Alsop, Richard IV, House

Also known as: Davison Art Center
301 High St., Middletown, Connecticut


Richard Alsop House

Photo HABS/HAER 1933, courtesy Library of Congress



Street View 


Realized in a number of campaigns between 1839 and ca. 1860, the wall paintings of the Richard Alsop IV House in Middletown, Connecticut, are nationally significant examples of nineteenth-century decorative wall painting, once common in American domestic settings, but now largely lost as tastes changed or the materials degraded. The wall painting enlivened the new house that Richard Alsop IV built for his mother between 1836 and 1839; although believed to be used on the exterior for reasons of economy in place of marble ornament, the painting was fully in keeping with fashionable decorative trends of the period. The artists, thought to be recent Italian and German immigrants, utilized a variety of stylistic sources--ancient, Renaissance, and nineteenth-century--from which to derive subject matter and approaches for artistic organization and representation in devising the interior painting programs. With regard to the wall paintings, Peter M. Kenny, the Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently observed: "these unique and irreplaceable treasures are truly part of our national cultural patrimony." -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, January 16, 2009

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 6, 1970
Reference number
Architectural styles
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival; Other architectural type; Classical Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Current functions
Museum; College
Period of significance
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • March 25, 2019: New photo from Richard Doody
  • September 28, 2017: New Street View added by Brian Bartlett