Perspective of the Smithsonian Institution Building's Northeast Tower

ID: SIA2012-0409 and 92-9474

Creator: Renwick, James 1818-1895

Form/Genre: Paper

Date: c. 1848

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 92, Box 7, S11/Item 291

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  • This drawing, drafted by architect James Renwick, Jr., depicts his Romanesque scheme for the Smithsonian Institution Building and highlights the proposed building's northeast tower. It is labeled "Campanile, Smithsonian Institution from the south-east."
  • 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 scheme 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 (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 North Towers
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Competition


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • See Neg. #s SIA2012-0407, SIA2012-0408, 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 29 from the collection of original Renwick drawings. See "Renwick Drawings" binder for more information.
  • This drawing was reproduced by wood engraving and was used for plate nine in 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 291

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

SIA2012-0409 and 92-9474

Physical description

Number of Images: 1 Color: Color ; Size: 8.25w x 14h ; Type of Image: Architectural Drawing; Medium: Paper

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