Page images

An encyclopædia is necessarily a limited arena for the exhibition of an author's power; for although every subject in the department of which it treats must be noticed, none can be discussed so extensively as in a separate work. An attempt to produce a Complete Body of Architecture the author believes to be entirely original. In his celebrated work, L'Art de Bâtir, Rondelet has embodied all that relates to the construction of buildings. Durand, too (Leçons et Précis d'Architecture), has published some admirable rules on composition and on the graphic portion of the art. Lebrun ( Théorie d'Architecture) has treated on the philosophy of the equilibrium, if it may he

80 called, of the orders. The Encyclopédie Méthodique contains, und various heads, some invaluable detached essays, many of which, howeve suffer from want of the illustrative plates which were originally projected an appendage to them. All these, with others in the French languag might, indeed, be formed into a valuable text-book for the architect; but i such attempt has hitherto been made. Neither in Germany nor in Italy h any complete work of the kind appeared. In the English, as in oth languages, there are doubtless several valuable treatises on different branch of the art, though not to the same extent as in French. In 1756, Wa (London, folio) published what he called A Complete Body of Architectui This, though in many respects an useful work, is far behind the wants of tl present day. It is confined exclusively to Roman and Italian architectur but it does not embrace the history even of these branches, nor does it conta a word on the sciences connected with construction. The details, therefoi not being sufficiently carried out, and many essential branches being entire omitted, the work is not so generally useful as its name would imply. Fro these authorities, and many others, besides his own resources, the author this encyclopædia has endeavoured to compress within the limits of o closely-printed volume all the elementary knowledge indispensable to t student and amateur; and he even ventures to indulge the belief that it w be found to contain information which the experienced professor may ha overlooked.

Though, in form, the whole work pretends to originality, this pretension not advanced for the whole of its substance. Not merely all that has long be known, but even the progressive discoveries and improvements of mode times, are usually founded on facts which themselves have little claims novelty. As a fine art, architecture, though in its applications and chang inexhaustible, is in respect of first principles confined within certain limit but the analysis of those principles and their relation to certain types ha afforded some views of the subject which, it is believed, will be new even those who have passed their lives in the study of the art.

In those sciences on which the constructive power of the art is based, t author apprehended he would be entitled to more credit by the use weightier authorities than his own. Accordingly, in the Second Book, has adopted the algebra of Euler; and in other parts, the works of writers established reputation. The use of Rossignol's geometry may indeed be d approved by rigid mathematicians; but, considering the variety of attainmer indispensable to the architectural student, the author was induced to short and smooth his path as much as possible, by refraining from burdening 1 memory with more mathematical knowledge than was absolutely requisite 1 hrs particular art. On this account, also, the instruction in algebra is i carried beyond the solution of cubic equations; up to that point it w necessary to prepare the learner for a due comprehension of the succeedi inquiries into the method of equilibrating arches and investigating the pri sures of their different parts.


Il matters of importance, in which the works of previous writers have ed, the sources have been indicated, so that reference to the originals

made. Upon the celebrated work of Rondelet above mentioned, on Parned articles in the Encyclopédie Méthodique, and on the works of ! and other esteemed authors, large contributions have been levied; :se citations, it will be observed, appear for the first time in an

dress. In that part of the work which treats of the doctrine of arches, if materials, it will be seen, have been borrowed from Rondelet, whose he author has adopted in preference to those he himself gave to the nany years ago, in a work which passed through several editions. in the section on shadows, the author has not used his own treatise graphy. In the one case, he is not ashamed to confess his inferiority important a branch of the architect's studies; and in the other, he nat matured experience has enabled him to treat the subject in a form o be more extensively useful than that of treading in his former steps.



sciences of which an architect should be cognisant are enumerated by us at some length in the opening chapter of his first book. They are,

a little too much swelled, though the Roman in some measure s the extent to which he would have them carried. “For," he ob

in such a variety of matters ” (the different arts and sciences)“ it be supposed that the same person can arrive at excellence in each.” ain: “That architect is sufficiently educated whose general knowledge him to give his opinion on any branch when required to do so. Those som nature hath been so bountiful that they are at once geometricians, ners, musicians, and skilled in many other arts, go beyond what is 1 by the architect, and may be properly called mathematicians in the d sense of that word.” Pythius, the architect of the temple of Minerva ne, differed, however, from the Augustan architect, inasmuch as he :ed it absolutely requisite for an architect to have as accurate a knowall the arts and sciences as is rarely acquired even by a professor devoted rely to one.

work whose object is to compress within a comparatively restricted

vast a body of information as is implied in an account of what is of historical, theoretical, and practical architecture, it is of the highest nce to preserve a distinct and precise arrangement of the subjects, so ey may be presented to the reader in consistent order and unity. t order and method, indeed, the work, though filled with a large and e stock of information, would be but an useless mass of knowledge. ing the subjects in detail, the alphabet has not been made to perform ction of an index, except in the glossary of the technical terms, which serves at the same time the purpose of a dictionary, and that of an to the principal subjects noticed in the work. The following is a cal view of its contents, exhibiting its different parts, and the mode in hey arise from and are dependent on each other.

[A List of the Contents was here inserted.]

Perfection is not attainable in human labour, and the errors and defects this work will, doubtless, in due time be pointed out; but as the subject 1 occupied the author's mind during a considerable practice, he is inclined think that these will not be very abundant. He can truly say that he 1 bestowed upon it all the care and energy in his power; and he alone responsible for its errors or defects—the only assistance he has to acknowlet being from his son, Mr. John Sebastian Gwilt, by whom the illustrat drawings were executed. No apology is offered for its appearance, inasmt as the want of such a book has been felt by every architect at the beginn of his career. Not less is wanted a similar work on Civil Engineering, wh the author has pleasure in stating is about to be shortly supplied by friend, Mr. Edward Cresy. [This work has since been published.]

[blocks in formation]

GWILT'S ENCYCLOPÆDIA, first published in 1842, has now pasi through eight impressions, those of 1867 and 1876 having received extens revision and many important additions at the hands of Mr. Wyatt Papwor In this, the ninth impression, besides many requisite amendments and ad tions throughout the pages, the chapters entitled MATERIALS USED IN Bull ING and Use of MATERIALS, which constitute a main portion of the wo have been largely revised, parts rewritten and added to in important parti lars, especially in regard to the details of Fireproof and Sanitary constructi in order to record the results of later theories and the numerous inventii introduced since the previous revision. The section SPECIFICATIONS has bı recompiled and enlarged. Several sections of the chapter on PUBLIC A Private Buildings have been withdrawn, and some re-inserted in other p tions of the work: a few added revised. The Lives of eminent Archite have been brought down to date ; as are also the PUBLICATIONS, which b: been partly re-arranged in additional classes ; while the GLOSSARY OF TEI has been amended where desirable. The INDEX has been carefully revi to include all new matter.

PATERNOSTER Row: June 1888.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »