Holmwood House in Cathcart, near Glasgow, built in 1857-1858, was the finest villa designed by the Scottish architect Alexander "Greek" Thomson (1817-1875). Recognizing that Thomson had achieved something remarkable, his contemporary Thomas Gildard described Holmwood as "at once classic and picturesque." In fact, the originality of Holmwood and of Thomson's other mature villas near Glasgow has been underestimated by historians. The article observes that, in many earlier publications of villa designs, while Gothic or Italianate houses could be asymmetrically massed, Grecian villas were invariably symmetrical. Thomson, it is argued, reconciled both the Picturesque and the principles of Pugin with his belief in a trabeated Grecian architecture and so produced the first truly neoclassical houses to be composed irregularly. Thomson's debt to Schinkel and to Picturesque theory is explored, as is the similarity of his approach to domestic design to that of the young Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Copyright 1998 The Society of Architectural Historians