The Sunday porch: the portico

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A late afternoon gathering on the south portico (or back porch) of the White House, probably between 1890 and 1910, photographer unknown, via the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Encyclopedia Britannica defines ‘portico’ as a “colonnaded porch or entrance to a structure, or a covered walkway supported by regularly spaced columns. Porticoes formed the entrances to ancient Greek temples.”

The south portico of the White House was built in 1824, principally from an 1807 design by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, then Surveyor of Public Buildings.  Latrobe was appointed and supervised by Thomas Jefferson, who loved  neoclassical design and called Palladio’s books “the bible.”

The South of France

Roman temple
“simple and sublime”

Maria Cosway
harpist
on his mind

white column
and arch

Lorine Niedecker, from “Thomas Jefferson

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