Rotch, Arthur

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ROTCH, Arthur (1850-94) and George Thomas TILDEN (1845-1919) formed a partnership in Boston, Mass. in 1880 and maintained one of the most active architectural offices in New England for nearly fifteen years. Best known for lavish summer houses in Bar Harbour, Maine and for townhouses lining Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay district of Boston, the firm also executed a variety of public and commercial buildings in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. In Canada they are best known for the design of two private residences in MONTREAL, QUE., The first was built on Sherbrooke Street West for John S. Allan in 1889-90; demol. c. 1963 (Inland Architect [Chicago], xiii, June 1889, plate illus.). The following year the firm was commissioned by Andrew A. Allan to design his residence on Stanley Street (F. Remillard & B. Merrett, Mansions of the Golden Square Mile Montreal 1850-1930, 122-3, illus.; dwgs. McGill Univ., Maxwell Coll. Item 254). Both exhibit an eclectic influence of Jacobean and Richardsonian Romanesque styles. In late 1890 the firm was commissioned to design a chateau-style hotel for the Fortress Hotel Co. of Quebec City (C.R., i, 6 Dec. 1890, 2; American Architect & Building News [Boston], xxxv, 19 March 1892, plate illus.; H. Kalman, Railway Hotels and the Development of the Chateau Style in Canada, 1968, 32-4, plate 27, illus.). Their scheme was never realised and the commission for a hotel on the site was later carried out by Bruce Price.

Both Rotch and Tilden had been educated in Boston and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris where they both studied under Emile Vaudremer. Tilden, the senior partner in the firm, trained in the Boston office of Ware & Van Brunt and practised briefly with J.P. Putnam in 1873-75 and with H.W. Hartwell in 1877-78; Rotch also worked as a draftsman for Ware & Van Brunt before travelling to Europe in 1873 where he remained until late 1879. From 1880 the new firm of Rotch & Tilden thrived and would likely have continued to flourish after the turn of the century had it not been for the untimely death of Rotch in August 1894 from the effects of pleurisy (obit. American Architect & Building News [Boston], xlv, 18 Aug. 1894, 1). Tilden retired from practise in 1915 and died in Milton, Mass. (obit. A.I.A. Journal, vii, Sept. 1919, 413). A history of the firm with list of works was prepared in 1985 by H.L. Katz and published by the Boston Athenaeum in an exhibit catalogue entitled A Continental Eye: The Art & Architecture of Arthur Rotch (biog. of A. Rotch, Dictionary of American Biography, viii, 184-5; biog. of Rotch and Tilden in H. Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, 1956, 529, 600)