William Jay (ca. 1792-1837)

William Jay was an English-trained architect who, from 1817 to 1820, practiced in Savannah, where he built Greek revival–style public buildings and fashionable neoclassical houses for the city's wealthiest residents.
Jay was born in 1792 or 1793 in Bath, England, to a family of stonemasons. From 1807 to 1813 he apprenticed in London with the architect David Riddall Roper, who built mostly in the Greek revival and Gothic revival styles. Jay's only known commission in London is the neoclassical-style Albion Chapel (1816), Moorgate, a square-shaped church with a recessed Ionic entry and a Pantheon-like dome.
In December 1817 Jay arrived in Savannah as the city's premier architect and one of the best-trained architects in America. The Owens-Thomas House (1819), a commission he received through a family connection, was the first of a series of neoclassical-style mansions Jay designed and features a Regency-style side porch supported by foliated consoles (leaf-shaped decorative brackets). The interior plans of the William Scarbrough House (1819), which later became the headquarters for the Historic Savannah Foundation, and the Alexander Telfair House (1819), which later became part of Telfair Museums, are configured in circular, oval, and elliptical shapes. In the Bulloch House (1818-19) Jay called for a dramatic spiral stair surrounded by Corinthian columns. Jay's last commission in Savannah was the Bank of the United States (1821), an early Greek revival–style building dominated by a hexastyle (six-columned) Doric portico. During the years he worked in Savannah, Jay also practiced in South Carolina. In 1820 he was appointed architect of the South Carolina Board of Public Works, for which he provided designs for district courthouses and jails.
After returning to England in 1822, Jay produced designs for Pittville Parade, a large, six-unit row house. When the speculative Pittsville development failed in 1829, Jay went bankrupt and in 1836 was forced to accept the position of colonial architect and civil engineer on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. Jay worked on the island until his death in 1837 in Port Louis, Mauritius.
close

Loading

Further Reading
Hanna Hryniewiecka Lerski, William Jay: Itinerant English Architect, 1792-1837 (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1983).

James Vernon McDonough, "William Jay, Regency Architect in Georgia and South Carolina" (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1950).
Cite This Article
Moffson, Steven H. "William Jay (ca. 1792-1837)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 03 January 2019. Web. 16 January 2019.
From Our Home Page
Coretta Scott King (1927-2006)

As a proponent of civil and human rights, Coretta Scott King helped her husband, the Reverend Dr.

Read more...
Georgia Power Company/Southern Company

Since the 1880s, when the electric company began serving Atlanta citizens, the Georgia Power Company has grown to supply Georgia reside

Read more...
Brenau University Galleries

Brenau University Galleries, located on the campus of Brenau University in Gainesvi

Read more...
W. E. B. Du Bois in Georgia

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) was an African American educator, historian, sociologist, and social activist who poignantly addressed the issues of racial discrimination, black social

Read more...
Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries