Peter Harrison (1716–1775) was a colonial American architect who was born in York, England and emigrated to Rhode Island in 1740. Peter Harrison and his brother came to the American colonies and established themselves as merchants and captains of their own "vessels." Peter Harrison returned to England between the years of 1743-45 and received his formal training as an architect under the direction of one of the English Lords who had dedicated themselves to the training of architects through private studio-schools using pattern books, grand tours of Italy and Greece and through applied skills, teaching their students to become expert draftsmen. These private studio-schools drew from the works of the masters such as Palladio and Vitruvius. It is un-known which of the English Lords allowed Mr. Harrison to join their private studio-school. Harrison's travels and education in Europe allowed him to accumulate a substantial library of books concerning Classically inspired forms as well as allowing him to see the latest designs that were produced by the Palladian movement.
Peter Harrison is credited as being the first professionally trained architect in America. He is, however, not the first to deliver Palladianism to America; there are examples that pre-date his works such as Drayton Hall (1738)Matthew Webster, "New discoveries unveil Drayton Hall as a precocious Palladian masterpiece," Palladiana: Journal of the Center for Palladian Studies in...... Read More