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In the course of arranging the following essay, I put many 
things aside in my thoughts to be said, in the Preface, things 
which I shall now put aside altogether, and pass by ; for when 
a book has been advertised a year and a half, it seems best to 
present it with as little preface as possible. 

Thus much, however, it is necessary for the reader to know, 
that, when I planned the work, I had materials by me, col- 
lected at different times of sojourn in Venice during the last 
seventeen years, which it seemed to me might be arranged 
^ with little difficulty, and which I believe to be of value as 
rrj illustrating the history of Southern Gothic. Requiring, how- 
ever, some clearer assurance respecting certain points of 
^ chronology, I went to Venice finally in the autumn of 1849, 
l>* not doubting but that the dates of the principal edifices of 
CO the ancient city were either ascertained, or ascertainable with- 
out extraordinary research. To my consternation, I found 
that the Venetian antiquaries were not agreed within a cen- 
tury as to the date of the building of the facades of the Ducal 
Palace, and that nothing was known of any other civil edifice 
of the early city, except that at some time or other it had been 
fitted up for somebody's reception, and been thereupon fresh 
painted. Every date in question was determinable only by 
internal evidence, and it became necessary for me to examine 
not only every one of the older palaces, stone by stone, but 
every fragment throughout the city which afforded any clue 
to the formation of its styles. This I did as well as I could, 
and I believe there will be found, in the following pages, the 
only existing account of the details of early Venetian architect- 


ure on which dependence can be placed, as far as it goes, \ 
do not care to point out the deficiencies of other works on thi3 
subject ; the reader will find, if he examines them, either that 
the buildings to which I shall specially direct his attention 
have been hitherto undescribed, or else that there are great 
discrepancies between previous descriptions and mine : for 
which discrepancies I may be permitted to give this single and 
sufficient reason, that my account of every building is based 
on personal examination and measurement of it, and that my 
taking the pains so to examine what I had to describe, was a 
subject of grave surprise to my Italian friends. The work of 
the Marchese Selvatico is, however, to be distinguished with 
resrject ; it is clear in arrangement, and full of useful, though 
vague, information ; and I have found cause to adopt, in great 
measure, its views of the chronological succession of the 
edifices of Venice. I shall have cause hereafter to quarrel with 
it on other grounds, but not without expression of gratitude 
for the assistance it has given me. Fon tana's "Fabbriche di 
Venezia " is also historically valuable, but does not attempt to 
give architectural detail. Cicognara, as is now generally 
known, is so inaccurate as hardly to deserve mention. 

Indeed, it is not easy to be accurate in an account of any- 
thing, however simple. Zoologists often disagree in their de- 
scriptions of the curve of a shell, or the plumage of a bird, 
though they may lay their specimen on the table, and ex- 
amine it at their leisure ; how much greater becomes the like- 
lihood of error in the description of things which must be in 
many parts observed from a distance, or under unfavorable 
circumstances of light and shade ; and of which many of the 
distinctive features have been worn away by time. I believe 
few people have any idea of the cost of truth in these things ; 
of the expenditure of time necessary to make sure of the sim- 
plest facts, and of the strange way in which separate obser- 
vations will sometimes falsify each other, incapable of recon- 
cilement, owing to some imperceptible inadvertency. I am 
ashamed of the number of times in which I have had to say, 
in the following pages, "I am not sure," and I claim for them 
no authority, as if they were thoroughly sifted from error, 


even in what they more confidently state. Only, as far as my 
time, and strength, and mind served me, I have endeavored, 
down to the smallest matters, to ascertain and speak the truth. 
Nor was the subject without many and most discouraging 
difficulties, peculiar to itself. As far as my inquiries have ex- 
tended, there is not a building in Venice, raised prior to the 
sixteenth century, which has not sustained essential change in 
one or more of its most important features. By far the 
greater number present examples of three or four different 
styles, it may be successive, it may be accidentally associated ; 
and, in many instances, the restorations or additions have 
gradually replaced the entire structure of the ancient fabric, 
of which nothing but the name remains, together with a kind 
of identity, exhibited in the anomalous association of the 
modernized portions : the "Will of the old building asserted 
through them all, stubbornly, though vainly, expressive ; 
superseded by codicils, and falsified by misinterpretation ; yet 
animating what would otherwise be a mere group of fantastic 
masque, as embarrassing to the antiquary, as to the miner- 
alogist, the epigene crystal, formed by materials of one sub- 
stance modelled on the perished crystals of another. The 
church of St. Mark's itself, harmonious as its structure may 
at first sight appear, is an epitome of the changes of Venetian 
architecture from the tenth to the nineteenth century. Its 
crypt, and the line of low arches which support the screen, 
are apparently the earliest portions ; the lower stories of the 
main fabric are of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, with 
later Gothic interpolations ; the pinnacles are of the earliest 
fully developed Venetian Gothic (fourteenth century) ; but 
one of them, that on the projection of the eastern extremity 
of the Piazzetta de Leoni, is of far finer, and probably earlier 
workmanship than all the rest. The southern range of 
pinnacles is again inferior to the northern and western, and 
visibly of later date. Then the screen, which most writers 


have described as part of the original fabric, bears its date 
inscribed on its architrave, 1394, and with it are associated a 
multitude of small screens, balustrades, decorations of the in- 
terior building, and probably the rose window of the soutb 


transept. Then come thfe interpolated traceries of the front 
and sides ; then the crocketings of the upper arches, extrava- 
gances of the incipient Renaissance : and, finally 7 , the figures 
which carry the water-spouts on the north side — utterly 
barbarous seventeenth or eighteenth century w T ork — connect 
the whole with the plastered restorations of the year 1844 
and 1845. Most of the palaces in Venice have sustained in- 
terpolations hardly less numerous ; and those of the Ducal 
Palace are so intricate, that a year's labor would probably be 
insufficient altogether to disentangle and define them. I 
therefore gave up all thoughts of obtaining a perfectly clear 
chronological view of the early architecture ; but the dates 
necessary to the main purposes of the book the reader will 
find well established ; and of the evidence brought forward 
for those of less importance, he is himself to judge. Doubtful 
estimates are never made grounds of argument ; and the ac- 
curacy of the account of the buildings themselves, for which 
alone I pledge myself, is of course entirely independent of 

In like manner, as the statements briefly made in the chap- 
ters on construction involve questions so difficult and so gen- 
eral, that I cannot hope that every expression referring to 
them will be found free from error : and as the conclusions 
to which I have endeavored to ]ead the reader are thrown into 
a form the validity of which depends on that of each succes- 
sive step, it might be argued, if fallacy or weakness could be 
detected in one of them, that all the subsequent reasonings 
were valueless. The reader may be assured, however, that it 
is not so ; the method of proof used in the following essay 
being only one out of many which were in my choice, adopted 
because it seemed to me the shortest and simplest, not as be- 
ing the strongest. In many cases, the conclusions are those 
which men of quick feeling would arrive at instinctively ; and 
I then sought to discover the reasons of what so strongly 
recommended itself as truth. Though these reasons could 
every one of them, from the beginning to the end of the book, 
be proved insufficient, the truth of its conclusions would re- 
main the same. I should only regret that I had dishonored 


them by an ill-grounded defence ; and endeavor to repair my 
error by a better one. 

I have not, however, written carelessly ; nor should I in 
any wise have expressed doubt of the security of the follow- 
ing argument, but that it is physically impossible for me, be- 
ing engaged quite as much with mountains, and clouds, and 
trees, and criticism of painting, as with architecture, to verify, 
as I should desire, the expression of every sentence bearing 
upon empirical and technical matters. Life is not long 
enough ; nor does a day pass by without causing me to feel 
more bitterly the impossibility of carrying out to the extent 
which I should desire, the separate studies which general 
criticism continually forces me to undertake. I can only as- 
sure the reader, that he will find the certainty of every state- 
ment I permit myself to make, increase with its importance ; 
and that, for the security of the final conclusions of the fol- 
lowing essay, as well as for the resolute veracity of its account 
of whatever facts have come under my own immediate cogni- 
zance, I will pledge myself to the uttermost. 

It was necessary, to the accomplishment of the purpose of 
the work (of which account is given in the First Chapter), that 
I should establish some canons of judgment, which the gen- 
eral reader should thoroughly understand, and, if it pleased 
him, accept, before we took cognizance, together, of any 
architecture whatsoever. It has taken me more time and 
trouble to do this than I expected ; but, if I have succeeded, 
the thing done will be of use for many other purposes than 
that to which it is now put. The establishment of these 
canons, which I have called " the Foundations," and some ac- 
count of the connection of Venetian architecture with that of 
the rest of Europe, have filled the present volume. The 
second will, I hope, contain all I have to say about Venice 

It was of course inexpedient to reduce drawings of crowded 
details to the size of an octavo volume, — I do not say impossi- 
ble, but inexpedient ; requiring infinite pains on the part of 
the engraver, with no result except farther pains to the be- 
holder. And as, on the other hand, folio books are not eas? 


reading, I determined to separate the text and the unreduci- 
ble plates. I have given, with the principal text, all the illus- 
trations absolutely necessary to the understanding of it, and, 
in the detached work, such additional text as has special refer- 
ence to the larger illustrations. 

A considerable number of these larger plates were at first 
intended to be executed in tinted lithography ; but, finding 
the result unsatisfactory, I have determined to prepare the 
principal subjects for mezzotinting, — a change of method re- 
quiring two new drawings to be made of every subject ; one 
a carefully penned outline for the etcher, and then a finished 
drawing upon the etching. This work does not proceed 
fast, while I am also occupied with the completion of the 
text ; but the numbers of it will appear as fast as I can pre- 
pare them. 

For the illustrations of the body of the work itself, I have 
used any kind of engraving which seemed suited to the sub- 
jects—line and mezzotint, on steel, with mixed lithographs 
and woodcuts, at considerable loss of uniformity in the ap- 
pearance of the volume, but, I hope, with advantage, in ren- 
dering the character of the architecture it describes. And 
both in the plates and the text I have aimed chiefly at clear 
intelligibility ; that any one, however little versed in the sub- 
ject, might be able to take up the book, and understand what 
it meant forthwith. I have utterly failed of my purpose, if I 
have not made all the essential parts of the essay intelligible 
to the least learned, and easy to the most desultory readers, 
who are likely to take interest in the matter at all. There 
are few passages which even require so much as an acquaint- 
ance with the elements of Euclid, and these may be missed, 
without harm to the sense of the rest, by every reader to 
whom they may appear mysterious ; and the architectural 
terms necessarily employed (which are very few) are ex- 
plained as they occur, or in a note ; so that, though I may 
often be found trite or tedious, I trust that I shall not be ob- 
scure. I am especially anxious to rid this essay of ambiguity, 
because I want to gaiu the ear of all kinds of persons. Every 
man has. at some time of his life, personal interest in arch* 


tecture. He has influence on the design of some public 
building ; or he has to buy, or build, or alter his own house. 
It signifies less whether the knowledge of other arts be gen- 
eral or not ; men may live without buying pictures or statues : 
but, in architecture, all must in some way commit themselves ; 
they must do mischief, and waste their money, if they do not 
know how to turn it to account. Churches, and shops, and 
warehouses, and cottages, and small row, and place, and ter- 
race houses, must be built, and lived in, however joyless or 
inconvenient. And it is assuredly intended that all of us 
should have knowledge, and act upon our knowledge, in 
matters with w r hich we are daily concerned, and not to be left 
to the caprice of architects or mercy of contractors. There 
is not, indeed, anything in the following essay bearing on 
the special forms and needs of modern buildings ; but 
the principles it inculcates are universal ; and they are il- 
lustrated from the remains of a city which should surely 
be interesting to the men of London, as affording the 
richest existing examples of architecture raised by a mercan- 
tile community, for civil uses, and domestic magnificence. 

Denmark Hill, February, 1851. 



Preface, 3 

The Quarry, • • • . 15 

The Virtues of Architecture, 48 

The Six Divisions of Architecture, .«••••• 59 

The Wall Base, 63 

The Wall Veil, 68 

The Wall Cornice, 72 

The Pier Base, 80 

The Shaft, 92 

The Capital, e . 112 

The Arch Line, 128 



The Arch Masonry, 137 

The Arch Load, : . 149 

The Roof, 152 

The Roof Cornice, ' 158 

The Buttress, 169 

Form of Aperture, ....••• 176 

Filling of Aperture, 185 

Protection of Aperture, 196 

Superimposition, 200 

The Material of Ornament, 211 

Treatment of Ornament, 235 

The Angle, . 257 

The Edge and Fillet, 264 

The Roll and Recess, , 273 



The Base, 277 

The Wall Veil and Shaft, 289 


2. Power of the Doges, 

3. Serrar del Consiglio, 

4. S. Pietro di Castello, 


The Cornice and Capital, 

The Archivolt and Aperture, 3 ^6 

The Roof, 335 

The Vestibule &** 

1. Foundation of Venice, 35 * 



5. Papal Power in Venice, 3 °** 

6. Renaissance Ornaments, • 

7. Varieties of the Orders, 

8. The Northern Energy, 

9. Wooden Churches of the North, 374 

10. Church of Alexandria, 375 

11. Renaissance Landscape, 375 

12. Romanist Modern Art, 377 

13. Mr. Fergusson's System, 3 °2 

14. Divisions of Humanity, °8M 



15. Instinctive Judgments, 

16. Strength of Shafts, 

17. Answer to Mr. Garbett, 

18. Early English Capitals, . 

19. Tombs near St. Anastasia, 

20. Shafts of Ducal Palace, . 

21. Ancient Representations of Water, 

22. Arabian Ornamentation, 

23. Varieties of Chamfer, 

24. Renaissance Bases, 

25. Romanist Decoration of Bases, . 

. 394 

, 398 

, 408 

. 412 

. 425 

. 428 





1. Wall-veil Decoration. Ca' Trevisan, Ca' Dario, . . . 27 

2. Plans of Piers, 108 

3. Arch Masonry, 139 

4. Arch. Masonry, .....•••• 1^1 

5. Arch Masonry. Broletto of Como, 147 

6. Types of Towers, 207 

7. Abstract Lines, 323 

8. Decorations by Disks. Palazzo Dei Badoari Partecipazzi, . 240 

9. Edge Decoration, "^ 

10. Profile of Bases, 280 

11. Plans of Bases, 283 

12. Decoration of Bases, 288 

13. Wall-veil Decoration, 2 ^1 

14. Spandril Decoration, . *®4 

15. Cornice Profiles, 300 

16. Cornice .Decoration, °05 

17. Capitals. Concave Group, , 317 

18. Capitals. Convex, 321 

19. Archivolt Decoration at Verona, 326 

20. Wall-veil Decoration. Ca' Trevisan, 362 

21. Wall-veil Decoration, 369 



1. Roofs, 61 

2. Wall, 67 

3. Lines on Walls, .•*•••••• •« 

4. Wall Cornices, .73 

5. Wall Cornices, • .75 

G. Wall Cornices, .....••••• 78 

7. Wall Cornices, .78 

8. Wall Cornices, 79 

9. Wall Plan, 81 

10. Pillars, 84 

11. Pillars, 84 

12. Pillars and Bases, 87 

13. Shaft in Rough, 94 

14. Shaft Plans, 100 

15. Shaft Plans, 101 

16. Shaft Plans, 102 

17. Shaft Plans, 109 

18. Shaft Plans, 109 

19. Capitals, 113 

20. Ahacus, 115 

21. Capitals, 116 

22. Capitals Truncated, . . . . . • . . .117 

23. Capitals, 118 

24. Capitals, 120 

25. Capitals, 121 

26. Capitals, 121 

27. Venetian Windows, 124 

28. Part of Church Santa Fosca, 125 

29. Arch Lines, 129 

30. Arch Lines, .......... 133 



31. Arch Lines, 134 

32. Horseshoe Arch, . . . 135 

83. Arch Lines, 130 

34. Side Arch, , 148 

35. Arch Loads, 149 

36. Arch Front, . . , . 150 

37. Gabled Roof, 154 

38. Bracket, 163 

39. Stone or Timber Bracket, 164 

40. Brick Bracket, 165 

41. Renaissance Bracket, 165 

42. Southern Apse 174 

43. Aperture Plan, . . . . • . . . .178 

44. Window Ovals, 183 

45. Window Bars, 187 

46. Window Bars, 193 

47. Window Bars, 194 

48. Door Protections, 197 

49. Door Protections, Fiesole, 197 

50. Door Protections, Plans, 198 

51. Angle Plan, .......... 258 

52. Angle Mouldings, Ornamental, 260 

53. Angle Mouldings, Ornamental 261 

54. Angle Mouldings, Ornamental, 262 

55. Angle Mouldings, Ornamental, 263 

56. Dog Tooth Edge, 268 

57. Byzantine Stilted Arches, 269 

58. Curved Arch Armor, ...•.»..< 270 

59 Lower Roll 282 

60. Base Roll, 283 



61. Spandril Space, 293 

62. Shaft from St. Zeno, 298 

63. Cornice Plans, 312 

64. Cornice Plans, 314 

65. Plan of Capitals, 317 

66. Plan of Capitals, 322 

67. Plan of Capitals, 322 

68. Plan of Capitals, 323 

69. Archivolt, .326 

70. Archivolt Decoration. Southern and Byzantine, . . . 329 
Sea, hy Greek Architect, ....... 344 

71. River, by Egyptian Artist, . ■ . 415 

72. Varieties of Chamfer, .••„.... 426 




§ i. Since the first dominion of men was asserted over the 
ocean, three thrones, of mark beyond all others, have been set 
upon its sands : the thrones of Tyre, Venice, and England. Of 
the First of these great powers only the memory remains ; of the 
Second, the ruin ; the Third, which inherits their greatness, if 
it forget their example, may be led through prouder eminence 
to less pitied destruction. 

The exaltation, the sin, and the punishment of Tyre have 
been recorded for us, in perhaps the most touching words ever 
uttered by the Prophets of Israel against the cities of the 
stranger. But we read them as a lovely song ; and close our 
ears to the sternness of their warning : for the very depth of 
the Fall of Tyre has blinded us to its reality, and we forget, 
as we watch the bleaching of the rocks between the sunshine 
and the sea, that they were once " as in Eden, the garden of 

Her successor, like her in perfection of beauty, though less 
in endurance of dominion, is still left for our beholding in the 
fiual period of her decline : a ghost upon the sands of the sea, 
so weak — so quiet, — so bereft of all but her loveliness, that we 
might well doubt, as we watched her faint reflection in the 
mirage of the lagoon, which was the City, and which the 

I would endeavor to trace the lines of this image before it 
be for ever lost, and to record, as far as I may, the warning 
which seems to me to bo uttered by every one of the fast- 


gaining waves, that beat, like passing bells, against the Stones 
of Venice. 

§ ii. It would be difficult to overrate the value of the les- 
sons which might be derived from a faithful study of the his- 
tory of this strange and mighty city : a history which, in spite 
of the labor of countless chroniclers, remains in vague and dis- 
putable outline, — barred with brightness and shade, like the 
far away edge of her own ocean, where the surf and the sand- 
bank are mingled with the sky. The inquiries in which we 
have to engage will hardly render this outline clearer, but 
their results will, in some degree, alter its aspect ; and, so far 
as they bear upon it at all, they possess an interest of a far 
higher kind than that usually belonging to architectural inves- 
tigations. I may, perhaps, in the outset, and in few words, 
enable the general reader to form a clearer idea of the impor- 
tance of every existing expression of Venetian character through 
Venetian art, and of the breadth of interest which the time his- 
tory of Venice embraces, than he is likely to have gleaned from 
the current fables of her mystery or magnificence. 

§ in. Venice is usually conceived as an oligarchy : She was 
so during a period less than the half of her existence, and that 
including the days of her decline ; and it is one of the first 
questions needing severe examination, whether that decline 
was owing in any wise to the change in the form of her gov- 
ernment, or altogether, as assuredly in great part, to changes, 
in the character of the persons of whom it was composed. 

The state of Venice existed Thirteen Hundred and Seventy- 
six years, from the first establishment of a consular govern- 
ment on the island of the Rialto,* to the moment when the 
General-in-chief of the French army of Italy pronounced the 
Venetian republic a thing of the past. Of this period, Two 
Hundred and Seventy-six f years were passed in a nominal sub- 
jection to the cities of old Venetia, especially to Padua, and in 
an agitated form of democracy, of which the executive appears 
to have been entrusted to tribunes, J chosen, one by the inl^b- 

* Appendix 1, "Foundation of Venice." 

f Appendix 2, " Power of the Doges." 

\ Sismondi, Hist, des Rep. Ital., vol. i. eh. v. 


itants of each of the principal islands. For six hundred years,* 
during which the power of Venice was continually on the in- 
crease, her government was an elective monarchy, her King or 
doge possessing, in early times at least, as much independent 
authority as any other European sovereign, but an authority 
gradually subjected to limitation, and shortened almost daily 
of its prerogatives, while it increased in a spectral and inca- 
pable magnificence. The final government of the nobles, un- 
der the image of a king, lasted for five hundred years, during 
which Venice reaped the fruits of her former energies, con- 
sumed them, — and expired. 

§ iv. Let the reader therefore conceive the existence of the 
Venetian state as broadly divided into two periods : the first 
of nine hundred, the second of five hundred years, the separa- 
tion being marked by what was called the "Serrar del Con- 
siglio ; " that is to say, the final and absolute distinction of 
the nobles from the commonalty, and the establishment of the 
government in their hands to the exclusion alike of the in- 
fluence of the people on the one side, and the authority of the 
doge on the other. 

Then the first period, of nine hundred years, presents us 
with the most interesting spectacle of a people struggling out 
of anarchy into order and power ; and then governed, for the 
most part, by the worthiest and noblest man whom they could 
find among them,f called their Doge or Leader, with an aris- 
tocracy gradually and resolutely forming itself around him, 
out of which, and at last by which, he was chosen ; an aristoc- 
racy owing its origin to the accidental numbers, influence, 
and wealth of some among the families of the fugitives from 
the older Venetia, and gradually organizing itself, by its unity 
and heroism, into a separate body. 

This first period includes the rise of Venice, ner noblest 
achievements, and the circumstances which determined her 
character and position among European powers ; and within 

* Appendix 3, "Serrar del Consiglio." 

f " Ha saputo trovarmodo che non uno, non pochi, non molti, signo- 
reggiano, ma molti buoni, poclii migliori, e insiememente, un ottima 
solo." {Sanxovino.) Ah, well done, Venice ! Wisdom this, indeed. 
Vol. I 3 


its range, as might have been anticipated, we find the names 
of all her hero princes,— of Pietro Urseolo, Ordalafo Falier, 
Domenico Michieli, Sebastiano Ziani, and Enrico Dandolo. 

§ v. The second period opens with a hundred and twenty 
years, the most eventful in the career of Venice — the central 
struggle of her life — stained with her darkest crime, the mur- 
der of Carrara — disturbed by her most dangerous internal 
sedition, the conspiracy of Falier— oppressed by her most 
fatal war, the war of Chiozza— and distinguished by the glory 
of her two noblest citizens (for in this period the heroism of 
her citizens replaces that of her monarchs), Vittor Pisani and 

Carlo Zeno. 

I date the commencement of the fall of Venice from the 
death of Carlo Zeno, 8th May, 1418 ; * the visible commence- 
ment from that of another of her noblest aud wisest children, 
the Doge Tomaso Mocenigo, who expired five years later. 
The reign of Foscari followed, gloomy with pestilence and 
war ; a war in which large acquisitions of territory were made 
by subtle or fortunate policy in Lombardy, and disgrace, 
significant as irreparable, sustained in the battles on the Po 
at Cremona, and in the marshes of Caravaggio. In 1454, 
Venice, the first of the states of Christendom, humiliated 
herself to the Turk : in the same year was established the In- 
quisition of State, f and from this period her government 
takes the perfidious and mysterious form under which it is 
usually conceived. In 1477, the great Turkish invasion spread 
terror to the shores of the lagoons ; and in 1508 the league 
of Cambrai marks the period usually assigned as the com- 
mencement of the decline of the Venetian power ; \ the com- 
mercial prosperity of Venice in the close of the fifteenth cen- 
tury blinding her historians to the previous evidence of the 
diminution of her internal strength. 

* Daru, liv. xii. ch. xii. 

f Daru, liv. xvi. cap. xx. We owe to this historian the discovery of 
the statutes of the tribunal and date of its establishment. 

\ Ominously signified by their humiliation to the Papal power (as 
before to the Turkish) in 1509, and their abandonment of their right of 
appointing the clergy of their territories. 


§ vi. Now there is apparently a significative coincidence 
between the establishment of the aristocratic and oligarchical 
powers, and the diminution of the prosperity of the state. 
But this is the very question at issue ; and it appears to me 
quite undetermined by any historian, or determined by each 
in accordance with his own prejudices. It is a triple ques- 
tion : first, whether the oligarchy established by the efforts 
of individual ambition was the cause, in its subsequent oper- 
ation, of the "Fall of Venice ; or (secondly) whether the es- 
tablishment of the oligarchy itself be not the sign and evi- 
dence, rather than the cause, of national enervation ; or 
(lastly) whether, as I rather think, the history of Venice might 
not be written almost without reference to the construction 
of her senate or the prerogatives of her Doge. It is the his- 
tory of a people eminently at unity in itself, descendants of 
Roman race, long disciplined by adversity, and compelled by 
its position either to live nobly or to perish : — for a thousand 
years they fought for life ; for three hundred they invited 
death : their battle was rewarded, and their call was heard. 

§ vn. Throughout her career, the victories of Venice, and, 
at many periods of it, her safety, were purchased by indi- 
vidual heroism ; and the man who exalted or saved her was 
sometimes (oftenest) her king, sometimes a noble, sometimes 
a citizen. To him no matter, nor to her : the real question 
is, not so much what names they bore, or with what powers 
they were entrusted, as how they were trained ; how they 
were made masters of themselves, servants of their country, 
patient of distress, impatient of dishonor ; and what was the 
true reason of the change from the time when she could find 
saviours among those whom she had cast into prison, to that 
when the voices of her own children commanded her to sign 
•ovenant with Death.* 

§ viii. On this collateral question I wish the reader's mind 
to be fixed throughout all our subsequent inquiries. It will 
give double interest to every detail : nor will the interest be 
profitless ; for the evidence which I shall be able to deduce 

* The senate voted the abdication of their authority by a majority of 
512 to 14. (Alison, ch. xxiii ) 


from the arts of Venice will be both frequent and irrefrag- 
able, that the decline of her political prosperity was exactly 
coincident with that of domestic and individual religion. 

I say domestic and individual ; for— and this is the second 
point which I wish the reader to keep in mind — the most 
curious phenomenon in all Venetian history is the vitality of 
religion in private life, and its deadness in public policy. 
Amidst the enthusiasm, chivalry, or fanaticism of the other 
states of Europe, Venice stands, from first to last, like a 
masked statue ; her coldness impenetrable, her exertion only 
aroused by the touch of a secret spring. That spring was 
her commercial interest, — this the one motive of all her im- 
portant political acts, or enduring national animosities. She 
could forgive insults to her honor, but never rivalship in her 
commerce ; she calculated the glory of her conquests by their 
value, and estimated their justice by their facility. The fame 
of success remains, when the motives of attempt are forgot- 
ten ; and the casual reader of her history may perhaps be sur- 
prised to be reminded, that the expedition which was com- 
manded by the noblest of her princes, and whose results added 
most to her military glory, was one in which while all Europe 
around her was wasted by the fire of its devotion, she first 
calculated the highest price she could exact from its piety for 
the armament she furnished, and then, for the advancement 
of her own private interests, at once broke her faith * and be- 
trayed her religion. 

§ ix. And yet, in the midst of this national criminality, we 
shall be struck again and again by the evidences of the most 
noble individual feeling. The tears of Dandolo were not shed 
in hypocrisy, though they could not blind him to the impor- 
tance of the conquest of Zara. The habit of assigning to re* 
ligion a direct influence over all his own actions, and all the 
affairs of his own daily life, is remarkable in every great Vene- 
tian during the times of the prosperity of the state ; nor are 
instances wanting in which the private feeling of the citizens 

* By directing the arms of the Crusaders against a Christian prince, 
(Darn, liv. iv. ch. iv. viii.) 


reaches the sphere of their policy, and even becomes the guide 
of its course where the scales of expediency are doubtfully 
balanced. I sincerely trust that the inquirer would be disap- 
pointed who should endeavor to trace any more immediate 
reasons for their adoption of the cause of Alexander III. 
against Barbarossa, than the piety which was excited by the 
character of their suppliant, and the noble pride which was 
provoked by the insolence of the emperor. But the heart of 
Venice is shown only in her hastiest councils ; her worldly 
spirit recovers the ascendency whenever she has time to cal- 
culate the probabilities of advantage, or when they are suffi- 
ciently distinct to need no calculation ; and the entire subjec- 
tion of private piety to national policy is not only remarkable 
throughout the almost endless series of treacheries and tyran- 
nies by which her empire was enlarged and maintained, but 
symbolised by a very singular circumstance in the building of 
the city itself. I am aware of no other city of Europe in 
which its cathedral was not the principal feature. But the 
principal church in Venice was the chapel attached to the 
palace of her prince, and called the " Chiesa Ducale." The 
patriarchal church,* inconsiderable in size and mean in deco- 
ration, stands on the outermost islet of the Venetian group, 
and its name, as well as its site, is probably unknown to the 
greater number of travellers passing hastily through the city. 
Nor is it less worthy of remark, that the two most important 
temples of Venice, next to the ducal chapel, owe their size and 
magnificence, not to national effort, but to the energy of the 
Franciscan and Dominican monks, supported by the vast or- 
ganization of those great societies on the mainland of Italy, 
and countenanced by the most pious, and perhaps also, in hig 
generation, the most wise, of all the princes of Venice, f who 
now rests beneath the roof of one of those very temples, and 
whose life is not satirized by the images of the Virtues which 
& Tuscan sculptor has placed around his tomb. 

§ x. There are, therefore, two strange and solemn lights 

* Appendix 4, " San Pietro di Castello.'* 
f Tomasc Mocenigo, above named, § V. 


in which we have to regard almost every scene in the fitful 
history of the Rivo Alto. We find, on the one hand, a deep 
and constant tone of individual religion characterising the 
lives of the citizens of Venice in her greatness ; we find this 
spirit influencing them in all the familiar and immediate con- 
cerns of life, giving a peculiar dignity to the conduct even of 
their commercial transactions, and confessed by them with a 
simplicity of faith that may well put to shame the hesitation 
with which a man of the world at present admits (even if it 
be so in reality) that religious feeling has any influence over 
the minor branches of his conduct. And we find as the natu- 
ral consequence of all this, a healthy serenity of mind and 
energy of will expressed in all their actions, and a habit of 
heroism which never fails them, even when the immediate 
motive of action ceases to be praiseworthy. With the fulness 
of this spirit the prosperity of the state is exactly correspond- 
ent, and with its failure her decline, and that with a closeness 
and precision which it will be one of the collateral objects of 
the following essay to demonstrate from such accidental evi- 
dence as the field of its inquiry presents. And, thus far, all 
is natural and simple. But the stopping short of this religious 
faith when it appears likely to influence national action, corre- 
spondent as it is, and that most strikingly, with several char- 
acteristics of the temper of our present English legislature, is 
a subject, morally and politically, of the most curious interest 
and complicated difficulty ; one, however, which the range of 
my present inquiry will not permit me to approach, and for 
the treatment of which I must be content to furnish materials 
in the light I may be able to throw upon the private tenden- 
cies of the Venetian character. 

§ xi. There is, however, another most interesting feature in 
the policy of Venice which will be often brought before us ; 
and which a Romanist would gladly assign as the reason of 
its irreligion ; namely, the magnificent and successful struggle 
which she maintained against the temporal authority of the 
Church of Rome. It is true that, in a rapid survey of her 
career, the eye is at first arrested by the strange drama to 
whicli I have already alluded, closed by that ever memorable 


scene in the portico of St Mark's,* the central expression in 
most men's thoughts of the unendurable elevation of the pon- 
tifical power ; it is true that the proudest thoughts of Venice, 
as well as the insignia of her prince, and the form of her chief 
festival, recorded the service thus rendered to the Roman 
Church. But the enduring sentiment of years more than bal- 
anced the enthusiasm of a moment ; and the bull of Clement 
V., which excommunicated the Venetians and their doge, 
likening them to Dathan, Abiram, Absalom, and Lucifer, is a 
stronger evidence of the great tendencies of the Venetian gov- 
ernment than the umbrella of the doge or the ring of the 
Adriatic. The humiliation of Francesco Dandolo blotted out 
the shame of Barbarossa, and the total exclusion of ecclesias- 
tics from all share in the councils of Venice became an endur- 
ing mark of her knowledge of the spirit of the Church of Rome, 
and of her defiance of it. 

To this exclusion of Papal influence from her councils, the 
Romanist will attribute their irreligion, and the Protestant 
their success. f The first may be silenced by a reference to 
the character of the policy of the Vatican itself ; and the second 
by his own shame, when he reflects that the English legislature 
sacrificed their principles to expose themselves to the very 
danger which the Venetian senate sacrificed theirs to avoid. 

§ xii. One more circumstance remains to be noted respect- 
ing the Venetian government, the singular unity of the fami- 
lies composing it, — unity far from sincere or perfect, but still 

* " In that temple porch, 
(The brass is gone, the porphyry remains,) 
Did Barbarossa fling his mantle off, 
And kneeling, on his neck receive the foot 
Of the proud Pontiff — thus at last consoled 
For flight, disguise, and many an aguish shake 
On his stone pillow." 
I need hardly say whence the lines are taken: Rogers' "Italy" has, 1 
believe, now a place in the best beloved compartment of all libraries, 
and will never be removed from it. There is more true expression of 
the spirit of Venice in the passages devoted to her in that poem, than h> 
all else that has been written of her. 

f At least, such success as they had. Vide Appendix 5, "The Papal 
Power in Venice. " 


admirable when contrasted with the fierv feuds, the almost 
daily revolutions, the restless successions of families and 
parties in power, which fill the annals of the other states of 
Italy. That rivalship should sometimes be ended by the dag- 
ger, or enmity conducted to its ends under the mask of law, 
could not but be anticipated where the tierce Italian spirit 
was subjected to so severe a restraint : it is much that jealousy 
appears usually unmingled with illegitimate ambition, and 
that, for every instance in which private passion sought its 
gratification through public danger, there are a thousand in 
which it was sacrificed to the public advantage. Venice may 
well call upon us to note with reverence, that of all the towers 
which are still seen rising like a branchless forest from her 
islands, there is but one whose office was other than that of 
summoning to prayer, and that one was a watch-tower only : 
from first to last, while the palaces of the other cities of Italy 
were lifted into sullen fortitudes of rampart, and fringed with 
forked battlements for the javelin and the bow, the sands of 
Venice never sank under the weight of a war tower, and her 
roof terraces were wreathed with Arabian imagery, of golden 
globes suspended on the leaves of lilies.* 

§ xiii. These, then, appear to me to be the points of chief 
general interest in the character and fate of the Venetian peo- 
ple. I would next endeavor to give the reader some idea of 
the manner in which the testimony of Art bears upon these 
questions, and of the aspect which the arts themselves assume 
when they are regarded in their true connexion with the his- 
tory of the state. 

1st. Receive the witness of Painting. 

It will be remembered that I put the commencement of the 
Fall of Venice as far back as 1418. 

Now, John Bellini was born in 1423, and Titian in 1480. 
John Bellini, and his brother Gentile, two years older than lie, 
close the line of the sacred painters of Venice. But the most 
solemn spirit of religious faith animates their works to the 

* The inconsiderable fortifications of the arsenal are no exception to 
this statement, as far as it regards the city itself. They are little more 
than a semblance of precaution against the attack of a foreign enemy. 


last. There is no religion in any work of Titian's : there is 
not even the smallest evidence of religious temper or sympa- 
thies either in himself, or in those for whom he painted. His 
larger sacred subjects are merely themes for the exhibition of 
pictorial rhetoric,— composition and color. His minor works 
are generally made subordinate to purposes of portraiture. 
The Madonna in the church of the Frari is a mere lay figure, 
introduced to form a link of connexion between the portraits 
of various members of the Pesaro family who surround 


Now this is not merely because John Bellini was a religious 
man and Titian was not. Titian and Bellini are each true 
representatives of the school of painters contemporary with 
them ; and the difference in their artistic feeling is a conse- 
quence not so much of difference in their own natural charac- 
ters as in their early education : Bellini was brought up in 
faith ; Titian in formalism. Between the years of their births 
the vital religion of Venice had expired. 

§ xiv. The vital religion, observe, not the formal. Outward 
observance was as strict as ever ; and doge and senator still 
were painted, in almost every important instance, kneeling 
before the Madonna or St. Mark ; a confession of faith made 
universal by the pure gold of the Venetian sequin. But ob- 
serve the great picture of Titian's in the ducal palace, of the 
Doge Antonio Grimani kneeling before Faith : there is a 
curious lesson in it. The figure of Faith is a coarse portrait 
of one of Titian's least graceful female models: Faith had 
become carnal. The eye is first caught by the flash of the 
Doge's armor. The heart of Venice was in her wars, not in 
her worship. 

The mind of Tintoret, incomparably more deep and serious 
than that of Titian, casts the solemnity of its own tone over 
the sacred subjects which it approaches, and sometimes for- 
gets itself into devotion ; but the principle of treatment is al- 
together the same as Titian's : absolute subordination of the 
religious subject to purposes of decoration or portraiture. 

The evidence might be accumulated a thousandfold from 
the works of Veronese, and of every succeeding painter, — that 


the fifteenth century had taken away the religious heart of 

§ xv. Such is the evidence of Painting. To collect that of 
Architecture will be our task through many a page to come ; 
but I must here give a general idea of its heads. 

