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great painter and architect. It is executed in the Pandolfini palace at Florence, on the principal floor. The height of the aperture is a very little more than twice its width, the architrave is one seventh the width of the aperture. The columns, which are lonic, are

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Fig. 981.

9 diameters high, and should be as much detached from the wall as possible. The distance of them from the architrave of the window is a quarter of a diameter, which is also the distance of the entablature from the top of the same architrave. The total height of the entablature is two ninths of that of the column, and the height of the pediment is one quarter of its base or somewhat less. The pedestals are one quarter of the height of the whole order.

2768. Fig. 981. is one of the windows of the Bracciano palace at Rome, by Bernini. The aperture is more than a double square, and the architrave about one sixth the width of the aperture. The entablature is only one fifth of the height of the columns, including their sub-plinths, and the pediment is less in height than one quarter of its extent.

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2769. Fig. 982. is from the principal floor of the Palazzo Thiene at Vicenza. The aperture is two and two tenths of its width in height; the columns are nine diameters hign, and one quarter engaged in the wall. The under sides of the Ionic capitals are level with the top of the aperture, having angular volutes with an astragal and fillet below the volute. The bases are Tuscan, and there are on each shaft five rustic dies of an equal breadtha

wiruse inner sides are on a line with the sides of the aperture, and their projection equal to that of the plinth of the base, that is, one fifth of a diameter of the column. The keystones incline forwards towards the top, and they are hatched, only the surface being left rough, as are likewise the dies on the columns, except at their angles, which are rubbed smooth, The entablature is Ionic, the architrave consisting of only two fasciæ, the frieze swelled and the dentil band placed immediately on the frieze, without any intervening mouldingy a practice not very unusual with Palladio. The pedestals are rather more than one third the height of the columns. The dies and balusters stand on the platband of the basement, which was done to diminish the projection.

2770. Fig. 983. is a design by Inigo Jones, which has been much used in this country. It is rather higher than a double square.

The width of the architrave is one fifth that of the aperture, and the rustics are a trifle less than the third of it. The entablature is two ninths of the height of the opening, and the height of the pedestal is om or nearly so, of the height of the aperture and pedestal taken together.

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2771. Fig. 984. is the design of a Venetian window by Colin Campbell, the compiler of the thre first volumes of the Vitruvius Britannicus ; and

2772. Fig. 985. is very similar to the Venetian windows in the west facade of the Horse Guards, executed by Kent. It is perhaps as favourable an example of this species of window as can be produced.

Sect. XXI.


2773. A niche is a recess constructed in the thickness of a wall for the reception of different objects, such as statues more especially, but occasionally also for that of busts, vases, and tripods. Vitruvius makes no mention of niches, and but for an inscription published by Visconti in the Monumenti Gabini we should not have known that they were by the ancients called 20thecæ, or places for the reception of a figure. Our English word niche is evidently derived from the Italian nicchio, a shell.

2774. In the early Greek temple the niche is not found; at a later period, as in the monument of Philopappus, we find a circular and two quadrangular-headed niches occupied in the time of Stuart by statues; and it does not seem improbable that in the Gymnasia, Agora, Stadia, &c. of the nation mentioned, the use of the niche was not uncommon. But the different forms of the ancient tomb, and the early methods of sepulture, would soon suggest to the Greeks and Romans the use of the niche, especially in such tombs as were devoted to the use of a particular family. These sepulchres, whose subdivisions were called columbaria, had their walls ornamented with small niches for the reception of cinerary urns, or those containing the ashes of the dead. In these, a large-sized niche occupies the principal place in the apartment, and in this was deposited the urn or sarcophagus of the head of the family.

2*75. The sinall temples (ædicula) of the Romans are often found decorated with niches; and in the small building on the Lake of Albano, generally supposed to have been a Nympheum, we find each side of the interior dressed with six niches, whose height sufficiently indicates that they were provided for the reception of statues. In the temple of Diana, at Nismes, in the South of France, which is now considered to have been a portion

of Thermæ, as the great aqueduct ran near it, the interior has two sidus decorated with six Corinthian columns, and in the wall between each column is a niche (called tabernacle by the moderns). Each is placed on a pedestal, and at the sides have pilasters alternately surmounted by segmental and triangular pediments. We do not, however, consider it necessary to enumerate the various Roman works wherein the niche finds a place, and shall therefore do no more than refer the student to the Pantheon, the temple of Peace, the arch of Janus, at Rome, and to its exuberant employment at Palmyra, Baalbec, and Spalato. The buildings cited will furnish bim with examples of all sorts and characters.

