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July 6, 2010

Timothy Richards of Bath, England, turned his love of design into a cottage industry. He makes architectural models—not from cardboard, blocks or foam core, but from strong British Gypsum Crystacal plaster. Richards is inspired by Jean Pierre and Francois Fouquet, the 18th- and 19th-century father-and-son team whose work in plaster was much preferred over cork or terra cotta. When Thomas Jefferson needed a model of his design for the State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, he turned to the Fouquets. When the curators for the Palladio exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York needed models, they turned to Richards. He began 23 years ago, in his attic and on his own. Today eight people busy themselves in his workshop, spending 80 to 400 hours on each project. “I’ve had to make my own market,” says Richards. “Now, we’ve got 60 models on site.”
 

Richards’ model of the Ca d’Ora, or “Golden House” on the Grand Canal in Venice, is crafted from plaster, lead, brass and gold leaf, with turquoise, handmade glass windows. Courtesy <a href="http://architectsandartisans.com/">Architects and Artisans</a>.
Richards’ model of the Ca d’Ora, or “Golden House” on the Grand Canal in Venice, is crafted from plaster, lead, brass and gold leaf, with turquoise, handmade glass windows. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.
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Richards has developed a series of models of iconic New York structures, including the Chrysler Building.
Richards has developed a series of models of iconic New York structures, including the Chrysler Building.
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His Glasgow School of Art Tower is modeled after Charles Rennie McIntosh’s early 20th-century Scottish masterwork.
His Glasgow School of Art Tower is modeled after Charles Rennie McIntosh’s early 20th-century Scottish masterwork.
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Richards has developed bookends as well as models, including this one for Dexter Gate, commissioned by Harvard University for the centenary of its landmark.
Richards has developed bookends as well as models, including this one for Dexter Gate, commissioned by Harvard University for the centenary of its landmark.
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His five-story Manhattan Town House includes a cast-iron fence and wooden door.
His five-story Manhattan Town House includes a cast-iron fence and wooden door.
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He built a model for the Art Deco Hoover Building (named for the vacuum cleaner manufacturer) on Oxford Road leading into London.
He built a model for the Art Deco Hoover Building (named for the vacuum cleaner manufacturer) on Oxford Road leading into London.
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His model of Henry Bacon’s 1922 Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is 253 times smaller than the original, but in perfect proportion.
His model of Henry Bacon’s 1922 Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is 253 times smaller than the original, but in perfect proportion.
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A scale model of the Radcliffe Library at Oxford, with an octagon at its center, as designed by James Gibbs in 1757.
A scale model of the Radcliffe Library at Oxford, with an octagon at its center, as designed by James Gibbs in 1757.
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Richards’ model of the Pantheon in Rome is plaster, with additional detail in white metal and etched brass. The model is hinged to reveal a coffered ceiling inside.
Richards’ model of the Pantheon in Rome is plaster, with additional detail in white metal and etched brass. The model is hinged to reveal a coffered ceiling inside.
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Palladio’s Villa Rotonda is part of “<a href=“http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=29/”>Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey</a>,” on display at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York through August 1.
Palladio’s Villa Rotonda is part of “Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey,” on display at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York through August 1.
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The Tempietto, originally designed and built by Donato Bramante in the 16th century.
The Tempietto, originally designed and built by Donato Bramante in the 16th century.
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Richards has scaled down the Rose Window from the West Façade of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., to a single bookend with glass panes.
Richards has scaled down the Rose Window from the West Façade of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., to a single bookend with glass panes.
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Richards poses next to his model of the Villa Rotonda, part of the Morgan Library and Museum’s <a href=“http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=29/”>current exhibit</a> of Andreas Palladio’s drawings in New York.
Richards poses next to his model of the Villa Rotonda, part of the Morgan Library and Museum’s current exhibit of Andreas Palladio’s drawings in New York.
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Richards scaled down the 1911 Michelin House in London, a structure built by the tire manufacturers to acknowledge the public’s new love affair with motoring.
Richards scaled down the 1911 Michelin House in London, a structure built by the tire manufacturers to acknowledge the public’s new love affair with motoring.
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Richards’ model of the Ca d’Ora, or “Golden House” on the Grand Canal in Venice, is crafted from plaster, lead, brass and gold leaf, with turquoise, handmade glass windows. Courtesy <a href="http://architectsandartisans.com/">Architects and Artisans</a>.
Richards’ model of the Ca d’Ora, or “Golden House” on the Grand Canal in Venice, is crafted from plaster, lead, brass and gold leaf, with turquoise, handmade glass windows. Courtesy Architects and Artisans.

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