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sketch to illustrate this has been added from the work of Mr. r.„ ,Elmes. To the finial is fastened a strong metal ring, and to that is suspended a large piece of timber, 80 feet long, loaded with iron; at the bottom are two oak floors, the upper about two inches and a half, and the lower three inches less than the interior masonry of the spire. When the wind blows the spire out of the perpendicular, the pendulum floor touches the lee side of the spire, thus tending to restore the equilibrium of the masonry.
The Doric column at the foot of London Bridge, (Monument,) the largest single column in existence, except the Wellington testimonial, at Dublin, was also designed by Wren; its entire height is 202 feet, being 42 higher than Trajan's column; the pedestal is 40 feet high, 20 feet square; the diameter of the base is 15 feet, and there is a staircase in the shaft of 345 steps.
The works of Sir C. Wren do not appear to have been all uniformly successful. Hampton Court and Winchester Palace are far from being favourable specimens of the art. The studies made by him from the buildings of Louis the Fourteenth had too visible an effect on his own designs of palaces and private buildings; and "it may be considered fortunate," observes Horace Walpole, " that the French built only palaces and no churches, and therefore Saint Paul's escaped, but Hampton Court was sacrificed to the god of false taste." Wren's failure at Hampton Court may, in a great measure, be attributed to his having worked under the directions of William, whose favourite residence it was, and whose taste in architecture was far below his merit as a patriot king; indeed, when the arrangement of the low cloisters was criticized, the monarch, with his wonted honesty, took the whole blame on himself, acknowledging that they had been constructed by his own particular orders. Nor is it unreasonable to infer that in his other buildings, the defects arose in some degree from the taste of his employers, and that he was compelled by them to
adopt the French fashions, which at that time retained the powerful influence in this country, which the profligate and frivolous court of Charles II. had bestowed upon them.
We have omitted to notice the College of Physicians,* built by Wren, which, in a particular department, was one of the most scientific of Wren's edifices. The exterior, indeed, was nowise to be admired; but in the interior, for the purposes of utility and convenience, it was considered perfect, as affording every facility both for seeing and hearing, in the display of anatomical operations and philosophical experiments. As a study of acoustic and optical architecture it was perhaps unrivalled, the peculiar character of the roof and form of the section being admirably adapted to the distribution of sound, and the form of the hall equally suited to the convenience of seeing.
In the construction of theatres and. of churches, the propagation of sound is one of the most important points to be attended to. The doctrine of acoustics is little understood by builders in this country, and yet, however hidden to us the subject may be, it is certain the ancients understood its principles with great accuracy; whilst in modern times this important object of architecture has been almost wholly neglected. Vitruvius describes the effects of the science as well understood by the Greeks. The method of producing the effect of the increase of sound in their theatres was singular; and from the mention of it in Vitruvius, as being of frequent use both in these and in the Roman theatres, it is to be inferred that the effect sought was produced. The arrangement, as described, consisted in placing bronze vases or jars in small chambers or recesses having an opening in front in the precinctio, between the first and second row of seats. These jars were inverted, having one end partially raised: they were of different sizes, and are said to have been arranged according to some principle of harmony. It has been a matter of considerable surprise that, with the number of travellers who have been of late so actively exploring the antiquities of Greece and Italy, no remains of this contrivance have been discovered. Mr. Banks, however, it is said, discovered at Scythopolis the remains of these chambers situated in the precinctio, with doors at the back, apparently for the convenience of access to adjust the vases. This is an important subject of consideration in the construction of theatres, and more particularly in church architecture. In the present churches it not unfrequently happens that the architect ensures the congregation full opportunity of contemplating his edifice, by so building it that no articulate sound can reach half the persons present. There is another important point in the construction of churches, which has been hitherto mainly overlooked, namely, the advantage arising from what is termed hypethrai light, or light from the roof. When this is adopted, the interior architecture has its own light and shade in the same way as the outside; and that solemn effect, so well adapted to sacred buildings, is attained by the appearance of seclusion and abstraction which the light coming from above instead of the sides is calculated to bestow.
* Ttn bkudinf is now dismantled.
Wren did not publish any works in his lifetime, except his contributions to the Royal Society, and his answer to the attacks made against him. In the Purentalia, a few lragments of essays are printed, some of which contain very judicious observations on the science of architecture. The limits of this sketch do not, however, permit any very long extracts; the following are, perhaps, the most interesting:
"Position is necessary for perfecting beauty. There are only two beautiful position of strait lines, perpendicular and horizontal; this is from nature, and consequently necessity, no other than npright being firm. Oblique positions are discord to the eye, unless answered in pairs, as in the sides of an equicrural triangle; therefore Oothic buttresses are all ill-favoured and were avoided by the ancients, and no roofs, almost, but spheric raised to be visible, except in the front, where the lines answer in spheric in all positions the ribs answer. Cones and multangular prisms want neither beauty nor firmness, but are not ancient.
"Views contrary to beauty are deformity, or a defect of uniformity: and plainness, which is the excess of uniformity : variety makes the mean.
'* Variety of uniformities makes complete beauty. Uniformities are best tempered, as rhymes in poetry, alternately, or sometimes with more variety, as in stanzas.
*• In things to be seen at once much variety makes confusion, another vice of beauty. Tn things that are not seen at once, and have no respect one to another, great variety is commendable, provided this variety transgress not the rules of optics and geometry.
"An architect ooght to be jealous of novelties, in which fancy blinds the judgment; and to think his judges as well those that are to live five centuries after him, as those of his own time. That which is commendable now for novelty, will not be a new invention to posterity, when his works are often imitaied. and when it is unknown which was the original; but the glory of that which is good of Itselt, is eternal. ■
YerBeU in peryectw, for every thing Wt »ppearg
well in the orthography may not be good in the model, especially where are many angles and projections; and every thing that is good in model may not be -o when built: because a model is seen from other stations and distances than the eye sees the building; but this will hold universally true, that whatsoever is good in perspective, and will hold so in all the principal views, whether direct or oblique, will be as good in great, if this only caution be observed, that regard be had to the distance of the eye in the principal stations.
"Things seen near at hand may have small and many members, be well furnished with ornaments, and may lie flatter; on the contrary, all this rare is ridiculous nr great distances; there bulky members and full projections casting quick shadows are commendable; small ornaments at too great distance serve only to confound the symmetry and to take away the lustre of the object, by darkening it with many little shadows.
"There are different reasons for objects, whose chief view is in front, and for those whose chief view is tidewayi.
"Fronts ought to be elevated in the middle not the corner!; oecause the middle is the place of greatest dignity and first arrests the eye; and rather projecting forward in the middle than hollow. Fur these reasons pavilions at the corners are nanght, because they make both faults, a hollow and depressed front. Where hollows and solids are mixed, the hollow is to be in the middle; for hollows are either niches, windows, or doors. The first require the middle to give the statue dignity; the second, that the view from within may be direct; the third, that the visto may be straight. The ancients elevated the middle with a tympan and statne, or a dome. The triumphant arches. which now seem flat, were elevated by the magnificent figure of the victor in his chariot with four horses abreast, and other statues accompanying it. No sort of pinnacle is worthy enough to appear in the air but statue. Pyramids are Gothic; pots are modern French. Chiu.nies ought to be hid if not well adorned. No roof can have dignity enough to appear above a com ice but the circular: in private buildings it is excusable. The ancients affected flatness. In buildings where the view is sideways, as in streets, it is absolutely required that the composition should be square; intercolumniationa equal; projections not great; the cornices unbroken, and every thing strait, equal, and uniform. Breaks in the cornice, projectures of the upright members, variety, inequality in the parts, various heights of the roof, serve only to confound the perspective and make it deformed; while the breaches and projections are cast upon one another and obscure all symmetry. In this sort of building there seems no proportion of length to the heignt; for a portico the longer the more beautiful, in infinitum; on the contrary, fronts require a proportion of the breadth to the height; higher than three times the breadth is indecent, and as ill to be above three times as broad as high. From this rule I except obelisks, pyramids, columns, sachas Trajan's, ire, which seem rather single things than compositions; I except also long porticoes, though seen direct, where the eye, wandering over the same members, infinitely repeated, and not easily finding the boundsmakes Do comparison of them with the height."
"Modern authors, who have treated of architecture, seem generally to have little more in view, bat to set down the proportions of columns, architraves, and cornices, in the several orders as they are distinguished into Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite; and in these proportions, finding them in the ancient fabrics of the Greeks and Romans, (though more arbitrarily used than ihcy care to acknowledge,) they have reduced them into rules, too strict and pedantic, and so as not to be transgressed without the crime of barbarity; though, in their own nature, they are but the modes and fashions of those ages wherein they were used; but because they were found in the great structures(the ruins of which we now admire.) we think ourselves strictly obliged still to follow the lashion, though we Cm never attain to the grandeur of tho»e wvrk4,'[
Chapter VII. The School of Wren.—His Successors.
It may be proper to close this treatise with a few observations on the successors of Wren,—on the present taste for architecture, — and on the French school.
Hawkesmore, Vanbrugh, Gibbs, and others, of the same date, followed in his footsteps, proceeding upon the foundations laid by the revived or Palladian school. Hawkesmore was amongst the most successful pupils; he was so considered by his master, and he certainly surpassed his contemporary, Vanbrugh. It is observable, that after the age of Wren, something beyond the pitch of the art was attempted by his immediate successors, and amongst the foremost in this attempt was Hawkesmore. Something beyond the orders, something almost colossal appears to have been effected; but although there was a partial success, it seems as if something greater was intended than was, or indeed could be, attained. The works of Hawkesmore evince great beauties of conception, but mixed with so many caprices and so many defects, that he has perhaps never yet received his due share of credit.
The steeple, as applied to a building on the plan of a Grecian or Roman temple, is always absurd, and even Wren himself could not always rescue it from deserved and contemptuous criticism: but Hawkesmore appears to have been the only one who has ventured to place this steeple on one side of the building, as in St. George's, Bloomsbury; by this means avoidmg at least the mcongruity of making a steeple rise out of a temple. St. George's, Limehouse, and St. Mary's Wolnoth's, may be considered as the best specimen of his style; and the beautiful portico of St. Martin's in the Fields, now again about to see the light, is the masterpiece of Gibbs.
Amongst the succeeding class in the Palladian school, the most conspicuous were Ware, Sir William Chambers, and the Adams. Sir William Chambers's works are remarkable for their taste and elegance, and for a purer imitation of the antique of Italy. The Adams, with many defects chiefly from falling into the details of the Venetian school, produced works worthy of admiration, and were the first who investigated the Roman baths and the remains of the Roman villas, thus opening a new
source of architectural combination, of which they often took great and judicious advantage. The Library at Luton is one of the most striking examples of this happy adaptation.
Without being entirely devoted to what is termed the Palladian school, or wishing to be supposed insensible to the beauty of the pure Grecian architecture, it must be admitted that the present taste for the pure Greek is carried too far. While we acknowledge the excellence of the great original, there is danger that some of the present professors may lose sight of the valuable additions which architecture has acquired from the labours of the Romans, and after them from the Revival school. These improvements are more adapted to utility than the Grecian architecture, which was besides deficient in some of the most important principles of magnificence, as for instance those obtamed by the introduction of the arch, which opened a new field for grandeur, variety, and extent, and enabled the architect to cover a space beyond the power or combination of the Greeks to reach. It is almost impossible, by taking the very few existing examples of Grecian architecture (consisting only of sacred edifices) as models, to erect buildings calculated to serve the infinitely varied purposes of modern wants, without the risk of distortion and misapplication. The excellence of Greek architecture consisted in its principles of elegance and proportion, and what may be termed the detail, rather than its utility for the great purposes of construction. The shape of the Grecian temple admits of no change without the destruction of its beauty: add a side wing as a vestry, or let a tall spire shoot up above the low tympanum, and every prmciple of proportion and fitness is destroyed. Besides, the thing we produce has little resemblance to the original: the Grecian temple was designed to form a feature in the surrounding landscape, to be a vehicle for the exposition of sculpture, of the most exquisite and elaborate kind; it was radiant with gold, azure, and vermilion, laid on the pure marble; the delicate mouldings were to be seen under an unclouded sun, and to remain in a climate which conserved an unchanged appearance for ages. How different is the copy, cooped up in the smokes of a great city, composed of coarse materials, and without any aid of ornament, except a few mock stone vases or figures wretchedly executed I