Philippe de Commynes, writing of his entry into Venice in 
1495, says, — 

" Chasoun me feit seoir au meillieu de ces deux ambassa- 
deurs qui est l'honneur d'ltalie que d'estre au meillieu; et me 
menerent au long de la grant rue, qu'ilz appellent le Canal 
Grant, et est bien large. Les gallees y passent a travers et y 
ay veu navire de quatre cens tonneaux ou plus pres des 
maisons : et est la plus belle rue que je croy qui soit en tout 
le monde, et la mieulx maisonnee, et va le long de la ville. 
Les maisons sont fort grandes et haultes, et de bonne pierre, 
et les anciennes toutes painctes ; les aultres faictes depuis 
cent ans : toutes ont le devant de marbre blanc, qui leur 
vient d'Istrie, a cent mils de la, et encores maincte grant 
piece de porphire et de sarpentine sur le devant. . . . 
C'est la plus triumphante cite que j'aye jamais veue et qui 
plus faict d'honneur a ambassadeurs et estrangiers, et qui 
plus saigement se gouverne, et ou le service de Dieu est le 
plus sollempnellement faict : et encores qu'il y peust bien 
avoir d'aultres faultes, si je croy que Dieu les a en ayde pour 
la reverence qu'ilz portent au service de l'Eglise." * 

§ xvi. This passage is of peculiar interest, for two reasons. 
Observe, first, the impression of Commynes respecting the 
religion of Venice : of which, as I have above said, the forms 
still remained with some glimmering of life in them, and were 
the evidence of what the real life had been in former times. 
But observe, secondly, the impression instantly made on 
Commynes' mind by the distinction between the elder palaces 
and those built "within this last hundred years; which all 
have their fronts of white marble brought from Istria, a hun- 
dred miles away, and besides, many a large piece of porphyry 
and serpentine upon their fronts." 

On the opposite page I have given two of the ornaments of 
* Memoires de Commynes, liv. vii. ch. xviii. 



"Wall -Yfil - .Dmirufiinz. 



the palaces which so struck the French ambassador.* He 
was right in his notice of the distinction. There had indeed 
come a change over Venetian architecture in the fifteenth cen- 
tury ; and a change of some importance to us moderns : we 
English owe to it our St. Paul's Cathedral, and Europe in 
general owes to it the utter degradation or destruction of her 
schools of architecture, never since revived. But that the 
reader may understand this, it is necessary that he should 
hive some general idea of the connexion of the architecture 
of Venice with that of the rest of Europe, from its origin 

§ xvii. All European architecture, bad and good, old and 
new, is derived from Greece through Rome, and colored and 
perfected from the East. The history of architecture is 
nothing but the tracing of the various modes and directions 
of this derivation. Understand this, once for all : if you hold 
fast this great connecting clue, you may string all the types 
of successive architectural invention upon it like so many 
beads. The Doric and the Corinthian orders are the roots, 
the one of all Romanesque, massy-capitaled buildings — Nor- 
man, Lombard, Byzantine, and what else you can name of 
the kind ; and the Corinthian of all Gothic, Early English, 
French, German, and Tuscan. Now observe : those old 
Greeks gave the shaft ; Rome gave the arch ; the Arabs 
pointed and foliated the arch. The shaft and arch, the 
frame-work and strength of architecture, are from the race 
of Japheth ; the spirituality and sanctity of it from Ismael, 
Abraham, and Shem. 

§ xviii. There is high probability that the Greek received 
his shaft system from Egypt ; but I do not care to keep this 
earlier derivation in the mind of the reader. It is only neces- 
sary that he should be able to refer to a fixed point of origin, 
when the form of the shaft was first perfected. But it may 
be incidentally observed, that if the Greeks did indeed receive 
their Doric from Egypt, then the three families of the earth 
have each contributed their part to its noblest architecture : 
and Ham, the servant of the others, furnishes the sustaining 
* Appendix 6, "Renaissance Ornaments." 


or bearing member, the shaft ; Japheth the arch ; Shem ths 
spiritualisation of both. 

§ xix. I have said that the two orders, Doric and Corintlrian, 
are the roots of all European architecture. You have, per- 
haps, heard of five orders ; but there are only two real orders, 
and there never can be any more until doomsday. On one 
of these orders the ornament is convex : those are Doric, 
Norman, and what else you recollect of the kind. On the 
other the ornament is concave : those are Corinthian, Early 
English, Decorated, and what else you recollect of that kind. 
The transitional form, in which the ornamental line is straight, 
is the centre or root of both. All other orders are varieties 
of those, or phantasms and grotesques altogether indefinite in 
number and species.* 

§ xx. This Greek architecture, then, with its two orders, 
was clumsily copied and varied by the Romans with no par- 
ticular result, until they begun to bring the arch into exten- 
sive practical service ; except only that the Doric capital was 
spoiled in endeavors to mend it, and the Corinthian much 
varied and enriched with fanciful, and often very beautiful 
imagery. And in this state of things came Christianity : 
seized upon the arch as her own ; decorated it, and delighted 
in it ; invented a new Doric capital to replace the spoiled 
Roman one : and all over the Roman empire set to work, 
with such materials as were nearest at hand, to express and 
adorn herself as best she could. This Roman Christian archi- 
tecture is the exact expression of the Christianity of the time, 
very fervid and beautiful — but very imperfect ; in many re- 
spects ignorant, and yet radiant with a strong, childlike light 
of imagination, which flames up under Constantine, illumines 
all the shores of the Bosphorus and the JEgean and the 
Adriatic Sea, and then gradually, as the people give them- 
selves up to idolatry, becomes Corpse-light. The architect- 
ure sinks into a settled form — a strange, gilded, and em- 
balmed repose : it, with the religion it expressed ; and so 
would have remained for ever, — so does remain, where its 

* Appendix 7, ''Varieties of the Orders." 


languor has been undisturbed.* But rough wakening was 
ordained for it. 

§ xxi. This Christian art of the declining empire is divided 
into two great branches, western and eastern ; one centred at 
Rome, the other at Byzantium, of which the one is the early 
Christian Romanesque, properly so called, and the other, car- 
ried to higher imaginative perfection by Greek workmen, is 
distinguished from it as Byzantine. But I wish the reader, 
for the present, to class these two branches of art together in 
his mind, they being, in points of main importance, the same ; 
that is to say, both of them a true continuance and sequence 
of the art of old Rome itself, flowing uninterruptedly down 
from the fountain-head, and entrusted always to the best 
workmen who could be found— Latins in Italy and Greeks in 
Greece ; and thus both branches may be ranged under the 
general term of Christian Romanesque, an architecture which 
had lost the refinement of Pagan art in the degradation of the 
empire, but which was elevated by Christianity to higher 
aims, and by the fancy of the Greek workmen endowed with 
brighter forms. K\\d this art the reader may conceive as ex- 
tending in its various branches over all the central provinces 
of the empire, taking aspects more or less refined, according 
to its proximity to the seats of government ; dependent for 
all its pow T er on the vigor and freshness of the religion which 
animated it ; and as that vigor and purity departed, losing its 
own vitality, and sinking into nerveless rest, not deprived of 
its beauty, but benumbed and incapable of advance or change. 

§ xxii. Meantime there had been preparation for its re- 
newal. While in Rome and Constantinople, and in the dis- 
tricts under their immediate influence, this Roman art of 
pure descent was practised in all its refinement, an impure 
form of it — a patois of Romanesque — was carried by inferior 
workmen into distant provinces ; and still ruder imitations of 
this patois were executed by the barbarous nations on the 

* The reader will find the weak points of Byzantine architecture 
shrewdly seized, and exquisitely sketched, in the opening chapter of 
the most delightful book of travels I ever opened,— Curzon's "Monas< 
feries of the Levant." 


skirts of the empire. But these barbarous nations were in 
the strength of their youth ; and while, in the centre of 
Europe, a refined and purely descended art was sinking into 
graceful formalism, on its confines a barbarous and borrowed 
art was organising itself into strength and consistency. The 
reader must therefore consider the history of the work of the 
period as broadly divided into two great heads : the one em- 
bracing the elaborately languid succession of the Christian 
art of Rome ; and the other, the imitations of it executed by 
nations in every conceivable phase of early organisation, on 
the edges of the empire, or included in its now merely 
nominal extent. 

§ xxiii. Some of the barbaric nations were, of course, not 
susceptible of this influence ; and when they burst over the 
Alps, appear, like the Huns, as scourges only, or mix, as the 
Ostrogoths, with the enervated Italians, and give physical 
strength to the mass with which they mingle, without mate- 
rially affecting its intellectual character. But others, both 
south and north of the empire, had felt its influence, back to 
the beach of the Indian Ocean on the one hand, and to the 
ice creeks of the North Sea on the other. On the north and 
west the influence was of the Latins ; on the south and east, 
of the Greeks. Two nations, pre-eminent above all the rest, 
represent to us the force of derived mind on either side. As 
the central power is eclipsed, the orbs of reflected light 
gather into their fulness ; and when sensuality and idolatry 
had done their work, and the religion of the empire was laid 
asleep in a glittering sepulchre, the living light rose upon 
both horizons, and the fierce swords of the Lombard and 
Arab were shaken over its golden paralysis. 

§ xxiv. The work of the Lombard was to give hardihood 
and system to the enervated body and enfeebled mind of Chris- 
tendom ; that of the Arab was to punish idolatry, and to 
proclaim the spirituality of worship. The Lombard covered 
every church which he built with the sculptured representa- 
tions of bodily exercises — hunting and war.* The Arab ban- 
ished all imagination of creature form from his temples, and 
* Appendix 8, " The Northern Energy." 


proclaimed from their minarets, "There is no god but God." 
Opposite in their character and mission, alike in their mag- 
nificence of energy, they came from the North and from the 
South, the glacier torrent and the lava stream : they met and 
contended over the wreck of the Roman empire ; and the very 
centre of the struggle, the point of pause of both, the dead 
water of the opposite eddies, charged with embayed fragments 
of the Roman wreck, is Venice. 

The Ducal palace of Venice contains the three elements in 
exactly equal proportions — the Roman, Lombard, and Arab. 
It is the central building of the world. 

§ xxv. The reader will now begin to understand something 
of the importance of the study of the edifices of a city which 
includes, within the circuit of some seven or eight miles, the 
field of contest between the three pre-eminent architectures of 
the world :— each architecture expressing a condition of re- 
ligion ; each an erroneous condition, yet necessary to the cor- 
rection of the others, and corrected by them. 

§ xxvi. It will be part of my endeavor, in the following work, 
to mark the various modes in which the northern and southern 
architectures were developed from the Roman : here I must 
pause only to name the distinguishing characteristics of the 
great families. The Christian Roman and Byzantine work is 
round-arched, with single and well-proportioned shafts ; capi- 
tals imitated from classical Roman ; mouldings more or less 
so ; and large surfaces of walls entirely covered with imagery, 
mosaic, and paintings, whether of scripture history or of 
sacred symbols. 

The Arab school is at first the same in its principal features, 
the Byzantine workmen being employed by the caliphs ; but 
the Arab rapidly introduces characters half Persepolitan, half 
Egyptian, into the shafts and capitals : in his intense love of 
excitement he points the arch and writhes it into extravagant 
foliations ; he banishes the animal imagery, and invents an 
ornamentation of his own (called Arabesque) to replace it : 
this not being adapted for covering large surfaces, he concen- 
trates it on features of interest, and bars his surfaces with 
horizontal lines of color, the expression of the level of tho 


Desert. He retains the dome, and adds the minaret. All is 
done with exquisite refinement. 

§ xxvii. The changes effected by the Lombard are more 
curious still, for they are in tlie anatomy of the building, more 
than its decoration. The Lombard architecture represents, 
as I said, the whole of that of the northern barbaric nations. 
And this I believe was, at first, an imitation in wood of the Chris- 
tian Roman churches or basilicas. Without staying to examine 
the whole structure of a basilica, the reader will easily under- 
stand thus much of it : that it had a nave and two aisles, the 
nave much higher than the aisles ; that the nave was separated 
from the aisles by rows of shafts, which supported, above, 
large spaces of flat or dead wall, rising above the aisles, and 
forming the upper part of the nave, now called the clerestory, 
which had a gabled wooden roof. 

These high dead walls were, in Roman work, built of stone ; 
but in the wooden work of the North, they must necessarily 
have been made of horizontal boards or timbers attached to 
uprights on the top of the nave pillars, which were themselves 
also of wood.* Now, these uprights were necessarily thicker 
than the rest of the timbers, and formed vertical square pilas- 
ters above the nave piers. As Christianity extended and civi- 
lisation increased, these wooden structures were changed into 
stone ; but they were literally petrified, retaining the form 
which had been made necessary by their being of wood. The 
upright pilaster above the nave pier remains in the stone edi- 
fice, and is the first form of the great distinctive feature of 
Northern architecture — the vaulting shaft. In that form the 
Lombards brought it into Italy, in the seventh century, and 
it remains to this day in St. Ambrogio of Milan, and St. Mi* 
chele of Pavia. 

§ xxviu. When the vaulting shaft was introduced in the 
clerestory walls, additional members were added for its sup- 
port to the nave piers. Perhaps two or three pine trunks, 
used for a single pillar, gave the first idea of the grouped 
shaft. Re that as it may, the arrangement of the nave piei 
in the form of a cross accompanies the superimposition of 
* Appendix ( J, " Wooden Churches of the North." 



the vaulting shaft ; together with corresponding grouping of 
minor shafts in doorways and apertures of windows. Thus, 
the whole body of the Northern architecture, represented by 
that of the Lombards, may be described as rough but ma- 
jestic work, round-arched, with grouped shafts, added vault- 
ing shafts, and endless imagery of active life and fantastic 

§ xxix. The glacier stream of the Lombards, and the fol- 
lowing one of the Normans, left their erratic blocks, wher- 
ever they had flowed ; but without influencing, I think, the 
Southern nations beyond the sphere of their own presence. 
But the lava stream of the Arab, even after it ceased to flow, 
warmed the whole of the Northern air ; and the history of 
Gothic architecture is the history of the refinement and spir- 
itualisation of Northern work under its influence. The no- 
blest buildings of the world, the Pisan-Komanesque, Tuscan 
(Giottesque) Gothic, and Veronese Gothic, are those of the 
Lombard schools themselves, under its close and direct in- 
fluence ; the various Gothics of the North are the original 
forms of the architecture wdiich the Lombards brought into 
Italy, changing under the less direct influence of the Arab. 

§ xxx. Understanding thus much of the formation of the 
great European styles, we shall have no difficulty in tracing 
the succession of architectures in Venice herself. From what 
I said of the central character of Venetian art, the reader is 
not, of course, to conclude that the Roman, Northern, and 
Arabian elements met together and contended for the mastery 
at the same period. The earliest element was the pure Chris- 
tian Roman ; but few, if any, remains of this art exist at 
Venice ; for the present city was in the earliest times only 
one of many settlements formed on the chain of marshy islands 
which extend from the mouths of the Isonzo to those of the 
Adige, and it was not until the beginning of the ninth cent- 
ury that it became the seat of government ; while the cathe- 
dral of Torcello, though Christian Roman in general form, 
was rebuilt in the eleventh century, and shows evidence ot 
Byzantine workmanship in many of its details. This cathe- 
dral, however, with the church of Santa Fosca at Torcello, 
Vol. I.— 3 


San Giacorno di Rialto at Venice, and the crypt of St. Mark's, 
forms a distinct group of buildings, in which the Byzantine 
influence is exceedingly slight ; and which is probably very 
sufficiently representative of the earliest architecture on the 

§ xxxi. The Ducal residence was removed to Venice in 809 s 
and the body of St. Mark was brought from Alexandria twenty 
years later. The first church of St. Murk's was, doubtless, 
built in imitation of that destroyed at Alexandria, and from 
which the relics of the saint had been obtained. During the 
ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, the architecture of Ven- 
ice seems to have been formed on the same model, and is 
almost identical with that of Cairo under the caliphs,* it 
being quite immaterial whether the reader chooses to call 
both Byzantine or both Arabic ; the workmen being certainly 
Byzantine, but forced to the invention of new forms by their 
Arabian masters, and bringing these forms into use in what- 
ever other parts of the world they were employed. 

To this first manner of Venetian architecture, together with 
such vestiges as remain of the Christian Roman, I shall de- 
vote the first division of the following inquiry. The examples 
remaining of it consist of three noble churches (those of Tor- 
cello, Murano, and the greater part of St. Mark's), and about 
ten or twelve fragments of palaces. 

§ xxxn. To this style succeeds a transitional one, of a char- 
acter much more distinctly Arabian : the shafts become more 
slender, and the arches consistently pointed, instead of round ; 
certain other changes, not to be enumerated in a sentence, 
taking place in the capitals and mouldings. This style is al- 
most exclusively secular. It was natural for the Venetians to 
imitate the beautiful details of the Arabian dwelling-house, 
while they would with reluctance adopt those of the mosque 
for Christian churches. 

I have not succeeded in fixing limiting dates for this style. 

It appears in part contemporary with the Byzantine manner, 

but outlives it. Its position is, however, fixed by the central 

date, 1180, that of the elevation of the granite shafts of the 

* Appendix 10, " Church o" Alexandria." 


Piazetta, whose capitals are the two most important pieces of 
detail in this transitional style in Venice. Examples of its ap- 
plication to domestic buildings exist in almost every street of 
the city, and will form the subject of the second division of 
the following essay. 

§ xxxiii. The Venetians were always ready to receive les- 
sons in art from their enemies (else had there been no Arab 
work in Venice). But their especial dread and hatred of the 
Lombards appears to have long prevented them from receiv- 
ing the influence of the art which that people had introduced 
on the mainland of Italy. Nevertheless, during the practice 
of the two styles above distinguished, a peculiar and very 
primitive condition of pointed Gothic had arisen in ecclesias- 
tical architecture. It appears to be a feeble reflection of the 
Lombard-Arab forms, which were attaining perfection upon 
the continent, and would probably, if left to itself, have been 
soon merged in the Venetian-Arab school, with which it had 
from the first so close a fellowship, that it will be found diffi- 
cult to distinguish the Arabian ogives from those which seem to 
have been built under this early Gothic influence. The churches 
of San Giacopo dell' Orio, San Giovanni in Bragora, the Car- 
mine, and one or two more, furnish the only important ex- 
amples of it. But, in the thirteenth century, the Franciscans 
and Dominicans introduced from the continent their morality 
and their architecture, already a distinct Gothic, curiously 
developed from Lombardic and Northern (German ?) forms ; 
and the influence of the principles exhibited in the vast 
churches of St. Paul and the Frari began rapidly to affect the 
Venetian-Arab school. Still the two systems never became 
united ; the Venetian policy repressed the power of the church, 
and the Venetian artists resisted its example ; and thence- 
forward the architecture of the city becomes divided into 
ecclesiastical and civil : the one an ungraceful yet powerful 
form of the Western Gothic, common to the whole peninsula, 
and only showing Venetian sympathies in the adoption of 
certain characteristic mouldings ; the other a rich, luxuriant, 
and entirely original Gothic, formed from the Venetian-Arab 
by the influence of the Dominican and Franciscan architect* 


ure, and especially by the engrafting upon the Arab forms of 
the most novel feature of the Franciscan work, its traceries. 
These various forms of Gothic, the distinctive architecture of 
Venice, chiefly represented by the churches of St. John and 
Paul, the Frari, and San Stefano, on the ecclesiastical side, 
and by the Ducal palace, and the other principal Gothic pal- 
aces, on the secular side, will be the subject of the third di- 
vision of the essay. 

§ xxxrv. Now observe. The transitional (or especially 
Arabic) style of the Venetian work is centralised by the date 
1180, and is transformed gradually into the Gothic, which ex- 
tends in its purity from the middle of the thirteenth to the 
beginning of the fifteenth century ; that is to say, over the 
precise period which I have described as the central epoch of 
the life of Venice. I dated her decline from the year 1418 ; 
Foscari became doge five years later, and in his reign the first 
marked signs appear in architecture of that mighty change 
which Philippe de Commynes notices as above, the change to 
which London owes St. Paul's, Rome St. Peter's, Venice and 
Vicenza the edifices commonly supposed to be their noblest, 
and Europe in general the degradation of every art she has 
since practised. 

§ xxxv. This change appears first in a loss of truth and vi- 
tality in existing architecture all over the world. (Compare 
"Seven Lamps," chap. h\). All the Gothics in existence, 
southern or northern, were corrupted at once : the German 
and French lost themselves in every species of extravagance ; 
the English Gothic was confined, in its insanity, by a strait- 
waistcoat of perpendicular lines ; the Italian effloresced on 
the mainland into the meaningless ornamentation of the Cer- 
tosa of Pavia and the Cathedral of Como (a style sometimes 
ignorantly called Italian Gothic), and at Venice into the in- 
sipid confusion of the Porta della Carta and wild crockets of 
St. Mark's. This corruption of all architecture, especially 
ecclesiastical, corresponded with, and marked the state of re- 
ligion over all Europe, — the peculiar degradation of the Ro- 
manist superstition, and of public morality in consequence, 
which brought about the Reformation. 


§ xxxvi. Against the corrupted papacy arose two great 
divisions of adversaries, Protestants in Germany and Eng- 
land, Rationalists in France and Italy ; the one requiring the 
purification of religion, the other its destruction. The Pro- 
testant kept the religion, but cast aside the heresies of Rome, 
and with them her arts, by which last rejection he injured his 
own character, cramped his intellect in refusing to it one of 
its noblest exercises, and materially diminished his influence. 
It may be a serious question how far the Pausing of the Re- 
formation has been a consequence of this error. 

The Rationalist kept the arts and cast aside the religion. 
This rationalistic art is the art commonly called Renaissance, 
marked by a return to pagan systems, not to adopt them and 
hallow them for Christianity, but to rank itself under them as 
an imitator and pupil. In Painting it is headed by Giulio 
Romano and Nicolo Poussin ; in Architecture by Sansovino 
and Palladio. 

§ xxxvii. Instant degradation followed in every direction, — 
a flood of folly and hypocrisy. Mythologies ill understood 
at first, then perverted into feeble sensualities, take the place 
of the representations of Christian subjects, which had be- 
come blasphemous under the treatment of men like the Car 
racci. Gods without power, satyrs without rusticity, nymphs 
without innocence, men without humanity, gather into idiot 
groups upon the polluted canvas, and scenic affectations en- 
cumber the streets with preposterous marble. Lower and 
lower declines the level of abused intellect ; the base school 
of landscape* gradually usurps the place of the historical 
painting, which had sunk into prurient pedantry, — the Alsa- 
tian sublimities of Salvator, the confectionery idealities of 
Claude, the dull manufacture of Gaspar and Canaletto, south 
of the Alps, and on the north the patient devotion of besotted 
lives to delineation of bricks and fogs, fat cattle and ditch- 
water. And thus Christianity and morality, courage, and 
intellect, and art all crumbling together into one wreck, we 
are hurried on to the fall of Italy, the revolution in France^ 

* Appendix 11, "Renaissance Landscape." 


and the condition of art in England (saved by her Protestant 
ism from severer penalty) in the time of George II. 

8 xxxviii. I have not written in vain if I have heretofore 
done anything towards diminishing the reputation of the Re- 
naissance landscape painting. But the harm which has been 
done by Claude and the Poussins is as nothing when com- 
pared to the mischief effected by Palladio, Scamozzi, and 
Sansovino. Claude and the Poussins were weak men, and 
have had no serious influence on the general mind. There is 
little harm in their works being purchased at high prices : 
their real influence is very slight, and they may be left with- 
out grave indignation to their poor mission of furnishing 
drawing-rooms and assisting stranded conversation. Not so 
the Pienaissance architecture. Raised at once into all the 
magnificence of which it was capable by Michael Angelo, then 
taken up by men of real intellect and imagination, such as 
Scamozzi, Sansovino, Inigo Jones, and Wren, it is impossible 
to estimate the extent of its influence on the European mind ; 
and that the more, because few persons are concerned with 
painting, and, of those few, the larger number regard it with 
slight attention ; but all men are concerned with architecture, 
and have at some time of their lives serious business with it. 
It does not much matter that an individual loses two or three 
hundred pounds in baying a bad picture, but it is to be re- 
gretted that a nation should lose two or three hundred thou- 
sand in raising a ridiculous building. Nor is it merely wasted 
wealth or distempered conception which we have to regret in 
this Renaissance architecture : but we shall find in it partly 
the root, partly the expression, of certain dominant evils of 
modern times— over-sophistication and ignorant classicalism ; 
the one destroying the healthfulness of general society, the 
other rendering our schools and universities useless to a large 
number of the men who pass through them. 

Now Venice, as she was once the most religious, was in her 
fall the most corrupt, of European states ; and as she was in 
her strength the centre of the pure currents of Christian archi- 
tecture, so she is in her decline the source of the Renaissance. 
It was the originality and splendor of the Palaces of Vicenza 


and Venice which gave this school its eminence in the eyes of 
Europe ; and the dying city, magnificent in her dissipation, 
and graceful in her follies, obtained wider worship in her de^ 
crepitude than in her youth, and sank from the midst of her 
admirers into the grave. 

§ xxxix. It is in Venice, therefore, and in Venice only that 
effectual blows can be struck at this pestilent art of the Kenais- 
Bance. Destroy its claims to admiration there, and it can as- 
sert them nowhere else. This, therefore, will be the final pur- 
pose of the following essay. I shall not devote a fourth section 
to Palladio, nor weary the reader with successive chapters of 
virtuperation ; but I shall, in my account of the earlier archi- 
tecture, compare the forms of all its leading features with 
those into which they were corrupted by the Classicalists ; and 
pause, in the close, on the edge of the precipice of decline, so 
soon as I have made its depths discernible. In doing this I 
shall depend upon two distinct kinds of evidence : — the first, 
the testimony borne by particular incidents and facts to a 
want of thought or of feeling in the builders ; from which we 
may conclude that their architecture must be bad : — the sec- 
ond, the sense, which I doubt not I shall be able to excite in 
the reader, of a systematic ugliness in the architecture itself. 
Of the first kind of testimony I shall here give two instances, 
which may be immediately useful in fixing in the reader's mincl 
the epoch above indicated for the commencement of decline. 

§ xl. I must again refer to the importance which I have 
above attached to the death of Carlo Zeno and the doge To- 
maso Mocenigo. The tomb of that doge is, as I said, wrought 
by a Florentine ; but it is of the same general type and feel- 
ing as all the Venetian tombs of the period, and it is one of the 
the last which retains it. The classical element enters largely 
into its details, but the feeling of the whole is as yet unaf- 
fected. Like all the lovely tombs of Venice and Verona, it is 
a sarcophagus with a recumbent figure above, and this figure 
is a faithful but tender portrait, wrought as far as it can be 
without pain fulness, of the doge as he lay in death. He wears 
his ducal robe and bonnet — his head is laid slightly aside upon 
his pillow— his hands are simply crossed as they fall. The 


face is emaciated, the features large, but so pure and lordly 
in their natural chiselling, that they must have looked like 
marble even in their animation. They are deeply worn away 
by thought and death ; the veins on the temples branched and 
starting ; the skin gathered in sharp folds ; the brow high- 
arched and shaggy ; the eye-ball magnificently large ; the 
curve of the lips just veiled by the light mustache at the side ; 
the beard short, double, and sharp-pointed : all noble and 
quiet ; the white sepulchral dust marking like light the stern 
angles of the cheek and. brow. 

This tomb was sculptured in 1424, and is thus described by 
one of the most intelligent of the recent writers who represent 
the popular feeling respecting Venetian art. 

" Of the Italian school is also the rich but ugly (ricco ma 
non bel) sarcophagus in which repose the ashes of Tomaso 
Mocenio-o. It may be called one of the last links which con- 
nect the declining art of the Middle Ages with that of the 
Renaissance, which was in its rise. "We will not stay to par- 
ticularise the defects of each of the seven figures of the front 
and sides, which represent the cardinal and theological virtues ; 
nor will we make any remarks upon those which stand in the 
niches above the pavilion, because we consider them unworthy 
both of the age and reputation of the Florentine school, which 
was then with reason considered the most notable in Italy." * 

It is well, indeed, not to pause over these defects ; but it 
might have been better to have paused a moment beside that 
noble image of a king's mortality. 

§ xli. In the choir of the same church, St. Giov. and Paolo, 
is another tomb, that of the Doge Andrea Vendramin. This 
doge died in 1478, after a short reign of two years, the most 
disastrous in the annals of Venice. He died of a pestilence 
which followed the ravage of the Turks, carried to the shores 
of the lagoons. He died, leaving Venice disgraced by sea and 
land, with the smoke of hostile devastation rising in the blue 
distances of Friuli ; and there was raised to him the most 
costly tomb ever bestowed on her monarchs. 

§ xlii. If the writer above quoted was cold beside the 
* Selvatico, " Architettura di Venezia," p. 147. 


statue of one of the fathers of his country, he atones for it by 
his eloquence beside the tomb of the Vendramin. I must not 
spoil the force of Italian superlative by translation. 

" Quando si guarda a quella corretta elegaiiza di profili e di 
proporzioni, a quella squisitezza d'ornamenti, a quel certo sa- 
pore antico che senza ombra d'imitazione traspare da tutta 
l'opera " — &c. " Sopra ornatissimo zoccolo fornito di squisiti 
intagli s' alza uno stylobate " — &c. " Sotto le colonne, il pre- 
detto stilobate si muta leggiadramente in piedistallo, poi con 
bella novita di pensiero e di effetto va coronato da un fregio il 
2>iti gentile che veder si possa " — &c. " Non puossi lasciar senza 
un cenno 1' area dove sta chiuso il doge ; capo lavoro di pensi- 
ero e di esecuzione," &c. 

Tliere are two pages and a half of closely printed praise, of 
which the above specimens may suffice ; but there is not a 
word of the statue of the dead from beginning to end. I am 
myself in the habit of considering this rather an important 
part of a tomb, and I was especially interested in it here, be- 
cause Selvatico only echoes the praise of thousands. It is 
unanimously declared the chef d'eeuvre of Renaissance sepul- 
chral work, and pronounced by Cicognara (also quoted by 

" II vertice a cui 1' arti Veneziane si spinsero col ministero 
del scalpello," — " The very culminating point to which the Ve- 
netian arts attained by ministry of the chisel." 

To this culminating point, therefore, covered with dust and 
cobwebs, I attained, as I did to every tomb of importance in 
Venice, by the ministry of such ancient ladders as were to be 
found in the sacristan's keeping. I was struck at first by the 
excessive awkwardness and w r ant of feeling in the fall of the 
hand towards the spectator, for it is thrown off the middle of 
the body in order to show its fine cutting. Now the Moce- 
nigo hand, severe and even stiff in its articulations, has its 
veins finely drawn, its sculptor having justly felt that the deli- 
cacy of the veining expresses alike dignity and age and birth. 
The Vendramin hand is far more laboriously cut, but its blunt 


and clumsy contour at once makes us feel that all the care has 
been thrown away, and well it may be, for it has been entirely 
bestowed in cutting gouty wrinkles about the joints. Such as 
the hand is, I looked for its fellow. At first I thought it had 
been broken off, but, on clearing away the dust, I saw the 
wretched effigy had only one hand, and was a mere block on 
the inner side. The face, heavy and disagreeable in its feat- 
ures, is made monstrous by its semi-sculpture. One side of 
the forehead is wrinkled elaborately, the other left smooth ; 
one side only of the doge's cap is chased ; one cheek only is 
finished, and the other blocked out and distorted besides; 
finally, the ermine robe, which is elaborately imitated to its 
utmost lock of hair and of ground hair on the one side, is 
blocked out only on the other : it having been supposed 
throughout the work that the effigy was only to be seen from 
below, and from one side. 

§ xliii. It was indeed to be so seen by nearly every one ; 
and I do not blame— I should, on the contrary, have praised 
the sculptor for regulating his treatment of it by its posi- 
tion ; if that treatment had not involved, first, dishonesty, in 
giving only half a face, a monstrous mask, when we demanded 
true portraiture of the dead ; and, secondly, cuch utter cold- 
ness of feeling, as could only consist with an extreme of intel- 
lectual and moral degradation : Who, with a heart in his 
breast, could have stayed his hand as he drew the dim lines of 
the old man's countenance — unmajestic once, indeed, but at 
least sanctified by the solemnities of death — could have stayed 
his hand, as he reached the bend of the grey forehead, and 
measured out the last veins of it at so much the zecchin ? 

I do not think the reader, if he has feeling, will expect that 
much talent should be shown in the rest of "his work, by the 
sculptor of this base and senseless lie. The whole monument 
is one wearisome aggregation of that species of ornamental 
flourish, which, when it is done with a pen, is called penman- 
ship, and when done with a chisel, should be called chisel- 
manship ; the subject of it being chiefly fat-limbed boys sprawl- 
ing on dolphins, dolphins incapable of swimming, and dragged 
along the sea by expanded pocket-handkerchiefs. 


But now, reader, comes the very gist and point of the wholj 
matter. This lying monument to a dishonored doge, this 
culminating pride of the Eenaissance art of Venice, is at least 
veracious, if in nothing else, in its testimony to the character 
of its sculptor. He was banished from Venice for forgery in 

§ xliv. I have more to say about this convict's work here- 
after ; but I pass at present, to the second, slighter, but yet 
more interesting piece of evidence, which" I promised. 

The ducal palace has two principal facades ; one towards 
the sea, the other towards the Piazzetta. The seaward side, 
and, as far as the seventh main arch inclusive, the Piazzetta 
side, is work of the early part of the fourteenth century, some 
of it perhaps even earlier ; while the rest of the Piazzetta side 
is of the fifteenth. The difference in age has been gravely dis- 
puted by the Venetian antiquaries, who have examined many 
documents on the subject, and quoted some which they 
never examined. I have myself collated most of the written 
documents, and one document more, to which the Venetian 
antiquaries never thought of referring, — the masonry of the 
palace itself. 

§ xlv. That masonry changes at the centre of the eighth 
arch from the sea angle on the Piazzetta side. It has been 
of comparatively small stones up to that point ; the fifteenth 
century work instantly begins with larger stones, "brought 
from Istria, a hundred miles away." j- The ninth shaft from 
the sea in the lower arcade, and the seventeenth, which is 
above it, in the upper arcade, commence the series of fif- 
teenth century shafts. These two are somewhat thicker than 
the others, and carry the party-wall of the Sala del Scrutinio. 
Now observe, reader. The face of the palace, from this point 
to the Porta della Carta, was built at the instance of that 
noble Doge Mocenigo beside whose tomb you have been 
standing ; at his instance, and in the beginning of the reign 
of his successor, Foscari ; that is to say, circa 1424. This is 
not disputed ; it is only disputed that the sea fayade is earlier ; 

* Selvatico, p. 221. 

•f The older work is of Istrian stone also, but of different quality 


of which, however, the proofs are as simple as they are incon- 
trovertible : for not only the masonry, but the sculpture, 
changes at the ninth lower shaft, and that in the capitals of 
the shafts both of the upper and lower arcade : the costumes 
of the figures introduced in the sea facade being purely Giot- 
tesque, correspondent with Giotto's work in the Arena Chapel 
at Padua, while the costume on the other capitals is Renais- 
sance-Classic : and the lions' heads between the arches change 
at the same point. And there are a multitude of other evi- 
dences in the statues of the angels, with which I shall not at 
present trouble the reader. 

§ xlvi. Now, the architect who built under Foseari, in 1424 
(remember my date for the decline of Venice, 1418), was 
obliged to follow the jnincipal forms of the older palace. But 
he had not the wit to invent new capitals in the same style ; 
he therefore clumsily copied the old ones. The palace has 
seventeen main arches on the sea facade, eighteen on the 
Piazzetta side, which in all are of course carried by thirty-six 
pillars ; and these pillars I shall always number from right to 
left, from the angle of the jmlace at the Ponte della Paglia to 
that next the Porta della Carta. I number them in this suc- 
cession, because I thus liave the earliest shafts first numbered. 
So counted, the 1st, the 18th, and the 36th, are the great 
supports of the angles of the palace ; and the first of the fif- 
teenth century series, being, as above stated, the 9th from the 
sea on the Piazzetta side, is the 26th of the entire series, and 
will always in future be so numbered, so that all numbers 
above twenty-six indicate fifteenth century work, and all below 
it, fourteenth century, with some exceptional cases of restora- 

Then the copied capitals are : the 28th, copied from the 
7th ; the 29th, from the 9th ; the 30th, from the 10th ; the 
31st, from the 8th ; the 33d, from the 12th ; and the 34th, 
from the 11th ; the others being dull inventions of the 15th 
century, except the 36th, which is very nobly designed. 

§ xlvii. The capitals thus selected from the earlier portion 
of the palace for imitation, together with the rest, will be ac- 
curately described hereafter ; the point I have here to notice 


is in the copy of the ninth capital, which was decorated (being, 
like the rest, octagonal) with figures of the eight Virtues :— ■ 
Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Temperance, Prudence, Humil- 
ity (the Venetian antiquaries call it Humanity !), and Forti- 
tude. The Virtues of the fourteenth century are somewhat 
hard-featured ; with vivid and living expression, and plain 
e very-day clothes of the time. Charity has her lap full of 
apples (perhaps loaves), and is giving one to a little child, who 
stretches his arm for it across a gap in the leafage of the capi- 
tal. Fortitude tears open a lion's jaws ; Faith lays her hand 
on her breast, as she beholds the Cross ; and Hope is praying, 
while above her a hand is seen emerging from sunbeams — the 
hand of God (according to that of Revelations, " The Lord God 
giveth them light ") ; and the inscription above is, "Spes op- 
tima in Deo." 

§ xlviii. This design, then, is, rudely and with imperfect 
chiselling, imitated by the fifteenth century workmen : the 
Virtues have lost their hard features and living expression ; 
they have now all got Roman noses, and have had their hair 
curled. Their actions and emblems are, however, preserved 
until we come to Hope : she is still praying, but she is pray- 
ing to the sun only : The hand of God is gone. 

Is not this a curious and striking type of the spirit which 
had then become dominant in the world, forgetting to see 
God's hand in the light He gave ; so that in the issue, when 
that light opened into the Reformation on the one side, and 
into full knowledge of ancient literature on the other, the one 
was arrested and the other perverted ? 

