Page images
[ocr errors]

Fig. 947.

deduce the proportion of the height and profile of its cornice from the proportions that would be given to it if an order intervened.

2725. If we consider the height of the crowning cornice of a building in this way, and as the portion of an entablature whose height is, as in the case of an order, one fifth of that of the building, we should immediately obtain a good proportion by dividing the whole height into 25 parts and giving two of them to the height of the cornice. For the entablature being one fifth of the whole height, and its general division being into 10 parts, four whereof are given to the cornice, we have for its height the 18 of 1 = x = is, or the twelfth and a half part of the total height of the building = 0·08. Now there are circumstances, such as when the piers are large, and in other cascs when the parts are not very full in their profiles, which may justify a de- DI

U parture from the strict application of this rule ; but it will be seen that in the following ten well-known examples the practice has not much differed from the theory, nearly the greatest deviation being in the celebrated cornice of the Farnese palace, which is here placed (fig. 947.) as an extraordinary work of art in connection with the building it crowns. The examples alluded to are as follow, and we shall begin with those of earlier date, the diminution in height being almost a chronological table of their erection, with the exception of those by Palladio:In the Spannocchi palace, at Siena, the cornice is toto of the whole height of building,

or = 081. In the Picolomini palace, at Siena, the cornice is 78 of the whole height of building,

or x = '074. In the Pojana palace, built by Palladio, at Pojana, in the Vicentine territory, the cornice

is toto of the whole height of building, or =071. In the Strozzi palace, at Florence, the cornice is 600 of the whole height of building,

or='069. In the Pandolfini palace, at Florence, by Raffaelle, the cornice is 1887 of the whole

height of building, or j = '069. In the Villa Montecchio, by Palladio, the cornice is 60 of the whole height of building,

or = '069. In the Villa Caldogno, by Palladio, the cornice is 685 of the whole height of building,

or j = .069. In another villa by Palladio, for the family of Caldogno, the cornice is too of the whole

height of building, or ts = '066. In the Farnese palace, at Rome, the cornice is too of the whole height of building, or 14

= .059. In the Gondi palace, at Florence, the cornice is 50 of the whole height of building, or š

= '057. From these examples it appears that the mean height of the cornices under consideration is something more than one fifteenth of the height of the building, and experience shows that, except under particular circumstances, much more than that is too great, and much less too little, to satisfy an educated eye. The grace beyond the reach of art is, if we may use an Hibernicism, in the power of few, but the bounds have been passed with success, as is testified in the Farnese palace. It may be objected to the system that we have generally adopted in this work, that we are too much reducing the art to rules. But this is a practice of which the painter is not ashamed in the proportions of the human figure, and we must remind our reader and the student that all rules are more for the purpose of restraining excess than bounding the Sights of genius.

2726. Fig. 948. is an entablature by Vignola, which possesses great beauty, and has been often imitated in various ways for crowning a building; this must be con

Fig. 948.


sidered more in relation to a building than a mere cornice, and requires rustic quoins, if possible, at the angles when used. Chambers, speaking of this example, says, that “when it is used to finish a plain building, the whole height is found by dividing the height of the whole front into eleven parts, one of which must be given to the entablature, and the remaining ten to the rest of the front.” We suspect that the smallness which is assigned by this author to its height has been induced by some error, and that a better rule would be induced by assigning to the cornice its proper height, according to the laws above hinted at, and proportioning the rest of the entablature from the cornice thus obtained.

[blocks in formation]

2727. In figs. 949, 950, and 951. are given three examples of block cornices (the second being by Palladio), whose proportions the figures sufficiently show without here giving a detail of their parts. The height of either should not be less than one fifteenth of the height of the building.

[graphic][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

2728. Figs. 952. and 953. are block cornices, which we have adopted from Chambers, the first being from a palace at Milan, and the other, by Raffaelle, in a house in the Lungara at Rome. The height of these, says the author, and we agree with him, need not exceed one sixteenth part of the whole front, nor should either be less than one eighteenth. Fig. 954. is what is called an architrave cornice, which was frequently employed by the old masters. It seems well adapted to the entablatures of columns bearing arches, being rather in the nature of an impost; but it is useful, changing it to suit the order in cases where the height does not admit of the whole of the entablature be used over the order.

Sect. XIX


2729. One of our objects in this work has been to impress throughout on the minds of our readers that architecture does not depend on arbitrary laws; and though we may not have proved satisfactorily to the student that the precise laws have been exactly stated, we trust we have exhibited sufficient to show and convince him that there was a method and limit in the works of the ancients which in the best times prevented the artists from falling on either side into excess.

2730. In fig. 955. we give a door with its architrave, frieze, and cornice, without relation to mouldings, but merely considered in the masses. Its proportions correspond with those most usually adopted; that is, its height is twice its width, the entablature is une fourth of the height of the opening, and the architraves on each side, together, two sixths of the width. The opening, therefore, measuring it in terms of the width of the architrave, will be 6 parts wide and 12 high, and its area consequently 72 parts. Now

Fig. 955.

