Charity V. Davidson
6001, Hillen Rd., Baltimore, Baltimore City
Taylor’s Chapel is located in a quarter acre fenced-in plot, which also includes a graveyard, within Mount Pleasant Park in northeast Baltimore. It is a small (approximately 25’ x 36’) simple mid-19th century country church. It is rectangular, built of stone, covered with stucco, painted white, and has a gable roof. It has Greek Revival stylistic elements, including the overall proportions of the building as well as a classical door surround and classical pediments and cornices. Inside there are frescoes on the walls and ceiling, attributed by tradition to the Italian-American painter Constantino Brumidi. The frescoes are trompe l’oeil paintings of classical architectural detailing, including pilasters, panels, coffering, and ornaments.
Taylor’s Chapel is significant for its architecture, as a small private family chapel embodying Greek Revival stylistic influence, and for the high artistic values represented by the fresco decoration of the interior. The building is one of only two extant 19th century private chapels within the Baltimore City limits; the other, located on the Crimea estate in Leakin Park in west Baltimore, is a Gothic-influenced frame structure. Notable stylistic features of Taylor’s Chapel include its classical proportions and restrained exterior embellishment, comprising a dentiled cornice and an entrance framed by pilasters supporting an entablature. The interior walls and ceiling are adorned with frescoes depicting classical architectural elements in trompe l’oeil; these frescoes are attributed by tradition, supported by circumstantial evidence, to the Italian-American artist Constantino Brumidi, noted for his extensive work in the U.S. Capitol and possibly the first artist to introduce Italian fresco painting in America. the building’s architectural and artistic significance is enhanced by its unusually high level of integrity; it has remained completely unaltered since its construction in 1853.