§ xlix. Such is tlie nature of the accidental evidence on 
which I shall depend for the proof of the inferiority of charac- 
ter in the Renaissance workmen. But the proof of the infe- 
riority of the work itself is not so easy, for in this I have to 
appeal to judgments which the Renaissance work has itself dis- 
torted. I felt this difficulty very forcibly as I read a slight 
review of my former work, "The Seven Lamps," in "The 
Architect : " the writer noticed my constant praise of St. 
Mark's : " Mr. Ruskin thinks it a very beautiful building ! 
We," said the Architect, " think it a very ugly building." I 


was not surprised at the difference of opinion, but at the thing 
being consided so completely a subject of opinion. My op- 
ponents in matters of painting always assume that there is 
such a thing as a law of right, and that I do not understand it : 
but my architectual adversaries appeal to no law, they simply 
set their opinion against mine ; and indeed there is no law at 
present to which either they or I can appeal. No man can 
speak with rational decision of the merits or demerits of build- 
ings : he may with obstinacy ; he may with resolved adherence 
to previous prejudices ; but never as if the matter could be 
otherwise decided than by a majority of votes, or pertinacity 
of partizanship. I had always, however, a clear conviction that 
there was a law in this matter : that good architecture might 
be indisputably discerned and divided from the bad ; that the 
opposition in their very nature and essence was clearly visible ; 
and that we were all of us just as unwise in disputing about 
the matter without reference to principle, as we should be for 
debating about the genuineness of a coin, without ringing it. 
I felt also assured that this law must be universal if it were 
conclusive ; that it must enable us to reject all foolish and base 
work, and to accept all noble and wise work, without reference 
to style or national feeling ; that it must sanction the design 
of all truly great nations and times, Gothic or Greek or Arab ; 
that it must cast off and reprobate the design of all foolish 
nations and times, Chinese or Mexican, or modern European : 
and that it must be easily applicable to all possible architec- 
tural inventions of human mind. I set myself, therefore, to 
establish such a law, in full belief that men are intended, with- 
out excessive difficulty, and by use of their general common 
sense, to know good things from bad ; and that it is only be- 
cause they will not be at the pains required for the discern- 
ment, that the world is so widely encumbered with forgeries 
and basenesses. I found the work simpler than I had hoped ; 
the reasonable things ranged themselves in the order I re- 
quired, and the foolish things fell aside, and took themselves 
away so soon as they w r ere looked in the face. I had then. 
with respect to Venetian architecture, the choice, either to es< 
tablish each division of law in a separate form, as I came to the 


features with which it was concerned, or else to ask the read- 
er's patience, while I followed out the general inquiry first, 
and determined with him a code of right and wrong, to which 
we might together make retrospective appeal. I thought this 
the best, though perhaps the dullest way ; and in these first 
following pages I have therefore endeavored to arrange those 
foundations of criticism, on which I shall rest in my account 
of Venetian architecture, in a form clear and simple enough to 
be intelligible even to those who never thought of architecture 
before. To those who have, much of what is stated in them 
will be well known or self-evident ; but they must not be in- 
dignant at a simplicity on which the whole argument depends 
for its usefulness. From that which appears a mere truism 
when first stated, they will find very singular consequences 
sometimes following, — consequences altogether unexpected, 
and of considerable importance ; I will not pause here to dwell 
on their importance, nor on that of the thing itself to be done ; 
for I believe most readers will at once admit the value of a 
criterion of right and wrong in so practical and costly an art 
as architecture, and will be apt rather to doubt the possibility 
of its attainment than dispute its usefulness if attained. I in- 
vite them, therefore, to a fair trial, being certain that even if I 
should fail in my main purpose, and be unable to induce in my 
reader the confidence of judgment I desire, I shall at least re- 
ceive his thanks for the suggestion of consistent reasons, which 
may determine hesitating choice, or justify involuntary prefer- 
ence. And if I should succeed, as I hope, in making the 
Stones of Venice touchstones, and detecting, by the moulder- 
ing of her marble, poison more subtle than ever was betrayed 
by the rending of her crystal ; and if thus I am enabled to 
show the baseness of the schools of architecture and nearly 
every other art, which have for three centuries been predomi- 
nant in Europe, I believe the result of the inquiry may be ser- 
viceable for proof of a more vital truth than any at which I 
have hitherto hinted. For observe : I said the Protestant had 
despised the arts, and the Rationalist corrupted them. But 
what has the Romanist done meanwhile ? He boasts that it 
was the papacy which raised the arts ; why could it not sup- 


port them when it was left to its own strength ? How came 
it to yield to Classicalism which was based on infidelity, and 
to oppose no barrier to innovations, which have reduced the 
once faithfully conceived imagery of its worship to stage deco- 
ration ? Shall we not rather find that Romanism, instead of 
being a promoter of the arts, has never shown itself capable of 
a single great conception since the separation of Protestantism 
from its side ?* So long as, corrupt though it might be, no 
clear witness had been borne against it, so that it still included 
in its ranks a vast number of faithful Christians, so long its 
arts were noble. But the witness was borne— the error made 
apparent ; and Eome refusing to hear the testimony or forsake 
the falsehood, has been struck from that instant with an intel- 
lectual palsy, which has not only incapacitated her from any 
further use of the arts which once were her ministers, but has 
made her worship the shame of its own shrines, and her wor- 
shippers their destroyers. Come, then, if truths such as these 
are worth our thoughts ; come, and let us know, before we 
enter the streets of the Sea city, whether we are indeed to sub- 
mit ourselves to their undistinguished enchantment, and to 
look upon the last changes which were wrought on the lifted 
forms of her palaces, as we should on the capricious towering 
of summer clouds in the sunset, ere they sank into the deep 
of night ; or whether, rather, we shall not behold in the bright- 
ness of their accumulated marble, pages on which the sentence 
of her luxury was to be written until the waves should efface 
it, as they fulfilled — " God has numbered thy kingdom, and 
finished it." 



§ i. We address ourselves, then, first to the task of deter- 
mining some law of right which we may apply to the archi- 
tecture of all the world and of all time ; and by help of which. 
and judgment according to which, we may easily pronoun eo 

* Appendix 12, " Romanist Modern Art." 


whether a building is good or noble, as, by applying a plumb- 
line, whether it be perpendicular. 

The first question will of course be, What are the possible 
Virtues of architecture ? 

In the main, we require from buildings, as from men, two 
kinds of goodness : first, the doing their practical duty well : 
then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it ; which 
last is itself another form of duty. 

Then the practical duty divides itself into two branches, — 
acting and talking : — acting, as to defend us from weather or 
violence ; talking, as the duty of monuments or tombs, to 
record facts and express feelings ; or of churches, temples, 
public edifices, treated as books of history, to tell such his- 
tory clearly and forcibly. 

We have thus, altogether, three great branches of archi- 
tectural virtue, and we require of any building, — 

1. That it act well, and do the things it was intended to do 

in the best way. 

2. That it speak well, and say the things it was intended to 

say in the best words. 

3. That it look well, and please us by its presence, what- 

ever it has to do or sa}-.* 
§ ii. Now, as regards the second of these virtues, it is evi- 
dent that we can establish no general laws. First, because it 
• is not a virtue required in all buildings ; there are some which 
are only for covert or defence, and from which we ask no 
conversation. Secondly, because there are countless methods 
of expression, some conventional, some natural : each conven- 
tional mode has its own alphabet, which evidently can be no 
subject of general laws. Every natural mode is instinctively 
employed and instinctively understood, wherever there is true 
feeling ; and this instinct is above law. The choice of con- 
ventional methods depends on circumstances out of calcula- 
tion, and that of natural methods on sensations out of con- 
trol ; so that we can only say that the choice is right, when 
we feel that the means are effective ; Mid we cannot always 
say that it is wrong when they are not so. 

* Appendix 13. " Mr. Fergusson's System." 
Vol I.— 4 


A building which recorded the Bible history by means of 
a series of sculptural pictures, would be perfectly useless to a 
person unacquainted with the Bible beforehand ; on the other 
hand, the text of the Old and New Testaments might be writ- 
ten on its walls, and yet the building be a very inconvenient 
kind of book, not so useful as if it had been adorned with 
intelligible and vivid sculpture. So, again, the power of ex- 
citing emotion must vary or vanish, as the spectator becomes 
thoughtless or cold ; and the building may be often blamed 
for what is the fault of its critic, or endowed with a charm 
which is of its spectator's creation. It is not, therefore, pos- 
sible to make expressional character any fair criterion of ex- 
cellence in buildings, until we can fully place ourselves in the 
position of those to whom their expression was originally ad- 
dressed, and until we are certain that we understand every 
symbol, and are capable of being touched by every association 
which its builders employed as letters of their language. I 
shall continually endeavor to put the reader into such sym- 
pathetic temper, when I ask for his judgment of a building ; 
and in every work I may bring before him I shall point out, 
as far as I am able, whatever is peculiar in its expression ; 
nay, I must even depend on such peculiarities for much of my 
best evidence respecting the character of the builders. But 
I cannot legalize the judgment for which I plead, nor insist 
upon it if it be refused. I can neither force the reader to 
feel this architectural rhetoric, nor compel him to confess that 
the rhetoric is powerful, if it have produced no impression on 
his own mind. 

§ in. I leave, therefore, the expression of buildings for in- 
cidental notice only. But their other two virtues are proper 
subjects of law, — their performance of their common and nec- 
essary work, and their conformity with universal and divine 
canons of loveliness : respecting these there can be no doubt, 
no ambiguity. I would have the reader discern them, so 
quickly that, as he passes along a street, he may, by a glance 
of the eye distinguish the noble from the ignoble work. He 
can do this, if he permit free play to his natural instincts ; 
and all that I have to do for him is to remove from those in- 


stincts the artificial restraints which prevent their action, and 
to encourage them to an unaffected and unbiassed choice be- 
tween right and wrong. 

§ iv. We have, then, two qualities of buildings for subjects 
of separate inquiry : their action, and aspect, and the sources 
of virtue in both ; that is to say, Strength and Beauty, both 
of these being less admired in themselves, than as testifying 
the intelligence or imagination of the builder. 

For we have a worthier way of looting at human than at 
divine architecture : much of the value both of construction 
and decoration, in the edifices of men, depends upon our 
being led by the thing produced or adorned, to some contem- 
plation of the powers of mind concerned in its creation or 
adornment. We are not so led by divine work, but are con- 
tent to rest in the contemplation of the thing created. I wish 
the reader to note this especially : we take pleasure, or should 
take pleasure, in architectural construction altogether as the 
manifestation of an admirable human intelligence ; it is not 
the strength, not the size, not the finish of the work which 
we are to venerate: rocks are always stronger, mountains 
always larger, all natural objects more finished ; but it is the 
intelligence and resolution of man in overcoming physical 
difficulty which are to be the source of our pleasure and sub- 
ject of our praise. And again, in decoration or beauty, it is 
less the actual loveliness of the thing produced, than the 
choice and invention concerned in the production, which are 
to delight us ; the love and the thoughts of the workman more 
than his work : his work must always be imperfect, but his 
thoughts and affections may be true and deep. 

§ v. This origin of our pleasure in architecture I must in- 
sist upon at somewhat greater length, for I would fain do 
away with some of the ungrateful coldness which we show to- 
wards the good builders of old time. In no art is there closer 
connection between our delight in the work, and our admira- 
tion of the workman's mind, than in architecture, and yet we 
rarely ask for a builder's name. The patron at whose cost, 
the monk through whose dreaming, the foundation was laid, 
we remember occasionally ; never the man who verily did the 



work. Did the reader ever hear of William of Sens as having 
had anything to do with Canterbury Cathedral ? or of Pietro 
Basegio as in anywise connected with the Ducal Palace of Ven- 
ice? There is much ingratitude and injustice in this ; and 
therefore I desire my reader to observe carefully how much 
of his pleasure in building is derived, or should be derived, 
from admiration of the intellect of men whose names he 
knows not. 

§ vi. The two virtues of architecture w 7 hich w r e can justly 
weigh, are, we said, its strength or good construction, and its 
beauty or good decoration. Consider first, therefore, what 
you mean when you say a building is well constructed or w r ell 
built ; you do not merely mean that it answers its purpose, — 
this is much, and many modern buildings fail of this much ; 
but if it be verily well built, it must answer this purpose in 
the simplest way, and with no over-expenditure of means. 
We require of a light-house, for instance, that it shall stand 
firm and carry a light ; if it do not this, assuredly it has been 
ill built ; but it may do it to the end of time, and yet not be 
well built. It may have hundreds of tons of stone in it more 
than were needed, and have cost thousands of pounds more 
than it ought. To pronounce it well or ill built, we must 
know the utmost forces it can have to resist, and the best ar- 
rangements of stone for encountering them, and the quickest 
ways of effecting such arrangements : then only, so far as such 
arrangements have been chosen, and such methods used, is it 
well built. Then the knowledge of all difficulties to be met, 
and of all means of meeting them, and the quick and true 
fancy or invention of the modes of applying the means to the 
end, are what we have to admire in the builder, even as he is 
seen through this first or inferior part of his work. Mental 
power, observe : not muscular nor mechanical, nor technical, 
nor empirical, — pure, precious, majestic, massy intellect ; not 
to be had at vulgar price, nor received without thanks, and 
without asking from whom. 

§ vn. Suppose, for instance, we are present at the building 
of a bridge : the bricklayers or masons have had their cen 
tring erected for them, and that centring was put togetbei' 


by a carpenter, who had the line of its curve traced for him 
by the architect : the masons are dexterously handling and 
fitting their bricks, or, by the help of machinery, carefully 
adjusting stones which are numbered for their places. There 
is probably in their quickness of eye and readiness of hand 
something admirable ; but this is not what I ask the reader 
to admire : not the carpentering, nor the bricklaying, nor 
anything that he can presently see and understand, but the 
choice of the curve, and the shaping of the numbered stones, 
and the appointment of that number ; there were many things 
to be known and thought upon before these were decided. 
The man who chose the curve and numbered the stones, had 
to know the times and tides of the river, and the strength of 
its floods, and the height and flow of them, and the soil of the 
banks, and the endurance of it, and the weight of the stones 
he had to build with, and the kind of traffic that day by day 
would be carried on over his bridge, — all this specially, and all 
the great general laws of force and weight, and their working ; 
and in the choice of the curve and numbering of stones are 
expressed not only his knowledge of these, but such ingenuity 
and firmness as he had, in applying special means to over- 
come the special difficulties about his bridge. There is no 
saying how much wit, how much depth of thought, how much 
fancy, presence of mind, courage, and fixed resolution there 
may have gone to the placing of a single stone of it. This is 
what we have to admire, — this grand power and heart of man 
in the thing ; not his technical or empirical way of holding 
the trowel and laying mortar. 

§ vni. Now there is in everything properly called art this 
concernment of the intellect, even in the province of the art 
which seems merely practical. For observe : in this bridge- 
building I suppose no reference to architectural principles ; 
all that I suppose we want is to get safely over the river ; the 
man who has taken us over is still a mere bridge-builder, — a 
builder, not an architect : he may be a rough, artless, feeling- 
less man, incapable of doing any on<> truly fine thing all his 
days. I shall call upon you to despise him presently in a sort, 
but not as if he were a mere smoother of mortar ; perhaps a 


great man, infinite in memory, indefatigable in labor, exhaust* 
less in expedient, unsurpassable in quickness of thought. 
Take good heed you understand him before 3 t ou despise him. 

§ ix. But why is he to be in anywise despised ? By no 
means despise him, unless he happen to be without a soul,* 
or at least to show no signs of it ; which possibly he may not 
in merely carrying you across the river. He may be merely 
what Mr. Carlyle rightly calls a human beaver after all ; and 
there may be nothing in all that ingenuity of his greater than 
a complication of animal faculties, an intricate bestiality, — 
nest or hive building in its highest development. You need 
something more than this, or the man is despicable ; you 
need that virtue of building through which he may show his 
affections and delights ; you need its beauty or decoration. 

§ x. Not that, in reality, one division of the man is more 
human than another. Theologists fall into this error very 
fatally and continually ; and a man from whom I have learned 
much, Lord Lindsay, has hurt his noble book by it, speaking 
as if the spirit of the man only were immortal, and were op- 
posed to his intellect, and the latter to the senses ; whereas 
all the divisions of humanity are noble or brutal, immortal or 
mortal, according to the degree of their sanctification : and 
there is no part of the man which is not immortal and divine 
when it is once given to God, and no part of him which is 
not mortal by the second death, and brutal before the first, 
when it is withdrawn from God. For to what shall we trust 
for our distinction from the beasts that perish? To our 
higher intellect ? — yet are we not bidden to be wise as the 
serpent, and to consider the ways of the ant? — or to our 
affections ? nay ; these are more shared by the lower animals 
than our intelligence. Hamlet leaps into the grave of his 
beloved, and leaves it, — a dog had stayed. Humanity and 
immortality consist neither in reason, nor in love ; not in the 
body, nor in the animation of the heart of it, nor in the 
thoughts and stirrings of the brain of it, — but in the dedica- 
tion of them all to Him who will raise them up at the last 

* Appendix 14, " Divisions of Humanity. n 


§ xi. It is not, therefore, that the signs of his affections, 
which man leaves upon his work, are indeed more ennobling 
than the signs of his intelligence ; but it is the balance of 
both wdiose expression we need, and the signs of the govern- 
ment of them all by Conscience ; and Discretion, the daughter 
of Conscience. So, then, the intelligent part of man being 
eminently, if not chiefly, displayed in the structure of his 
work, his affectionate part is to be shown in its decoration ; 
and, that decoration may be indeed lovely, two things are 
needed : first, that the affections be vivid, and honestly shown ; 
secondly, that they be fixed on the right things. 

§ xii. You think, perhaps, I have put the requirements in 
w r rong order. Logically I have ; practically I have not : for 
it is necessary first to teach men to speak out, and say what 
they like, truly ; and, in the second place, to teach them 
which of their likings are ill set, and which justly. If a man 
is cold in his likings and dislikings, or if he will not tell you 
what he likes, you can make nothing of him. Only get him 
to feel quickly and to speak plainly, and you may set him 
right. And the fact is, that the great evil of all recent 
architectural effort has not been that men liked wrong things : 
but that they either cared nothing about any, or pretended 
to like what they did not. Do you suppose that any modern 
architect likes what he builds, or enjoys it ? Not in the least. 
He builds it because he has been told that such and such 
things are fine, and that he should like them. He pretends 
to like them, and gives them a false relish of vanity. Do you 
seriously imagine, reader, that any living soul in London likes 
triglyphs?* — or gets any hearty enjoyment out of pedi- 
ments ? f You are much mistaken. Greeks did : English 
people never did, — never will. Do you fancy that the archi- 
tect of old Burlington Mew T s, in Eegent Street, had any 
particular satisfaction in putting the blank triangle over the 

* Triglyph. Literally, "Three Cut.'' The awkward upright orna- 
ment with two notches in it, and a cut at each side, to be seen every- 
where at the tops of Doric colonnades, ancient and modern. 

f Pediment. The triangular space above Greek porticos, as on the 
Mansion House or Royal Exchange. 


archway, instead of a useful garret window ? By no inannei 
of means. He had been told it was right to do so, and 
thought he should be admired for doing it. Very few faults 
of architecture are mistakes of honest choice : they are almost 
always hypocrisies. 

§ xni. So, then, the first thing we have to ask of the decora- 
tion is that it should indicate strong liking, and that honestly. 
It matters not so much what the thing is, as that the builder 
should really love it and enjoy it, and say so plainly. The 
architect of Bourges Cathedral liked hawthorns ; so he has 
covered his porch with hawthorn, — it is a perfect Niobe of 
May. Never was such hawthorn ; you would try to gather it 
forthwith, but for fear of being pricked. The old Lombard 
architects liked hunting ; so they covered their work with 
horses and hounds, and men blowing trumpets two yards long. 
The base Renaissance architects of Venice liked masquing 
and fiddling ; so they covered their work with comic masks 
and musical instruments. Even that was better than our 
English way of liking nothing, and professing to like tri- 

§ xrv. But the second requirement in decoration, is a sign 
of our liking the right thing. And the right thing to be liked 
is God's work, which He made for our delight and contentment 
in this world. And all noble ornamentation is the expression 
of man's delight in God's work. 

§ xv. So, then, these are the two virtues of building : first, 
the signs of man's own good work ; secondly, the expression 
of man's delight in better work than his own. And these are 
the two virtues of which I desire my reader to be able quickly 
to judge, at least in some measure ; to have a definite opinion 
up to a certain point. Beyond a certain point he cannot form 
one. When the science of the building is great, great science 
is of course required to comprehend it : and, therefore, of 
difficult bridges, and light-houses, and harbor walls, and river 
dykes, and railway tunnels, no judgment may be rapidly 
formed. But of common buildings, built in common circum- 
stances, it is very possible for every man, or woman, or child, 
to form judgment both rational and rapid. Their necessary, 


or even possible, features are but few ; the laws of their con- 
struction are as simple as they are interesting. The labor of 
a few hours is enough to render the reader master of their 
main points ; and from that moment he will find in himself a 
power of judgment which can neither be escaped nor deceived, 
and discover subjects of interest where everything before had 
appeared barren. For though the laws are few and simple, 
the modes of obedience to them are not so. Every building 
presents its own requirements and difficulties ; and every good 
building has peculiar appliances or contrivances to meet them. 
Understand the laws of structure, and you will feel the special 
difficulty in every new building which you approach ; and you 
will know also, or feel instinctively,* whether it has been 
wisely met or otherwise. And an enormous number of build- 
ings, and of styles of buildings, you will be able to cast aside 
at once, as at variance with these constant laws of structure, 
and therefore unnatural and monstrous. 

§ xvi. Then, as regards decoration, I want you only to con- 
sult your own natural choice and liking. There is a right 
and wrong in it ; but you will assuredly like the right if you 
suffer your natural instinct to lead you. Half the evil in this 
world comes from people not knowing what they do like, not 
deliberately setting themselves to find out what they really 
enjoy. All people enjoy giving away money, for instance : 
they don't know that, — they rather think they like keejjing it ; 
and they do keep it under this false impression, often to their 
great discomfort. Every body likes to do good ; but not one 
in a hundred finds this out. Multitudes think they like to do 
evil ; yet no man ever really enjoyed doing evil since God 
made the world. 

So in this lesser matter of ornament. It needs some little 
care to try experiments upon yourself : it needs deliberate 
question and upright answer. But there is no difficulty to be 
overcome, no abstruse reasoning to be gone into ; only a little 
watchfulness needed, and thoughtfulness, and so much honesty 
as will enable you to confess to yourself and to all men, that 
you enjoy things, though great authorities say you should not 
* Appendix 15 : " Instinctive Judgments." 


§ xvii. This looks somewhat like pride ; but it is true hu- 
mility, a trust that you have been so created as to enjoy what 
is fitting for you, and a willingness to be pleased, as it was 
intended you should be. It is the child's spirit, which we 
are then most happy when we most recover ; only wiser than 
children in that we are ready to think it subject of thankful 
ness that we can still be pleased with a fair color or a dancing 
light. And, above all, do not try to make all these pleasures 
reasonable, nor to connect the delight which you take in 
ornament with that which you take in construction or useful- 
ness. They have no connection ; and every effort that you 
make to reason from one to the other will blunt your sense of 
beautv, or confuse it with sensations altogether inferior to it. 
You were made for enjoyment, and the world was filled with 
things which you will enjoy, unless you are too proud to be 
pleased by them, or too grasping to care for what you cannot 
turn to other account than mere delight. Remember that the 
most beautiful things in the world are the most useless ; pea- 
cocks and lilies for instance ; at least I suppose this quill I hold 
in my hand writes better than a peacock's would, and the peas- 
ants of Yevay, whose fields in spring time are as white with 
lilies as the Dent du Midi is with its snow, told me the hay 
was none the better for them. 

§ xvni. Our task therefore divides itself into two branches, 
and these I shall follow in succession. I shall first consider 
the construction of buildings, dividing them into their really 
necessary members or features ; and I shall endeavor so to 
lead the reader forward from the foundation upwards, as that 
he may find out for himself the best way of doing everything, 
and having so discovered it, never forget it. I shall give him 
stones, and bricks, and straw, chisels, and trowels, and the 
ground, and then ask him to build ; only helping him, as I 
can, if I find him puzzled. And when he has built his house 
or church, I shall ask him to ornament it, and leave it to him 
to choose the ornaments as I did to find out the construction : 
I shall use no influence with him whatever, except to counter- 
act previous prejudices, and leave him, as far as may be, free. 
And when he has thus found out how to build, and chosen 


his forms of decoration, I shall do what I can to confirm hia 
confidence in what he has done. I shall assure him that no 
one in the world could, so far, have done better, and require 
him to condemn, as futile or fallacious, whatever has no re- 
semblance to his own performances. 



§ i. The practical duties of buildings are twofold. 
They have either (1), to hold and protect something ; or (2), 
to place or carry something. 

1. Architecture of Protection. This is architecture in- 
tended to protect men or their possessions from violence 
of any kind, whether of men or of the elements. It will 
include all churches, houses, and treasuries ; fortresses, 
fences, and ramparts ; the architecture of the hut and 
sheepfold ; of the palace and the citadel : of the dyke, 
breakwater, and sea-wall. And the protection, when 
of living creatures, is to be understood as including 
commodiousness and comfort of habitation, wherever 
these are possible under the given circumstances. 

2. Architecture of Position. This is architecture intended 
to carry men or things to some certain places, or to 
hold them there. This will include all bridges, aque- 
ducts, and road architecture ; light-houses, which have 
to hold light in appointed places ; chimneys to carry 
smoke or direct currents of air ; staircases ; towers, 
which are to be watched from or cried from, as in 
mosques, or to hold bells, or to place men in positions 
of offence, as ancient moveable attacking towers, and 
most fortress towers. 

§ ii. Protective architecture has to do one or all of three 
things : to wall a space, to roof it, and to give access to it, of 


persons, light, and air ; and it is therefore to be consideiM 
under the three divisions of walls, roofs, and apertures. 

We will take, first, a short, general view of the connection 
of these members, and then examine them in detail : endeav- 
oring always to keep the simplicity of our first arrangement 
in view ; for protective architecture has indeed no other 
members than these, unless flooring and paving be con- 
sidered architecture, which it is only when the flooring is also 
a roof ; the laying of the stones or timbers for footing being 
pavior's or carpenter's work, rather than architect's ; and, at 
all events, work respecting the well or ill doing of which we 
shall hardly find much difference of opinion, except in points 
of aesthetics. We shall therefore concern ourselves only with 
the construction of walls, roofs, and apertures. 

§ in. 1. Walls.— A wall is an even and united fence, 
whether of wood, earth, stone, or metal. Wlien meant for 
purposes of mere partition or enclosure, it remains a wall 
proper : but it has generally also to sustain a certain vertical 
or lateral pressure, for which its strength is at first increased 
by some general addition to its thickness ; but if the pressure 
becomes very great, it is gathered up into piers to resist ver- 
tical pressure, and supported by buttresses to resist lateral 

If its functions of partition or enclosure are -continued, to- 
gether with that of resisting vertical pressure, it remains as a 
wall veil between the piers into which it has been partly 
gathered ; but if it is required only to resist the vertical or 
roof pressure, it is gathered up into piers altogether, loses 
its wall character, and becomes a group or line of piers. 

On the other hand, if the lateral pressure be slight, it may 
retain its character of a wall, being supported against the 
pressure by buttresses at intervals ; but if the lateral pressure 
be very great, it is supported against such pressure by a con- 
tinuous buttress, loses its wall character, and becomes a dyke 
or rampart. 

§ iv. We shall have therefore (A) first to get a general idea 
of a wall, and of right construction of walls ; then (B) to see 
how this wall is gathered into piers ; and to get a general idea 



of piers and the right construction of piers ; then (C) to see 
how a wall is supported by buttresses, and to get a general 
idea of buttresses and the right construction of buttresses. 
This is surely very simple, and it is all we shall have to do 
with walls and their divisions. 

§ v. 2. Roofs. — A roof is the covering of a space, narrow or 
wide. It will be most conveniently studied by first consider- 
ing the forms in which it may be carried over a narrow space, 
and then expanding these on a wide plan ; only there is some 



Fig. 1. 

difficulty here in the nomenclature, for an arched roof over a 
narrow space has (I believe) no name, except that which be- 
longs properly to the piece of stone or wood composing such 
a roof, namely, lintel. But the reader will have no difficulty 
in understanding that he is first to consider roofs on the sec- 
tion only, thinking how best to construct a narrow bar or slice 
of them, of whatever form ; as, for instance, x, y, or z, over the 
plan or area a, Fig. I. Having done this, let him imagine 
these several divisions, first moved along (or set side by side) 


over a rectangle, b, Fig. I., and then revolved round a point (or 
crossed at it) over a polygon, c, or circle, d, and lie will have 
every form of simple roof : the arched section giving succes- 
sively the vaulted roof and dome, and the gabled section giv- 
ing the gabled roof and spire. 

As we go farther into the subject, we shall only have to add 
one or two forms to the sections here given, in order to em- 
brace all the uncombined roofs in existence ; and we shall not 
trouble the reader with many questions respecting cross-vault- 
ing, and other modes of their combination. 

§ vi. Now, it also happens, from its place in buildings, that 
the sectional roof over a narrow space will need to be consid- 
ered before we come to the expanded roof over a broad one. 
For when a wall has been gathered, as above explained, into 
piers, that it may better bear vertical pressure, it is generally 
necessary that it should be expanded again at the top into a 
continuous wall before it carries the true roof. Arches or 
lintels are, therefore, thrown from pier to pier, and a level 
preparation for carrying the real roof is made above them. 
After we have examined the structure of piers, therefore, we 
shall have to see how lintels or arches are thrown from pier to 
pier, and the whole prepared for the superincumbent roof ; 
this arrangement being universal in all good architecture pre- 
pared for vertical pressures ; and w T e shall then examine the 
condition of the great roof itself. Aud because the structure 
of the roof very often introduces certain lateral pressures which 
have much to do with the placing of buttresses, it will be well 
to do all this before we examine the nature of buttresses, and, 
therefore, between parts (B) and (C) of the above plan, § rv. 
So now we shall have to study : (A) the construction of walls ; 
(B) that of piers ; (C) that of lintels or arches prepared for 
roofing ; (D) that of roofs proper ; and (E) that of buttresses. 

§ vn. 3. Apertures. — There must either be intervals between 
the piers, of which intervals the character will be determined 
by that of the piers themselves, or else doors or windows in 
the walls proper. And, respecting doors or windows, we have 
to determine three things : first, the proper shape of the entire 
aperture ; secondly, the way in which it is to be filled with 


valves or glass ; and thirdly, the modes of protecting it on the 
outside, and fitting appliances of convenience to it, -as porches 
or balconies. And this will be our division F ; and if the 
reader will have the patience to go through these six heads, 
which include every possible feature of protective architecture, 
and to consider the simple necessities and fitnesses of each, I 
will answer for it, he shall never confound good architecture 
with bad any more. For, as to architecture of position, a 
great part of it involves necessities of construction with which 
the spectator cannot become generally acquainted, and of the 
compliance with which he is therefore never expected to judge, 
— as in chimneys, light-houses, &c. : and the other forms of it 
are so closely connected with those of protective architecture, 
that a few words in Chap. XIX. respecting staircases and 
towers, will contain all with which the reader need be troubled 
on the subject. 



§ i. Oue first business, then, is with Wall, and to find out 
wherein lies the true excellence of the " Wittiest Partition." 
For it is rather strange that, often as we speak of a " dead" 
wall, and that with considerable disgust, we have not often, 
since Snout's time, heard of a living one. But the common 
epithet of opprobrium is justly bestowed, and marks a right 
feeling. A wall has no business to be dead. It ought to have 
members in its make, and purposes in its existence, like an 
organized creature, and to answer its ends in a living and en- 
ergetic way ; and it is only when we do not choose to put any 
strength nor organization into it, that it offends us by its 
deadness. Every wall ought to be a "sweet and lovely wall." 
I do not care about its having ears ; but, for instruction and 
exhortation, I would often have it to "hold up its fingers." 
What its necessary members and excellences are, it is our 
present business to discover. 


§ ii. A wall has been denned to be an even and united fence 
of wood, earth, stone, or metal. Metal fences, however, sel- 
dom, if ever, take the form of walls, but of railings ; and, like 
all other metal constructions, must be left out of our present 
investigation ; as may be also walls composed merely of light 
planks or laths for purposes of partition or inclosure. Sub- 
stantial walls, whether of wood or earth (I use the word earth 
as including clay, baked or unbaked, and stone), have, in their 
perfect form, three distinct members : — the Foundation, Body 
or "Veil, and Cornice. 

§ in. The foundation is to the wall what the paw is to an 
animal. It is a long foot, wider than the wall, on which the 
wall is to stand, and which keeps it from settling into the 
ground. It is most necessary that this great element of secu- 
rity should be visible to the eye, and therefore made a part 
of the structure above ground. Sometimes, indeed, it be- 
comes incorporated with the entire foundation of the build- 
ing, a vast table on which walls or piers are alike set : but 
even then, the eye, taught by the reason, requires some ad- 
ditional preparation or foot for the wall, and the building is 
felt to be imperfect without it. This foundation we shall call 
the Base of the wall. 

§ iv. The body of the wall is of course the principal mass 
of it, formed of mud or clay, of bricks or stones, of logs or 
hewn timber ; the condition of structure being, that it is of 
equal thickness everywhere, below and above. It may be 
half a foot thick, or six feet thick, or fifty feet thick ; but if 
of equal thickness everywhere, it is still a wall proper : if to 
its fifty feet of proper thickness there be added so much as 
an inch of thickness in particular parts, that added thickness 
is to be considered as some form of buttress or pier, or other 

In perfect architecture, however, the walls are generally 

* Many walls are slightly sloped or curved towards their tops, and have 
buttresses added to them (that of the Queen's Bench Prison is a curious 
instance of the vertical buttress and inclined wall) ; but in all such in- 
stances the slope of the wall is properly to be considered a condition of 
incorporated buttress. 


kept of moderate thickness, and strengthened by piers or 
buttresses ; and the part of the wall between these, being 
generally intended only to secure privacy, or keep out the 
slighter forces of weather, may be properly called a "Wall 
Veil. I shall always use this word "Veil " to signify the even 
portion of a wall, it being more expressive than the term 

§ v. When the materials with which this veil is built are 
very loose, or of shapes which do not fit well together, it 
sometimes becomes necessary, or at least adds to security, to 
introduce courses of more solid material. Thus, bricks al- 
ternate with rolled pebbles in the old walls of Verona, and 
hewn stones with brick in its Lombard churches. A banded 
structure, almost a stratification of the wall, is thus produced ; 
and the courses of more solid material are sometimes deco- 
rated with carving. Even when the wall is not thus banded 
through its whole height, it frequently becomes expedient to 
la}' a course of stone, or at least of more carefully chosen 
materials, at regular heights ; and such belts or bands we 
may call String courses. These are a kind of epochs in the 
wall's existence ; something like periods of rest and reflection 
in human life, before entering on a new career. Or else, in 
the building, they correspond to the divisions of its stories 
within, express its internal structure, and mark off some por- 
tion of the ends of its existence already attained. 

§ vi. Finally, on the top of the wall some protection from 
the weather is necessaiw, or some preparation for the recep- 
tion of superincumbent weight, called a coping, or Cornice. 
I shall use the word Cornice for both ; for, in fact, a coping- 
is a roof to the wall itself, and is carried by a small cornice 
as the roof of the building by a large one. In either case, the 
cornice, small or large, is the termination of the wall's exist- 
ence, the accomplishment of its work. W T hen it is meant to 
carry some superincumbent weight, the cornice may be con- 
sidered as its hand, opened to carry something above its 
head ; as the base was considered its foot : and the three 
parts should grow out of each other and form one whole, like 
the root, stalk, and bell of a flower. 



These three parts we shall examine in succession ; and, 
first, the Base. 

§ vn. It may be sometimes in our power, and it is always 
expedient, to prepare for the whole building some settled 
foundation, level and firm, out of sight. But this has not 
been done in some of the noblest buildings in existence. It 
cannot always be done perfectly, except at enormous expense ; 
and, in reasoning upon the superstructure, we shall never 
suppose it to be done. The mind of the spectator does not 
conceive it ; and he estimates the merits of the edifice on the 
supposition of its being built upon the ground. Even if thero 
be a vast table land of foundation elevated for the whole of 
it, accessible by steps all around, as at Pisa, the surface of 
this table is always conceived as capable of yielding somewhat 
to superincumbent weight, and generally is so ; and we shall 
base all our arguments on the widest possible supposition, 
that is to say, that the building stands on a surface either of 
earth, or, at all events, capable of yielding in some degree to 
its weight. 

