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View, Connecticut, New Haven, Yale University, Old Campus Gate, Hughson Hawley, Antique Watercolor, 1895


Hughson Hawley (1850-1936)
Old Campus Gate, Yale University
New York: 1895
Gouache, watercolor, and pencil on paper
Signed lower right: Hughson Hawley 95
18 x 23.25 inches, mat window
19 x 25.5 inches, overall
28.25 x 33.25 inches in vintage silver gilt frame

Precise original architectural rendering, dated 1895, of a wrought iron Old Campus gate at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The gate, still extant on High Street, leads into Yale’s Old Campus between Linsly-Chittenden Hall and Street Hall, not far from the corner of Chapel Street. In the rendering, the large and elaborate doors are framed by stone pillars topped with spheres and crowned with a tour de force of scrolling Victorian ironwork in the English Tudor and Gothic revival taste. The front facades of the pillars are decorated with raised reliefs surrounding the university seal. The pillars are flanked by iron fences on a low stone base, with a smaller gate at right. The smaller gate is open as depicted in the rendering, providing a view into the campus interior where students in mortarboards and gowns walk on the paths. McClellan Hall is prominent in the middle distance on the left, and Vanderbilt Hall is barely visible on the right beyond Street Hall. Phelps Hall, which cannot be seen from this view, is on the opposite side of the Old Campus and to the left, beyond McClellan.

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This rendering is signed and dated by the renowned and prolific artist and architect Hughson Hawley. He quite possibly made it for the prominent architect Charles C. Haight, with whom he worked closely, and who designed Vanderbilt Hall (1894) and Phelps Hall (1896), both of which incorporated Tudor-inspired gatehouses leading to the large central courtyard and interior buildings of Yale’s Old Campus. Indeed, Hawley is known to have rendered Haight’s design for Phelps Hall in 1895 (Park et al. p. 56). Nonetheless, we have been unable to find a source to establish that Haight specifically designed this gate on High Street.

Hughson Hawley (1850-1936), a British-born architectural renderer, enjoyed a 50-year career in New York City, producing thousands of drawings during one of the great eras of American architecture, when the first skyscrapers were being constructed. He began as a theatrical set painter in his native England, moving to New York City in 1879 to paint scenery at the Madison Square Theater at the invitation of the owner. With the encouragement of the architects Francis H. Kimball and Thomas Wisedell, who had been commissioned to remodel the theater, Hawley opened an architectural rendering studio in 1880. Architects use drawings of proposed buildings to persuade prospective clients, but Hawley’s artistic and architectural skills were so extraordinary that his drawings were frequently reproduced as lithographs, advertisements, brochures and letterheads to promote the completed buildings. His style was even imitated by others. In addition to working for architects, Hawley created illustrations for publications such as Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Century and exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the American Watercolor Society and on a regular basis at the Architectural League, the premiere showcase for architects and designers at the time. He retired to England in 1931 at the age of 81, and spent the remainder of his life there. Hawley’s architectural renderings were the subject of an exhibition and catalog at the Museum of the City of New York in 1998, which has many of his works in their collection. They are also in the collections of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University and the New-York Historical Society.

Charles Coolidge Haight (1841-1917) was a proponent of the collegiate Gothic style inspired by English campuses. He graduated from Columbia University, and practiced in New York City. Haight produced buildings in that style for Columbia University, Yale University and Trinity College. He also designed numerous buildings in New York City, including the Episcopal Church’s General Theological Seminary, the H.O. Havemeyer Residence on Fifth Avenue (destroyed in 1948), and the New York Cancer Hospital (modeled after a French Renaissance château at Le Lude, Sarthe and now converted to private residences).

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, soft creases, abrasions (restored), soiling. Tear in upper left corner (visible but unobtrusive and partly matted over), and some chips in and short tears in margins restored as laid on supporting thick paper sheet. Far outer edges unfinished, as issued, now matted over. Vintage frame, possibly original, in good condition, with shrinkage, crazing, and minor chipping to gesso.


“An Old Campus Gate in Winter.” Yale University’s Photostream. 5 February 2001. (18 October 2012).

“Charles C. Haight.” Lehman College Art Gallery. (18 October 2012).

Parks, Janet, Rob Del Bagno and Frederic A. Sharf. New York on the Rise: Architectural Renderings by Hughson Hawley, 1880-1931. New York: Museum of the City of New York, 1998. pp. 7-9, 16, 39, 44-45, 50-62.

Sharf, Frederic A. “Discovering Hughson Hawley.” Museum of the City of New York. (3 November 2004).

Additional information


19th Century