2776. The dresses of niches seem to bear an analogy to those of windows and doors in their form and decoration; the niche may really be considered as an opening in a wall, and indeed there are, in the arch of Claudius Drusus, now the Porta Maggiore, at Rome, openings used as niches, in which an object placed may be seen from either side of the wall. It therefore appears not improper to dress the niche with the ornaments which custom has sanctioned for doors and windows. The author of the article “ Niche" in the Encyclopedie Methodique, has divided niches into three classes. The first are such as are square on the plan, and either square or circular-headed. These are the simplest, and are without dressings of any sort. Second, such as are square on their plans, and with square heads, but ornamented with dressings, or crowned with a simple platband supported by two consoles. In the third class are included all niches whose plan and heads are semicircular, either ornamented with festoons, or with dressings, or with columns and entablature. These, says the author, are to be introduced into buildings according to their several characters, from simple to highly enriched, as requisite.

2777. Some architectural authors have laid down positive rules for the proportions of niches. According to others the proportion is found in a niche twice and a half its width in height; and indeed this produces a proportion not inelegant. But in considering the classes separately, they have divided the width of the niches invariably into twelve parts. To a niche of the first class they give twenty-eight of such parts; to one of the second class, thirty; and to one of the third class, thirty-one parts. This reduction, however, of the proportions of a niche seems to us to partake of empiricism ; and we would rather always trust to an educated eye than to rules which seem to have no basis on fitness and propriety. It is, moreover, to be recollected that all rules of art can be considered only as mean terms, serving more as approximations than positive laws for the guidance of the artist in the different combinations he imagines.

2778. The use of tiers of niches over each other is condemned by J. F. Blondel, unless separated by a line of entablature between them, which may seem to indicate the existence of a floor; otherwise, he observes, one figure seems to stand on the head of another. This, however, is an abuse of reasoning ; not that it is to be understood that we think the practice very allowable. The recommendation of this master in respect of the relation between niches and the statues that are to occupy them is worthy of attention. He opposes, and we think with great propriety, the placing a statue without a plinth in the niche. The plinth is, indeed, necessary to the good effect of every statue ; and to pretend that the imitation in marble could or ever was intended to be mistaken for the object it imitates, would be to leave behind all those matters of convention in art for which the spectator is well prepared. In architectural decoration, no less than in the abstract imitation of the objects of sculpture, no one is desirous of believing them natural and living, but only as models of imitation.

2779. The following observations are from Chambers, relative to the size of the statues used in niches. “ The size of the statue depends upon the dimensions of the niche; it should neither be so large as to seem rammed into it, as at Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome, nor so small as to seem lost in it, as in the Pantheon, where the statues do not occupy above three quarters of the height of the niche, and only one half of its width. Palladio, in arched niches, makes the chin of his statues on a level with the top of the impost (springing), so that the whole head is in the coved part. In the nave of St. Peter's, at Rome, the same proportion has been observed, and it has a very good effect. The distance between the outline of the statue and the sides of the niche should never be less than one third of a head, nor more than one half, whether the niche be square or arched; and when it is square, the distance from the top of the head to the soffite of the niche should not exceed the distance left on the sides. The statues are generally raised on a plinth, the height of which may be from one third to one half of a head; and sometimes, where the niches are very large in proportion to the architecture they accompany, as is the case when an order comprehends but one story, the statues may be raised on small pedestals, by which means they may be made lower than usual, and yet fill the niche sufficiently, it being to be feared lest statues of a proper size to fill such niches should make the columns and entabla. ture appear trilling. The same expedient must also be made use of whenever the statues in the niches, according to their common proportions, come considerably larger than those placed at the top of the building. A trifling disparity will not be easily perceived, un ac

count of the distance between their respective situations; but if it be great, it has s very bad effect; and therefore this must be well attended to and remedied, either by the above-mentioned method, or by entirely omitting statues at the top of the building, leaving the balustrade either free, or placing thereon vases, trophies, and other similar ornaments. Further on in the same work, the author says that "niches, being designed as repositories for statues, groups, vases, or other works of sculpture, must be contrived to set off the things they are to contain to the best advantage; and therefore no ornaments should ever be introduced within them, as is sometimes injudiciously practised, the cove of the niche being either filled with a large scollop shell, or the whole inside with various kinds of pro jecting rustics, with moulded compartments, either raised or sunken, or composed of different coloured marbles, for all these serve to confuse the outline of the statue or group. It is even wrong to continue an impost within the niche, for that is of considerable disadvantage to the figures, which never appear so perfect as when backed and detached on a plain smooth surface. An excess of ornaments round the niche should likewise be avoided, and particularly masks, busts, boys, or any representation of the human figure, all which serve to divide the attention, and to divert it from the principal object."

2780. “The depth of the niche should always be sufficient to contain the whole statue, or whatever else it is to contain, it being very disagreeable to see statues, or any other weighty objects, with false bearings, and supported on consoles or other projections, as is sometimes done, and in the case of niches, the side views become exceedingly uncouth ; for in these a leg, an arm, a head, in short, those parts alone which project beyond the niche. appear and look like so many fragments, stuck irregularly into the wall." We trust we shall be excused for this and many other long quotations from Chambers, on account of the strong common sense with which they abound, though not always expressed in the most elegant language that might have been selected.