§ vni. Now, let the reader simply ask himself how, on such 
a surface, he would set about building a substantial wall, 

that should be able to 
bear weight and to stand 
for ages. He would as- 
suredly look about for 
the largest stones he 
had at his disposal, and, 
rudely levelling the 
ground, he would lay 
these well together over 
a considerably larger 
width than he required 
the wall to be (suppose 
as at a, Fig. II.), in ordei 
to equalise the pressure 
of the wall over a large surface, and form its foot. On the 
top of these he would perhaps lay a second tier of large 
stones, b, or even the third, c, making the breadth somewhat 

Fig. II. 


iess each time, so as to prepare for the pressure of the wall 
on the centre, and, naturally or necessarily, using somewhat 
smaller stones above than below (since we supposed him to 
look about for the largest first), and cutting them more 
neatly. His third tier, if not his second, w r ill probably ap- 
pear a sufficiently secure foundation for finer work ; for if 
the earth yield at all, it will probably yield pretty equally 
under the great mass of masonry now knit together over it. 
So he will prepare for the wall itself at once by sloping off the 
next tier of stones to the right diameter, as at d. If there be 
any joints in this tier within the wall, he may perhaps, for 
further securit}', lay a binding stone across them, e, and then 
begin the work of the wall veil itself, whether in bricks or 

§ ix. I have supposed the preparation here to be for a large 
wall, because such a preparation will give us the best general 
type. But it is evident that the essential features of the ar- 
rangement are only two, that is to say, one tier of massy work 
for foundation, suppose c, missing the first two ; and the re- 
ceding tier or real foot of the wall, d. The reader will find 
these members, though only of brick, in most of the con- 
siderable and independent walls in the suburbs of London. 
, § x. It is evident, however, that the general type, Fig. 2, 
will be subject to many different modifications in different 
circumstances. Sometimes the ledges of the tiers a and b 
may be of greater width ; and when the building is in a 
secure place, and of finished masonry, these may be sloped 
off also like the main foot d. In Venetian buildings these 
lower ledges are exposed to the sea, and therefore left rough 
hewn ; but in fine work and in important positions the lower 
ledges may be bevelled and decorated like the upper, or 
another added above d ; and all these parts may be in differ- 
ent proportions, according to the disposition of the building 
above them. But we have nothing to do with any of these 
variations at present, they being all more or less dependent 
upon decorative considerations, except only one of very great 
importance, that is to say, the widening of the lower ledge 
into a stone seat, which may be often done in buildings of great 


size with most beautiful effect : it looks kind and hospitable, 
and preserves the work above from violence. In St. Mark's 
at Venice, which is a small and low church, and needing no 
great foundation for the wall veils of it, we find only the 
three members, b, c, and d. Of these the first rises about a 
foot above the pavement of St, Mark's Place, and forms an 
elevated dais in some of the recesses of the porches, chequered 
red and white ; c forms a seat which follows the line of the 
walls, while its basic character is marked by its also carrying 
certain shafts with which we have here no concern ; d is of 
white marble ; and all are enriched and decorated in the sim- 
plest and most perfect manner possible, as we shall see in 
Chap. XXV. And thus much may serve to fix the type of 
wall bases, a type oftener followed in real practice than any 
other we shall hereafter be enabled to determine : for wall 
bases of necessity must be solidly built, and the architect is 
therefore driven into the adoption of the right form ; or if 
he deviate from it, it is generally in meeting some necessity 
of peculiar circumstances, as in obtaining cellars and under- 
ground room, or in preparing for some grand features or par- 
ticular parts of the wall, or in some mistaken idea of decora- 
tion,— into which errors we had better not pursue him until 
we understand something more of the rest of the building : 
let us therefore proceed to consider the wall veil. 



§ i. The summer of the year 1849 was spent by the writer 
in researches little bearing upon his present subject, and con- 
nected chiefly with proposed illustrations of the mountain 
forms in the works of J. M. W. Turner. But there are some- 
times more valuable lessons to be learned in the school of 
nature than in that of Vitruvius, and a fragment of building 
among the Alps is singularly illustrative of the chief feature 
which I have at present to develop as necessary to the per- 
fection of the wall veil. 


It is a fragment of some size ; a group of broken walls, one 
of them overhanging ; crowned with a cornice, nodding some 
hundred and fifty feet over its massy flank, three thousand 
above its glacier base, and fourteen thousand above the sea, 
— a wall truly of some majesty, at once the most precipitous 
and the strongest mass in the whole chain of the Alps, the 
Mont Cervin. 

§ ii. It has been falsely represented as a peak or tower. It 
is a vast ridged promontory, connected at its western root 
with the Dent d'Erin, and lifting itself like a rearing horse 
with its face to the east. All the way along the flank of it, 
for half a day's journey on the Zmutt glacier, the grim black 
terraces of its foundations range almost without a break ; and 
the clouds, when their day's work is done, and they are weary, 
lay themselves down on those foundation steps, and rest till 
dawn, each with his leagues of gray mantle stretched along 
the grisly ledge, and the cornice of the mighty wall gleaming 
in the moonlight, three thousand feet above. 

§ in. The eastern face of the promontory is hewn down, as 
if by the single sweep of a sword, from the crest of it to the 
base ; hewn concave and smooth, like the hollow of a wave : 
on each flank of it there is set a buttress, both of about equal 
height, their heads sloped out from the main wall about seven 
hundred feet below its summit. That on the north is the 
most important ; it is as sharp as the frontal angle of a bas- 
tion, and sloped sheer away to the north-east, throwing out 
spur beyond spur, until it terminates in a long low curve of 
russet precipice, at whose foot a great bay of the glacier of the 
Col de Cervin lies as level as a lake. This spur is one of 
the few points from which the mass of the Mont Cervin is in 
anywise approachable. It is a continuation of the masonry of 
the mountain itself, and affords us the means of examining 
the character of its materials. 

§ iv. Few architects would like to build with them. The 
slope of the rocks to the north-west is covered two feet deep 
with their ruins, a mass of loose and slaty shale, of a dull 
brick-red color, which } T ields beneath the foot like ashes, so 
that, in running down, you step one yard, and slide three. 


The rock is indeed hard beneath, but still disposed in thin 
courses of these cloven shales, so finely laid that they look in 
places more like a heap of crushed autumn leaves than a rock ; 
and the first sensation is one of unmitigated surprise, as if 
the mountain were upheld by miracle ; but surprise becomes 
more intelligent reverence for the great builder, when we 
find, in the middle of the mass of these dead leaves, a course 
of living rock, of quartz as white as the snow that encircles it, 
and harder than a bed of steel. 

§ v. It is one only of a thousand iron bands that knit the 
strength of the mighty mountain. Through the buttress and 
the wall alike, the courses of its varied masonry are seen in 
their successive order, smooth and true as if laid by line and 
plummet,* but of thickness and strength continually varying, 
and with silver cornices glittering along the edge of each, 
laid by the snowy winds and carved by the sunshine, — stain- 
less ornaments of the eternal temple, by which " neither the 
hammer nor the axe, nor any tool, was heard while it was in 

§ vi. I do not, however, bring this forward as an instance 
of any universal law of natural building ; there are solid as 
well as coursed masses of precipice, but it is somewhat curious 
that the most noble cliff in Europe, which this eastern front 
of the Cervin is, I believe, without dispute, should be to us 
an example of the utmost possible stability of precipitousness 
attained with materials of imperfect and variable character ; 
and, what is more, there are very few cliffs which do not dis- 
play alternations between compact and friable conditions of 
their material, marked in their contours by bevelled slopes 
when the bricks are soft, and vertical steps when they are 
harder. And, although we are not hence to conclude that it is 
well to introduce courses of bad materials when we can get 
perfect material, I believe we may conclude with great cer- 
tainty that it is better and easier to strengthen a wall neces- 
sarily of imperfect substance, as of brick, by introducing care- 
fully laid courses of stone, than by adding to its thickness j 

* On the eastern side : violently contorted on the northern and western. 


and the first impression we receive from the unbroken aspect 
of a wall veil, unless it be of hewn stone throughout, is that 
it must be both thicker and weaker than it would have been, 
had it been properly coursed. The decorative reasons for 
adopting the coursed arrangement, which we shall notice here- 
after, are so weighty, that they would alone be almost suffi- 
cient to enforce it ; and the constructive ones will apply 
universally, except in the rare cases in which the choice of 
perfect or imperfect material is entirely open to us, or where 
the general system of the decoration of the building requires 
absolute unity in its surface. 

§ vii. As regards the arrangement of the intermediate parts 
themselves, it is regulated by certain conditions of bonding 
and fitting the stones or bricks, which the reader need hardly 
be troubled to consider, and which I wish that bricklayers 
themselves were always honest enough to observe. But I 
hardly know whether to note under the head of aesthetic or 
constructive law, this important principle, that masonry is al- 
ways bad which appears to have arrested the attention of the 
architect more than absolute conditions of strength require. 
Nothing is more contemptible in any work than an appearance 
of the slightest desire on the part of the builder to direct at- 
tention to the way its stones are put together, or of any trouble 
taken either to show or to conceal it more than was rigidly ne- 
cessary: it may sometimes, on the one hand, be necessary 
to conceal it as far as may be, by delicate and close fitting, 
when the joints would interfere with lines of sculpture or of 
mouldings ; and it may often, on the other hand, be de- 
lightful to show it, as it is delightful in places to show the 
anatomy even of the most delicate human frame : but studi- 
ously to conceal it is the error of vulgar painters, who are 
afraid to show that their figures have bones ; and studiously 
to display it is the error of the base pupils of Michael Angelo, 
who turned heroes' limbs into surgeons' diagrams, — but with 
less excuse than theirs, for there is less interest in the 
anatomy displayed. Exhibited masonry is in most cases the 
expedient of architects who do not know how to fill up blank 
spaces, and many a building, which would have been decent 



enough if let alone, lias been scrawled over with straight 
lines, as in Fig. III., on exactly the same principles, and with 
just the same amount of intelligence as a boy's in scrawling 
his copy-book when he cannot write. The devica was thought 
ingenious at one period of architectural history ; St. Paul's 
and Whitehall are covered with it, and it is in this I imagine 

that some of our modern 
architects suppose the 
great merit of those build- 
ings to consist. There is, 
however, no excuse for 
errors in disposition of 
masonry, for there is but 
one law upon the subject, 
and that easily complied 
with, to avoid all affecta- 
tion and all unnecessary 
expense, either in showing or concealing. Every one knows a 
building is built of separate stones ; nobody will ever object 
to seeing that it is so, but nobody wants to count them. The 
divisions of a church are much like the divisions of a sermon ; 
they are always right so long as they are necessary to edifica- 
tion, and alwaj T s wrong when they are thrust upon the attention 
as divisions only. There may be neatness in carving when 
there is richness in feasting ; but I have heard many a dis- 
course, and seen many a church wall, in which it was all carv- 
ing and no meat. 

Fig. III. 



§ i. We have lastly to consider the close of the wall's exist- 
ence, or its cornice. It was above stated, that a cornice has 
one of two offices : if the wall have nothing to carry, the 
cornice is its roof, and defends it from the weather ; if there 
is weight to be carried above the wall, the cornice is its hand, 
and is expanded to carry the said weight. 



There are several ways of roofing or protecting indepen- 
dent walls, according to the means nearest at hand : sometimes 
the wall has a true roof all to itself ; sometimes it terminates 
in a small gabled ridge, made of bricks set slanting, as con- 
stantly in the suburbs of London ; or of hewn stone, in 
stronger work ; or in a single sloping face, inclined to the 
outside. We need not trouble ourselves at present about 
these small roofings, which are merely the diminutions of 
large ones ; but we must examine the important and constant 
member of the wall structure, which prepares it either for 
these small roofs or for weights above, and is its true cornice. 

§ ii. The reader will, perhaps, as heretofore, be kind 
enough to think for himself, how, having 
carried up his wall veil as high as it may 
be needed, he will set about protecting 
it from weather, or preparing it for 
weight. Let him imagine the top of the 
unfinished wall, as it would be seen from 
above with all the joints, perhaps un- 
cemented, or imperfectly filled up with 
cement, open to the sky ; and small 
broken materials filling gaps between 



large ones, and leaving cavities ready for 
the rain to soak into, and loosen and dis- 
solve the cement, and split, as it froze, the 
whole to pieces. I am much mistaken if 
his first impulse would not be to take a 
great flat stone and lay it on the top ; or 
rather a series of such, side by side, pro 
jecting well over the edge of the wall 
veil. If, also, he proposed to lay a weight 
(as, for instance, the end of a beam) on the wall, he would 
feel at once that the pressure of this beam on, or rather among, 
the small stones of the wall veil, might very possibly dislodge 
or disarrange some of them ; and the first impulse would be, 
in this case, also to lay a large flat stone on the top of all to 
receive the beam, or any other weight, and distribute it 
equally among the small stones below, as at a, Fig. IV. 

Fig. IV* 


§ in. We must therefore have our flat stone in either case , 
and let b, Fig. IV., be the section or side of it, as it is set 
across the wall. Now, evidently, if by any chance this weight 
happen to be thrown more on the edges of this stone than 
the centre, there will be a chance of these edges breaking off. 
Had we not better, therefore, put another stone, sloped off to 
the wall, beneath the projecting one, as at c. But now our 
cornice looks somewhat too heavy for the wall ; and as the 
upper stone is evidently of needless thickness, we will thin it 
somewhat, and we have the form d. Now observe : the lower 
or bevelled stone here at d corresponds to d in the base (Fig. 
II., page 66). That was the foot of the wall ; this is its hand. 
And the top stone here, which is a constant member of cor- 
nices, corresponds to the under stone c, in Fig. II., which is a 
constant member of bases. The reader has no idea at present 
of the enormous importance of these members ; but as we shall 
have to refer to them perpetually, I must ask him to compare 
them, and fix their relations well in his mind : and, for conveni- 
ence, I shall call the bevelled or sloping stone, X, and the up- 
right edged stone, T. The reader may remember easily which 
is which ; for X is an intersection of two slopes, and may there- 
fore properly mean either of the two sloping stones ; and Y is 
a figure with a perpendicular line and two slopes, and may 
therefore fitly stand for the upright stone in relation to each 
of the sloping ones ; and as we shall have to say much more 
about cornices than about bases, let X and Y stand for the 
stones of the cornice, and Xb and Yb for those of the base, 
when distinction is needed. 

§ iv. Now the form at d, Fig. IV., is the great root and 
primal type of all cornices whatsoever. In order to see what 
forms may be developed from it, let us take its profile a little 
larger — a, Fig. V., with X and Y duly marked. Now this 
form, being the root of all cornices, may either have to finish 
the wall and so keep off rain ; or, as so often stated, to carry 
weight. If the former, it is evident that, in its present profile, 
the rain will run back down the slope of X ; and if the latter, 
that the sharp angle or edge of X, at k, may be a little too 
weak for its work, and run a chance of giving way. To avoid 



the evil in the first case, suppose we hollow the slope of X 
inwards, as at b ; and to avoid it in the second case, suppose 
we strengthen X by letting it bulge outwards, as at c. 

§ v. These (b and c) are the profiles of two vast families of 
cornices, springing from the same root, which, with a third 
arising from their combination (owing its origin to aesthetic 
considerations, and inclining sometimes to the one, sometimes 
to the other), have been employed, each on its third part of 
the architecture of the whole world throughout all ages, and 
must continue to be so employed through such time as is yet 
to come. We do not at present speak of the third or com- 

bined group ; but the relation of the two main branches to 
each other, and to the line of origin, is given at e, Fig. V. ; 
where the dotted lines are the representatives of the two 
families, and the straight line of the root. The slope of this 
right line, as well as the nature of the curves, here drawn as 
segments of circles, we leave undetermined : the slope, as well 
as the proportion of the depths of X and Y to each other, 
vary according to the weight to be carried, the strength of the 
stone, the size of the cornice, and a thousand other accidents ; 
and the nature of the curves according to aesthetic laws. It is 
in these infinite fields that the invention of the architect is 


permitted to expatiate, but not in the alteration of primitive 


§ vi. But to proceed. It will doubtless appear to the 
reader, that, even allowing for some of these permissible vari- 
ations in the curve or slope or X, neither the form at b, nor 
any approximation to that form, would be sufficiently under- 
cut to keep the rain from running back upon it. This is true ; 
but we have to consider that the cornice, as the close of the 
wall's life, is of all its features that which is best fitted for 
honor and ornament. It has been esteemed so by almost all 
builders, and has been lavishly decorated in modes hereafter 
to be considered. But it is evident that, as it is high above 
the eye, the fittest place to receive the decoration is the slope 
of X, which is inclined towards the spectator ; and if w 7 e cut 
away or hollow out this slope more than we have done at b, all 
decoration will be hid in the shadow. If, therefore, the cli- 
mate be fine, and rain of long continuance not to be dreaded, 
we shall not hollow the stone X further, adopting the curve at 
b merely as the most protective in our power. But if the climate 
be one in which rain is frequent and dangerous, as in alterna- 
tions with frost, we may be compelled to consider the cornice 
in a character distinctly protective, and to hollow out X far- 
ther, so as to enable it thoroughly to accomplish its purpose. 
A cornice thus treated loses its character as the crown or honor 
of the wall, takes the office of its protector, and is called a 
dkipstone. The dripstone is naturally the attribute of North- 
ern buildings, and therefore especially of Gothic architec- 
ture ; the true cornice is the attribute of Southern build- 
ings, and therefore of Greek and Italian architecture ; and 
it is one of their peculiar beauties, and eminent features of 

§ vii. Before passing to the dripstone, however, let us ex- 
amine a little farther into the nature of the true cornice. 
"We cannot, indeed, render either of the forms b or c, Fig. V., 
perfectly protective from rain, but we can help them a little 
in their duty by a slight advance of their upper ledge. This, 
with the form b, we can best manage by cutting off the sharp 
upper point of its curve, which is evidently weak and useless ; 


and we shall have the form /. By a slight advance of the 
upper stone c, we shall have the parallel form g. 

These two cornices, / and g, are characteristic of early 
Byzantine work, and are found on all the most lovely ex- 
amples of it in Venice. The type a is rarer, but occurs pure 
in the most exquisite piece of composition in Venice — the 
northern portico of St. Mark's ; and will be given in due 

§ vin. Now the reader has doubtless noticed that these 
forms of cornice result, from considerations of fitness and 
necessity, far more neatly and decisively than the forms of 
the base, which we left only very generally determined. The 
reason is, that there are many ways of building foundations, 
and many good ways, dependent upon the peculiar accidents 
of the ground and nature of accessible materials. There is 
also room to spare in width, and a chance of a part of the 
arrangement being concealed by the ground, so as to modify 
height. But we have no room to spare in width on the top 
of a wall, and all that we do must be thoroughly visible ; and 
we can but have to deal with bricks, or stones of a certain 
degree of fineness, and not with mere gravel, or sand, or 
clay, — so that as the conditions are limited, the forms become 
determined ; and our steps will be more clear and certain the 
farther we advance. The sources of a river are usually half 
lost among moss and pebbles, and its first movements doubt- 
ful in direction ; but, as the current gathers force, its banks 
are determined, and its branches are numbered. 

§ rx. So far of the true cornice : we have still to determine 
the form of the dripstone. 

"We go back to our primal type or root of cornice, a of 
Fig. V. We take this at a in Fig. VI, and we are to con- 
sider it entirely as a protection against rain. Now the only 
way in which the rain can be kept from running back on the 
slope of X is by a bold hollowing out of it upwards, b. But 
clearly, by thus doing, we shall so weaken the projecting part 
of it that the least shock would break it at the neck, c ; we 
must therefore cut the whole out of one stone, which will give 
us the form d. That the water may not lodge on the upper 



ledge of this, we had better round it off ; and it will better 
protect the joint at the bottom of the slope if we let the stone 
project over it in a roll, cutting the recess deeper above. 
These two changes are made in e : e is the type of dripstones ; 
the projecting part being, however, more or less rounded into 
l$l approximation to the shape of a falcon's beak, and often 


Fig. VI. 

reaching it completely. But the essential part of the arrange- 
ment is the up and under cutting of the curve. Wherever 
Ave find this, we are sure that the climate is wet, or that the 
builders have been bred in a wet country, and that the rest of 
the building will be prepared for rough weather. The up 
cutting of the curve is sometimes all the distinction between 
the mouldings of far-distant countries and utterly strange 

Fig. VII. representing a moulding with an outer and inner 

curve, the latter under-cut. Take the 
outer line, and this moulding is one con- 
stant in Venice, in architecture traceable 
to Arabian types, and chiefly to the early 
mosques of Cairo. But take the inner 
line ; it is a dripstone at Salisbury. In 
that narrow interval between the curves 
there is, when we read it rightly, an ex- 
pression of another and mightier curve, 
— the orbed sweep of the earth and sea, 
between the desert of the Pyramids, and 
the green and level fields through which the clear streams oi 
Sarum wind so slowly. 

And so delicate is the test, that though pure cornices are 

Fig. VII. 


often found in the north, — borrowed from classical models, — 
so surely as we find a true dripstone moulding in the South, 
the influence of Northern builders has been at work ; and this 
will be one of the principal evidences which I shall use in de- 
tecting Lombard influence on Arab work ; for the true Byzan- 
tine and Arab mouldings are all open to the sky and light, 
but the Lombards brought with them from the North the fear 
of rain, and in all the 
Lombardic Gothic 
we instantly recog- 
nize the shadowy 
dripstone : a, Fig. 
VIII., is from a noble 
fragment at Milan, 
in the Piazza dei Mer- 
canti; b, from the 
Broletto of Como. 
Compare them with 
c and d, both from 
Salisbury ; e and / 
from Lisieux, Normandy ; g and h from Wenlock Abbey, 

§ x. The reader is now master of all that he need know 
about the construction of the general wall cornice, fitted 
either to become a crown of the wall, or to carry weight 
above. If, however, the weight above become considerable, 
it may be necessary to support the cornice at intervals with 
brackets ; especially if it be required to project far, as well as 
to carry weight ; as, for instance, if there be a gallery on top 
of the wall. This kind of bracket-cornice, deep or shallow, 
forms a separate family, essentially connected with roofs and 
galleries ; for if there be no superincumbent weight, it is 
evidently absurd to put brackets to a plain cornice or drip- 
stone (though this is sometimes done in carrying out a style) ; 
so that, as soon as we see a bracket put to a cornice, it im- 
plies, or should imply, that there is a roof or gallery above it. 
Hence this family of cornices I shall consider in connection 
with roofino', calling them "roof cornices," while what we 


have hitherto examined are proper " wall cornices." The roof 
cornice and wall cornice are therefore treated in division D. 

We are not, however, as yet nearly ready for our roof. 
We have only obtained that which was to be the object of our 
first division (A) ; we have got, that is to say, a general idea 
of a wall and of the three essential parts of a wall ; and we 
have next, it will be remembered, to get an idea of a pier and 
the essential parts of a pier, which were to be the subjects of 
our second division (B). 



§ i. In § in. of Chap. III., it was stated that when a wall 
had to sustain an addition of vertical pressure, it was first 
fitted to sustain it by some addition to its own thickness ; but 
if the pressure became very great, by being gathered up into 

I must first make the reader understand what I mean by a 
wall's being gathered up. Take a piece of tolerably thick 
drawing-paper, or thin Bristol board, five or six inches square. 
Set it on its edge on the table, and put a small octavo book 
on the edge or top of it, and it will bend instantly. Tear it 
into four strips all across, and roll up each strip tightly. Set 
these rolls on end on the table, and they will carry the small 
octavo perfectly well. Now the thickness or substance of the 
paper employed to carry the weight is exactly the same as it 
was before, only it is differently arranged, that is to say, 
"gathered up." * If therefore a wall be gathered up> like the 
Bristol board, it will bear greater weight than it would if it 

* The experiment is not quite fair in this rude fashion ; for the small 
rolls owe their increase of strength much more to their tubular form than 
their aggregation of material ; but if the paper be cut up into small strips, 
and tied together firmly in three or four compact bundles, it will exhibit 
increase of strength enough to show the principle. Vide, however, Ap- 
pendix 16, " Strength of Shafts." 



remained a wall veil. The sticks into which you gather it are 
called Piers. A pier is a coagulated wall. 

§ ii. Now you cannot quite treat the wall as you did the 
Bristol board, and twist it up at once ; but let us see how you 
can treat it. Let a, Fig. IX., be the plan of a wall which you 
have made inconveniently and expensively thick, and which 
still appears to be slightly too weak for what it must carry : 











Fig. IX. 

divide it, as at b, into equal spaces, a, b, a, b, &c. Cut oul a 
thin slice of it at every a on each side, and put the slices you 
cut out on at every 6 on each side, and you will have the plan 
at b, with exactly the same quantity of bricks. But your wall 
is now so much concentrated, that, if it was only slightly too 
weak before, it will be stronger now than it need be ; so you 
may spare some of your space as well as your bricks by cut- 
Vol. I.— 6 


ting off the corners of the thicker parts, as suppose c, c, c, c, 
at c : and you have now a series of square piers connected by 
a wall veil, which, on less space and with less materials, will 
do the work of the wall at a perfectly well. 

§ in. I do not say how much may be cut away in the corners 
c, c, — that is a mathematical question with which we need not 
trouble ourselves : all that we need know is, that out of every 
slice Ave take from the " b's " and put on at tho " a's," we may 
keep a certain percentage of room and bricks, until, suppos- 
ing that we do not want the wall veil for its own sake, this 
latter is thinned entirely away, like the girdle of the Lady of 
Avenel, and finally breaks, and we have nothing but a row of 
square piers, d. 

§ iv. But have we yet arrived at the form which will spare 
most room, and use fewest materials ? No ; and to get farther 
we must apply the general principle to our wall, winch is 
equally true in morals and mathematics, that the strength of 
materials, or of men, or of minds, is always most available 
when it is applied as closely as possible to a single point. 

Let the point to which we wish the strength of our square 
piers to be applied, be chosen. Then we shall of course put 
them directly under it, and the point will be in their centre. 
But now some of their materials are not so near or close to 
this point as others. Those at the corners are farther off than 
the rest. 

Now, if every particle of the pier be brought as near as 
possible to the centre of it, the form it assumes is the circle. 

The circle must be, therefore, the best possible form of plan 
for a pier, from the beginning of time to the end of it. A cir- 
cular pier is called a pillar or column, and all good archi- 
tecture adapted to vertical support is made up of pillars, has 
always been so, and must ever be so, as long as the laws oi 
the universe hold. 

The final condition is represented at e, in its relation to that 
at d. It will be observed that though each circle projects a 
little beyond the side of the square out of which it is formed, 
the space cut off at the angles is greater than that added at 
the sides ; for, having our materials in a more concentrated 


arrangement, we can afford to part with some of them in this 
last transformation, as in all the rest. 

§ v. And now, what have the base and the cornice of the 
wall been doing while we have been cutting the veil to pieces 
and gathering it together ? 

The base is also cut to pieces, gathered together, and be- 
comes the base of the column. 

The cornice is cut to pieces, gathered together, and be- 
comes the capital of the column. Do not be alarmed at the 
new word, it does not mean a new thing ; a capital is only the 
cornice of a column, and you may, if you like, call a cornice 
the capital of a wall. 

We have now, therefore, to examine these three concentrated 
forms of the base, veil, and cornice : first, the concentrated 
base, still called the Base of the column ; then the concen- 
trated veil, called the Shaft of the column ; then the concen- 
trated cornice, called the Capital of the column. 

And first the Base : — 

§ vi. Look back to the main type, Fig. II, page 66, and 
apply its profiles in due proportion to the feet of the pillars at 
e in Fig. IX., p. 81 : If each step in Fig. II. were gathered 
accurately, the projection of the entire circular base would be 
less in proportion to its height than it is in Fig. II. ; but the 
approximation to the result in Fig. X. is quite accurate enough 
for our purposes. (I pray the reader to observe that I have 
not made the smallest change, except this necessary expres- 
sion of a reduction in diameter, in Fig. II. as it is applied in 
Fig. X., only I have not drawn the joints of the stones because 
these would confuse the outlines of the bases ; and I have not 
represented the rounding of the shafts, because it does not 
bear at present on the argument.) Now it would hardly be 
convenient, if we had to pass between the pillars, to have to 
squeeze ourselves through one of those angular gaps or breches 
de Eoland in Fig. X. Our first impulse would be to cut them 
open ; but we cannot do this, or our piers are unsafe. We 
have but one other resource, to fill them up until we have a 
floor wide enough to let us pass easily : this we may perhaps 
obtain at the first ledge, we are nearly sure to get it at the 



second, and we may then obtain access to the raised interval, 
either by raising the earth over the lower courses of founda* 
tion, or by steps round the entire building. 


Fig. X. 

Fig. XL is the arrangement of Fig. X. so treated. 

§ vii. But suppose the pillars are so vast that the lowest 
chink in Fig. X. would be quite wide enough to let us pass 
through it. Is there then any reason for filling it up ? Yes. 
It will be remembered that in Chap. IV. § viii. the chief reason 

Fig. XI. 

for the wide foundation of the wall was stated to be" that it 
might equalise its pressure over a large surface ; " but when 
the foundation is cut to pieces as in Fig. X., the pressure is 
thrown on a succession of narrowed and detached spaces of 


that surface. If the ground is in some places more disposed 
to yield than in others, the piers in those places will sink 
more than the rest, and this distortion of the system will be 
probably of more importance in pillars than in a wall, because 
the adjustment of the weight above is more delicate ; we thus 
actually want the weight of the stones between the pillars, in 
order that the whole foundation may be bonded into one, 
and sink together if it sink at all : and the more massy the 
pillars, the more we shall need to fill the intervals of their 
foundations. In the best form of Greek architecture, the in- 
tervals are filled up to the root of the shaft, and the columns 
have no independent base ; they stand on the even floor of 
their foundation. 

§ viii. Such a structure is not only admissible, but, when 
the column is of great thickness in proportion to its height, 
and the sufficient firmness, either of the ground or prepared 
floor, is evident, it is the best of all, having a strange dignity 
in its excessive simplicity. It is, or ought to be, connected 
in our minds with the deep meaning of primeval memorial. 
" And Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillow, 
and set it up for a pillar." I do not fancy that he put a base 
for it first. If you try to put a base to the rock-piers of 
Stonehenge, you will hardly find them improved ; and two of 
the most perfect buildings in the world, the Parthenon and 
Ducal palace of Venice, have no bases to their pillars : the 
latter has them, indeed, to its upper arcade shafts ; and had 
once, it is said, a continuous raised base for its lower ones : 
but successive elevations of St. Mark's Place have covered this 
base, and parts of the shafts themselves, with an inundation 
of paving stones ; and yet the building is, I doubt not, as 
grand as ever. Finally, the two most noble pillars in Venice, 
those brought from Acre, stand on the smooth marble surface 
of the Piazzetta, with no independent bases whatever. They 
are rather broken away beneath, so that you ma}' look under 
parts of them, and stand (not quite erect, but leaning some- 
what) safe by their own massy weight. Nor could any basis 
possibly be devised that would not spoil them. 

§ ix. But it is otherwise if the pillar be so slender as to 


look doubtfully balanced. It would indeed stand quite as 
safely without an independent base as it would with one (at 
least, unless the base be in the form of a socket). But it will 
not appear so safe to the eye. And here for the first time, I 
have to express and apply a principle, which I believe the 
reader will at once grant, — that features necessary to express 
security to the imagination, are often as essential parts of 
good architecture as those required for security itself. It was 
said that the wall base was the foot or paw of the wall. Ex- 
actly in the same way, and with clearer analogy, the pier base 
is the foot or paw of the pier. Let us, then, take a hint from 
nature. A foot has two offices, to bear up, and to hold firm. 
As far as it has to bear up, it is uncloven, with slight projec- 
tion, — look at an elephant's (the Doric base of animality) ; * 
but as far as it has to hold firm, it is divided and clawed, with 
wide projections, — look at an eagle's. 

§ x. Now observe. In proportion to the massiness of the 
column, we require its foot to express merely the power of 
bearing ivp ; in fact, it can do without a foot, like the Squire 
in Chevy Chase, if the ground only be hard enough. But if 
the column be slender, and look as if it might lose its balance, 
we require it to look as if it had hold of the ground, or the 
ground hold of it, it does not matter which, — some expression 
of claw, prop, or socket. Now let us go back to Fig. XI, and 
take up one of the bases there, in the state in which we left it. 
We may leave out the two lower steps (Avith which we have 
nothing more to do, as they have become the united floor or 
foundation of the whole), and, for the sake of greater clear- 
ness, I shall not draw the bricks in the shaft, nor the flat stone 
which carries them, though the reader is to suppose them re- 
maining as drawn in Fig. XI. ; but I shall only draw the shaft 
and its two essential members of base, Xb and Yb, as explained 
at p. 74, above : and now, expressing the rounding of these 
numbers on a somewhat larger scale, we have the profile ct y 
Fig. XII. ; b, the perspective appearance of such a base seen 
from above ; and c, the plan of it. 

§ xi. Now I am quite sure the reader is not satisfied of the 
* Appendix 17, "Answer to Mr. Garbett." 



stability of this form as it is seen at 6 ; nor would he ever be 
so with the main contour of a circular base. Observe, we have 
taken some trouble to reduce the member Yb into this round 
form, and all that we have gained by so doing, is this unsatis- 
factory and unstable look of the base ; of which the chief 
reason is, that a circle, unless enclosed by right lines, has never 
an appearance of fixture, or definite place, *— we suspect it of 
motion, like an orb of heaven ; and the second is, that the 




Fig. XII. 

whole base, considered as the foot of the shaft, has no grasp 
nor hold : it is a club-foot, and looks too blunt for the limb,— 
it wants at least expansion, if not division, 

§ xn. Suppose, then, instead of taking so much trouble 

* Yet more so than any other figure enclosed by a curved line : for tin 
eircle, in its relations to its own centre, is the curve of greatest stability. 
Compare § XX. of Chap. XX. 


with the member Yb, we save time and labor, and leave it a 
square block. Xb must, however, evidently follow the pillar, 
as its condition is that it slope to the veiw base of the wall veil, 
and of whatever the wall veil becomes. So the corners of Yb 
will project beyond the circle of Xb, and we shall have (Fig 
XII. ) the profile d, the perspective appearance e, and the plan 
f. I am quite sure the reader likes e much better than he did 
b. The circle is now placed, and we are not afraid of its roll- 
ing away. The foot has greater expansion, and we have saved 
labor besides, with little loss of space, for the interval between 
the bases is just as great as it was before, — we have only filled 
up the corners of the squares. 

But is it not possible to mend the form still further? 
There is surely still an appearance of separation between Xb 
and Yb, as if the one might slip off the other. The foot is 
expanded enough ; but it needs some expression of grasp as 
well. It has no toes. Suppose Ave were to put a spur or 
prop to Xb at each corner, so as to hold it fast in the centre 
of Yb. We will do this in the simplest possible form. We 
will have the spur, or small buttress, sloping straight from 
the corner of Yb up to the top of Xb, and as seen from above, 
of the shape of a triangle. Applying such spurs in Fig. XII., 
we have the diagonal profile at g, the perspective h, and the 
plan i. 

§ xin. I am quite sure the reader likes this last base the 
best, and feels as if it were the firmest. But he must care- 
fully distinguish between this feeling or imagination of the 
eye, and the real stability of the structure. That this real 
stability has been slightly increased by the changes between h 
and h, in Fig. XII., is true. There is in the base h some- 
what less chance of accidental dislocation, and somewhat 
greater solidity and weight. But this very slight gain of se- 
curity is of no importance whatever when compared with the 
general requirements of the structure. The pillar must be 
pHrfectly secure, and more than secure, with the base b, or the 
building will be unsafe, whatever other base you put to the 
pillar. The changes are made, not for the sake of the almost 
inappreciable increase of security they involve, but in order 


to convince the eye of the real security which the base b ap- 
pears to compromise. This is especially the case with regard 
to the props or spurs, which are absolutely useless in reality, 
but are of the highest importance as an expression of safety. 
And this will farther appear when we observe that they have 
been above quite arbitrarily supposed to be of a triangular 
form. Why triangular? Why should not the spur be made 
wider and stronger, so as to occupy the whole width of the 
angle of the square, and to become a complete expansion of 
Xb to the edge of the square ? Simply because, whatever its 
width, it has, in reality, no supporting power whatever ; and 
the expression of support is greatest where it assumes a form 
approximating to that of the spur or claw of an animal. We 
shall, however, find hereafter, that it ought indeed to be 
much wider than it is in Fig. XII., where it is narrowed in 
order to make its structure clearly intelligible. 

§ xiv. If the reader chooses to consider this spur as an 
aesthetic feature altogether, he is at liberty to do so, and to 
transfer what we have here said of it to the beginning of 
Chap. XXV. I think that its true place is here, as an expres- 
sion of safety, and not a means of beauty ; but I will assume 
only, as established, the form e of Fig. XII., which is abso- 
lutely, as a construction, easier, stronger, and more perfect 
than b. A word or two now of its materials. The wall base, 
it will be remembered, was built of stones more neatly cut as 
they were higher in place ; and the members, Y and X, of 
the pier base, were the highest members of the wall base 
gathered. But, exactly in proportion to this gathering or 
concentration in form, should, if possible, be the gathering 
or concentration of substance. For as the whole weight of 
the building is now to rest upon few and limited spaces, it is 
of the greater importance that it should be there received by 
solid masonry. Xb and Yb are therefore, if possible, to be 
each of a single stone ; or, when the shaft is small, both cut 
out of one block, and especially if spurs are to be added to 
Xb. The reader must not be angry with me for stating 
things so self-evide \t, for these are all necessary steps in the 
chain of argument \v\uch I must not break. Even this change 


from detached stones to a single block is not without signifi- 
cance ; for it is part of the real service and value of the 
member Yb to provide for the reception of the shaft a sur- 
face free from joints ; and the eye always conceives it as a 
firm covering over all inequalities or fissures in the smaller 
masonry of the floor. 

§ xv. I have said nothing yet of the proportion of the 
height of Yb to its width, nor of that of Yb and Xb to each 
other. Both depend much on the height of shaft, and are 
besides variable within certain limits, at the architect's dis- 
cretion. But the limits of the height of Yb may be thus gen- 
erally stated. If it looks so thin as that the weight of the 
column above might break it, it is too low ; and if it is higher 
than its own width, it is too high. The utmost admissible 
height is that of a cubic block ; for if it ever become higher 
than it is wide, it becomes itself a part of a pier, and not the 
base of one. 

§ xvi. I have also supposed Yb, when expanded from be- 
neath Xb, as always expanded into a square, and four spurs 
only to be added at the angles. But Yb may be expanded 
into a pentagon, hexagon, or polygon ; and Xb then may 
have five, six, or many spurs. In proportion, however, as the 
sides increase in number, the spurs become shorter and less 
energetic in their effect, and the square is in most cases the 
best form. 

