John Notman was one of America's leading practitioners of the Italianate Revival style, also known as the Italian Villa style, which had been used in Scotland and England since "rediscovery" of vernacular Italian architecture around 1800 (most famously in Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight). Notman's Burlington, New Jersey home for George Washington Doane, Bishop of New Jersey, built in 1837, was the first noteworthy example of the Italianate Revival in America.
Characterized by its quotations from Italian villas, asymmetrical massing of mass and space, off-center towers, and heavy masonry, the Italianate Revival style formed a popular alternative to the Gothic style for suburban and rural villas. It was less frequently used for public buildings.
Notman's designs for Bishop Doane's residence were reproduced in Andrew Jackson Downing's 1841 Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening with a View to the Improvement of Country Residences. Other notable practitioners of the style included Alexander Jackson Davis, Richard Upjohn and Henry Austin. Of the designs produced by these architects, Notman's "Prospect" remains one of the finest Italianate Revival houses ever to have been built.