Leaping out from the flat Colonial clapboard buildings of Providence, Rhode Island’s famous College Hill area is the Fleur-de-Lys Art Studio.
The studio is set apart from its more uniform neighbors with a cacophonous, hand-carved facade featuring multiple faux reliefs and a motley yellow color scheme. In addition to the unique ornamentation, the architectural style itself is more dynamic with a sunken doorway and bulging, angular window bays.
In contrast to many of Providence’s staid historical buildings, the studio truly sells itself as a beacon for artists. Built in 1885, the studio is seen by many art historians as one of the first examples of “arts and crafts” architecture in America, placing a focus on quality and truth via singular authorship as evidenced by the hand-carved artisanship. The eccentric building was founded by painter Sydney Burleigh to serve as a workspace for himself and the newly formed Providence Art Club, which endeavoured to interest the burgeoning populace not only in the works of its members but in art itself, as evidenced by its aggressive facade. The interior was decorated and populated by mismatched and handmade furnitures provided by the various members of the club, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere unlike the august parlours of the time.
Despite the constantly shifting trends in both real estate and art, the Fleur-de-Lys Studio stands to this day under the curation of the Providence Art Club, over one hundred years since their founding. The art club still uses the space as artist’s studios although they have also expanded to the surrounding buildings which are used for show and exhibition space.