§ xvn. We have hitherto conducted the argument entirely 
on the supposition of the pillars being numerous, and in a 
range. Suppose, however, that we require only a single pil- 
lar : as we have free space round it, there is no need to fill up 
the first ranges of its foundations ; nor need we do so in order 
to equalise pressure, since the pressure to be met is its own 
alone. Under such circumstances, it is well to exhibit the 
lower tiers of the foundation as well as Yb and Xb. The 
noble bases of the two granite pillars of the Piazzetta at 
Venice are formed by the entire series of members given in 
Fig. X., the lower courses expanding into steps, with a superb 
breadth of proportion to the shaft. The member Xb is of 
course circular, having its proper decorative mouldings, not 


here considered ; Yb is octagonal, but filled up into a square 
by certain curious groups of figures representing the trades 
of Venice. The three courses below are octagonal, with their 
sides set across the angles of the innermost octagon, Yb. 
The shafts are 15 feet in circumference, and the lowest octa- 
gons of the base 58 (7 feet each side). 

§ xviii. Detached buildings, like our own Monument, are 
not pillars, but towers built in imitation of Pillars. As towers 
they are barbarous, being dark, inconvenient, and unsafe, 
besides lying, and pretending to be what they are not. As 
shafts they are barbarous, because they were designed at a 
time when the Renaissance architects had introduced and 
forced into acceptance, as de rigueur, a kind of columnar 
high-heeled shoe, — a thing which they called a pedestal, and 
which is to a true base exactly what a Greek actor's cothurnus 
was to a Greek gentleman's sandal. But the Greek actor 
knew better, I believe, than to exhibit or to decorate his cork 
sole ; and, with shafts as with heroes, it is rather better to 
put the sandal off than the cothurnus on. There are, indeed, 
occasions on which a pedestal may be necessary ; it may be 
better to raise a shaft from a sudden depression of plinth to a 
level with others, its companions, by means of a pedestal, 
than to introduce a higher shaft ; or it may be better to place 
a shaft of alabaster, if otherwise too short for our purpose, on 
a pedestal, than to use a larger shaft of coarser material ; but 
the pedestal is in each case a make-shift, not an additional 
perfection. It may, in the like manner, be sometimes con- 
venient for men to walk on stilts, but not" to keep their stilts 
on as ornamental parts of dress. The bases of the Nelson 
Column, the Monument, and the column of the Place Ven- 
d6me, are to the shafts, exactly what highly ornamented 
wooden legs would be to human beings. 

§ xix. So far of bases of detached shafts. As we do not yet 
know in what manner shafts are likely to be grouped, we can 
say nothing of those of grouped shafts until we know more of 
what they are to support. 

Lastly ; we have throughout our reasoning upon the base 
supposed the pier to be circular. But circumstances may 


occur to prevent its being reduced to this form, and it may 
remain square or rectangular ; its base will then be simply 
the wall base following its contour, and we have no spurs at 
the angles. Thus much may serve respecting pier bases ; we 
have next to examine the concentration of the Wall Veil, or 
the Shaft. 



§ i. We have seen in the last Chapter how, in converting 
the wall into the square or cylindrical shaft, we parted at every 
change of form with some quantity of material. In propor- 
tion to the quantity thus surrrendered, is the necessity that 
what we retain should be good of its kind, and well set to- 
gether, since everything now depends on it. 

It is clear also that the best material, and the closest con- 
centration, is that of the natural crystalline rocks ; and that, 
by having reduced our wall into the shape of shafts, we may 
be enabled to avail ourselves of this better material, and to 
exchange cemented bricks for crystallised blocks of stone. 
Therefore, the general idea of a perfect shaft is that of a single 
stone hewn into a form more or less elongated and cylindrical. 
Under this form, or at least under the ruder one of a long 
stone set upright, the conception of true shafts appears first 
to have occurred to the human mind ; for the reader must 
note this carefully, once for all, it does not in the least follow 
that the order of architectural features which is most reason- 
able in their arrangement, is most probable in their invention. 
I have theoretically deduced shafts from walls, but shafts were 
never so reasoned out in architectural practice. The man who 
first propped a thatched roof with poles was the discoverer of 
their principle ; and he who first hewed a long stone into a 
cylinder, the perfecter of their practice. 

§ ii. It is clearly necessary that shafts of this kind (we will 
call them, for convenience, block shafts) should be composed 


of stone not liable to flaws or fissures ; and therefore that we 
must no longer continue our argument as if it were always 
possible to do what is to be done in the best way ; for the 
style of a national architecture may evidently depend, in great 
measure upon the nature of the rocks of the country. 

Our own English rocks, which supply excellent building 
stone from their thin and easily divisible beds, are for the 
most part entirely incapable of being worked into shafts of any 
size, except only the granites and whinstones, whose hardness 
renders them intractable for ordinary purposes ; — and English 
architecture therefore supplies no instances of the block shaft 
applied on an extensive scale ; while the facility of obtaining 
large masses of marble has in Greece and Italy been partly the 
cause of the adoption of certain noble types of architectural 
form peculiar to those countries, or, when occurring elsewhere, 
derived from them. 

We have not, however, in reducing our walls to shafts, cal- 
culated on the probabilities of our obtaining better materials 
than those of which the walls were built ; and we shall there- 
fore first consider the form of shaft which will be best when 
we have the best materials ; and then consider how far we can 
imitate, or how far it will be wise to imitate, this form with 
any materials we can obtain. 

§ in. Now as I gave the reader the ground, and the stones, 
that he might for himself find out how to build his wall, I 
shall give him the block of marble, and the chisel, that he may 
himself find out how to shape his column. Let him suppose 
the elongated mass, so given him, rudely hewn to the thick- 
ness which he has calculated will be proportioned to the weight 
it has to carry. The conditions of stability will require that 
some allowance be made in finishing it for any chance of slight 
disturbance or subsidence of the ground below, and that, as 
everything must depend on the uprightness of the shaft, as 
little chance should be left as possible of its being thrown off 
its balance. It will therefore be prudent to leave it slightly 
thicker at the base than at the top. This excels of diameter 
at the base being determined, the reader is to ask himself how 
most easily and simply to smooth the column from one extrein- 



ity to the other. To cut it into a true straight-sided cone 
would be a matter of much trouble and nicety, and would in- 
cur the continual risk of chipping into it too deep. Why not 
leave some room for a chance stroke, work it slightly, very 
slightly convex, and smooth the curve by the eye between the 
two extremities ? you will save much trouble and time, and 
the shaft will be all the stronger. 

This is accordingly the natural form of a detached block 
shaft, It is the best. No other will ever be so agreeable to 
the mind or eye. I do not mean that it is not capable of 
more refined execution, or of the application of some of the 




€ "— Y 



aea ■■ ""■""- "-'"'g 

~ 9 

.... \ 

Fig. XIII. 

laws of aesthetic beauty, but that it is the best recipient of 
execution and subject of law ; better in either case than if you 
had taken more pains, and cut it straight. 

§ iv. You will observe, however, that the convexity is to be 
very slight, and that the shaft is not to bulge in the centre, 
but to taper from the root in a curved line ; the peculiar char- 
acter of the curve you will discern better by exaggerating, in 
a diagram, the conditions of its sculpture. 

Let a, a, b, b, at a, Fig. XIII., be the rough block of the 
shaft, laid on the ground ; and as thick as you can by any 
chance require it to be ; you will leave it of this full thickness 
at its base at a, but at the other end you will mark off upon it 
the diameter c, d, which you intend it to have at the summit ; 
you will then take your mallet and chisel, and working from c 


and d you will roughly knock off the corners shaded in the 
figure, so as to reduce the shaft to the figure described by the 
inside lines in a and the outside lines in b ; you then proceed 
to smooth it, you chisel away the shaded parts in b, and leave 
your finished shaft of the form of the inside lines e, g,f, h. 

The result of this operation will be of course that the shaft 
tapers faster towards the top than it does near the ground, 
Observe this carefully ; it is a point of great future importance. 

§ v. So far of the shape of detached or block shafts. We 
can carry the type no farther on merely structural considera- 
tions : let ns pass to the shaft of inferior materials. 

"Unfortunately, in practice, this step must be soon made. 
It is alike difficult to obtain, transport, and raise, block shafts 
more than ten or twelve feet long, except in remarkable posi- 
tions, and as pieces of singular magnificence. Large pillars 
are therefore always composed of more than one block of 
stone. Such pillars are either jointed like basalt columns, and 
composed of solid pieces of stone set one above another ; or 
they are filled up towers, built of small stones cemented into 
a mass, with more or less of regularity : Keep this distinction 
carefully in mind, it is of great importance ; for the jointed 
column, every stone composing which, however thin, is (so to 
speak) a complete slice of the shaft, is just as strong as the 
block pillar of one stone, so long as no forces are brought into 
action upon it which would have a tendency to cause horizon- 
tal dislocation. But the pillar which is built as a filled-up 
tower is of course liable to fissure in any direction, if its 
cement give way. 

But, in either case, it is evident that all constructive reason 
of the curved contour is at once destroyed. Far from being 
an easy or natural procedure, the fitting of each portion of 
the curve to its fellow, in the separate stones, would require 
painful care and considerable masonic skill ; while, in the case 
of the filled-up tower, the curve outwards would be even 
unsafe ; for its greatest strength (and that the more in pro- 
portion to its careless building) lies in its bark, or shell of 
outside stone ; and this, if curved outwards, would at once 
burst outwards, if heavily loaded above. 


If, therefore, the curved outline be ever retained in such 
shafts, it must be in obedience to aesthetic laws only. 

§ vi. But farther. Not only the curvature, but even the 
tapering by straight lines, would be somewhat difficult of 
execution in the pieced column. Where, indeed, the entire 
shaft is composed of four or five blocks set one upon another, 
the diameters may be easily determined at the successive 
joints, and the stones chiselled to the same slope. But this 
becomes sufficiently troublesome when the joints are numer- 
ous, so that the pillar is like a pile of cheeses ; or when it is 
to be built of small and irregular stones. We should be 
naturally led, in the one case, to cut all the cheeses to the 
same diameter ; in the other to build by the plumb-line ; and 
in both to give up the tapering altogether. 

§ vii, Farther. Since the chance, in the one case, of hori- 
zontal dislocation, in the other, of irregular fissure, is much 
increased by the composition of the shaft out of joints or 
small stones, a larger bulk of shaft is required to carry the 
given weight ; and, cceteris paribus, jointed and cemented 
shafts must be thicker in proportion to the weight they carry 
than those which are of one block. 

We have here evidently natural causes of a very marked 
division in schools of architecture : one group composed of 
buildings whose shafts are either of a single stone or of few 
joints ; the shafts, therefore, being gracefully tapered, and 
reduced by successive experiments to the narrowest possible 
diameter proportioned to the weight they carry : and the 
other group embracing those buildings whose shafts are of 
many joints or of small stones ; shafts which are therefore 
not tapered, and rather thick and ponderous in proportion to 
the weight they carry ; the latter school being evidently some- 
what imperfect and inelegant as compared with the former. 

It may perhaps appear, also, that this arrangement of the 
materials in cylindrical shafts at all would hardly have sug- 
gested itself to a people who possessed no large blocks out of 
which to hew them ; and that the shaft built of many pieces 
is probably derived from, and imitative of the shaft hewn 
from few or from one. 


§ viii. If, therefore, you take a good geological map of 
Europe, and lay your finger upon the spots where volcanic 
influences supply either travertin or marble in accessible and 
available masses, you will probably mark the points where 
the types of the first school have been originated and devel- 
oped. If, in the next place, you will mark the districts where 
broken and rugged basalt or whinstone, or slaty sandstone, 
supply materials on easier terms indeed, but fragmentary and 
unmanageable, you will probably distinguish some of the 
birthplaces of the derivative and less graceful school. You 
will, in the first case, lay your finger on Psestum, Agrigentum, 
and Athens ; in the second, on Durham and Lindisfarne. 

The shafts of the great primal school are, indeed, in their 
first form, as massy as those of the other, and the tendency of 
both is to continual diminution of their diameters : but in the 
first school it is a true diminution in the thickness of the inde- 
pendent pier ; in the last, it is an apparent diminution, obtained 
by giving it the appearance of a group of minor piers. The 
distinction, however, with which we are concerned is not that 
of slenderness, but of vertical or curved contour ; and we may 
note generally that while throughout the whole range of 
Northern work, the perpendicular shaft appears in continually 
clearer development, throughout every group which has inher- 
ited the spirit of the Greek, the shaft retains its curved or 
tapered form; and the occurrence of the vertical detached shaft 
may at all times, in European architecture, be regarded as one 
of the most important collateral evidences of Northern influence. 

§ ix. It is necessary to limit this observation to European 
architecture, because the Egyptian shaft is often untapered, 
like the Northern. It appears that the Central Southern, or 
Greek shaft, was tapered or curved on sesthetic rather than 
constructive principles ; and the Egyptian which precedes, 
and the Northern which follows it, are both vertical, the one 
because the best form had not been discovered, the other 
because it could not be attained. Both are in a certain degree 
barbaric ; and both possess in combination and in their orna- 
ments a power altogether different from that of the Greek 
shaft, and at least as impressive if not as admirable. 
Vol. L— 7 


§ x. We have hitherto spoken of shafts as if their numbei 
were fixed, and only their diameter variable according to the 
weight to be borne. But this supposition is evidently gratu- 
itous ; for the same weight may be carried either by many 
and slender, or by few and massy shafts. If the reader will 
look back to Fig. IX., he will find the number of shafts into 
which the wall was reduced to be dependent altogether upon 
the length of the spaces a, b, a, b, &c, a length which was ar- 
bitrarily fixed. We are at liberty to make these spaces of 
what length we choose, and, in so doing, to increase the num- 
ber and diminish the diameter of the shafts, or vice versa. 

§ xi. Supposing the materials are in each case to be of the 
same kind, the choice is in great part at the architect's 
discretion, only there is a limit on the one hand to the multi- 
plication of the slender shaft, in the inconvenience of the nar- 
rowed interval, and on the other, to the enlargement of the 
massy shaft, in the loss of breadth to the building.* That will 
be commonly the best proportion which is a natural mean be- 
tween the two limits ; leaning to the side of grace or of gran- 
deur according to the expressional intention of the work. I 
say, commonly the best, because, in some cases, this expres- 
sional invention may prevail over all other considerations, and 
a column of unnecessary bulk or fantastic Brightness be adopted 
in order to strike the spectator with awe or with surprise. f 
The architect is, however, rarely in practice compelled to use 
one kind of material only ; and his choice lies frequently be- 
tween the employment of a larger number of solid and perfect 
small shafts, or a less number of pieced and cemented large 
ones. It is often possible to obtain from quarries near at hand, 
blocks which might be cut into shafts eight or twelve feet 

* In saying this, it is assumed that the interval is one which is to be 
traversed by men ; and that a certain relation of the shafts and interval? 
to the size of the human figure is therefore necessary. When shafts are 
used in the upper stories of buildings, or on a scale which ignores all re- 
lation to the human figure, no such relative limits exist either to slender- 
ness or solidity. 

f Vide the interesting discussion of this point in Mr. Fergusson's ac- 
count of the Temple of Karnak, "Principles of Beauty in Art, ' p. 219. 


long and four or five feet round, when larger shafts can only 
be obtained in distant localities ; and the question then is be- 
tween the perfection of smaller features and the imperfection 
of larger. We shall find numberless instances in Italy in 
which the first choice has been boldly, and I think most wisely 
made ; and magnificent buildings have been composed of sys- 
tems of small but perfect shafts, multiplied and superimposed. 
So long as the idea of the symmetry of a perfect shaft 
remained in the builder's mind, his choice could hardly be di- 
rected otherwise, and the adoption of the built and tower-like 
shaft appears to have been the result of a loss of this sense of 
symmetry consequent on the employment of intractable ma- 

§ xn. But farther : we have up to this point spoken of 
shafts as always set in ranges, and at equal intervals from each 
other. But there is no necessity for this ; and material dif- 
ferences may be made in their diameters if two or more be 
grouped so as to do together the work of one large one, and 
that within, or nearly within, the space which the larger one 
would have occupied. 

§ xiii. Let a, b, c, Fig. XIV., be three surfaces, of which b 
and c contain equal areas, and each of them double that of a : 
then supposing them all loaded to the same height, b or c 
would receive twice as much weight as a ; therefore, to carry 
b or c loaded, we should need a shaft of twice the strength 
needed to carry a. Let s be the shaft required to carry a, 
and S 2 the shaft required to carry b or c ; then s may be di- 
vided into two shafts, or s., into four shafts, as at s,, all equal 
in area or solid contents ;* and the mass a might be carried 
safely by two of them, and the masses b and c, each by four 
of them, 

Now if we put the single shafts each under the centre of 
the mass they have to bear, as represented by the shaded 
circles at a, a.,, a s , the masses a and c are both of them very ill 
supported, and even b insufficiently ; but apply the four and 

* I have assumed that the strength of similar shafts of equal height 
is as the squares of their diameters; which, though not actually a cor- 
rect expression, is sufficiently so for all our present purposes, 

883234 A 



the two shafts as at b, 
b. , b,, and they are sup- 
ported satisfactorily. 
Let the weight on each 
of the masses be doub- 
led, arid the shafts 
doubled in area, then 
we shall have such ar- 
rangements as those at 


s 3 

C i C 2 ' C 3 ' 

and if again 





the shafts and weight 
be doubled, we shall 
have d, d n , d s . 

§ xiv. Now it will at 
once be observed that 
the arrangement of the 
shafts in the series of b 
and c is always exactly 
the same in their rela- 
tions to each other ; 
only the group of b is 
set evenly, and the 
group of c is set ob- 
liquely, — the one car- 
rying a square, the 
other a cross. 

You have in these 
two series the primal 
representations of 
shaft arrangement in 
the Southern and Nor- 
thern schools ; while 
the group 6, of which b 2 
is the double, set even- 
ly, and c., the double, 
set obliquely, is com- 
mon to both. The reader will be surprised to find how 
all the complex and varied forms of shaft arrangement will 



Fig. XIV. 




Fig. XV. 

range themselves into one or other of these groups ; and 
still more surprised to find the oblique or cross set system 
on the one hand, and the square set system on the other, 
severally distinctive of Southern and Northern work. The 
dome of St. Mark's, and the crossing of the nave and tran- 
septs of Beauvais, are both carried by square piers ; but 
the piers of St. Mark's are set square to the walls of the 
church, and those of Beauvais obliquely to them : and this 
difference is even a more essential one than that between 
the smooth surface of the one and the reedy complication of 
the other. The two squares here in the margin (Fig. XV.) are 
exactly of the same size, but their 
expression is altogether different, 
and in that difference lies one of 
the most subtle distinctions be- 
tween the Gothic and Greek spirit, 
— from the shaft, which bears the 
building, to the smallest decora- 
tion. The Greek square is by preference set evenly, the Gothic 
square obliquely ; and that so constantly, that wherever we 
find the level or even square occurring as a prevailing form, 
either in plan or decoration, in early northern work, there we 
may at least suspect the presence of a southern or Greek in- 
fluence ; and, on the other hand, wherever the oblique square 
is prominent in the south, we may confidently look for farther 
evidence of the influence of the Gothic architects. The rule 
must not of course be pressed far when, in either school, there 
has been determined search for every possible variety of deco- 
rative figures ; and accidental circumstances may reverse the 
usual system in special cases ; but the evidence drawn from 
this character is collaterally of the highest value, and the trac- 
ing it out 'is a pursuit of singular interest. Thus, the Pisan 
Romanesque might in an instant be pronounced to have been 
formed under some measure of Lombardic influence, from the 
oblique squares set under its arches ; and in it we have the 
spirit of northern Gothic affecting details of the southern ; — 
obliquity of square, in magnificently shafted Romanesque. 
At Monza, on the other hand, the levelled square is the char-- 

J 02 


acteristic figure of the entire decoration of the facade of the 
Duomo, eminently giving it southern character ; but the de- 
tails are derived almost entirely from the northern Gothic. 
Here then we have southern spirit and northern detail. Of 
the cruciform outline of the load of the shaft, a still more 
positive test of northern work, we shall have more to say in 
the 28th Chapter ; we must at present note certain farther 
changes in the form of the grouped shaft, which open the 
way to every branch of its endless combinatir os, southern or 

§ xv. 1. If the group at d 3 , Fig. XIV., be taken from under 

its loading, and have its centre 
filled up, it will become a quatre- 
foil ; and it will represent, in 
their form of most frequent oc- 
currence, a family of shafts, 
whose plans are foiled figures, 
trefoils, quatrefoils, cinquefoils, 
&c. ; of which a trefoiled ex- 
ample, from the Frari at Venice, 
is the third in Plate II., and a 
quatrefoil from Salisbury the 
eighth. It is rare, however, to 
find in Gothic architecture 
shafts of this family composed of 
a large number of foils, because 
multifoiled shafts are seldom true 
grouped shafts, but are rather 
canaliculate d conditions of massy 
piers. The representatives of 
this family may be considered 
as the quatrefoil on the Gothic 
side of the Alps ; and the Egyptian multifoiled shaft on the 
south, approximating to the general type, b, Fig. XVI. 

§ xvi. Exactly opposed to this great family is that of shafts 
which have concave curves instead of convex on each of their 
sides ; but these are not, properly speaking, grouped shafts 
at all, and their proper place is among decorated piers ; only 

Pig. xvi. 


they must be named here in order to mark their exact oppo- 
sition to the foiled system. In their simplest form, repre- 
sented by c, Fig. XVI, they have no representatives in good 
architecture, being evidently weak and meagre ; but approxi- 
mations to them exist in late Gothic, as in the vile cathedra] 
of Orleans, and in modern cast-iron shafts. Id their fully de- 
veloped form they are the Greek Doric, a, Fig. XVI., and 
occur in caprices of the Romanesque and Italian Gothic : d, 
Fig. XVI, is from the Duomo of Monza. 

§ xvn. 2. Between c 3 and d z of Fig. XIV. there may be 
evidently another condition, represented at 6, Plate II, and 
formed by the insertion of a central shaft within the four ex- 
ternal ones. This central shaft we may suppose to expand in 
proportion to the weight it has to carry. If the external 
shafts expand in the same proportion, the entire form remains 
unchanged ; but if they do not expand, they may (1) be 
pushed out by the expanding shaft, or (2) be gradually swal- 
lowed up in its expansion, as at 4, Plate II. If they are 
pushed out, they are removed farther from each other by 
every increase of the central shaft ; and others may then be 
introduced in the vacant spaces ; giving, on the plan, a cen- 
tral orb with an ever increasing host of satellites, 10, Plate 
II. ; the satellites themselves often varying in size, and per- 
haps quitting contact with the central shaft. Suppose them 
in any of their conditions fixed, while the inner shaft expands, 
and they will be gradually buried in it, forming more com- 
plicated conditions of 4, Plate II. The combinations are thus 
altogether infinite, even supposing the central shaft to be cir- 
cular only ; but their infinity is multiplied by many other in- 
finities when the central shaft itself becomes square or cross- 
let on the section, or itself multif oiled (8, Plate II.) with 
satellite shafts eddying about its recesses and angles, in every 
possible relation of attraction. Among these endless condi- 
tions of change, the choice of the architect is free, this only 
being generally noted : that, as the whole value of such piers 
depends, first, upon their being wisely fitted to the weight 
above them, and, secondly, upon their all working together • 
and one not failing the rest, perhaps to the ruin of all, he 


must never multiply shafts without visible cause in the dispo- 
sition of members superimposed:* and in his multiplied 
group he should, if possible, avoid a marked separation be- 
tween the large central shaft and its satellites ; for if this ex- 
ist, the satellites will either appear useless altogether, or else, 
which is worse, they will look as if they were meant to keep 
the central shaft together by wiring or caging it in ; like iron 
rods set round a supple cylinder, — a fatal fault in the piers of 
Westminster Abbey, and, in a less degree, in the noble nave 
of the cathedral of Bourges. 

§ xviii. While, however, we have been thus subdividing or 
assembling our shafts, how far has it been possible to retain 
their curved or tapered outline ? So long as they remain dis- 
tinct and equal, however close to each other, the independent 
curvature may evidently be retained. But when once they 
come in contact, it is equally evident that a column, formed 
of shafts touching at the base and separate at the top, would 
appear as if in the very act of splitting asunder. Hence, in all 
the closely arranged groups, and especially those with a cen- 
tral shaft, the tapering is sacrificed ; and with less cause for 
regret, because it w r as a provision against subsidence or dis- 
tortion, which cannot now take place with the separate mem- 
bers of the group. Evidently, the work, if safe at all, must 
be executed with far greater accuracy and stability when its 
supports are so delicately arranged, than would be implied by 
such precaution. In grouping shafts, therefore, a true per- 
pendicular line is, in nearly all cases, given to the pier ; and 
the reader will anticipate that the two schools, which we have 
already found to be distinguished, the one by its perpendic- 
ular and pieced shafts, and the other by its curved and block 
shafts, will be found divided also in their employment of 
grouped shafts ; — it is likely that the idea of grouping, how- 
ever suggested, will be fully entertained and acted upon by 
the one, but hesitatingly by the other ; and that we shall find, 
on the one hand, buildings displaying sometimes massy piers 

* How far this condition limits the system of shaft grouping we shall 
see presently. The reader must remember, that we at present reason 
respecting shafts in the abstract only. 


of small stones, sometimes clustered piers of rich complexity, 
and on the other, more or less regular succession of block 
shafts, each treated as entirely independent of those around it 

§ xix. Farther, the grouping of shafts once admitted, it is 
probable that the complexity and richness of such arrange- 
ments would recommend them to the eye, and induce their 
frequent, even their unnecessary introduction ; so that weight 
which might have been borne by a single pillar, would be in 
preference supported by four or five. And if the stone of the 
country, whose fragmentary character first occasioned the 
building and piecing of the large pier, were yet in beds con- 
sistent enough to supply shafts of very small diameter, the 
strength and simplicity of such a construction might justify 
it, as well as its grace. The fact, however, is that the charm 
which the multiplication of line possesses for the eye has 
always been one of the chief ends of the work in the grouped 
schools ; and that, so far from employing the grouped piers 
in order to the introduction of very slender block shafts, the 
most common form in which such piers occur is that of a solid 
jointed shaft, each joint being separately cut into the contour 
of the group required. 

§ xx. We have hitherto supposed that all grouped or clus- 
tered shafts have been the result or the expression of an actual 
gathering and binding together of detached shafts. This is 
not, however, always so : for some clustered shafts are little 
more than solid piers channelled on the surface, and their form 
appears to be merely the development of some longitudinal 
furrowing or striation on the original single shaft. That clus- 
tering or striation, whichever we choose to call it, is in this 
case a decorative feature, and to be considered under the head 
of decoration. 

§ xxi. It must be evident to the reader at a glance, that the 
real serviceableness of any of these grouped arrangements 
must depend upon the relative shortness of the shafts, and 
that, when the whole pier is so lofty that its minor members 
become mere reeds or rods of stone, those minor members 
can no longer be charged with any considerable weight. And 
the fact is, that in the most complicated Gothic arrangements, 


when the pier is tall and its satellites stand clear of it, no real 
work is given them to do, and they might all be removed 
without endangering the building. They are merely the e.r- 
pression of a great consistent system, and are in architecture 
what is often found in animal anatomy, — a bone, or process 
of a bone, useless, under the ordained circumstances of its life, 
to the particular animal in which it is found, and slightly de- 
veloped, but yet distinctly existent, and representing, for the 
sake of absolute consistency, the same bone in its appointed, 
and generally useful, place, either in skeletons of all animals, 
or in the genus to which the animal itself belongs. 

§ xxn. Farther : as it is not easy to obtain pieces of stone 
long enough for these supplementary shafts (especially as it is 
always unsafe to lay a stratified stone with its beds upright), 
they have been frequently composed of two or more short 
shafts set upon each other, and to conceal the unsightly junc- 
tion, a flat stone has been interposed, carved into certain 
mouldings, which have the appearance of a ring on the shaft. 
Now observe : the whole pier was the gathering of the whole 
wall, the base gathers into base, the veil into the shaft, and 
the string courses of the veil gather into these rings ; and 
when this is clearly expressed, and the rings do indeed corre- 
spond with the string courses of the wall veil, they are per- 
fectly admissible and even beautiful ; but otherwise, and oc- 
curring, as they do in the shafts of Westminster, in the 
middle of continuous lines, they are but sorry make-shifts, 
and of late since gas has been invented, have become espec- 
ially offensive from their unlucky resemblance to the joints of 
gas-pipes, or common water-pipes. There are two leaden 
ones, for instance, on the left hand as one enters the abbey at 
Poet's Corner, with their solderings and funnels looking ex- 
actly like rings and capitals, and most disrespectfully mimick- 
ing the shafts of the abbey, inside. 

Thus far we have traced the probable conditions of shaft 
structure in pure theory ; I shall now lay before the reader 
a brief statement of the facts of the thing in time past and 

§ xxm. In the earliest and grandest shaft architecture which 


we know, that of Egypt, we have do grouped arrangements, 
properly so called, but either single and smooth shafts, or 
richly reeded and furrowed shafts, which represent the ex- 
treme conditions of a complicated group bound together to 
sustain a single mass ; and are indeed, without doubt, nothing 
else than imitations of bundles of reeds, or of clusters of lo- 
tus : * but in these shafts there is merely the idea of a group, 
not the actual function or structure of a group ; they are just 
as much solid and simple shafts as those which are smooth, 
and merely by the method of their decoration present to the 
eye the image of a richly complex arrangement. 

§ xxrv. After these we have the Greek shaft, less in scale, 
and losing all suggestion or purpose of suggestion of complex- 
ity, its so-called nutings being, visibly as actually, an external 

§ xxv. The idea of the shaft remains absolutely single in 
the Roman and Byzantine mind ; but true grouping begins in 
Christian architecture by the placing of two or more separate 
shafts side by side, each having its own work to do ; then 
three or four, still with separate work ; then, by such steps as 
those above theoretically pursued, the number of the mem- 
bers increases, while they coagulate into a single mass ; and 
we have finally a shaft apparently composed of thirty, forty, 
fifty, or more distinct members ; a shaft which, in the reality 
of its service, is as much a single shaft as the old Egyptian 
one ; but which differs from the Egyptian in that all its mem- 
bers, how many soever, have each individual work to do, and 
a separate rib of arch or roof to carry : and thus the great 
Christian truth of distinct services of the individual soul is 
typified in the Christian shaft ; and the old Egyptian servi- 
tude of the multitudes, the servitude inseparable from the 
children of Ham, is typified also in that ancient shaft of the 
Egyptians, which in its gathered strength of the river reeds, 
seems, as the sands of the desert drift over its ruin, to be in- 
tended to remind us for ever of the end of the association of 

* The capitals being formed by the flowers, or by a representation of 
the bulging oat of the reeds at the top, under the weight of the archi- 


the wicked. " Can the rush grow up without mire, or the 
flag grow without water ?— So are the paths of all that forget 
God ; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish." 

§ xxvi. Let the reader then keep this distinction of the 
three systems clearly in his mind : Egyptian system, an ap- 
parent cluster supporting a simple capital and single weight : 
Greek and Roman system, single shaft, single weight ; Gothic 
system, divided shafts, divided weight : at first actually and 
simply divided, at last apparently and infinitely divided ; so 
that the fully formed Gothic shaft is a return to the Egyp- 
tian, but the weight is divided in the one and undivided in 
the other. 

§ xxvii. The transition from the actual to the apparent 
cluster, in the Gothic, is a question of the most curious in- 
terest ; I have thrown together the shaft sections in Plate II. 
to illustrate it, and exemplify what has been generally stated 

1. The earliest, the most frequent, perhaps the most beau- 
tiful of all the groups, is also the simplest ; the two shafts ar- 
ranged as at b or c, (Fig. XIV.) above, bearing an oblong 
mass, and substituted for the still earlier structure a, Fig. XIV. 
In Plate XVII. (Chap. XXVII.) are three examples of the tran- 
sition : the one on the left, at the top, is the earliest single- 
shafted arrangement, constant in the rough Romanesque win- 
dows; a huge hammer-shaped capital being employed to 
sustain the thickness of the wall. It was rapidly superseded 
by the double shaft, as on the right of it ; a very early example 
from the cloisters of the Duomo, Verona. Beneath, is a most 
elaborate and perfect one from St. Zeno of Verona, where the 
group is twice complicated, two shafts being used, both with 
quatrefoil sections. The plain double shaft, however, is by 
far the most frequent, both in the Northern and Southern 
Gothic, but for the most part early ; it is very frequent in 
cloisters, and in the singular one of St. Michael's Mount, Nor- 

* I have not been at the pains to draw the complicated piers in this 
plate with absolute exactitude to the scale of each: they are accurate 
enough for their purpose : those of them respecting which we shall have 
farther question will be given on a much larger scale. 




. ) 









- -V 





,.y»./.,-, t *. 








Plate II. — Plaiss of Piehs. 






mandy, a small pseudo-arcade rims along between the pairs of 
shafts, a miniature aisle. The group is employed on a mag- 
nificent scale, but ill proportioned, for the main piers of the 
apse of the cathedral of Coutances, its purpose being to con- 
ceal one shaft behind the other, and make it appear to the 
spectator from the nave as if the apse were sustained by sin- 
gle shafts, of inordinate slenderness. The attempt is ill- 
judged, and the result unsatisfactory. 

§ xxviii. 2. When these pairs of shafts come near each 
other, as frequently at the turnings of angles (Fig. XVIL), the 
quadruple group results, b 2, Fig. XIV., of which q q q 

the Lombardic sculptors were excessively fond, ^ @| 

usually tying the shafts together in their centre, 
in a lover's knot. They thus occur in Plate V., 
Fig. xvni. f r om the Broletto of Como ; at the @- ® 

angle of St, Michele of Lucca, Plate FlG - xvn - 
XXL ; and in the balustrade of St, Mark's. 
This is a group, however, which I have never 
seen used on a large scale.* 

§ xxix. 3. Such groups, consolidated by a 
small square in their centre, form the shafts of 
St. Zeno, just spoken of, and figured in Plate 
XVII, which are among the most interesting 
pieces of work I know in Italy. I give their 
entire arrangement in Fig. XVIII. : both shafts 
have the same section, but one receives a half 
turn as it ascends, giving it an exquisite spiral 
contour : the plan of their bases, with their 
plinth, is given at 2, Plate II. ; and note it care- 
fully, for it is an epitome of all that we observed 
above, respecting the oblique and even square. 
It was asserted that the oblique belonged to the north, the 
even to the south : we have here the northern Lombardic 
nation naturalised in Italy, and, behold, the oblique and even 
quatrefoil linked together ; not confused, but actually linked 
by a bar of stone, as seen in Plate XVII , under the capitals. 

* The largest I remember support a monument in St. Zeno of Verona ; 
tliev are o: red marble, some ten or twelve feet high. 

Fig. XVIII. 


4. Next to these, observe tlie two groups of five shafts each, 
5 and 6, Plate II., one oblique, the other even. Both are 
from upper stories ; the oblique one from the triforium of 
Salisbury ; the even one from the upper range of shafts in the 
facade of St. Mark's at Venice.* 

§ xxx. Around these central types are grouped, in Plate H. ? 
four simple examples of the satellitic cluster, all of the North- 
ern Gothic : 4, from the Cathedral of Amiens ; 7, from that 
of Lyons (nave pier) ; 8, the same from Salisbury ; 10, from 
the porch of Notre Dame, Dijon, having satellites of three 
magnitudes : 9 is one of the piers between the doors of the 
same church, with shafts of four magnitudes, and is an in- 
stance of the confusion of mind of the Northern architects 
between piers proper and jamb mouldings (noticed farther in 
the next chapter, § xxxi. ) : for this fig. 9, which is an angle at 
the meeting of two jambs, is treated like a rich independent 
shaft, and the figure below, 12, which is half of a true shaft, 
is treated like a meeting of jambs. 

All these four examples belonging to the oblique or North- 
ern system, the curious trefoil plan, 3, lies between the two, as 
the double quatrefoil next it unites the two. The trefoil is 
from the Prari, Venice, and has a richly worked capital in the 
Byzantine manner, — an imitation, I think, of the Byzantine 
work by the Gothic builders : 1 is to be compared with it, 
being one of the earliest conditions of the cross shaft, from 
the atrium of St. Ambrogio at Milan. 13 is the nave pier of 
St. Michele at Pavia, showing the same condition more fully 
developed : and 11 another nave pier from Vienne- on the 
Khone, of far more distinct Roman derivation, for the flat 
pilaster is set to the nave, and is fluted like an antique one„ 
12 is the grandest development I have ever seen of the cross 
shaft, with satellite shafts in the nooks of it : it is half of one 
of the great western piers of the cathedral of Bourges, meas- 
uring eight feet each side, thirty-two round. f Then the on<* 

* The effect of this last is given in Plate VI. of the folio series. 

f The entire development of this cross system in connection with the 
vaulting ribs, has been most clearly explained by Professor Willis 
(Architecture of Mid. Ages, Chap. IV.); and I strongly recommend 


below (15) is half of a nave pier of Kouen Cathedral, showing 
the mode in which such conditions as that of Dijon (9) and 
that of Bourges (12) were fused together into forms of inex- 
tricable complexity (inextricable I mean in the irregularity of 
proportion and projection, for all of them are easily resolva- 
ble into simple systems in connection with the roof ribs). 
This pier of Rouen is a type of the last condition of the good 
Gothic ; from this point the small shafts begin to lose shape, 
and run into narrow fillets and ridges, projecting at the same 
time farther and farther in weak tongue-like sections, as de- 
scribed in the "Seven Lamps." I have only here given one 
example of this family, an unimportant but sufficiently char- 
acteristic one (16) from St. Gervais of Falaise. One side of 
the nave of that church is Norman, the other Flamboyant, and 
the two piers 14 and 16 stand opposite each other. It would 
be useless to endeavor to trace farther the fantasticism of 
the later Gothic shafts ; they become mere aggregations of 
mouldings very sharply and finely cut, their bases at the 
same time running together in strange complexity and their 
capitals diminishing and disappearing. Some of their condi- 
tions, which, in their rich striation, resemble crystals of beryl, 
are very massy and grand ; others, meagre, harsh, or effem- 
inate in themselves, are redeemed by richness and boldness 
of decoration ; and I have long had it in my mind to reason 
out the entire harmony of this French Flamboyant system, 
and fix its types and possible power. But this inquiry is 
foreign altogether to our present purpose, and we shall there- 
fore turn back from the Flamboyant to the Norman side of 
the Falaise aisle, resolute for the future that all shafts of 
which we may have the ordering, shall be permitted, as with 
wisdom we may also permit men or cities, to gather them- 
selves into companies, or constellate themselves into clusters, 
but not to fuse themselves into mere masses of nebulous ag- 

every reader who is inclined to take pains in the matter, to read that 
chapter. I have been contented, in my own text, to pursue the ab- 
stract idea of shaft form. 




