A Fine View | Belvedere


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Waterford, Ontario

Belvedere is a room built above the roof for the purpose of obtaining a “fine view” (literal Italian translation).


Photography & Editorial By: Dr. Christopher Cooper


“Every spectator at every period – at every moment, indeed – inevitably transforms
the past according to his own nature.” Siegfried Giedion

Left: Nicely restored Belvedere, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. | Right: Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

John Nash first developed the Italianate style in Britain around 1802, with the construction of Cronkhill in Shropshire. In North America, the Italianate architectural form garnered huge popularity from the late 1840’s to the late 1870’s promoted by architect Alexander Jackson Davis. This style borrowed many elements from the Italian Renaissance (16th century) one of which was the Belvedere.

Left: Bonny Castle, Summerside PE. | Center and Right: Castle Kilbride, Baden, Ontario.

Left: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. | Center: Guelph, Ontario. | Right: Hamilton House, Paris, Ontario.

The Belvedere can be found across Canada in many different forms and incorporated in many different domestic architectural styles from the Regency Cottage to the Queen Anne Revival movements. Not to be confused with a lantern or copula that are used more to admit light and/or exhaust rising heat, a Belvedere is usually a whimsical room with a 360-degree “fine view”.

Cottonwood Mansion, Selkirk, Ontario



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