Slideshow images above: Rhode Island Photograph Collection, Providence Public Library
Portrait of Peter Harrison Louis Sands, copied from ca. 1756 portrait by Nathaniel Smibert. (Redwood Library and Athenaeum)
Peter Harrison’s architecture is noted for its classical harmony and restraint. Armed with one of the finest architecture libraries in the colonies, he endowed Washington Square with one of its great landmarks in the Brick Market (1762). This was one of the final grand gestures of Newport’s 18th century commercial and cultural splendor on the square. The location for this building was entrepreneurial rather than aesthetic. Within easy reach of Long Wharf and the Thames street commercial quarter, it was perfectly situated as an economic nexus. Harrison designed a sophisticated version of a Palladian town palace with an arcaded first level topped by monumental two story half columns in the Ionic style.