§ i. The reader will remember that in Chap. VH § v. it 
was said that the cornice of the wall, being cut to pieces aDd 
gathered together, formed the capital of the column. We 
have now to follow it in its transformation. 

We must, of course, take our simplest form or root of cor- 
nices (a, in Fig. V., above). We will take X and Y there, and 
we must necessarily gather them together as we did Xb and Yb 
in Chap. VII. Look back to the tenth paragraph of Chap. 
VII., read or glance it over again, substitute X and Y for Xb 
and Yb, read capital for base, and, as we said that the capital 
was the hand of the pillar, while the base was its foot, read 
also fingers for toes ; and as you look to the plate, Fig. XII., 
turn it upside down. Then h, in Fig. XIL, becomes now your 
best general form of block capital, as before of block base. 

§ ii. You will thus have a perfect idea of the analogies 
between base and capital ; our farther inquiry is into their 
differ ences. You cannot but have noticed that when Fig. XII. 
is turned upside down, the square stone (Y) looks too heavy 
for the supporting stone (X) ; and that in the jDrofile of cornice 
(a of Fig. V.) the proportions are altogether different. You 
will feel the fitness of this in an instant when you consider 
that the principal function of the sloping part in Fig. XII. is 
as a prop to the pillar to keep it from slipping aside ; but the 
function of the sloping stone in the cornice and capital is to 
carry weight above. The thrust of the slope in the one case 
should therefore be lateral, in the other upwards. 

§ in. We will, therefore, take the two figures, e and h of 
Fig, XII., and make this change in them as we reverse them, 
using now the exact profile of the cornice a, — the father of 
cornices ; and we shall thus have a and b, Fig. XIX. 

Both of these are sufficiently ugly, the reader thinks ; so do 
I ; but we will mend them before we have done with them : 



that at a is assuredly the ugliest,— like a tile on a flower-pot. 
It is, nevertheless, the father of capitals ; being the simplest 
condition of the gathered father of cornices. But it is to be 
observed that the diameter of the shaft here is arbitrarily as- 
sumed to be small, in order more clearly to show the general 
relations of the slop- 
ing stone to the 
shaft and upper 
stone ; and this 
smallness of the 
shaft diameter is 
inconsistent with 
the serviceableness 
and beauty of the 
arrangement at a, 
if it were to be 
realised (as we shall 
see presently) ; but 
it is not inconsistent 
with its central 
character, as the 
representative of 
every species of 
possible capital ; 
nor is its tile and 
flower-pot look to 
be regretted, as it 
may remind the 
reader of the re- 
ported origin of the 
Corinthian capital. 
The stones of the 
cornice, hitherto 
called X and Y, re- 
ceive, now that they 
form the capital, 

each a separate name ; the sloping stone is called the Bell of 
the capital, and that laid above it, the Abacus. Abacus means 
Vol. I.— 8 

Fig. XIX. 


a board or tile : I wish there were an English word for it, but 
I fear there is no substitution possible, the term having been 
long fixed, and the reader will find it convenient to familiarise 
himself with the Latin one. 

§ iv. The form of base, e of Fig. XII., which corresponds to 
this first form of capital, a, was said to be objectionable only 
because it looked insecure ; and the spurs were added as a kind 
of pledge of stability to the eye. But evidently the projecting 
corners of the abacus at a, Fig. XIX., are actually insecure ; 
they may break off, if great weight be laid upon them. This 
is the chief reason of the ugliness of the form ; and the spurs 
in b are now no mere pledges of apparent stability, but have 
very serious practical use in supporting the angle of the aba- 
cus. If, even with the added spur, the support seems insuffi- 
cient, we may fill up the crannies between the spurs and the 
bell, and we have the form c. 

Thus a, though the germ and type of capitals, is itself (ex- 
cept under some peculiar conditions) both ugly and insecure ; 
b is the first type of capitals which carry light weight ; c, of 
capitals which carry excessive weight. 

§ v. I fear, however, the reader may think he is going 
slightly too fast, and may not like having the capital forced 
upon him out of the cornice ; but would prefer inventing a 
capital for the shaft itself, without reference to the cornice at 
all. We will do so then ; though we shall come to the same 

The shaft, it will be remembered, has to sustain the same 
weight as the long piece of wall which was concentrated into 
the shaft ; it is enabled to do this both by its better form and 
better knit materials ; and it can carry a greater weight than 
the space at the top of it is adapted to receive. The first 
point, therefore, is to expand this space as far as possible, and 
that in a form more convenient than the circle for the adjust- 
ment of the stones above. In general the square is a more 
convenient form than any other ; but the hexagon or octagon 
is sometimes better fitted for masses of work which divide in 
six or eight directions. Then our first impulse would be to 
put a square or hexagonal stone on the top of the shaft, pre- 








jecting as far beyond it as might be safely ventured ; as at a, 
Fig. XX. This is the abacus. Our next idea would be to put 
a conical shaped stone beneath this abacus, to support its 
outer edge, as at b. This is the bell. 

§ vi. Now the entire treatment of the capital depends simply 
on the manner in which this bell-stone is prepared for fitting 
the shaft below and the abacus above. Placed as at a, in Figo 
XIX., it gives us the simplest of possible forms ; with the 
spurs added, as at b, it gives the germ of the richest and most 
elaborate forms : but there are two modes of treatment more 
dexterous than the one, and less elaborate than the other, 
which are of the highest possible im- 
portance, — modes in which the bell is 
brought to its proper form by truncation. 

§ vii. Let d and /, Fig. XIX., be two 
bell-stones ; d is part of a cone (a sugar- 
loaf upside down, with its point cut off) ; 
/ part of a four-sided pyramid. Then, 
assuming the abacus to be square, d will 
already fit the shaft, but has to be chisel- 
led to fit the abacus ;/ will already fit the 
abacus, but has to be chiselled to fit the 

From the broad end of d chop or chisel 
off, in four vertical planes, as much as ^ 
will leave its head an exact square. The 
vertical cuttings will form curves on the 
sides of the cone (curves of a curious kind, which the reader 
need not be troubled to examine), and we shall have the form 
at c, which is the root of the greater number of Norman capitals. 

From /cut off the angles, beginning at the corners of the 
square and widening the truncation downwards, so as to give 
the form at g, where the base of the bell is an octagon, and its 
top remains a square. A very slight rounding away of the 
angles of the octagon at the base of g will enable it to fit the 
circular shaft closely enough for all practical purposes, and 
this form, at g, is the root of nearly all Lombardic capitals. 

If, instead of a square, the head of the bell were hexagonal 


Fig. XX. 


or octagonal, the operation of cutting would be the same on 
each angle ; but there would be produced, of course, six or 
eight curves on the sides of e, and twelve or sixteen sides to 
the base of g. 

§ viii. The truncations in e and g may of course be executed 
on concave or convex forms of d and/; but e is usually 
worked on a straight-sided bell, and the truncation of g often 
becomes concave while the bell remains straight ; for thia 
simple reason, — that the sharp points at the angles of g, being 
somewhat difficult to cut, and easily broken off, are usually 
avoided by beginning the truncation a little way down the 

side of the bell, and then recovering the 
lost ground by a deeper cut inwards, as 
here, Fig. XXL This is the actual form 
of the capitals of the balustrades of St. 
Mark's : it is the root of all the Byzantine 
Arab capitals, and of all the most beauti- 
ful capitals in the world, whose function 
is to express lightness. 
§ ix. We have hitherto proceeded entirely on the assump- 
tion that the form of cornice which was gathered together to 
produce the capital was the root of cornices, a of Fig. V. 
But this, it will be remembered, was said in § vi. of Chap. VL 
to be especially characteristic of southern work, and that in 
northern and wet climates it took the form of a dripstone. 

Accordingly, in the northern climates, the dripstone 
gathered together forms a peculiar northern capital, com- 
monly called the Early English,* owing to its especial use in 
that style. 

There would have been no absurdity in this if shafts were 
always to be exposed to the weather ; but in Gothic con- 
structions the most important shafts are in the inside of tho 
building. The dripstone sections of their capitals are there* 
fore unnecessary and ridiculous. 

§ x. They are, however, much worse than unnecessary. 
The edge of the dripstone, being undercut, has no bearing 
power, and the capital fails, therefore, in its own principal 
* Appendix 19, " Early English Capitals." 



function ; and besides this, the undercut contour admits of 
no distinctly visible decoration ; it is, therefore, left utterly 
barren, and the capital looks as if it had been turned in a 
lathe. The Early English capital has, there- 
fore, the three greatest faults that any design 
can have : (1) it fails in its own proper pur- 
pose, that of support ; (2) it is adapted to a 
purpose to which it can never be put, that 
of keeping off rain ; (3) it cannot be de- 

The Early English capital is, therefore, a 
barbarism of triple grossness, and degrades 
the style in which it is found, otherwise very 
noble, to one of second-rate order. 

§ xi. Dismissing, therefore, the Early 
English capital, as deserving no place in 
our system, let us reassemble in one view 
the forms which have been legitimately de- 
veloped, and which are to become hereafter 
subjects of decoration. To the forms a, b, 
and c, Fig. XIX., we must add the two 
simplest truncated forms e and g, Fig. XIX, 
putting their abaci on them (as we con- 
sidered their contours in the bells only), and 
we shall have the five forms now given in 
parallel perspective in Fig. XXII., which are 
the roots of all good capitals existing, or 
capable of existence, and whose variations, 
infinite and a thousand times infinite, are all 
produced by introduction of various curva- 
tures into their contours, and the endless 
methods of decoration superinduced on such 

§ xii. There is, however, a kind of varia- 
tion, also infinite, which takes place in these 
radical forms, before they receive either curvature or decora- 
tion. This is the variety of proportion borne by the different 
lines of the capital to each other, and to the shafts. This is 

Fig. xxii. 



a structural question, at present to be considered as far as is 

§ xm. All the five capitals (which are indeed five orders 
with legitimate distinction ; very different, however, from the 
five orders as commonly understood) may be represented by 
the same profile, a section through the sides of a, b, d, and e, 
or through the angles of c, Fig. XXII. This profile we will 
put on the top of a shaft, as at A, Fig. XXIII., which shaft 
we will suppose of equal diameter above and below for the 
sake of greater simplicity : in this simplest condition, how- 

Fig. XXIII. 

ever, relations of proportion exist between five quantities, any 
one, or any two, or any three, or any four of which may change, 
irrespective of the others. These five qunntities are : 

1. The height of the shaft, a b ; 

2. Its diameter, b c ; 

3. The length of slope of bell, b d ; 

4. The inclination of this slope, or angle c b d ; 

5. The depth of abacus, d e. 

For every change in any one of these quantities we have 
a new proportion of capital : five infinities, supposing change 
only in one quantity at a time : infinity of infinities in the sum 
of possible changes. 


It is, therefore, only possible to note the general laws of 
change ; every scale of pillar, and every weight laid upon it 
admitting, within certain limits, a variety out of which the 
architect has his choice ; but yet fixing limits which the pro- 
portion becomes ugly when it approaches, and dangerous 
when it exceeds. But the inquiry into this subject is too 
difficult for the general reader, and*I shall content myself with 
proving four laws, easily understood and generally applicable ; 
for proof of which if the said reader care not, he may miss the 
next four paragraphs without harm. 

§ xiv. 1. The more slender the shaft, the greater, propor- 
tionally, may be the projection of the abacus. For, looking 
back to Fig. XXTTT., let the height a b be fixed, the length 
d b, the angle d b c, and the depth d e. Let the single quantity 
b c be variable, let B be a capital and shaft which are found to 
be perfectly safe in proportion to the weight they bear, aud 
let the weight be equally distributed over the whole of the 
abacus. Then this weight may be represented by any number 
of equal divisions, suppose four, as /, m, n, r, of brickwork 
above, of which each division is one fourth of the whole 
weight ; and let this weight be placed in the most trying way 
on the abacus, that is to say, let the masses I and r be detached 
from m and ??, and bear with their full weight on the outside 
of the capital. We assume, in B, that the width of abacus ef 
is twice as great as that of the shaft, b c, and on these condi- 
tions we assume the capital to be safe. 

But b c is allowed to be variable. Let it become &„ c 2 at C, 
which is a length representing about the diameter of a shaft 
containing half the substance of the shaft B, and, therefore, 
able to sustain not more than half the weight sustained by B. 
But the slope b d and depth d e remaining unchanged, we 
have the capital of C, which we are to load with only half the 
weight of /, m, n, r, i. e., with / and r alone. Therefore the 
weight of I and r, now represented by the masses l„ r,, is dis- 
tributed over the whole of the capital. But the weight r was 
adequately supported by the projecting piece of the first capi- 
tal hfc: much more is it now adequately supported by i h, 
/ a c.,. Therefore, if the capital of B was safe, that of C is 



more than safe. Now in B the length ef was only twice b o ; 
but in C, e„f\ will be found more than twice that of b 2 o t . 
Therefore, the more slender the shaft, the greater may be the 
proportional excess of the abacus over its diameter. 

§ xv. 2. The smaller the scale of the building, the greater may 
be the excess of the abacus over the diameter of the shaft. This 
principle requires, I think, ^10 very lengthy proof : the readei 
can understand at once that the cohesion and strength of stone 
which can sustain a small projecting mass, will not sustain a 
vast one overhanging in the same proportion. A bank even 
of loose earth, six feet high, will sometimes overhang its base 
a fopt or two, as you may see any day in the gravelly banks of 
the lanes of Hampstead : but make the bank of gravel, equally 
loose, six hundred feet high, and see if you can get it to over- 
hang a hundred or two ! much more if there be weight above 
it increased in the same proportion. Hence, let any capital 
be given, whose projection is just safe, and no more, on its 
existing scale ; increase its proportions every way equally, 
though ever so little, and it is unsafe ; diminish them equally, 
and it becomes safe in the exact degree of the diminution. 


Fig. XXIV. 

Let, then, the quantit}- e d, and angle d b c, at A of Fig 
XXni, be invariable, and let the length d b vary : then we 
shall have such a series of forms as may be represented by a, 
b, c, Fig. XXIV., of which a is a proportion for a colossal 
building, 6 for a moderately sized building, while c could only 
be admitted on a very small scale indeed. 

§ xvi. 3. The greater the excess of abacus, the steeper must be 
the slope of the bell, the shaft diameter being constant. 

This will evidently follow from the considerations in the 
last paragraph ; supposing only that, instead of the scale of 





shaft and capital varying together, the scale of the capital 
varies alone. For it will then still be true, that, if the projec- 
tion of the capital be just safe on a given scale, as its excess 
over the shaft diameter increases, the pro- 
jection will be unsafe, if the slope of the 
bell remain constant. But it may be 
rendered safe by making this slope 
steeper, and so increasing its supporting 

Thus let the capital a, Fig. XXV., be 
just safe. Then the capital b, in which 
the slope is the same but the excess 
greater, is unsafe. But the capital c, in 
which, though the excess equals that of 
b, the steepness of the supporting slope is 
increased, will be as safe as b, and prob- 
ably as strong as a.* 

§ xvii. 4. The steeper the slope of the 
bell, the thinner may be the abacus. 

The use of the abacus is eminently to 
equalise the pressure over the surface of 
the bell, so that the weight may not by any accident be directed 
exclusively upon its edges. In proportion to the strength of 

these edges, this function of the abacus 
is superseded, and these edges are 
strong in proportion to the steepness of 
the slope. Thus in Fig. XXVI., the 
bell at a would carry weight safely 
enough without any abacus, but that at 
c would not : it would probably have its 
edges broken off. The abacus super- 
imposed might be on a very thin, lit- 
tle more than formal, as at b ; but on c 
must be thick, as at d. 
§ xvni. These four rules are all that are necessary for general 

* In this case the weight borne is supposed to increase as the abacus 
widens ; the illustration won d have been clearer if I had assumed the 
breadth oi' abacus to be constant, and that of the shaft to vary. 

Fig. XXV. 



Fig. XXVI. 


criticism ; and observe that these are only semi-imperative, — - 
rules of permission, not of compulsion. Thus Law 1 asserts 
that the slender shaft may have greater excess of capital than 
the thick shaft ; but it need not, unless the architect chooses ; 
his thick shafts must have small excess, but his slender ones 
need not have large. So Law 2 says, that as the building is 
smaller, the excess may be greater ; but it need not, for the 
excess which is safe in the large is still safer in the small. So 
Law 3 says that capitals of great excess must have steep slopes ; 
but in does not say that capitals of small excess ma}' not have 
steep slopes also, if we choose. And lastly, Law 4 asserts the 
necessity of the thick abacus for the shallow bell ; but the 
steep bell may have a thick abacus also. 

§ xix. It will be found, however, that in practice some con- 
fession of these laws will always be useful, and especially of 
the two first. The eye always requires, on a slender shaft, a 
more spreading capital than it does on a massy one, and a 
bolder mass of capital on a small scale than on a large. And, 
in the application of the first rule, it is to be noted that a shaft 
becomes slender either bv diminution of diameter or increase 
of height ; that either mode of change presupposes the weight 
above it diminished, and requires an expansion of abacus. I 
know no mode of spoiling a noble building more frequent in 
actual practice than the imposition of flat and slightly ex- 
panded capitals on tall shafts. 

§ xx. The reader must observe, also, that, in the demonstra- 
tion of the four laws, I always assumed the weight above to 
be given. By the alteration of this weight, therefore, the archi- 
tect has it in his power to relieve, and therefore alter, the 
forms of his capitals. By its various distribution on their 
centres or edges, the slope of their bells and thickness of abaci 
will be affected also ; so that he has countless expedients at his 
command for the various treatment of his design. He can di- 
vide his weights amoim - more shafts ; he can throw them in 
different places and different directions on the abaci ; he can 
alter slope of bells or diameter of shafts ; he can use spurred 
or plain bells, thin or thick abaci ; and all these changes ad- 
mitting of infinity in their degrees, and infinity a thousand 


times told in their relations : and all this without reference to 
decoration, merely with the five forms of block capital ! 

§ xxi. In the harmony of these arrangements, in their fit- 
ness, unity, and accuracy, lies the true proportion of every 
building,— proportion utterly endless in its infinities of change, 
with unchanged beauty. And yet this connection of the frame 
of their building into one harmony has, I believe, never been 
so much as dreamed of by architects. It has been instinc- 
tively done in some degree by many, empirically in some de- 
gree by many more ; thoughtfully and thoroughly, I believe, 

by none. 

§ xxn. We have hitherto considered the abacus as necessa- 
rily a separate stone from the bell : evidently, however, the 
strength of the capital will be undiminished if both are cut out 
of one block. This is actually the case in many capitals, es- 
pecially those on a small scale ; and in others the detached 
upper stone is a mere representative of the abacus, and is 
much thinner than the form of the capital requires, while the 
true abacus is united with the bell, and concealed by its dec- 
oration, or made part of it. 

§ xxm. Farther. We have hitherto considered bell and 
abacus as both derived from the concentration of the cornice. 
But it must at once occur to the reader, that the projection of 
the under stone and the thickness of the upper, which are 
quite enough for the work of the continuous cornice, may not 
be enough always, or rather are seldom likely to be so, for the 
harder work of the capital. Both may have to be deepened 
and expanded : but as this would cause a want of harmony in 
the parts, when they occur on the same level, it is better in 
such case to let the entire cornice form the abacus of the 
capital, and put a deep capital bell beneath it. 

§ xxiv. The reader will understand both arrangements in- 
stantly by two examples. Fig. XXVII. represents two win- 
dows, more than usually beautiful examples of a very frequent 
Venetian form. Here the deep cornice or string course which 
runs along the wall of the house is quite strong enough for 
the work of the capitals of the slender shafts : its own upper 
stone is therefore also Ueirs ; its own lower stone, by its 



revolution or concentration, forms their bells : but to iwA 
the increased importance of its function in so doing, it re- 
ceives decoration, as the bell 
of the capital, which it did 
not receive as the under 
stone of the cornice. 

In Fig. XXVIII., a little 
bit of the church of Santa 
Fosca at Torcello, the cor- 
nice or string course, which 
goes round every part of 
the church, is not strong 
enough to form the capitals 
of the shafts. It therefore 
forms their abaci only ; and 
in order to mark the di- 
minished importance of its 
function, it ceases to re- 
ceive, as the abacus of the 
capital, the decoration which 
it received as the string 
course of the wall. 
This List arrangement is of great frequency in Venice, 
occurring most characteristicallv in St. Mark's: and in the 
Gothic of St. John and Paul we find the two arrangements 
beautifully united, though in great simplicity ; the string- 
courses of the walls form the capitals of the shafts of the 
traceries, and the abaci of the vaulting shafts of the apse. 

§ xxv. We have hitherto spoken of capitals of circular 
shafts only : those of square piers are more frequently formed 
by the cornice only ; otherwise they are like those of circular 
piers, without the difficulty of reconciling the base of the 
bell with its head. 

§ xxvi. When two or more shafts are grouped together, 
their capitals are usually treated as separate, until they come 
into actual contact. If there be any awkwardness in the 
junction, it is concealed by the decoration, and one abacus 
serves, in most cases, for all. The double group, Fig. XXVII.. 

Fig. XXVII. 



is the simplest possible type of the arrangement. In the 
richer Northern Gothic groups of eighteen or twenty shafts 
cluster together, and sometimes the smaller shafts crouch 
under the capitals of the larger, and hide their heads in the 
crannies, with small nominal abaci of their own, while the 
larger shafts carry the serviceable abacus of the whole pier, 
as in the nave of Rouen. There is, however, evident sacrifice 
of sound principle in this system, the smaller abaci being of 
no use. They are the exact contrary of the rude early abacus 
at Milan, given in Plate XVII. There one poor abacus 

Fig. XXVII r. 

stretched itself out to do all the work : here there are idle 
abaci getting up into corners and doing none. 

§ xxvii. Finally, we have considered the capital hitherto 
entirely as an expansion of the bearing power of the shaft, 
supposing the shaft composed of a single stone. But, evidently, 
the capital has a function, if possible, yet more important, 
when the shaft is composed of small masonry. It enables all 
that masonry to act together, and to receive the pressure from 
above collectively and with a single strength. And thus, con- 
sidered merely as a large stone set on the top of the shaft, it 
is a feature of the highest architectural importance, irrespec- 


tive of its expansion, which indeed is, in some very noble cap 
itals, exceedingly small. And thus eveiw large stone set at any 
important point to reassemble the force of smaller masonry 
and prepare it for the sustaining of weight, is a capital or 
" head " stone (the true meaning of the word) whether it pro- 
ject or not. Thus at 6, in Plate IV., the stones which support 
the thrust of the brickwork are capitals, which have no pro- 
jection at all ; and the large stones in the window above are 
capitals projecting in one direction only. 

§ xxviii. The reader is now master of all he need know 
respecting construction of capitals ; and from what has been 
laid before him, must assuredly feel that there can never be 
any new system of architectural forms invented ; but that all 
vertical support must be, to the end of time, best obtained by 
shafts and capitals. It has been so obtained by nearly every 
nation of builders, with more or less refinement in the man- 
agement of the details ; and the later Gothic builders of the 
North stand almost alone in their effort to dispense with the 
natural development of the shaft, and banish the capital from 
their compositions. 

They were gradually led into this error through a series of 
steps which it is not here our business to trace. But they 
may be generalised in a few words. 

§ xxix. All classical architecture, and the Romanesque 
which is legitimately descended from it, is composed of bold 
independent shafts, plain or fluted, with bold detached capi- 
tals, forming arcades or colonnades where they are needed ; 
and of walls whose apertures are surrounded by courses of 
parallel lines called mouldings, which are continuous round 
the apertures, and have neither shafts nor capitals. The shaft 
system and moulding system are entirely separate. 

The Gothic architects confounded the two. They clustered 
the shafts till they looked like a group of mouldings. They 
shod andcapitaled the mouldings till they looked like a group 
of shafts. So that a pier became merely the side of a door or 
window rolled up, and the side of the window a pier unrolled 
(vide last Chapter, § xxx.), both being composed of a series of 
small shafts, each with base and capital. The architect seemed 


to have whole mats of shafts at his disposal, like the rush 
mats which one puts under cream cheese. If he wanted a 
great pier he rolled up the mat ; if he wanted the side of a 
door he spread out the mat ; and now the reader has to add 
to the other distinctions between the Egyptian and the Gothic 
shaft, already noted in § xxvi. of Chap. VIII, this one more — 
the most important of all — that while the Egyptian rush clus- 
ter has only one massive capital altogether, the Gothic rush 
mat has a separate tiny capital to every several rush. 

§ xxx. The mats were gradually made of finer rushes, until 
it became troublesome to give each rush its capital. In fact, 
when the groups of shafts became excessively complicated, the 
expansion of their small abaci was of no use : it was dispensed 
with altogether, and the mouldings of pier and jamb ran up 
continuously into the arches. 

This condition, though in many respects faulty and false, is 
vet the eminently characteristic state of Gothic : it is the defi- 
nite formation of it as a distinct style, owing no farther aid to 
classical models ; and its lightness and complexity render it, 
when well treated, and enriched with Flamboyant decoration, 
a very glorious means of picturesque effect. It is, in fact, this 
form of Gothic which commends itself most easily to the gen- 
eral mind, and which has suggested the innumerable foolish 
theories about the derivation of Gothic from tree trunks and 
avenues, which have from time to time been brought forward 
by persons ignorant of the history of architecture. 

§ xxxi. When the sense of picturesqueness, as well as that 
of justness and dignity, had been lost, the spring of the con- 
tinuous mouldings was replaced by what Professor Willis calls 
the Discontinuous impost ; which, being a barbarism of the 
basest and most painful kind, and being to architecture what 
the setting of a saw is to music, I shall not trouble the reader 
to examine. For it is not in my plan to note for him all the 
various conditions of error, but only to guide him to the ap- 
preciation of the right ; and I only note even the true Contin- 
uous or Flamboyant Gothic because this is redeemed by its 
beautiful decoration, afterwards to be considered. For, as far 
as structure is concerned, the moment the capital vanishes 


from the shaft, that moment we are in error : all good Gothic 
has true capitals to the shafts of its jambs and traceries, and 
all Gothic is debased the instant the shaft vanishes. It matters 
not how slender, or how small, or how low, the shaft may be : 
wherever there is indication of concentrated vertical support, 
then the capital is a necessary termination. I know how 
much Gothic, otherwise beautiful, this sweeping principle con- 
demns ; but it condemns not altogether. We may still take 
delight in its lovely proportions, its rich decoration, or its 
elastic and reedy moulding ; but be assured, wherever shafts, 
or any approximations to the forms of shafts, are employed, for 
whatever office, or on whatever scale, be it in jambs or piers, 
or balustrades, or traceries, without capitals, there is a defiance 
of the natural laws of construction ; and that, wherever such 
examples are found in ancient buildings, they are either the ex- 
periments of barbarism, or the commencements of decline. 



§ i. "We have seen in the last section how our means of ver- 
tical support may, for the sake of economy both of space and 
material, be gathered into piers or shafts, and directed to the 
sustaining of particular points. The next question is how to 
connect these points or tops of shafts with each other, so as to 
be able to lay on them a continuous roof. This the reader, as 
before, is to favor me by finding out for himself, under these 
following conditions. 

Let s, 8, Fig. XXIX., opposite, be two shafts, with their 
capitals ready prepared for their work ; end a, 6, b, and c, c, c, 
be six stones of different sizes, one very long and large, and 
two smaller, and three smaller still, of which the reader is to 
choose which he likes best, in order to connect the tops of the 

I suppose he will first try if he can lift the great stone a, 
and if he can, he will put it very simply on the tops of the two 
pillars, as at A. 



Very well indeed : he has done already what a number of 
Greek architects have been thought very clever for having 
done. But suppose he cannot lift the great stone a, or sup- 

pose I will not give it to him, but only the two smaller stones 
at b, b ; he will doubtless try to put them up, tilted against 
each other, as at d. Very awkward this ; worse than card- 
house building. But if he cuts off the corners of the stones, 
Vol. I.— 9 


so as to make each of them of the form e, they will stand iri 
very securely, as at B. 

But suppose he cannot lift even these less stones, but can 
raise those at c, c, c. Then, cutting each of them into the 
form at e, he will doubtless set them up as atf. 

§ n. This last arrangement looks a little dangerous. Is 
there not a chance of the stone in the middle pushing the 
others out, or tilting them up and aside, and slipping down 
itself between them ? There is such a chance : and if by 
somewhat altering the form of the stones, we can diminish 
this chance, all the better. I must say " we " now, for per- 
haps I may have to help the reader a little. 

The danger is, observe, that the midmost stone at/* pushes 
out the side ones : then if we can give the side ones such a 
shape as that, left to themselves, they w r ould fall heavily for- 
ward, they will resist this push out by their weight, exactly in 
proportion to their own particular inclination or desire to 
tumble in. Take one of them separately, standing up as at g ; 
it is just possible it may stand up as it is, like the Tower of 
Pisa : but we want it to fall forward. Suppose we cut away 
the parts that are shaded at h and leave it as at i, it is very 
certain it cannot stand alone now r , but will fall forward to our 
entire satisfaction. 

Farther : the midmost stone at / is likely to be trouble- 
some chiefly by its weight, pushing down between the others ; 
the more we lighten it the better : so we will cut it into ex- 
actly the same shape as the side ones, chiselling away the 
shaded parts, as at h. We shall then have all the three stones 
k, I, m, of the same shape ; and now putting them together, 
we have, at C, what the reader, I doubt not, will perceive at 
once to be a much more satisfactory arrangement than that 

§ in. We have now got three arrangements ; in one using 
only one piece of stone, in the second tw T o, and in the third 
three. The first arrangement has no particular name, except 
the " horizontal : " but the single stone (or beam, it may be,) 
is called a lintel ; the second arrangement is called a " Gable ;' 7 
the third an "Arch." 


We might have used pieces of wood instead of stone in all 
these arrangements, with no difference in plan, so long as the 
beams were kept loose, like the stones ; but as beams can be 
securely nailed together at the ends, we need not trouble our- 
selves so much about their shape or balance, and therefore the 
plan at f is a peculiarly wooden construction (the reader will 
doubtless recognise in it the profile of many a farm-house 
roof) : and again, because beams are tough, and light, and 
long, as compared with stones, they are admirably adapted 
for the constructions at A and B, the plain lintel and gable, 
while that at C is, for the most part, left to brick and stone. 

§ iv. But farther. The constructions, A, B, and C, though 
very conveniently to be first considered as composed of one, 
two, and three pieces, are by no means necessarily so. When 
we have once cut the stones of the arch into a shape like that 
of k, I, and m, they will hold together, whatever their number, 
place, or size, as at n ; and the great value of the arch is, that 
it permits small stones to be used with safety instead of large 
ones, which are not always to be had. Stones cut into the 
shape of k, I, and m, whether they be short or long (I have 
drawn them all sizes at n on purpose), are called Voussoirs ; 
this is a hard, ugly French name ; but the reader will per- 
haps be kind enough to recollect it ; it will save us both some 
trouble : and to make amends for this infliction, I will relieve 
him of the term keystone. One voussoir is as much a keystone 
as another ; only people usually call the stone which is last 
put in the keystone ; and that one happens generally to be at 
the top or middle of the arch. 

§ v. Not only the arch, but even the lintel, may be built of 
many stones or bricks. The reader may see lintels built in 
this way over most of the windows of our brick London 
houses, and so also the gable : there are, therefore, two dis- 
tinct questions respecting each arrangement : — First, what is 
the line or direction of it, which gives it its strength ? and, 
secondly, what is the manner of masonry of it, which gives it 
its consistence ? The first of these I shall consider in this 
Chapter under the head of the Arch Line, using the term arch 
us including an manner of construction (though we shall 


have no trouble except about curves) ; and in the next Chap, 
ter I shall consider the second, under the head, Arch Masonry. 

§ vi. Now the arch line is the ghost or skeleton of the arch ; 
or rather it is the spinal marrow of the arch, and the vous- 
soirs are the vertebrae, which keep it safe and sound, and clothe 
it. This arch line the architect has first to conceive and shape 
in his mind, as opposed to, or having to bear, certain forces 
which will try to distort it this way and that ; and against 
which he is first to direct and bend the line itself into as 
strong resistance as he may, and then, with his voussoirs and 
what else he can, to guard it, and help it, and keep it to its 
duty and in its shape. So the arch line is the moral charac- 
ter of the arch, and the adverse forces are its temptations ; 
and the voussoirs, and what else we may help it with, are its 
armor and its motives to good conduct. 

§ vii. This moral character of the arch is called by archi- 
tects its "Line of Resistance." There is a great deal of nicety 
in calculating it with precision, just as there is sometimes in 
finding out very precisely what is a man's true line of moral 
conduct ; but this, in arch morality and in man morality, is a 
very simple and easily to be understood principle, — that if 
either arch or man expose themselves to their special tempta- 
tions or adverse forces, outside of the voussoirs or proper and 
appointed armor, both will fall. An arch whose line of resist- 
ance is in the middle of its voussoirs is perfectly safe : in pro- 
portion as the said line runs near the edge of its voussoirs, 
the arch is in danger, as the man is who nears temptation ; 
and the moment the line of resistance emerges out of the 
voussoirs the arch falls. 

§ vin. There are, therefore, properly speaking, two arch 
lines. One is the visible direction or curve of the arch, which 
may generally be considered as the under edge of its vous- 
soirs, and which has often no more to do with the real stabil- 
ity of the arch, than a man's apparent conduct has with his 
heart. The other line, which is the line of resistance, or line 
of good behavior, may or may not be consistent with the out- 
ward and apparent curves of the arch ; but if not, then the 
security of the arch depends simply upon this, whether tha 


voussoirs which assume or pretend to the one line are wide 
enough to include the other. 

§ ix. Now when the reader is told that the line of resistance 
varies with every change either in place or quantity of the 
weight above the arch, he will see at once that we have no 
chance of arranging arches by their moral characters : we can 
only take the apparent arch line, or visible direction, as a 
ground of arrangement. We shall consider the possible or 
probable forms or contours of arches in the present Chapter, 
and in the succeeding one the forms of voussoir and other 
help which may best fortify these visible lines against every 
temptation to lose their consistency. 

§ x. Look back to Fig. XXIX. Evidently the abstract or 
ghost line of the arrangement at A is a plain horizontal line, 
as here at a, Fig. XXX. 
The abstract line of the 
arrangement at B, Fig. 
XXIX., is composed of 
two straight lines, set e 
against each other, as 
here at b. The abstract 
line of C, Fig. XXIX., is 
a curve of some kind, not 
at present determined, 
suppose c, Fig. XXX. FlG< X xx. 

Then, as b is two of the 

straight lines at a, set up against each other, we may conceive 
an arrangement, d, made up of two of the curved lines at c, 
set against each other. This is called a pointed arch, which 
is a contradiction in terms : it ought to be called a curved 
gable ; but it must keep the name it has got. 

Now a, b, c, d, Fig. XXX., are the ghosts of the lintel, the 
gable, the arch, and the pointed arch. With the poor lintel 
ghost we need trouble ourselves no farther; there are no 
changes in him : but there is much variety in the other three, 
and the method of their variety will be best discerned by 
studying b and d, as subordinate to and connected with the 
simple arch at c. 



§ xi. Many architects, especially the worst, have been very 
curious in designing out of the way arches,— elliptical arches, 
and four-centred arches, so called, and other singularities. 
The good architects have generally been content, and we for 
the present will be so, with God's arch, the arch of the rain- 
bow and of the apparent heaven, and which the sun shapes 
for us as it sets and rises. Let us watch the sun for a moment 
as it climbs : when it is a quarter up, it will give us the arch 
a, Fig. XXXI. ; when it is half up, b, and when three quarters 

up, c. There will be an infinite number of arches between 
these, but we will take these as sufficient representatives of all. 
Then a is the low arch, b the central or pure arch, c the high 
arch, and the rays of the sun would have drawn for us their 

§ xii. We will take these several arches successively, and 
fixing the top of each accurately, draw two right lines thence 
to its base, d, e, f, Fig. XXXT. Then these lines give us the 
relative gables of each of the arches ; d is the Italian or south* 
em gable, e the central gable, / the Gothic gable. 


§ xiii. We will again take the three arches with their gables 
in succession, and on each of the sides of the gable, between 
it and the arch, we will describe another arch, as at g, h, i. 
Then the curves so described give the pointed arches belong- 
ing to each of the round arches ; g, the flat pointed arch, k, 
the central pointed arch, and i, the lancet pointed arch. 

§ xiv. If the radius with which these intermediate curves 
are drawn be the base of/, the last is the equilateral pointed 
arch, one of great importance in Gothic work. But between 
the gable and circle, in all the three figures, there are an infi- 
nite number of pointed arches, describable with different radii ; 
and the three round arches, be it remembered, are themselves 
representatives of an infinite number, passing from the flattest 
conceivable curve, through the semicircle and horseshoe, up 
to the full circle. 

