George Strickland, younger brother of William Strickland, was born in Philadelphia, the son of the master house carpenter John Strickland and his wife Elizabeth. Like his brother, young George studied drawing, painting, and engraving. Several of his Philadelphia scenes appeared in Cephas Grier Childs's Views in Philadelphia and its vicinity (1827-1830). In fact, his precociousness was exhibited in 1814 when the Society of Artists accepted a painting inspired by Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel by "George Strickland, aged 17 years."
In 1825, William Strickland was sent to Great Britain as agent for the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvement. Less than a month after he sailed, George placed the following notice in The National Gazette and Literary Register (April 16, 1825): "George Strickland respectfully informs the public that, in the absence of Mr. William Strickland, Architectural Designs, Plans and Drafts for Workman, Machinery, &c., will be executed at his office, No. 14, Library street, opposite the Bank of the United States." This is the earliest reference to George Strickland as an architect, and perhaps he was emboldened by his brother's absence from Philadelphia. It is known that George submitted a design in the United States Naval Asylum (Naval Home) competition of 1826 against his brother. When William was awarded the commission, he appointed George as Clerk of the Works at a salary of $600.00 per year.
The Naval Home was not the only competition that George Strickland entered. In 1832 he submitted an unsuccessful design in the Girard College competition that Thomas Ustick Walter won. He also taught at The Carpenters' Company architectural school and at the Franklin Institute before accepting a position (c.1834) as a clerk in the United States Patent Office in Washington, D. C.
George Strickland died and was buried in Washington. However, a "G. Strickland" did appear in the New York City directories as an architect for the single year 1844 at 2 Wall Street; whether or not this was William's brother attempting a last architectural fling may never be known.
Roger W. Moss.
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- Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia
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