam, 1849, as a description of the building's plans and architectural style.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 92, Box 7, S11/Item 286

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


c. 1848

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Architecture, Romanesque
  • Drawings
  • Architecture, Gothic
  • Buildings
  • Architectural drawing
  • Architecture--Design and plans
  • Architectural design


  • Paper
  • Drawing

ID Number

SIA2012-0407 and 92-9488 and 92-9489

Physical description

Number of Images: 1 Color: Color; Size: 8w x 12h; Type of Image: Architectural Drawing; Medium: Paper

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