The central and the last group are the most important. 
The central round, or semicircle, is the Roman, the Byzan- 
tine, and Norman arch ; and its relative pointed includes one 
wide branch of Gothic. The horseshoe round is the Arabic 
and Moorish arch, and its relative pointed includes the whole 
range of Arabic and lancet, or Earty English and French 
Gothics. I mean of course by the relative pointed, the entire 
group of which the equilateral arch is the rep- 
resentative. Between it and the outer horre- 
shoe, as this latter rises higher, the reader 
will find, on experiment, the great families of 
what may be called the horseshoe pointed, — fig. xxxn. 
curves of the highest importance, bat which 
are all included, with English lancet, under the term, relative 
pointed of the horseshoe arch. 

§ xv. The groups above described are all formed of circulai 
arcs, and include all truly useful aud beautiful arches for 
ordinary work. I believe that singular and complicated 
curves are made use of in modern engineering, but with these 
the general reader can have no concern : the Ponte della 
Trinita at Florence is the most graceful instance I know of 
such structure ; the arch made use of being very subtle, and 
approximating to the low ellipse ; for which, in common work, 


a barbarous pointed arch, called four-centred, and composed 
of bits of circles, is substituted by the English builders. The 
high elhpse, I believe, exists in eastern architecture. I have 
never myself met with it on a large scale ; but it occurs in the 
niches of the later portions of the Ducal palace at Venice, to- 
gether with a singular hyperbolic arch, a in Fig. XXXIII., to 
be described hereafter : with such caprices we are not here 

S xvi. We are, however, concerned to notice the absurdity 
of another form of arch, which, with the four-centred, belongs 
to the English perpendicular Gothic. 

Taking the gable of any of the groups in Fig. XXXI. (sup- 
l^ose the equilateral), here at 6, in Fig. XXXTTT., the dotted 


line representing the relative pointed arch, we may evidently 
conceive an arch formed by reversed curves on the inside of 
the gable, as here shown by the inner curved lines. I imag- 
ine the reader by this time knows enough of the nature of 
arches to understand that, whatever strength or stability was 
gained by the curve on the outside of the gable, exactly so 
much is lost by curves on the inside. The natural tendency 
of such an arch to dissolution by its own mere weight renders 
it a feature of detestable ugliness, wherever it occurs on a 
large scale. It is eminently characteristic of Tudor work, and 
it is the profile of the Chinese roof (I say on a large scale, be- 
cause this as well as all other capricious arches, may be made 
secure by their masonry when small, but not otherwise). 
Some allowable modifications of it will be noticed in the 
chapter on Roofs. 

§ xvii. There is only one more form of arch which we have 
to notice. When the last described arch is used, not as the 


principal arrangement, but as a mere heading to a common 
pointed arcb, we have the form c, Fig. XXXIII. Now this 
is better than the entirely reversed arch for two reasons ; first, 
less of the line is weakened by reversing ; secondly, the double 
curve has a very high aesthetic value, not existing in the mere 
segments of circles. For these reasons arches of this kind are 
not only admissible, but even of great desirableness, when 
their scale and masonry render them secure, but above a cer- 
tain scale they are altogether barbarous ; and, with the re- 
versed Tudor arch, wantonly employed, are the characteristics 
of the worst and meanest schools of architecture, past or 

This double curve is called the Ogee ; it is the profile of 
many German leaden roofs, of many Turkish domes (there 
more excusable, because associated and in sympathy with ex- 
quisitely managed arches of the same line in the walls below), 
of Tudor turrets, as in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, and it is 
at the bottom or top of sundry other blunders all over the 

§ xvin. The varieties of the ogee curve are infinite, as the 
reversed portion of it may be engrafted on every other form 
of arch, horseshoe, round, or pointed. Whatever is generally 
worth of note in these varieties, and in other arches of 
caprice, we shall best discover by examining their masonry ; 
for it is by their good masonry only that they are rendered 
either stable or beautiful. To this question, then, let us 
address ourselves. 



§ i. On the subject of the stability of arches, volumes have 
been written and volumes more are required. The reader 
will not, therefore, expect from me an}^ very complete ex- 
planation of its conditions within the limits of a single chap- 
ter. But that which is necessary for him to know is very 
simple and very easy ; and yet, I believe, some part of it ia 
very little known, or noticed. 


We must first have a clear idea of what is meant by an 
arch. It is a curved shell of firm materials, on whose back a 
burden is to be laid of loose materials. So far as the materials 
above it are not loose, but themselves hold together, the open- 
ino - below is not an arch, but an excavation. Note this differ- 
ence very carefully. If the King of Sardinia tunnels through 
the Mont Cenis, as he proposes, he will not require to build 
a brick arch under his tunnel to carry the weight of the Mont 
Cenis : that would need scientific masonry indeed. The 
Mont Cenis will carry itself, by its own cohesion, and a 
succession of invisible granite arches, rather larger than the 
tunnel. But wdien Mr. Brunei tunnelled the Thames bottom, 
he needed to build a brick arch to carry the six or seven feet 
of mud and the weight of water above. That is a type of all 
arches proper. 

§ ii. Now arches, in practice, partake of the nature of the 
two. So far as their masonry above is Mont-Cenisian, that is 
to say, colossal in comparison of them, and granitic, so that 
the arch is a mere hole in the rock substance of it, the form 
of the arch is of no consequence whatever : it may be rounded, 
or lozenged, or ogee'd, or anything else ; and in the noblest 
architecture there is always some character of this kind given 
to the masonry. It is independent enough not to care about 
the holes cut in it, and does not subside into them like sand. 
But the theory of arches does not presume on any such con- 
dition of things ; it allows itself only the shell of the arch 
proper ; the vertebrae, carrying their marrow of resistance ; 
and, above this shell, it assumes the wall to be in a state of 
flux, bearing down on the arch, like water or sand, with its 
whole weight. And farther, the problem which is to be 
solved by the arch builder is not merely to carry this weight, 
but to carry it with the least thickness of shell. It is easy to 
carry it by continually thickening yourvoussoirs : if you have 
six feet depth of sand or gravel to carry, and you choose to 
employ granite voussoirs six feet thick, no question but your 
arch is safe enough. But it is perhaps somewhat too costly . 
the thing to be done is to carry the sand or gravel with brick 
voussoirs, six inches thick, or, at any rate, with the least 

ti; RK 




ns^e fri 

Plate HI.— Arch Masonry, 



thickness of voussoir which will be safe ; and to do this re- 
quires peculiar arrangement of the lines of the arch. There 
are many arrangements, useful all in their way, but we have 
only to do, in the best architecture, with the simplest and 
most easily understood. We have first to note those which 
regard the actual shell of the arch, and then we shall give a 
few examples of the superseding of such expedients by Mont- 
Cenisian masonry. 

§ in. What we have to say will apply to all arches, but the 
central pointed arch is the best for general illustration. Let 
a, Plate III., be the shed of a pointed arch with loose loading 
above ; and suppose you find that shell not quite thick 
enough ; and that the weight bears too heavily on the top of 
the arch, and is likely to break it in : you proceed to thicken 
your shell, but need you thicken it all equally ? Not so ; you 
would only waste your good voussoirs. If you have any com- 
mon sense you will thicken it at the top, where a Mylodon's 
skull is thickened for the same purpose (and some human 
skulls, I fancy), as at b. The pebbles and gravel above will 
now shoot off it right and left, as the bullets do off a cuiras- 
sier's breastplate, and will have no chance of beating it in. 

If still it be not strong enough, a farther addition may be 
made, as at c, now thickening the voussoirs a little at the 
base also. But as this may perhaps throw the arch incon- 
veniently high, or occasion a waste of voussoirs at the top, 
we may employ another expedient. 

§ iv. I imagine the reader's common sense, if not his pre- 
vious knowledge, will enable him to understand that if the 
arch at a, Plate HI., burst in at the top, it must burst out at 
the sides. Set up two pieces of pasteboard, edge to edge, 
and press them down with your hand, and you will see them 
bend out at the sides. Therefore, if you can keep the arch 
from starting out at the points p, p, it cannot curve in at the 
top, put what weight on it you will, unless by sheer crushing 
of the stones to fragments. 

§ v. Now you may keep the arch from starting out at p by 
loading it at p, putting more weight upon it and against it at 
that point ; and this, in practice, is the way it is usually dona 


But we assume at present that the weight above is sand or 
water, quite unmanageable, not to be directed to the points 
we choose ; and in practice, it may sometimes happen that 
we cannot put weight upon the arch at p. We may perhaps 
want an opening above it, or it may be at the side of the 
building, and many other circumstances may occur to hinder 

§ vi. But if we are not sure that we can put weight above 
it, we are perfectly sure that we can hang weight under it. 
You may always thicken your shell inside, and put the weight 
upon it as at x x, in d, Plate HI. Not much chance of its 
bursting out at p, now, is there ? 

§ vii. Whenever, therefore, an arch has to bear vertical 
pressure, it will bear it better when its shell is shaped as at b 
or d, than as at a : b and d are, therefore, the types of arches 
built to resist vertical pressure, all over the world, and from 
the beginning of architecture to its end. None others can be 
compared with them : all are imperfect except these. 

The added projections at x x, in d, are called Cusps, and 
they are the very soul and life of the best northern Gothic ; 
yet never thoroughly understood nor found in perfection, 
except in Italy, the northern builders working often, even in 
the best times, with the vulgar form at a. 

The form at b is rarely found in the north : its perfection 
is in the Lombardic Gothic ; and branches of it, good and bad 
according to their use, occur in Saracenic work. 

§ vin. The true and perfect cusp is single only. But it 
was probably invented (by the Arabs ?) not as a constructive, 
but a decorative feature, in pure fantasy ; and in early northern 
work it is only the application to the arch of the foliation, so 
called, of penetrated spaces in stone surfaces, already enough 
explained in the " Seven Lamps," Chap. III., p. 85 et seq. It 
is degraded in dignity, aud loses its usefulness, exactly in 
proportion to its multiplication on the arch. In later archi- 
tecture, especially English Tudor, it is sunk into dotage, and 
becomes a simple excrescence, a bit of stone pinched up out 
of the arch, as a cook pinches the paste at the edge of a pie. 

§ ix. The depth and place of the cusp, that is to say, its 




Plate IV. — Alien Masonry. 


exact application to the shoulder of the curve of the arch, 
varies with the direction of the weight to be sustained. I have 
spent more than a month, and that in hard work too, in merely 
trying to get the forms of cusps into perfect order : whereby 
the reader may guess that I have not space to go into the 
subject now ; but I shall hereafter give a few of the leading 
and most perfect examples, with their measures and masonry. 

§ x. The reader now understands all that he need about 
the shell of the arch, considered as an united piece of stone. 

He has next to consider the shape of the voussoirs. This, 
as much as is required, he will be able best to comprehend by 
a few examples ; by which I shall be able also to illustrate, or 
rather which will force me to illustrate, some of the methods 
of Mont-Cenisian masonry, which were to be the second part 
of our subject. 

§ xi. 1 and 2, Plate IV., are two cornices ; 1 from St. 
Antonio, Padua ; 2, from the Cathedral of Sens. I want them 
for cornices ; but I have put them in this plate because, 
though their arches are filled up behind, and are in fact mere 
blocks of stone with arches cut into their faces, they illustrate 
the constant masonry of small arches, both in Italian and 
Northern Eomanesque, but especially Italian, each arch being 
cut out of its own proper block of stone : this is Mont- 
Cenisian enough, on a small scale. 

3 is a window from Carnarvon Castle, and very primitive 
and interesting in manner, — one of its arches being of one 
stone, the other of two. And here we have an instance of a 
form of arch which would be barbarous enough on a large 
scale, and of many pieces ; but quaint and agreeable thus 
massively built. 

4 is from a little belfry in a Swiss village above Vevay ; one 
fancies the window of an absurd form, seen in the distance, 
but one is pleased with it on seeing its masonry. It could 
hardly be stronger. 

§ xii. These then are arches cut of one block. The next 
step is to form them of two pieces, set together at the head 
of the arch. 6, from the Eremitani, Padua, is very quaint 
and primitive in manner : it is a curious church altogether, 


and lias some strange traceries cut out of single blocks. One 
is given in the "Seven Lamps," Plate VII., in the left-hand 
corner at the bottom. 

7, from the Frari, Venice, very firm and fine, and admirably 
decorated, as we shall see hereafter. 5, the simple two-pieced 
construction, wrought with the most exquisite proportion and 
precision of workmanship, as is everything else in the glorious 
church to which it belongs, San Fermo of Verona. The ad- 
dition of the top piece, which completes the circle, does not 
affect the plan of the beautiful arches, with their simple and 
perfect cusps ; but it is highly curious, and serves to show 
how the idea of the cusp rose out of mere foliation. The 
whole of the architecture of this church may be characterised 
as exhibiting the maxima of simplicity in construction, and 
perfection in workmanship, — a rare unison : for, in general, 
simple designs are rudely worked, and as the builder perfects 
his execution, he complicates his plan. Nearly all the arches 
of San Fermo are two-pieced. 

§ xni. We have seen the construction with one and two 
pieces : a and 6, Fig. 8, Plate IV., are the general types of 
the construction with three pieces, uncusped and cusped ; c 
and d with five pieces, uncusped and cusped. Of these the 
three-pieced construction is of enormous importance, and must 
detain us some time. The five-pieced is the three-pieced with 
a joint added on each side, and is also of great importance. 
The four-pieced, which is the two -pieced with added joints, 
rarely occurs, and need not detain us. 

§ xiv. It will be remembered that in first working out the 
principle of the arch, we composed the arch of three pieces. 
Three is the smallest number which can exhibit the real 
principle of arch masonry, and it may be considered as repre- 
sentative of all arches built on that principle ; the one and 
two-pieced arches being microscopic Mont-Cenisian, mere 
caves in blocks of stone, or gaps between two rocks leaning 

But the three-pieced arch is properly representative of all ; 
and the larger and more complicated constructions are merely 
produced by keeping the central piece for what is call?d a 


keystone, and putting additional joints at the sides. Now so 
long as an arcli is pure circular or pointed, it does not matter 
how many joints or voussoirs you have, nor where the joints 
are ; nay, you may joint your keystone itself, and make it 
two-pieced. But if the arch be of any bizarre form, espe- 
cially ogee, the joints must be in particular places, and the 
masonry simple, or it will not be thoroughly good and secure ; 
and the fine schools of the ogee arch have only arisen in 
countries where it was the custom to build arches of few 

§ xv. The typical pure pointed arch of Venice is a five- 
pieced arch, with its stones in three orders of magnitude, the 
longest being the lowest, as at 6 2 , Plate III. If the arch be 
very large, a fourth order of magnitude is added, as at a. y 
The portals of the palaces of Venice have one or other of 
these masonries, almost without exception. Now, as one 
piece is added to make a larger door, one piece is taken away 
to make a smaller one, or a window, and the masonry type of 
the Venetian Gothic window is consequently three-pieced, c Y . 

§ xvi. The reader knows already where a cusp is useful. It 
is wanted, he will remember, to give weight to those side 
stones, and draw them inwards against the thrust of the top 
stone. Take one of the side stones of c, out for a moment, as 
at d. Now the proper place of the cusp upon it varies with 
the weight which it bears or requires ; but in pract'ce this 
nicety is rarely observed ; the place of the cusp is almost al- 
ways determined by aesthetic considerations, and it is evident 
that the variations in its place may be infinite. Consider the 
cusp as a wave passing up the side stone from its bottom to its 
top ; then you will have the succession of forms from e, to g 
(Plate III.), with infinite degrees of transition from each to- 
each ; but of which you may take e,f, and g, as representing 
three great families of cusped arches. Use e for your side 
stones, and you have an arch as that at h below, which may 
be called a down-cusped arch. Use/ for the side stone, and 
you have i, which may be called a mid-cusped arch. Use g, 
and you have k, an up-cusped arch. 

§ xvii. The reader will observe that I call the arch mid- 


cusped, not when the cusped point is in the middle of the 
curve of the arch, but when it is in the middle of the aide 
piece, and also that where the side pieces join the keystone 
there will be a change, perhaps somewhat abrupt, in the cur- 

I have preferred to call the arch mid-cusped with respect 
to its side piece than with respect to its own curve, because 
the most beautiful Gothic arches in the world, those of the 
Lombard Gothic, have, in all the instances I have examined, 
a form more or less approximating to this mid-cusped one at 
i (Plate III.), but having the curvature of the cusp carried 
up into the keystone, as we shall see presently : where, how- 
ever, the arch is built of many voussoirs, a mid-cusped arch 
will mean one which has the point of the cusp midway be- 
tween its own base and apex. 

The Gothic arch of Venice is almost invariably up-cusped 
as at k. The reader may note that, in both down-cusped and 
up-cusped arches, the piece of stone, added to form the cusp, 
is of the shape of a scymitar, held down in the one case and 
up in the other. 

§ xviii. Now, in the arches h, i, k, a slight modification has 
been made in the form of the central piece, in order that it 
may continue the curve of the cusp. This modification is not 
to be given to it in practice without considerable nicety of 
workmanship ; and some curious results took place in Venice 
from this difficulty. 

At I (Plate III.) is the shape of the Venetian side stone, 
with its cusp detached from the arch. Nothing can possibly 
be better or more graceful, or have the weight better disjDOsed 
in order to cause it to nod forwards against the keystone, as 
above explained, Ch. X. § il, where I developed the whole 
system of the arch from three pieces, in order that the reader 
might now clearly see the use of the weight of the cusp. 

Now a Venetian Gothic palace has usually at least three 
stories ; with perhaps ten or twelve windows in each story, 
and this on two or three of its sides, requiring altogether 
some hundred to a hundred and fifty side pieces. 

I have no doubt, from observation of the way the windows 


are set together, that the side pieces were carved in pairs, 
like hooks, of which the keystones were to be the eyes ; that 
these side pieces were ordered by the architect in the gross, 
and were used by him sometimes for wider, sometimes for 
narrower windows ; bevelling the two ends as required, fit- 
ting in keystones as he best could, and now and then varying 
the arrangement by turning the side pieces upside down. 

There were various conveniences in this way of working 1 , 
one of the principal being that the side pieces with their cusps 
were always cut to their complete form, and that no part of 
the cusp was carried out into the keystone, which followed the 
curve of the outer arch itself. The ornaments of the cusp 
might thus be worked without any troublesome reference to 
the rest of the arch. 

§ xix. Now let us take a pair of side pieces, made to order, 
like that at I, and see what we can make of them. We will 
try to fit them first with a keystone which continues the 
curve of the outer arch, as at m. This the reader assuredly 
thinks an ugly arch. There are a great many of them in 
Venice, the ugliest things there, and the Venetian builders 
quickly began to feel them so. What could they do to bet- 
ter them ? The arch at m has a central piece of the form r. 
Substitute for it a piece of the form s, and we have the arch 
at n. 

§ xx. This arch at n is not so strong as that at m ; but, 
built of good marble, and with its pieces of proper thickness, 
it is quite strong enough for all practical purposes on a 
small scale. I have examined at least two thousand windows 
of this kind and of the other Venetian ogees, of which that at 
y (in which the plain side-piece d is used instead of the 
cusped one) is the simplest ; and I never found one, even in 
the most ruinous palaces (in which they had had to sustain the 
distorted weight of falling walls) in which the central piece 
was fissured ; and this is the only danger to which the win- 
dow is exposed ; in other respects it is as strong an arch as 
can be built. 

It is not to be supposed that the change from the r keystoo 3 
to the s keystone was instantaneous. It was a change wrought 
Vol. L— 10 


out by many curious experiments, which we shall have to 
trace hereafter, and to throw the resultant varieties of form 
into their proper groups. 

§ xxi. One step more : I take a mid-cusped side piece in 
its block form at t, with the bricks which load the back of it. 
Now, as these bricks support it behind, and since, as far as 
the use of the cusp is concerned, it matters not whether its 
weight be in marble or bricks, there is nothing to hinder 
us from cutting out some of the marble, as at u, and filling 
up the space with bricks. ( Wliy we should take a fancy to 
do this, I do not pretend to guess at present ; all I have to 
assert is, that, if the fancy should strike us, there would be 
no harm in it). Substituting this side piece for the other in 
the window n, we have that at w, which may, perhaps, be of 
some service to us afterwards ; here we have nothing more to 
do with it than to note that, thus built, and properly backed 
by brickwork, it is just as strong and safe a form as that at 
n ; but that this, as well as every variety of ogee arch, de- 
pends entirely for its safety, fitness, and beauty, on tli9 
masonry which we have just analysed ; and that, built on a 
large scale, and with many voussoirs, all such arches would be 
unsafe and absurd in general architecture. Yet they may be 
used occasionally for the sake of the exquisite beauty of which 
their rich and fantastic varieties admit, and sometimes for the 
sake of another merit, exactly the opposite of the construc- 
tional ones we are at present examining, that they seem to 
stand by enchantment. 

§ xxn. In the above reasonings, the inclination of the joints 
of the voussoirs to the curves of the arch has not been con- 
sidered. It is a question of much nicety, and which I have 
not been able as yet fully to investigate : but the natural idea 
of the arrangement of these lines (which in round arches are 
of course perpendicular to the curve) would be that every 
voussoir should have the lengths of its outer and inner arched 
surface in the same proportion to each other. Either this 
actual law, or a close approximation to it, is assuredly en- 
forced in the best Gothic buildings. 

j> xxiii. I may sum up all that it is necessary for the reader 


WWI I WI W WHl l HI I HMW!Wl!!W)W I ) mj 


T S Boys 

Ami .AJUisaitrtj. 



to keep in mind of the general laws connected with this sub- 
ject, by giving him an example of each of the two forms of 
the perfect Gothic arch, uncusped and cusped, treated with 
the most simple and magnificent masonry, and partly, in both 
cases, Mont-Cenisian. 

The first, Plate V., is a window from the Broletto of Como. 
It shows, in its filling, first, the single-pieced arch, carried on 
groups of four shafts, and a single slab of marble filling the 
space above, and pierced with a quatrefoil (Mont-Cenisian, 
this), while the mouldings above are each constructed with a 
separate system of voussoirs, all of them shaped, I think, on 
the principle above stated, § xxil, in alternate serpentine and 
marble ; the outer arch being a noble example of the pure 
uncusped Gothic construction, b of Plate HI. 

§ xxiv. Fig. XXXIV. is the masonry of the side arch of, 
as far as I know or am able to judge, the most perfect Gothic 
sepulchral monument in the world, the foursquare canopy of 
the (nameless ? ) * tomb standing over the small cemetery gate 
of the Church of St. Anastasia at Verona. I shall have fre~ 
quent occasion to recur to this monument, and, I believe, 
shall be able sufficiently to justify the terms in which I speak 
of it : meanwhile, I desire only that the reader should observe 
the severity and simplicity of the arch lines, the exquisitely 
delicate suggestion of the ogee curve in the apex, and chiefly 
the use of the cusp in giving inward weight to the great pieces 
of stone on the flanks of the arch, and preventing their thrust 
outwards from being severely thrown on the lowermost stones. 
The effect of this arrangement is, that the whole massy canopy 
is sustained safely by four slender pillars (as will be seen here- 
after in the careful plate I hope to give of it), these pillars 
being rather steadied than materially assisted against the 
thrust, by iron bars, about an inch thick, connecting them at 
the heads of the abaci ; a feature of peculiar importance 
in this monument, inasmuch as we know it to be part of the 

* At least I cannot find any account of it in Marrei's "Verona," nor 
anywhere else, to be depended upon. It is, I doubt not, a work of the 
beginning of the thirteenth century. Vide Appendix 19, "Tombs at 

St. Anastasia." 



original construction, by a beautiful little Gothic wreathed 
pattern, like one of the hems of garments of Fra Angelico, 
running along the iron bar itself. So carefully, and so far, is 

Fig. XXXIV. 

the system of decoration carried out in this pure and lovely 
monument, my most beloved throughout all the length and 
breadth of Italy ; — chief, as I think, among all the sepulchral 
marbles of a land of mourning. 





§ i. In the preceding enquiry we have always supposed 
either that the load upon the arch was perfectly loose, as of 
gravel or sand, or that it was Mont-Cenisian, and formed one 
mass with the arch voussoirs, of more or less compactness. 

In practice, the state is usually something between the two. 
Over bridges and tunnels it sometimes approaches to the con 
dition of mere dust or 
yielding earth ; but in 
architecture it is mostly 
firm masonry, not alto- 
gether acting with the 
voussoirs, yet by no means 
bearing on them with per- 
fectly dead weight, but 
locking itself together 
above them, and capable 
of being thrown into forms 
which relieve them, in 
some degree, from its 

§ ii. It is evident that if 
we are to place a contin- 
uous roof above the line 
of arches, we must fill up 
the intervals between 
them on the tops of the 
columns. We have at pres- 
ent nothing granted us 

bat the bare masonry, as here at a, Fig. XXXV., and we 
must fill up the intervals between the semicircle so as to 
obtain a level line of support. We may first do this simply 
as at 6, with plain mass of wall ; so laying the roof on the top, 
which is the method of the pure Byzantine and Italian Roman- 

Fig. XXXV. 



esque. But if we find 
too much stress is thus 
laid on the arches, we 
may introduce small 
second shafts on the top 
of the great shaft, a, Fig. 
XXXVI. , which may as- 
sist in carrying the roof, 
conveying great part of 
its weight at once to the 
heads of the main shafts, 
and relieving from its 
pressure the centres of 
the arches. 

§ in. The new shaft 
thus introduced may 
either remain lifted on 
the head of the great 
shaft, or may be carried 
to the ground in front of 
it, or through it, b, Fig. 
XXXVI. ; in which latter 
case the main shaft di- 
vides into two or more 
minor shafts, and forms 
a group with the shaft 
brought down from 

§ iv. "When this shaft, 
brought from roof to 
ground, is subordinate to 
the main pier, and either 
is carried down the face 
of it, or forms no large 
part of the group, the principle is Romanesque or Gothic, b, 
Fig. XXXVX When it becomes a bold central shaft, and 
the main pier splits into two minor shafts on its sides, the 
principle is Classical or Palladian, c, Fig. XXXVI. Which 

Fig. XXXVI. 


lntter arrangement becomes absurd or unsatisfactory in pro- 
portion to the sufficiency of the main shaft to carry the roof 
without the help of the minor shafts or arch, which in many 
instances of Palladian work look as if they might be removed 
without danger to the building. 

§ v. The form a is a more pure Northern Gothic type than 
even b, which is the connecting link between it and the clas- 
sical type. It is found chiefly in English and other northern 
Gothic, and in early Lombardic, and is, I doubt not, derived 
as above explained, Chap. I. § xxvu. b is a general French 
Gothic and French Komanesque form, as in great parity at 

The small shafts of the form a and b, as being northern, 
are generally connected with steep vaulted roofs, and receive 
for that reason the name of vaulting shafts. 

§ vi. Of these forms b, Fig. XXXV., is the purest and 
most sublime, expressing the power of the arch most distinctly. 
All the others have some appearance of dovetailing and mor- 
ticing of timber rather than stonework ; nor have I ever yet 
seen a single instance, quite satisfactory, of the management 
of the capital of the main shaft, when it had either to sustain 
the base of the vaulting shaft, as in a, or to suffer it to pass 
through it, as in b, Fig. XXXVI. Nor is the bracket which 
frequently carries the vaulting shaft in English work a fitting 
support for a portion of the fabric which is at all events pre- 
sumed to carry a considerable part of the weight of the roof. 

§ vii. The triangular spaces on the flanks of the arch are 
called Spandrils, and if the masonry of these should be found, 
in any of its forms, too heavy for the arch, their weight may 
be diminished, while their strength remains the same, by pierc- 
ing them with circular holes or lights. This is rarely neces- 
sary in ordinary architecture, though sometimes of great usg 
in bridges and iron roofs (a succession of such circles may be 
seen, for instance, in the spandrils at the Euston Square 
station) ; but, from its constructional value, it becomes the 
best form in which to arrange spandril decorations, as we 
shall see hereafter. 

§ vm. The height of the load above the arch is determined 


by the needs of the building and possible length of the shaft; 
but with this we have at present nothing to do, for we have 
performed the task which was set us. We have ascertained, 
as it was required that we should in § vi. of Chap. III. (A), 
the construction of walls ; (B), that of piers ; (C), that of piern 
with lintels or arches prepared for roofing. We have next, 
therefore, to examine (D) the structure of the roof. 



§ i. Hitherto our enquiry has been unembarrassed by any 
considerations relating exclusively either to the exterior or 
interior of buildings. But it can remain so no longer. As 
far as the architect is concerned, one side of a wall is gener- 
ally the same as another ; but in the roof there are usually 
two distinct divisions of the structure ; one, a shell, vault, or 
flat ceiling, internally visible, the other, an upper structure, 
built of timber, to protect the lower ; or of some different 
form, to support it. Sometimes, indeed, the internally visi- 
ble structure is the real roof, and sometimes there are more 
than two divisions, as in St. Paul's, where we have a central 
shell with a mask below and above. Still it will be conven- 
ient to remember the distinction between the part of the roof 
which is usually visible from within, and whose only business 
is to stand strongly, and not fall in, which I shall call the 
Roof Proper ; and, secondly, the upper roof, which, being 
often partly supported by the lower, is not so much con- 
cerned with its own stability as with the weather, and is ap- 
pointed to throw off snow, and get rid of rain, as fast as pos- 
sible, which I shall call the Roof Mask. 

§ ii. It is, however, needless for me to engage the reader 
in the discussion of the various methods of construction of 
Roofs Proper, for this simple reason, that no person without 
long experience can tell whether a roof be wisely constructed 
or not ; nor tell at all, even with help of any amount of expe- 

THE ROOF. 153 

rience, without examination of the several parts and bearings 
of it, very different from any observation possible to the gen- 
eral critic : and more than this, the enquiry would be useless 
to us in our Venetian studies, where the roofs are either not 
contemporary with the buildings, or flat, or else vaults of the 
simplest possible constructions, which have been admirably 
explained by Willis in his " Architecture of the Middle Ages," 
Chap. VII., to which I may refer the reader for all that it would 
be well for him to know respecting the connexion of the dif- 
ferent parts of the vault with the shafts. He would also do 
well to read the passages on Tudor vaulting, pp. 185-193, in 
Mr. Garbett's rudimentary Treatise on Design, before alluded 
to.* I shall content myself therefore with noting one or two 
points on which neither writer has had occasion to touch, re- 
specting the Roof Mask. 

§ in. It was said in § v. of Chapter HI. that we should 
not have occasion, in speaking of roof construction, to add 
materially to the forms then suggested. The forms which 
we have to add are only those resulting from the other curves 
of the arch developed in the last chapter ; that is to say, the 
various eastern domes and cupolas arising out of the revolu- 
tion of the horseshoe and ogee curves, together with the well- 
known Chinese concave roof. All these forms are of course 
purely decorative, the bulging outline, or concave surface, 
being of no more use, or rather of less, in throwing off snow 
or rain, than the ordinary spire and gable ; and it is rather 
curious, therefore, that all of them, on a small scale, should 
have obtained so extensive use in Germany pnd Switzerland, 
their native climate being that of the east, where their pur- 
pose seems rather to concentrate light upon their orbed sur- 
faces. I much doubt their applicability, on a large scale, to 
architecture ctf any admirable dignity ; their chief charm is, to 
the European eye, that of strangeness ; and it seems to me 
possible that in the east the bulging form may be also de- 
lightful, from the idea of its enclosing a volume of cool air. 
I enjoy them in St. Mark's, chiefly because they increase the 
fantastic and unreal character of St. Mark's Place ; and be- 

* Appendix 17. 



cause they appear to sympathise with an expression, common, 
I think, to all the buildings of that group, of a natural buoy- 
ancy, as if they floated in the air or on the surface of the sea. 
But, assuredly, they are not features to be recommended for 

§ iv. One form, closely connected with the Chinese con- 
cave, is, however, often constructively right, — the gable with 
an inward angle, occurring with exquisitely picturesque ef- 
fect throughout the domestic architecture of the north, es- 
pecially Germany and Switzerland ; the lower slope being 

either an attached external pent- 
house roof, for protection of the 
wall, as in Fig. XXXVII. , or else a 
kind of buttress set on the angle of 
the tower ; and in either case the 
roof itself being a simple gable, 
continuous beneath it. 

§ v. The true gable, as it is the 
simplest and most natural, so I es- 
teem it the grandest of roofs ; 
whether rising in ridgy darkness, 
like a grey slope of slaty mountains, 
over the precipitous walls of the 
northern cathedrals, or stretched in 
burning breadth above the white 
and square-set groups of the south- 
ern architecture. But this differ- 
ence between its slope in the northern and southern structure 
is a matter of far greater importance than is commonly sup- 
posed, and it is this to which I would especially direct the 
reader's attention. 

§ vi. One main cause of it, the necessity of throwing oil' 


* I do not speak of the true dome, because I have not studied its con- 
struction enough to know at what largeness of scale it begins to be rather 
a tour deforce than a convenient or natural form of roof, and because the 
ordinary spectator's choice among its various outlines must always be de- 
pendent on aesthetic considerations only, andean in no wise be grounded 
on any conception of its infinitely complicated structural principles. 

THE ROOF. 155 

enow in the north, has been a thousand times alluded to : 
another I do not remember having seen noticed, namely, that 
rooms in a roof are comfortably habitable in the north, which 
are painful sotto piombi in Italy ; and that there is in wet 
climates a natural tendency in all men to live as high as possi- 
ble, out of the damp and mist. These two causes, together 
with accessible quantities of good timber, have induced in 
the north a general steep pitch of gable, which, when rounded 
or squared above a tower, becomes a spire or turret ; and this 
feature, worked out with elaborate decoration, is the key-note 
of the whole system of aspiration, so called, which the Ger- 
man critics have so ingeniously and falsely ascribed to a de- 
votional sentiment pervading the Northern Gothic : I entirely 
and boldly deny the whole theory ; our cathedrals were for 
the most part built by worldly people, who loved the world, 
and would have gladly staid in it for ever ; whose best hope 
was the escaping hell, which they thought to do by building- 
cathedrals, but who had very vague conceptions of Heaven in 
general, and very feeble desires respecting their entrance 
therein ; and the form of the spired cathedral has no more 
intentional reference to Heaven, as distinguished from the 
flattened slope of the Greek pediment, than the steep gable 
of a Norman house has, as distinguished from the flat roof of 
a Syrian one. We may now, with ingenious pleasure, trace 
such symbolic characters in the form ; we may now use it 
with such definite meaning ; but w r e only prevent ourselves 
from all right understanding of history, by attributing much 
influence to these poetical symbolisms in the formation of a 
national style. The human race are, for the most part, not 
to be moved by such silken cords ; and the chances of damp 
in the cellar, or of loose tiles in the roof, have, unhappily, 
much more to do with the fashions of a man's house building 
than his ideas of celestial happiness or angelic virtue. Associ- 
ations of affection have far higher power, and forms which 
can be no otherwise accounted for may often be explained by 
reference to the natural features of the country, or to any- 
thing which habit must have rendered familiar, and therefore 
delightful ; but the direct symbolisation of a sentiment is a 


weak motive with all men, and far more so in the practical 
minds of the north than among the early Christians, who 
were assuredly quite as heavenly -minded, when they built 
basilicas, or cut conchas out of the catacombs, as were ever 
the Norman barons or monks. 

§ vii. There is, however, in the north an animal activity 
which materially aided the system of building begun in mere 
utility, — an animal life, naturally expressed in erect, work, as 
the languor of the south in reclining or level work. Imagine 
the difference between the action of a man urging himself to 
his work in a snow storm, and the inaction of one laid at his 
length on a sunny bank among cicadas and fallen olives, and 
you will have the key to a whole group of sympathies which 
were forcefully expressed in the architecture of both ; remem- 
bering always that sleep would be to the one luxury, to the 
other death. 

§ vni. And to the force of this vital instinct we have farther 
to add the influence of natural scenery ; and chiefly of the 
groups and wildernesses of the tree which is to the German 
mind what the olive or palm is to the southern, the spruce fir. 
The eye which has once been habituated to the continual ser- 
ration of the pine forest, and to the multiplication of its infi- 
nite pinnacles, is not easily offended by the repetition of simi- 
lar forms, nor easily satisfied by the simplicity of flat or 
massive outlines. Add to the influence of the pine, that of 
the poplar, more especially in the valleys of France ; but think 
of the spruce chiefly, and meditate on the difference of feeling 
with which the Northman would be inspired by the frost-work 
wreathed upon its glittering point, and the Italian by the dark 
green depth of sunshine on the broad table of the stone-pine * 
(and consider by the way whether the spruce fir be a more 

* I shall not be thought to have overrated the effect of forest scenery 
on the northern mind ; but I was glad to hear a Spanish gentleman, the 
other day, describing, together with his own, the regret which the peas- 
ants in his neighborhood had testified for the loss of a noble stone-pine, 
one of the grandest in Spain, which its proprietor had suffered to be cut 
down for small gain. He said that the mere spot where it had grown 
was still popularly known as "El Pino." 

THE ROOF. 15'i 

heavenly-minded tree than those dark canopies of the Medi- 
terranean isles). 

§ ix. Circumstance and sentiment, therefore, aiding each 
other, the steep roof becomes generally adopted, and delighted 
in, throughout the north ; and then, with the gradual exag- 
geration with which every pleasant idea is pursued by the 
human mind, it is raised into all manner of peaks, and points, 
and ridges ; and pinnacle after pinnacle is added on its flanks, 
and the walls increased in height, in proportion, until we get 
indeed a very sublime mass, but one which has no more prin- 
ciple of religious aspiration in it than a child's tower of cards. 
What is more, the desire to build high is complicated with the 
peculiar love of the grotesque * which is characteristic of the 
north, together with especial delight in multiplication of small 
forms as well as in exaggerated points of shade and energy, 
and a certain degree of consequent insensibility to perfect 
grace and quiet truthfulness ; so that a northern architect 
could not feel the beauty of the Elgin marbles, and there will 
always be (in those who have devoted themselves to this par- 
ticular school) a certain incapacity to taste the finer characters 
of Greek art, or to understand Titian, Tintoret, or Raphael : 
whereas among the Italian Gothic workmen, this capacity was 
never lost, and Nino Pisano and Orcagna could have under- 
stood the Theseus in an instant, and would have received from it 
new life. There can be no question that theirs was the great- 
est school, and carried out by the greatest men ; and that 
while those who began with this school could perfectly well 
feel Eouen Cathedral, those who study the Northern Gothic 
remain in a narrowed field — one of small pinnacles, and dots, 
and crockets, and twitched faces — and cannot comprehend the 
meaning of a broad surface or a grand line. Nevertheless the 
northern school is an admirable and delightful thing, but a 
lower thing thau the southern. The Gothic of the Ducal 
Palace of Venice is in harmony with all that is grand in all 
the world : that of the north is in harmony with the grotesque 
northern spirit only. 

