Parkside (South) Elevation
James Nash Brown - Alice Scott - Reginald Knight Smith House
San Francisco, California
Ernest Coxhead was the architect of this baronial townhome on a steep
hillside lot, completed at the end of 1895. Irving Murray Scott, a local
shipyard tycoon and prominent civic leader, offered the project as a wedding
gift to his only daughter, Alice, and her first husband, James Nash Brown.
In 1896, only a few months after moving in, and less than a year into their
marriage, Brown died. Alice kept the house as a residence, even after
her remarriage to Reginald Knight Smith in 1899.
Coxhead's abstraction of Old English architecture in this design
is reminiscent of some of his most progressive English contemporaries.
This is hardly surprising, considering his English origins and formal
training. Coxhead had been a gifted architectural student, and most
likely had direct exposure to the ideology of the English Arts and Crafts
Movement. His studies also provided him with first-hand knowledge of
historic English buildings and their construction. Before
emigrating to California in late 1886 with his brother, Coxhead won a major
award in a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) architectural drawing
competition. One of his early employers helped secure his membership to
the same institution shortly before he left his native England. Photo
taken in 2001 by Howard J. Partridge.