Description of Historic Place
Sewell House is located in Upper Town Québec next to the citadel in the city of Québec’s historic district. The two-and-a-half-storey square-shaped building has a gable roof and symmetrical five-bay façade. The central entrance is reached by a double flight of stairs while notable features include multi-pane windows, a stringcourse, and basement windows in every bay. The walls are of dressed stone, with simple limestone window and door surrounds. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Sewell House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Sewell House is a very good example of the early 19th-century development in Upper Town Québec under the British Regime. The house stands as an example of the settlement of the administrative and wealthier classes during the growth and development of Upper Town. The house was constructed for former Chief Justice Jonathan Sewell, (1766-1839), who was Solicitor General and Attorney General of Lower Canada before becoming a member of the Provincial Legislature in 1796. He is remembered chiefly for his alliance with, and influence on, the unpopular governor, Sir James Craig. As the military presence in the area expanded, the house was used as a post office, officer’s quarters, Government House, and a duplex for officers’ families and is currently part of the Québec Garrison Club National Historic Site of Canada.
Sewell House is a very good example of British Classicism with its simple geometry and careful proportions. The balanced proportions of the sober façade are characteristic of the period. Good functional design is noted in the adaptability of the space over time. Very good craftsmanship and materials are evidenced in the masonry.
Sewell House reinforces the present historic character of its residential setting in the city of Québec’s historic district, and is a local landmark.
Sources: Paul Trépanier, La Maison Sewell, 87 rue Louis, Quebec, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Report 87-112c; Sewell House (Office Keeper’s Quarters), Quebec, Heritage Character Statement 87-112c.
The character-defining elements of Sewell House should be respected.
Its very good aesthetics, functional design, and very good craftsmanship, for example:
- the two-and-a-half-storey massing, with a low-pitched gabled roof with three dormers;
- the front façade with its symmetrical, five-bay design, and central entrance;
- the regularly placed doors and multi-paned windows;
- the stone construction of regularly coursed dressed stone;
- the rectangular, two-light transom design above the principal entrance;
- the simple limestone window and door surrounds, and the boxed and trimmed cornice;
- a rear two-storey addition with verandahs;
- the interior configuration, and remaining original interior finishes;
- the basement windows at each bay, the larger central basement window sheltered by the covered arch under the double flight of stairs leading to the front door landing.
The manner in which Sewell House reinforces heritage character of its streetscape setting and is a local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its scale, design and materials, which complement the related adjacent structures;
- its visibility and familiarity within the local area due to its prominent location in the city of Québec.