[ocr errors]

it will be found that the solid parts of this are exactly on their face two thirds of this area ; for up to the top of the opening each architrare being equal to 12, the sum will be 24; and the entablature being 8 wide and 3 (one fourth of twelve) high, 8 x 3=24; which added to 24 for the architraves gives 48 for the solids, and 11 = , as above stated. The same analogy does not seem to hold in respect of doors and windows, of making the voids equal to the supports and weights, as in intercolumniations ; nor indeed ought we to expect to find it, for the conditions are totally different, inasmuch as no door can exist except in a wall, whereas the office of columns is connected with the weight above only. We trust, therefore, we have shown enough to keep the reader's mind alive to some such law as above developed, without insisting very strongly on a minute attention to it in detail.

2731. We shall now, before submitting any examples of doorways to the reader, touch upon some important points that must be attended to; the first of which is, that all gates and doors, independent of all other considerations, must be of sufficient size for convenient passage through them. Hence internal doors must never be reduced under 2 feet 9 or 10 inches, and their height must not be under 6 feet 10 inches or 7 feet, so as to admit the tallest person to pass with his hat. These are minimum dimensions for ordinary houses in the principal floors; but for houses of a superior class, which are provided with what may be called state apartments, widths of 4, 5, and 6 feet, folding doors and the like, will not be too great for the openings, and the heights will of course be in proportion. The entrance doors of private houses ought not to be under 3 feet 6 inches, nor ordinarily more than 6 feet in width; but in public buildings, where crowds of people assemble, the minimum width should be 6 feet, and thence upwards to 10 or 12 feet. No gate should be less than 9 feet wide; and when loaded waggons or carts are to pass through it, 11 or 12 feet will not be too much. As a general observation we may mention that all doors should open inwards, for otherwise the person entering pulls the door in his face, which is an inconvenient mode of entering a room. Also when the width of a door is greater than 3 feet 8 inches it should be formed in two flaps, by which three advantages accrue : first, that the door will not occupy so much space for opening; second, that each door will be lighter; and, third, that the flaps will more nearly fold into the thickness of the wall. Chambers properly says, “ That in settling the dimensions of apertures of doors regard must be had to the architecture with which the door is surrounded. If it be placed in the intercolumniation of an order, the height of the aperture should never exceed three quarters of the space between the pavement and the architrave of the order; otherwise there cannot be room for the ornaments of the door. Nor should it ever be much less than two thirds of that space, for then there will be room sufficient to introduce both an entablature and a pediment without crowding ; whereas if it be less it will appear trifling, and the intercolumniation will not be sufficiently filled. The apertures of doors placed in arches are jegulated by the imposts, the top of the cornice being generally made level with the top of the impost; and when doors are placed in the same line with windows, the top of the aperture should be level with the tops of the apertures of the windows; or if that be not practicable without making the door much larger than is necessary, the aperture may be lower than those of the windows, and the tops of all the cornices made on the same level."

2732. To say that the principal door of a building should if possible be in the centre of the front would seem almost unnecessary; but it is not so, perhaps, to inculcate the necessity of its being so situated in connection with the internal arrangement of the building as to lead with facility to every part of it, being, as Scamozzi observes (Parte Secunda, lib. vi. c. 4.), like the mouth of an animal placed in the middle of the face, and of easy communication with the inside. In the internal distribution the doors should as much as possible be opposite one another on many accounts, not the least whereof is the facility thus given to ventilation ; but such a disposition also gives the opportunity of a far better display of a series of rooms, which on occasions of fêtes imparts great magnificence to the apartments. In this climate it is well to avoid too great a number of doors, and they should never, if it can be avoided, be placed near chimneys, because of subjecting to draughts of air those who sit near the fire. Generally the doors in a room should be reduced to the smallest number that will suit the distribution, and the practice of making feigned or blank doors, though sometimes necessary, should if possible be excluded.

2733. The ornaments with which doors are decorated must of course depend on the building in which they are used; and as this is a matter in which common sense must direct the architect, it is hardly necessary to say that the ornaments applied to them in a theatre would ill suit a church.

2734. The composition and designing of gates and their piers must of necessity suit the *oc casion, as well as the folding gates attached to them, for the enclosure of the parks, gardens, and other places they are to serve. There are few finer examples in the higher class of this species of design than the celebrated gates at Hampton Court.

2:35. The evil days on which we have fallen in this country, in respect of the arts, precludes the hope of again seeing the doors of our buildings ornamented with bassi relievi and bronze ornaments, a practice common among the ancients no less than among the revivers of the arts; witness the doors of St. Peter's, and, above all, those monuments of the art, the doors of the baptistery at Florence by Lorenzo Ghiberti, wherein art rises by being made only subservient to the holy purpose to which it is the mere handmaid. In the mention of doors those of San Giovanni Laterano at Rome must not be omitted; they have the credit of having been the enclosures to the temple of Saturn in the ancient city.

2736. The manufacture of doors has been already sufficiently noticed in the Second Book; and it therefore only remains for us to subjoin a few examples, which, we thins, among many others, deserve the attention of the student.

[ocr errors]


Fig. 957.
Pig. 956.

Fig. 958. 2737. Fig. 956. is an external doorway designed and executed by Vignola, at Caprarola not a great distance north of Rome ; it must speak for itself: if the reader be of oui mind, he will see in it a beautiful handling of the subject; but we cannot further answer foi our opinion, knowing as we do that some of the reviewers of these days may find out that it possesses no æsthetic beauties. There are cases where imitation has been permitted; and the sanction for our opinion is, that it has been imitated by one whom we and all other hold in reverence at Greenwich Hospital, though, as we think with Chambers, for th

“ The aperture is in the form of an arch, and occupies somewhat more than tw thirds of the whole height. It is adorned with two rusticated Doric pilasters and a re gular entablature. The height of the pilasters is 16 modules, that of the entablature 4 The width of the aperture is 7 modules, its height 14, and the breath of each pier i 3 modules.” To the detail of Chambers we have to add that the void in this example which has no analogy to that which as a general rule we gave in the commencement a the section, is about one third of the area of the whole design, the void being to such are as 7:57 to 20.88.

2738. Fig. 957. is a design by the last-mentioned master, in which the void is as nearl as possible equal to one third of the area, the supports another, and the weights the othe third : in other terms, the aperture occupies two thirds of the whole height and one hal of the whole breadth, being, in fact, a double square. Its entablature has an alliance with the Tuscan order, and the cornice is equal to one fifteenth of the whole height of the door These two examples are especially external; those which follow are from their natur applicable in general form to either external or internal doorways.

2739 Fig. 958. is a doorway in the Cancellaria at Rome, and is from the desiga a Vignola. The width is one half the height, and the height of the en tablature is equal to one third of the height of the aperture. The breadth of the architrave is one fifth of the aperture's width, and the pilasters below the consoles are half as broad as the architrave. It is heavy, as might have been expected from the proportion between the voids and the solids.

2740. Fig. 959. is a design by Michael Angelo Buonarotii, and its aperture may be twice its height,



Fig. 96)


the whole entablature a quarter of its height, and the architrave one sixth of the width of the aperture. The face of the pilasters or columns at the sides must be regulated by the lower fascia of the architrave, and their breadth is to be a semidiameter.

2741. Fig. 960. is by Vignola, and is in the Farnese palace at Rome. The opening is twice the width in height, and the entablature is three elevenths of the height of the aperture, one of the foregoing elevenths being given to the architrave. The whole of the ornament on the sides is, including architraves and pilasters, equal to two sevenths of the width of the aperture. The cornice is Composite, with modillions and dentils, and the frieze is enriched with a laurel band.

2742. Fig. 961., another of the examples given by Chambers, is believed to be by Cigoli. The void is rather more in height than twice its width. The impost of the arch is equal to half a diameter, the columns are rather more than nine diameters higb, anc rusticated with five square cinctures. The entablature is not so much as one quai tei un the height of the column, and its tablet is equal to the width of the aperture.

[ocr errors]

No. 961.
Fig. 962.

Pg. 963. 2749. Fig. 962. is by Inigo Jones, and the aperture may be twice as high as it is wide The architrave may be a sixth or seventh of the width of the aperture, the top of it being level with the astragal of the columns, which are Corinthian, and ten diameters in height. They must be so far removed on each side from the architrave as to allow the full projec tion of their bases. The entablature may be from two ninths to one fifth of the coluinn, and the pediment should be regulated by the rules given in Sect. XVII. (2722.).

2744. Fig. 963. is by Serlio. The aperture may be a double square, or a trifle less ; the diameter of the columns a quarter of the width of the aperture, or a trifle less; their height 8 to 8diameters; the entablature about a quarter of the height of the coluinns. and the pediment should be drawn in conformity with the directions in Sect. XVII.

Sect. XX.


2745. Windows, of all the parta of a building, are those which require the greatest nicety in adjustment between the interior and exterior relations of them. The architect who merely looks to the effect they will produce in his façades has done less than half his work, and deserves no better name or rank than that of a mere builder. It seems almost useless to observe that the windows of a building should preserve the same character, that those in each story must be of the same height, and that the openings must be directly over one another. Blank windows are, if possible, to be avoided. they always indicate that the architect wanted skill to unite the internal wants of the building with its external decoration. Windows, moreover, should be as far removed as the interior will permit from the quoins of a building, because they not only apparently, but really, weaken the angles when placed too near them.

2746. Vitruvius, Palladio, Scamozzi, and Philibert de l’Orme, besides many other masters, have given different proportions to them as connected with the apartments to be lighted. That these should be different is indicated by the different places in which those masters have written. Nothing, indeed, seems so much to disallow general laws as the proportion of windows to an apartment; according to the climate, the temperature, the

« PreviousContinue »