2781. We conclude the section with a few examples of niches, whose general proportions are sufficiently to be derived from the figures which represent them, and which, therefore, will not require our more minute description in this place, the diagrams themselves being the more useful mode of submitting the subject to the student.

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2782. Fig. 986. is the simple niche, square and circular in the head and in the plan ; in the latter we have before, as a general rule, given the proportion of its height as twice and a half that of its width ; but the former, or the square-headed one, may be a double square, yet it never should exceed in height twice and a half its width.

2783. Fig. 987. is a common form of using the niche where the opening of windows with which it is accompanied requires a correspondent square recess for the niches, as also in interiors where the leading lines may require such an expedient.

2784. Fig. 988. shows the method of introducing niches in a rusticated basement, which is often requisite. The rustics are received on a flat ground, in which the niche is formed. The reader is not to understand that any of the figures are intended as models for imitation, but merely as modes on which, in using them, he may $0 work as to reduce them to his own views in the design whereon he is engaged.

2785. Fig. 989. is from the plate of Palladio's Egyptian Hall, and exhibits the violation of Chambers's excellent maxim of not allowing the impost to be continued round the springing of the niche. If niches are merely introduced for play of light and shadow without reference to their reception of statues, the practice of this abuse may be tolerated ; but certainly not in cases where statues are to be placed in them.

2786. Fig. 990. is the niche accompanied by entablature, pediment, architraves, consoles, and pedestals, as in the windows which have already

Tig, 991.


Pig. 95


been given, and their proportions will serve as a guide in this; the only difference being that a niche is inserted within the architrave of the opening.

2787. Fig. 991. is imitated from one of the niches of the Pantheon, for the details whereof the reader may refer to Desgodetz.

Sect. XXII.

CHIMNEY PIECES. 2788. It is not our intention to devote much of a space, necessarily restricted, to the consideration of designs for chimney pieces; not because we consider them unworthy of the serious attention of the student, nor because the ever-varying fashion of the day seems to create a desire for new forms, but because they come under the category of doors and windows (strange as it may seem) in respect of the relation of the void to the solid parts. We are not aware that any view of this nature has heretofore been involved in the consideration of them. but we are not the more on that account to be driven from our hypothesis. The examples of chimney pieces that have been given by Chambers, and, before him, by old Serlio, were but fashions of their respective days; and if it be possible to establish something like a canon on which they might be designed, we apprehend it would be useful to the student.

2789. A chimney piece is the ornamental decoration applied to the aperture of a chimney opening, and it seems but reasonable that in its general distribution it should be subject to those laws which regulate the ornaments of other openings. The forms and fancies into which this ornament of a room may be changed are infinite, and we therefore consider that if its appendages can be drawn into a consistent shape we shall be of service in the few

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Fig. 992,

Fig. 993.

Fig. 994.

remarks subjoined. In fig. 992. the chimney opening to be decorated is 4.0 wide and 3 feet 6 inches high; its area is therefore equal to 4 : 0x3 : 6=14 feet. The principle here recommended is to make the two supporting pieces equal to one half of that area, or seven feet, and the supported piece B equal to the other half. Now, as the height is 3 : 6, we shall have 3-5=2 for the width of the two piers, that is, each will be one foot wide. By the addition of these to the width of the opening, the dimension becomes six feet; and as B is to contain seven feet superficial, it follows that ?=1is the height of B that it may contain 7 feet.

2790. In fig. 993. we have shown the method of developing the principle; in it the supports, load, and void bear the same relation to each other as in the preceding figure. The entablature is divided into three equal parts for the architrave, frieze, and cornice, and trusses are placed on the pilasters by the sides of the architrave. The tablet is of course not absolutely required, and the trusses may be formed of leaves instead of being plain, as here shown.

2791. Fig. 994. is another mode of using the proportions given in fig. 992., and upon it, as well as that last given, we have only to observe, they are not introduced as specimens of design, but solely with the view of illustrating a principle. The projection of chimneypieces should not generally be greater than the whole width of the support, nor less than half.

2792. We wish we could give some rule for adjusting the size of a chimney opening to that of the room it is to warm. Morris, in his Lectures on Architecture, before quoted, imagined that he had found out one, and he speaks with confidence on the results which follow its use ; but we confess we are not satisfied with them. We nevertheless should be wrong in omitting it, and therefore give his words for the consideration of the student. The first rule is as follows: —“To find the height of the opening of the chimney from any given magnitude of a room, add the length and height of the room together, and extract the square root of that sum, and half that root will be the height of the chimney.” The second rule is as follows:-“ To find the breadth of a chimney from any given magnitude

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