The exclusive admiration of the Grecian architecture is becoming the cant of the day. It is impossible to agree with the dogmas of the professors in their exclusion of all the resources which the ingenuity of the moderns has furnished, and which the necessities of greater civilisation require: yet this different and less intolerant opinion may be entertained without any deficiency in admiration of the beautiful specimens of antiquity. This country is greatly indebted to the publications of Stuart and Uevett, and of the Dillettanti Society, who first cultivated the true taste for Grecian antiquities, and laid accurate representations of them before the public. Stuart, whose original employment was that of painting fan mounts, but whose talents and industry enabled him to surmount all difficulties.conceived the happy idea of going to the original source of the beautiful in the arts; and from reading the Grecian history, figured to himself that there must remain at Athens a purer style than had been adopted either by the ltomans or by the Revival school. He performed thejourney on foot, with very slender resources, and joining company with Mr. Revelt, produced the work which has redounded so much to the credit of himself and of his country. His project immediately excited the jealousy and with it the rivalry of the French, who despatched Le Roy in order to anticipate their labours, which he did by publishing his work at Paris long before the work of Stuart and Revett appeared. Le ltoy however employed only twentyone days in executng that which his rivals were engaged on for three years. The result might be easily foreseen. Le Roy's book soon sold for waste paper, and the Athenian Antiquities have since their publication in England been reprinted at Paris.
In mentioning the different great artists of the English school, we should do injustice in omitting the names of several distinguished amateur architects. Amongst the foremost of these stand Lord Pembroke, Lord Burlington, Lord Leicester, Dr. Aldriche, and Dr. Clarke, whose labours have tended so much to the advancement of the science, and whose works redound so much to their credit.
In comparing the French and Engglish modern schools of architecture, Monsieur Le Grand, in his Essay, has very candidly admitted our superiority: "The English," he says, "adopted Pal
ladio, whilst we have followed the orders of Vigniola; but with this difference ;—they adopted the plans of Palladio entire, and accompanied by all their elegance and simplicity, whilst we have applied the orders of Vigniola to the most complex shapes in our buildings, and which we have overloaded with whimsical ornaments of the very worst taste: and the result of a comparison between the ancient architecture and ours is, that our own is complex, whilst that of the ancients was simple; theirs exhibits grand ideas in the most trilling edifices, whilst ours, in the execution of the greatest objects, are but a collection of small parts, and those united with difficulty, which is miscalled ingenuity."
The fact is, the French were ambitious of forming a new school: they were to invent new orders which were to be exclusively French; and their buildings in the age of Louis XIV. exhibit examples, in which all kinds of incongruous ornament are collected together without principle or meaning. To this succeeded what they conceived to be the pure Grecian taste; but as it was before the Grecian monuments had been studied or understood, this second manner was in truth very little more elegant or perfect than the former. They are scarcely ever successful in their attempts to adopt the styles of antiquity: although there is no nation so prone to affect a species of classical show, and none more ambitious of giving to the productions in art a classical air. This is observable particularly in their school of design, and in their drama; and yet it is impossible to contend that they havebeen successful. The difference of taste and manner between the French and the English, may, perhaps, be accounted for in some degree by their different modes of study. The French both in their studies awl in their pursuits adopt more of the academic system than is followed in England; they work in bodies, and under the direction of the government, whilst our most laboured productions are the works of individuals, and consequently more likely to afford specimens of originality, it not of perfection. Without entirely denying the benefit of academies for the advancement of the arts, it is only from frequent experience of their failure through mismanagement, that the argument arises against increasing their number, or extending their mfluence.
Chapter I. revival of letters, of the fine arts, and
Introduction —Michael AngeloS Early }he discovery of printing, which fol2,tye. lowed m quick succession. It was to
wards the close of this time, that MiThere is no period in the history of the Chael Angelo Buonaroti attained world so fertile in striking and impor- his greatest eminence, tant events, as that which embraces the It was mainly his genius that was