Museums & Historic Sites

Architecture of the Governor’s Mansion

Today we continue the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion series, written by guest blogger Mary Lohrenz, curator of the mansion. 

Designed by architect William Nichols, who also designed the 1839 Mississippi Capitol, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is an outstanding example of domestic Greek Revival architecture.  Greek Revival is a style based on the reuse of ancient Greek architectural forms.  The Greek Revival style often combines both Roman and Greek influences and is sometimes called the Classical style.

What is Greek Revival about the mansion? 

Front portico, Mississippi Governor's Mansion, 2010
Choragic monument of Lysicrates, drawn by Stuart and Revett
Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, drawn by Stuart and Revett, 1762

Let’s start with the front exterior. The design of the Corinthian columns on the 1841 mansion front portico is the same as that of the Corinthian columns on the 334 B.C. Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece.  William Nichols may have used the scale drawings of this ancient Greek monument that were published in The Antiquities of Athens, Volume I (1762) by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett. 

Northeast column capital, Portico, Governor's Mansion
Northeast column capital, Portico, Mississippi Governor's Mansion, 2010
Scale drawing of choragic monument of Lysicrates, by Stuart and Revett
Scale drawing of Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, by Stuart and Revett, 1762

Look particularly at the capital (decorative top) of the Corinthian columns of the Mansion portico and the ancient Athens monument in the images above to see the similarities.

More mansion architecture coming next…

Read more about the mansion’s history and view frequently asked questions

Free tours of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion are given Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. on the half-hour.  Reservations are required for groups of ten or more.  Because the mansion may be closed for official state functions, you should call 601-359-6421 to confirm tour availability.