§ x. We are, however, begiuning to lose sight of our root 

* Appendix 8. 


structure in its spirit, and must return to our text. As the 
height of the walls increased, in sympathy with the rise of the 
roof, while their thickness remained the same, it became more 
and more necessary to support them by buttresses ; but — and 
this is another point that the reader must specialty note — it is 
not the steep roof mask which requires the buttress, but the 
vaulting beneath it ; the roof mask being a mere wooden 
frame tied together by cross timbers, and in small buildings 
often put together on the ground, raised afterwards, and set 
on the walls like a hat, bearing vertically upon them ; and 
farther, I believe in most cases the northern vaulting requires 
its great array of external buttress, not so much from any 
peculiar boldness in its own forms, as from the greater com- 
parative thinness and height of the walls, and more deter- 
mined throwing of the whole weight of the roof on particular 
points. Now the connexion of the interior frame-work (or 
true roof) with the buttress, at such points, is not visible to 
the spectators from without ; but the relation of the roof mask 
to the top of the wall which it protects, or from which it 
springs, is perfectly visible ; and it is a point of so great im- 
portance in the effect of the building, that it will be well to 
make it a subject of distinct consideration in the following 



§ i. It will be remembered that in the Sixth Chapter we 
paused (§ x.) at the point where the addition of brackets to 
the ordinary wall cornice would have converted it into a 
structure proper for sustaining a roof. Now the wall cornice 
was treated throughout our enquiry (compare Chapter VII. 
§ v.) as the capital of the wall, and as forming, by its concen- 
tration, the capital of the shaft. But we must not reason 
back from the capital to the cornice, and suppose that an ex- 
tension of the principles of the capital to the whole length oi 1 
the wall, will serve for the roof cornice ; for all our conclu- 


sions respecting the capital were based on the supposition of 
its being adapted to carry considerable weight condensed on 
its abacus : but the roof cornice is, in most cases, required 
rather to project boldly than to carry weight ; and arrange- 
ments are therefore to be adopted for it which will secure the 
projection of large surfaces without being calculated to resist 
extraordinary pressure. This object is obtained by the use 
of brackets at intervals, which are the peculiar distinction of 
the roof cornice. 

§ ii. Roof cornices are generally to be divided into two 
great families : the first and simplest, those which are com- 
posed merely by the projection of the edge of the roof mask 
over the wall, sustained by such brackets or spurs as may be 
necessary ; the second, those which provide a walk round the 
edge of the roof, and which require, therefore, some stronger 
support, as well as a considerable mass of building above or 
beside the roof mask, and a parapet. These two families we 
shall consider in succession. 

§ in. 1. The Eaved Cornice. We may give it this name, 
as represented in the simplest form by cottage eaves. It is 
used, however, in bold projection, both in north, and south, 
and east ; its use being, in the north, to throw the rain well 
away from the wall of the building ; in the south to give it 
shade ; and it is ordinarily constructed of the ends of the 
timbers of the roof mask (with their tiles or shingles con- 
tinued to the edge of the cornice), and sustained by spurs of 
timber. This is its most picturesque and natural form ; not 
inconsistent with great splendor of architecture in the mediae- 
val Italian domestic buildings, superb in its mass of cast 
shadow, and giving rich effect to the streets of Swiss towns, 
even when they have no other claim to interest. A farther 
value is given to it by its waterspouts, for in order to avoid 
loading it with weight of water in the gutter at the edge, 
where it would be a strain on the fastenings of the pipe, it 
has spouts of discharge at intervals of three or four feet, — ■ 
rows of magnificent leaden or iron dragons' heads, full of de- 
lightful character, except to any person passing along the 
middle of the street in a heavv shower. I have had my share 


of their kindness in my time, but owe them no grudge ; op 
the contrary, much gratitude for the delight of their fantastic 
outline on the calm blue sky, when they had no work to do 
but to open their iron mouths and pant in the sunshine. 

§ iv. When, however, light is more valuable than shadow, 
or when the architecture of the wall is too fair to be con- 
cealed, it becomes necessary to draw the cornice into nar- 
rower limits ; a change of considerable importance, in that it 
permits the gutter, instead of being of lead and hung to the 
edge of the cornice, to be of stone, and supported by brackets 
in the wall, these brackets becoming proper recipients of after 
decoration (and sometimes associated with the stone channels 
of discharge, called gargoyles, which belong, however, more 
properly to the other family of cornices). The most perfect 
and beautiful example of this kind of cornice is the Venetian, 
in which the rain from the tiles is received in a stone gutter 
supported by small brackets, delicately moulded, and having 
its outer lower edge decorated with the English dogtooth 
moulding, whose sharp zigzag mingles richly with the curved 
edges of the tiling. I know no cornice more beautiful in its 
extreme simplicity and serviceableness. 

§ v. The cornice of the Greek Doric is a condition of the 
same kind, in which, however, there are no brackets, but use- 
less appendages hung to the bottom of the gutter (giving, 
however, some impression of support as seen from a distance), 
and decorated with stone symbolisms of raindrops. The 
brackets are not allowed, because they would interfere with 
the sculpture, which in this architecture is put beneath the 
cornice ; and the overhanging form of the gutter is nothing 
more than a vast dripstone moulding, to keep the rain from 
such sculpture : its decoration of guttse, seen in silver points 
against the shadow, is pretty in feeling, with a kind of con- 
tinual refreshment and remembrance of rain in it ; but the 
whole arrangement is awkward and meagre, and is only en- 
durable when the eye is quickly drawn away from it to sculp- 

§ vi. In later cornices, invented for the Greek orders, and 
farther developed by the Romans, the bracket appears in true 


importance, though of barbarous and effeminate outline : and 
gorgeous decorations are applied to it, and to the various 
horizontal mouldings which it carries, some of them of great 
beauty, and of the highest value to the mediaeval architects 
who imitated them. But a singularly gross mistake was made 
in the distribution of decoration on these rich cornices (I do 
not know when first, nor does it matter to me or to the 
reader), namely, the charging with ornament the under sur- 
face of the cornice between the brackets, that is to say, the 
exact piece of the whole edifice, from top to bottom, where 
ornament is least visible. I need hardly say much respecting 
the wisdom of this procedure, excusable only if the whole 
building were covered with ornament ; but it is curious to 
see the way in which modern architects have copied it, even 
when they had little enough ornament to spare. For in- 
stance, I suppose few persons look at the Athenaeum Club- 
house without feeling vexed at the meagreness and meanness 
of the windows of the ground floor : if, however, they look 
up under the cornice, and have good eyes, they will perceive 
that the architect has reserved his decorations to put between 
the brackets ; and by going up to the first floor, and out on 
the gallery, they may succeed in obtaining some glimpses of 
the designs of the said decorations. 

§ vii. Such as they are, or were, these cornices were soon 
considered essential parts of the "order" to which they be- 
longed ; and the same wisdom which endeavored to fix the 
proportions of the orders, appointed also that no order should 
go without its cornice. The reader has probably heard of the 
architectural division of superstructure into architrave, frieze, 
and cornice ; parts which have been appointed by great archi- 
tects to all their work, in the same spirit in which great rheto- 
ricians have ordained that every speech shall have an exor- 
dium, and narration, and peroration. The reader will do 
well to consider that it may be sometimes just as possible to 
carry a roof, and get rid of rain, without such an arrange- 
ment, as it is to tell a plain fact without an exordium or per- 
oration ; but he must very absolutely consider that the 
architectural peroration or cornice is strictly and sternly 


limited to the end of the wall's speech, — that is, to the edge 
of the roof ; and that it has nothing whatever to do with shafts 
nor the orders of them. And he will then be able fully to 
enjoy the farther ordinance of the late Roman and Renais- 
sance architects, who, attaching it to the shaft as if it were 
part of its shadow, and having to employ their shafts often in 
places where they came not near the roof, forthwith cut the roof- 
cornice to pieces and attached a bit of it to every column ; 
thenceforward to be carried by the unhappy shaft wherever it 
went, in addition to any other work on which it might happen 
to be employed. I do not recollect among any living beings, 
except Renaissance architects, any instance of a parallel or 
comparable stupidity : but one can imagine a savage getting 
hold of a piece of one of our iron wire ropes, with its rings 
upon it at intervals to bind it together, and pulling the wires 
asunder to apply them to separate purposes ; but imagining 
there was magic in the ring that bound them, and so cutting 
that to pieces also, and fastening a little bit of it to every 

§ vni. Thus much may serve us to know respecting the first 
family of wall cornices. The second is immeasurably more 
important, and includes the cornices of all the best buildings 
in the world. It has derived its best form from mediaeval 
military architecture, which imperatively required two things ; 
first, a parapet which should permit sight and offence, and af- 
ford defence at the same time ; and secondly, a jxrojection bold 
enough to enable the defenders to rake the bottom of the wall 
with falling bodies ; projection which, if the wall happened to 
slope inwards, required not to be small. The thoroughly 
magnificent forms of cornice thus developed by neeessit}' in 
military buildings, were adopted, with more or less of bold- 
ness or distinctness, in domestic architecture, according to 
the temper of the times and the circumstances of the indi- 
vidual — decisively in the baron's house, imperfectly in the 
burgher's : gradually they found their way into ecclesiastical 
architecture, under wise modifications in the early cathedrals, 
with infinite absurdity in the imitations of them ; diminish- 
inof in size as their original purpose sank into a decorafivi 



one, until we rind battlements, two-and-a-quarter inches 
square, decorating the gates of the Philanthropic Society. 

§ ix. There are, therefore, two distinct features in all cor- 
nices of this kind : first, the bracket, now become of enormous 
importance and of most serious practical service ; the second, 
the parapet : and these two features we shall consider in suc- 
cession, and in so doing, shall learn all that is needful for us 
to know, not only respecting cornices, but respecting brackets 
in general, and balconies. 

§ x. 1. The Bracket. In the simplest form of military cor- 
nice, the brackets are composed of two or more long stones, 
supporting each other in gradually in- 
creasing projection, with roughly rounded 
ends, Fig. XXXVIII., and the parapet is 
simply a low wall carried on the ends of 
these, leaving, of course, behind, or within 
it, a hole between each bracket for the 
convenient dejection of hot sand and lead. 
This form is best seen, I think, in the old 
Scotch castles ; it is very grand, but has 
a giddy look, and one is afraid of the 
whole thing toppling off the wall. The 
next step was to deepen the brackets, so 
as to get them propped against a great depth of the main 
rampart, and to have the inner ends of the stones held by 
a greater weight of that main wall above ; while small arches 
were thrown from bracket to bracket to carry the par- 
apet wall more securely. This is the most perfect form of 
cornice, completely satisfying the eye of its security, giving 
full protection to the wall, and applicable to all architecture, 
the interstices between the brackets being filled up, when one 
does not want to throw boiling lead on any body below, and 
the projection being always delightful, as giving greater com- 
mand and view of the building, from its angles, to those walk- 
ing on the rampart. And as, in military buildings, there were 
usually towers at the angles (round which the battlements 
swept) in order to flank the walls, so often in the translation 
into civil or ecclesiastical architecture, a small turret remained 




at the angle, or a more bold projection of balcony, to give 
larger prospect to those upon the rampart. This cornice, 
perfect in all its parts, as arranged for ecclesiastical architec- 
ture, and exquisitely decorated, is the one employed in the 
duomo of Florence and campanile of Giotto, of which I have 
already spoken as, I suppose, the most perfect architecture in 
the world. 

§ xi. In less important positions and on smaller edifices, 
this cornice diminishes in size, while it retains its arrange- 
ment, and at last we find nothing but the spirit and form of it 
left ; the real practical purpose having ceased, and arch, 
brackets and all. being cut out of a single stone. Thus we 
find it used in early buildings throughout the 
whole of the north and south of Europe, in 
forms sufficiently represented by the two ex- 
amples in Plate IV. : 1, from St. Antonio, Padua ; 
2, from Sens, in France. 

§ xn. I wish, however, at present to fix the 
reader's attention on the form of the bracket it- 
self ; a most important feature in modern as well 
as ancient architecture. The first idea of a 
bracket is that of a long stone or piece of timber 
projecting from the wall, as a, Fig. XXXIX., of 
which the strength depends on the toughness 
of the stone or wood, and the stability on the 
w T eight of the wall above it (unless it be the end 
of a main beam). But let it be supposed that 
the structure at a, being of the required pro- 
jection, is found too weak : then we may 
strengthen it in one of three ways ; (1) by put- 
ting a second or third stone beneath it, as at b ; 
(2) by giving it a spur, as at c ; (3) by giving it 
a shaft and another bracket below, d ; the great 
use of this arrangement being that the lowermost bracket has 
the help of the weight of the shaft length of wall above its in- 
sertion, which is, of course, greater than the weight of the small 
shaft : and then the lower bracket may be farther helped by 
the structure at b or c. 


Fig. XXXIX. 


§ xiii. Of these structures, a and c are evidently adapted 
especially for wooden buildings ; b and d for stone ones ; 
the last, of course, susceptible of the richest decoration, 
and superbly employed in the cornice of the cathedral of 
Monza : but all are beautiful in their way, and are 
the means of, I think, nearly half the picturesque- ^ ^ I 
ness and power of mediaeval building ; the forms b 
and c being, of course, the most frequent ; a, when **. 
it occurs, being usually rounded off, as at a, Fig. 
XL. ; b, also, as in Fig. XXXVIII, or else itself 
composed of a single stone cut into the form of the 
group b here, Fig. XL., or plain, as at c, which is 
also the proper form of the brick bracket, when stone 
is not to be had. The reader will at once perceive 
that the form d is a barbarism (unless when the 
scale is small and the weight to be carried exceed- 
ingly light) : it is of course, therefore, a favorite form FlG - XL - 
with the Renaissance architects ; and its introduction is one 
of the first corruptions of the Venetian architecture. 

§ xiv. There is one point necessary to be noticed, though 
bearing on decoration more than construction, before we leave 
the subject of the bracket. The whole power of the con- 
struction depends upon the stones being well let into the 
wall ; and the first function of the decoration should be 
to give the idea of this insertion, if possible ; at all 
events, not to contradict this idea. If the reader 
will glance at any of the brackets used in the ordi- 
nary architecture of London, he will find them of 
some such character as Fig. XL! ; not a bad form 
in itself, but exquisitely absurd in its curling lines, 
fig. xli. which give the idea of some writhing suspended 
tendril, instead of a stiff support, and by their careful 
avoidance of the wall make the bracket look pinned on, and 
i'i constant danger of sliding down. This is, also, a Classical 
and Renaissance decoration. 

§ xv. 2. The Parapet. Its forms are fixed in military 
architecture by the necessities of the art of war at the time 
of building, and are always beautiful wherever they have been 


really thus fixed ; delightful in the variety of their setting, and 
in the quaint darkness of their shot-holes, and fantastic changes 
of elevation and outline. Nothing is more remarkable than 
the swiftly discerned difference between the masculiDe irregu- 
larity of such true battlements, and the formal pitifulness of 
those which are set on modern buildings to give them a mili- 
tary air, — as on the jail at Edinburgh. 

§ xvi. Respecting the Parapet for mere safeguard upon 
buildings not military, there are just two fixed laws. It should 
be pierced, otherwise it is not recognised from below for a 
parapet at all, and it should not be in the form of a battle^ 
ment, especially in church architecture. 

The most comfortable heading of a true parapet is a plain 
level on which the arm can be rested, and along which it can 
glide. Any jags or elevations are disagreeable ; the latter, as 
interrupting the view and disturbing the eye, if they are 
higher than the arm, the former, as opening some aspect of 
danger if they are much lower ; and the inconvenience, there- 
fore, of the battlemented form, as well as the worse than ab- 
surdity, the bad feeling, of the appliance of a military feature 
to a church, ought long ago to have determined its rejection. 
Still (for the question of its picturesque value is here so 
closely connected with that of its practical use, that it is vain 
to endeavor to discuss it separately) there is a certain agree- 
ableness in the way in which the jagged outline dovetails the 
shadow of the slated or leaded roof into the top of the wall, 
which may make the use of the battlement excusable where 
there is a difficulty in managing some unvaried line, and 
where the expense of a pierced parapet cannot be encoun- 
tered : but remember always, that the value of the battlement 
consists in its letting shadow into the light of the wall, or 
vice versa, when it comes against light sky, letting the light 
of the sky into the shade of the wall ; but that the actual out- 
line of the parapet itself, if the eye be arrested upon this, 
instead of upon the alternation of shadow, is as ugly a suc- 
cession of line as can by any possibility be invented. There- 
fore, the battlemented parapet may only be used where this 
alternation of shade is certain to be shown, under nearly all 


conditions of effect ; and where the lines to be dealt with are 
on a scale which may admit battlements of bold and manly 
size. The idea that a battlement is an ornament anywhere, 
and that a miserable and diminutive imitation of castellated 
outline will always serve to fill up blanks and Gothicise un- 
manageable spaces, is one of the great idiocies of the present 
day. A battlement is in its origin a piece of wall large 
enough to cover a man's body, and however it may be deco- 
rated, or pierced, or finessed away into traceries, a's long as 
so much of its outline is retained as to suggest its origin, so 
lone: its size must remain undiminished. To crown a turret 
six feet high with chopped battlements three inches wide, is 
children's Gothic : it is one of the paltry falsehoods for which 
there is no excuse, and part of the system of using models of 
architecture to decorate architecture, which we shall hereafter 
note as one of the chief and most destructive follies of the 
Renaissance;* and in the present day the practice maybe 
classed as one which distinguishes the architects of whom 
there is no hope, who have neither eye nor head for their 
work, and who must pass their lives in wn struggles against 
the refractory lines of their own buildings. 

§ xvn. As the only excuse for the battlemented parapet is 
its alternation of shadow, so the only fault of the natural or 
level parapet is its monotony of line. This is, however, in 
practice, almost always broken by the pinnacles of the but- 
tresses, and if not, may be varied by the tracery of its pene- 
trations. The forms of these evidently admit every kind of 
change ; for a stone parapet, however pierced, is sure to be 
strong enough for its purpose of protection, and, as regards 

* Not of Renaissance alone : the practice of modelling buildings on a 
minute scale for niches and tabernacle-work has always been more or 
less admitted, and I suppose authority for diminutive battlements might 
be gathered from the Gothic of almost every period, as well as fur many 
other faults and mistakes: no Gothic school having ever been thor- 
oughly systematised or perfected, even in its best times. But that a 
mistaken decoration sometimes occurs among a crowd of noble ones, is 
no more an excuse for the habitual— far less, the exclusive— use of 
such a decoration, than the accidental or seeming misconstructions of a 
Greek chorus are an excuse for a school boy's ungrammatical exercise. 


the strength of the building in general, the lighter it is the 
better. More fantastic forms may, therefore, be admitted in 
a parapet than in any other architectural feature, and for most 
services, the Flamboyant parapets seem to me preferable to 
all others ; especially when the leaden roofs set off by points 
of darkness the lace-like intricacy of penetration. These, 
however, as well as the forms usually given to Renaissance 
balustrades (of which, by the bye, the best piece of criticism 
I know is the sketch in "David Copperfield " of the personal 
appearance of the man who stole Jip), and the other and 
finer forms invented by Paul Veronese in his architectural 
backgrounds, together with the pure columnar balustrade of 
Venice, must be considered as altogether decorative features. 

§ xvrn. So also are, of course, the jagged or crown-like 
finishings of walls employed where no real parapet of protec- 
tion is desired ; originating in the defences of outworks and 
single walls : these are used much in the east on walls sur- 
rounding unroofed courts. The richest examples of such 
decoration are Arabian ; and from Cairo they seem to have 
been brought to Venice. It is probable that few of my 
readers, however familiar the general form of the Ducal 
Palace may have been rendered to them by innumerable draw- 
ings, have any distinct idea of its roof, owing to the staying 
of the eye on its superb parapet, of which we shall give ac- 
count hereafter. In most of the Venetian cases the parapets 
which surround roofing are very sufficient for protection, ex- 
cept that the stones of which they are composed appear loose 
and infirm : but their purpose is entirely decorative ; every 
wall, whether detached or roofed, being indiscriminately 
fringed with Arabic forms of parapet, more or less Gothi- 
cised, according to the lateness of their date. 

I think there is no other point of importance requiring il- 
lustration respecting the roof itself, or its cornice : but this 
Venetian form of ornamental parapet connects itself curiously, 
at the angles of nearly all the buildings on which it occurs, 
with the pinnacled system of the north, founded on the struct, 
ure of the buttress. This, it will be remembered, is to be 
the subject of the fifth division of our inquiry. 




§ i. We have hitherto supposed ourselves concerned with 
the support of vertical pressure only ; and the arch and roof 
have been considered as forms of abstract strength, without 
reference to the means by which their lateral pressure was to 
be resisted. Few readers will need now to be reminded, that 
every arch or gable not tied at its base by beams or bars, ex- 
ercises a lateral pressure upon the walls which sustain it, — 
pressure which may, indeed, be met and sustained by increas- 
ing the thickness of the wall or vertical piers, and which is in 
reality thus met in most Italian buildings, but may, with less 
expenditure of material, and with (perhaps) more graceful 
effect, be met by some particular application of the provisions 
against lateral pressure called Buttresses. These, therefore, 
we are next to examine. 

§ ii. Buttresses are of many kinds, according to the char- 
acter and direction of the lateral forces they are intended to 
resist. But their first broad division is into buttresses which 
meet and break the force before it arrives at the wall, and 
buttresses which stand on the lee side of the wall, and prop it 
against the force. 

The lateral forces which walls have to sustain are of three 
distinct kinds : dead weight, as of masonry or still water ; 
moving weight, as of wind or running water ; and sudden 
concussion, as of earthquakes, exijlosions, &c. 

Clearly, dead weight can only be resisted by the buttress 
acting as a prop ; for a buttress on the side of, or towards 
the weight, would only add to its effect. This, then, forms 
the first great class of buttressed architecture ; lateral thrusts, 
of roofing or arches, being met by props of masonry outside — 
the thrusts from within, the prop without ; or the crushing 
force of water on a ship's side met by its cross timbers— the 
thrust here from without the wall, the prop within. 

Moving weight may, of course, be resisted by the prop on 


the lee side of the wall, but is often more effectually met, on 
the side which is attacked, by buttresses of peculiar forms, 
cunning buttresses, which do not attempt to sustain the 
weight, but parry it, and throw it off in directions clear of 
the wall. 

Thirdly : concussions and vibratory motion, though in real- 
ity only supported by the prop buttress, must be provided 
for by buttresses on both sides of the wall, as their direction 
cannot be foreseen, and is continually changing. 

We shall briefly glance at these three systems of buttress- 
ing ; but the two latter being of small importance to oar pres- 
ent purpose, may as well be dismissed first. 

§ in. 1. Buttresses for guard against moving weight and 
set towards the weight they resist. 

The most familiar instaiice of this hind of buttress we have 
in the sharp piers of a bridge, in the centre of a powerful 
stream, which divide the current on their edges, and throw it 
to each side under the arches. A ship's bow is a buttress of 
the same kind, and so also the ridge of a breastplate, both 
adding to the strength of it in resisting a cross blow, and giv- 
ing a better chance of a bullet glancing aside. In Switzer- 
land, projecting buttresses of this kind are often built round 
churches, heading up hill, to divide and throw off the ava- 
lanches. The various forms given to piers and harbor quays, 
and to the bases of lighthouses, in order to meet the force of 
the waves, are all conditions of this kind of buttress. But in 
works of ornamental architecture such buttresses are of rare 
occurrence ; and I merely name them in order to mark their 
place in our architectural system, since in the investigation of 
our present subject we shall not meet with a single example 
of them, unless sometimes the angle of the foundation of a 
palace set against the sweep of the tide, or the wooden piers 
of some canal bridge quivering in its current. 

§ rv. 2. Buttresses for guard against vibratory motion. 

The whole formation of this kind of buttress resolves itself 
into mere expansion of the base of the wall, so as to make it 
stand steadier, as a man stands with his feet apart when he is 
likely to lose his balance. This approach to a pyramidal form 


is also of great use as a guard against the action of artillery ; 
that if a stone or tier of stones be battered out of the lower 
portions of the wall, the whole upper part may not topple over 
or crumble down at once. Various forms of this buttress, 
sometimes applied to particular points of the wall, sometimes 
forming a great sloping rampart along its base, are frequent 
in buildings of countries exposed to earthquake. They give 
a peculiarly heavy outline to much of the architecture of the 
kingdom of Naples, and they are of the form in which strength 
and solidity are first naturally sought, in the slope of the 
Egyptian wall. The base of Guy's Tower at Warwick is a 
singularly bold example of their military use ; and so, in gen- 
eral, bastion and rampart profiles, where, however, the object 
of stability against a shock is complicated with that of sustain- 
ing weight of earth in the rampart behind. 

§ v. 3. Prop buttresses against dead weight. 

This is the group with which we have principally to do ; 
and a buttress of this kind acts in two ways, partly by its 
weight and partly by its strength. It acts by its weight when 
its mass is so great that the weight it sustains cannot stir it, 
but is lost upon it, buried in it, and annihilated : neither the 
shape of such a buttress nor the cohesion of its materials are 
of much consequence ; a heap of stones or sandbags, laid up 
against the wall, will answer as well as a built and cemented 

But a buttress acting by its strength is not of mass suffi- 
cient to resist the weight by mere inertia ; but it conveys the 
weight through its body to something else which is so capa- 
ble ; as, for instance, a man leaning against a door with his 
hands, and propping himself against the ground, conveys the 
force which would open or close the door against him through 
his body to the ground. A buttress acting in this way must 
be of perfectly coherent materials, and so strong that though 
the weight to be borne could easily move it, it cannot break 
it : this kind of buttress may be called a conducting buttress. 
Practically, however, the two modes of action are always in 
some sort united. Again, the weight to be borne may either 
act generally on the whole wall surface, or with excessive en- 


ergy on particular points : when it acts on the whole wall sur« 
face, the whole wall is generally supported ; and the arrange- 
ment becomes a continuous rampart, as a dyke, or bank of 

§ vi. It is, however, very seldom that lateral force in archi- 
tecture is equally distributed. In most cases the weight of 
the roof, or the force of any lateral thrust, are more or less 
confined to certain points and directions. In an early state of 
architectural science this definiteness of direction is not vet 
clear, and it is met by uncertain application of mass or 
strength in the buttress, sometimes by mere thickening of the 
wall into square piers, which are partly piers, partly buttresses, 
as in Norman keeps and towers. But as science advances, the 
weight to be borne is designedly and decisively thrown upon 
certain points ; the direction and degree of the forces which 
are then received are exactly calculated, and met by conduct- 
ing buttresses of the smallest possible dimensions ; themselves, 
in their turn, supported by vertical buttresses acting by weight, 
and these perhaps, in their turn, by another set of conducting 
buttresses : so that, in the best examples of such arrange- 
ments, the weight to be borne may be considered as the shock 
of an electric fluid, which, by a hundred different rods and 
channels, is divided and carried away into the ground. 

§ vii. In order to give greater weight to the vertical but- 
tress piers w T hich sustain the conducting buttresses, they are 
loaded with pinnacles, which, however, are, I believe, in all 
the buildings in which they become very prominent, merely 
decorative : they are of some use, indeed, by their weight ; 
but if this were all for which they were put there, a few cubic 
feet of lead would much more securely answer the purpose,, 
without any danger from exposure to wind. If the reader 
likes to ask any Gothic architect with whom he may happen 
to be acquainted, to substitute a lump of lead for his jnnnacles, 
lie will see by the expression of his face how far he considers 
the pinnacles decorative members. In the work which seems 
to me the great type of simple and masculine buttress struct- 
ure, the apse of Beauvais. the pinnacles are altogether insig- 
nificant, and are evidently added just as exclusively to enter- 


tain the eye and lighten the aspect of the buttress, as the 
slight shafts which are set on its angles ; while in other very 
noble Gothic buildings the pinnacles are introduced as niches 
for statues, without any reference to construction at all : and 
sometimes even, as in the tomb of Can Signoria at Verona, on 
small piers detached from the main building. 

§ viil I believe, therefore, that the development of the pin- 
nacle is merely a part of the general erectness and picturesque- 
ness of northern work above alluded to : and that, if there had 
been no other place for the pinnacles, the Gothic builders 
would have put them on the tops of their arches (they often 
did on the tops of gables and pediments), rather than not have 
had them ; but the natural position of the pinnacle is, of 
course, where it adds to, rather than diminishes, the stability 
of the building ; that is to say, on its main wall piers and the 
vertical piers at the buttresses. And thus the edifice is sur- 
rounded at last by a complete company of detached piers and 
pinnacles, each sustaining an inclined prop against the central 
wall, and looking something like a band of giants holding it 
up with the butts of their lances. This arrangement would 
imply the loss of an enormous space of ground, but the inter- 
vals of the buttresses are usually walled in below, and form 
minor chapels. 

§ ix. The science of this arrangement has made it the 
subject of much enthusiastic declamation among the Gothic 
architects, almost as unreasonable, in some respects, as the 
declamation of the Renaissance architects respecting Greek 
structure. The fact is, that the whole northern buttress sys- 
tem is based on the grand requirement of tall windows and 
vast masses of light at the end of the apse. In order to gain 
this quantity of light, the piers between the windows are di- 
minished in thickness until they are far too weak to bear the 
roof, and then sustained by external buttresses. In the Italian 
method the light is rather dreaded than desired, and the wall 
is made wide enough between the windows to bear the roof, 
and so left. In fact, the simplest expression of the difference 
in the systems is, that a northern apse is a southern one with 
its inter-fenestrial piers set edgeways. Thus, a, Fig. XLIL, is 


the general idea of the southern apse ; take it to pieces, and 
set ail its piers edgeways, as at b, and you have the northern 
one. You gain much light for the interior, but you cut the 
exterior to pieces, and instead of a bold rounded or polygonal 
surface, ready for any kind of decoration, you have a series 
of dark and damp cells, which no device that I have yet seen 
has succeeded in decorating in a perfectly satisfactory man- 
ner. If the system be farther earned, and a second or third 
order of buttresses be added, the real fact is that we have a 
building standing on two or three rows of concentric piers, 
■with the roof off the whole of it except the central circle, and 
only ribs left, to carry the weight of the bit of remaining roof 
in the middle ; and after the eye has been accustomed to the 

Fig. XLIL 

bold and simple rounding of the Italian apse, the skeleton 
character of the disposition is painfully felt. After spending 
some months in Venice, I thought Bourges Cathedral looked 
exactly like a half -built ship on its shores. It is useless, how- 
ever, to dispute resj^ecting the merits of the two systems • 
both are noble in their place ; the Northern decidedly the 
most scientific, or at least involving the greatest display of 
science, the Italian the calmest and purest, this having in it 
the sublimitv of a calm heaven or a windless 7ioon, tho other 
that of a mountain flank tormented by the north wind, and 
withering into grisly furrows of alternate chasm a;id crag. 

§ x. If I have succeeded in making the reader understand 
the veritable action of the buttress, he will have no difficulty 
in determining its fittest form. He has to deal with two dis- 
tinct kinds ; one, a narrow vertical pier, acting principally by 


its weight, and crowned by a pinnacle ; the other, commonly 
called a Flying buttress, a cross bar set from such a pier (when 
detached from the building) against the main wall. This 
latter, then, is to be considered as a mere prop or shore, and 
its use by the Gothic architects might be illustrated by the 
supposition that we were to build all our houses with walls too 
thin to stand without wooden props outside, and then to sub- 
stitute stone props for wooden ones. I have some doubts of 
the real dignity of such a proceeding, but at all events the 
merit of the form of the flying buttress depends on its faith- 
fully and visibly performing this somewhat humble office ; it 
is, therefore, in its purity, a mere sloping bar of stone, with 
an arch beneath it to carry its weight, that is to say, to pre- 
vent the action of gravity from in any wise deflecting it, or 
causing it to break downwards under the lateral thrust ; it is 
thus formed quite simple in Nortre Dame of Paris, and in the 
Cathedral of Beauvais, while at Cologne the sloping bars are 
pierced with quatrefoils, and at Amiens with traceried arches. 
Both seem to me effeminate and false in principle ; not, of 
course, that there is any occasion to make the flying buttress 
heavy, if a light one will answer the purpose ; but it seems as 
if some security were sacrificed to ornament. At Amiens the 
arrangement is now seen to great disadvantage, for the early 
traceries have been replaced by base flamboyant ones, utterly 
weak and despicable. Of the degradations of the original 
form which took place in after times, I have spoken at p. 35 
of the " Seven Lamps." 

§ xi. The form of the common buttress must be familar to 
the eye of every reader, sloping if low, and thrown into 
successive steps if they are to be carried to any considerable 
height. There is much dignity in them when thev are of 
essential service ; but even in their best examples, their awk- 
ward angles are among the least manageable features of the 
Northern Gothic, and the whole organisation of its system was 
destroyed by their unnecessary and lavish application on a 
diminished scale ; until the buttress became actually confused 
with, the shaft, and we And strangely crystallised masses of 
diminutive buttress applied, for merely vertical support, in the 


northern tabernacle work ; while in some recent copies of it 
the principle has been so far distorted that the tiny buttress- 
ings look as if they carried the superstructure on the points 
of their pinnacles, as in the Cranmer memorial at Oxford. 
Indeed, in most modern Gothic, the architects evidently con- 
sider buttresses as convenient breaks of blank surface, and 
general apologies for deadness of wall. They stand in the 
place of ideas, and I think are supposed also to have something 
of the odor of sanctity about them ; otherwise, one hardly sees 
why a warehouse seventy feet high should have nothing of the 
kind, and a chapel, which one can just get into with one's hat 
off, should have a bunch of them at every corner ; and worse 
than this, they are even thought ornamental when they can be 
of no possible use ; and these stupid penthouse outlines are 
forced upon the eye in every species of decoration : in St. 
Margaret's Chapel, West Street, there are actually a couple of 
buttresses at the end of every pew. 

§ xii. It is almost impossible, in consequence of these un- 
wise repetitions of it, to contemplate the buttress without some 
degree of prejudice ; and I look upon it as one of the most 
justifiable causes of the unfortunate aversion with which many 
of our best architects regard the whole Gothic school. It 
may, however, always be regarded with respect when its form 
is simple and its service clear ; but no treason to Gothic can be 
greater than the use of it in indolence or vanity, to enhance 
the intricacies of structure, or occupy the vacuities of design. 



§ i. We have now, in order, examined the means of raisinsr 
walls and sustaining roofs, and we have finally to consider the 
structure of the necessary apertures in the wall veil, the door 
and window ; respecting which there are three main points to 
be considered. 


1. The form of the aperture, i.e., its outline, its size, and 

the forms of its sides. 

2. The filling of the aperture, i.e., valves and glass, and 

their holdings. 

3. The protection of the aperture, and its appliances, i.e., 

canopies, porches, and balconies. We shall examine 
these in succession. 

§ n. 1. The form of the aperture : and first of doors. We 
will, for the present, leave out of the question doors and gates 
in unroofed walls, the forms of these being very arbitrary, and 
confine ourselves to the consideration of doors of entrance into 
roofed buildings. Such doors will, for the most part, be at, 
or near, the base of the building ; except when raised for pur- 
poses of defence, as in the old Scotch border towers, and our 
own Martello towers, or, as in Switzerland, to permit access in 
deep snow, or when stairs are carried up outside the house for 
convenience or magnificence. But in most cases, whether high 
or low, a door may be assumed to be considerably lower than 
the apartments or buildings into which it gives admission, and 
therefore to have some height of wall above it, whose weight 
must be carried by the heading of the door. It is clear, there- 
fore, that the best heading must be an arch, because the 
strongest, and that a square-headed door must be wrong, unless 
under Mont-Cenisian masonry ; or else, unless the top of the 
door be the roof of the building, as in low cottages. And a 
square-headed door is just so much more wrong and ugly than 
a connexion of main shafts by lintels, as the weight of wall 
above the door is likely to be greater than that above the main 
shafts. Thus, while I admit the Greek general forms of tem- 
ple to be admirable in their kind, 1 think the Greek door 
always offensive and unmanageable. 

§ in. We have it also determined by necessity, that the 
apertures shall be at least above a man's height, with perpen- 
dicular sides (for sloping sides are evidently unnecessary, and 
even inconvenient, therefore absurd) and level threshold ; and 
this aperture we at present suppose simply cut through the 
wall without any bevelling of the jambs. Such a door, wide 
Vol. t —13 




I fflil 



Fig. XLIII. 

enough for two persons to pass each other easily, and witfe 
such fillings or valves as we may hereafter find expedient, 
may be fit enough for any building into which entrance is re- 
quired neither often, nor by many persons at a time. But 
when entrance and egress are constant, or required by 
crowds, certain further modifications must take place. 

§ iv. When entrance and egress are constant, it may be 
supposed that the valves will be absent or unfastened, — that 

people will be passing more quickly 
than when the entrance and egress 
are unfrequent, and that the square 
angles of the wall will be incon- 
venient to such quick passers 
through. It is evident, therefore, 
that what would be done in time, 
for themselves, by the passing 
multitude, should be done for them at once by the architect ; 
and that these angles, which would be worn away by friction, 
should at once be bevelled off, or, as it is called, splayed, and 
the most contracted part of the aperture made as short as pos- 
sible, so that the plan of the entrance should become as at a, 
Fig. XLIII. 

§ v. Farther. As persons on the outside may often ap- 
proach the door or depart from it, beside the building, so as 
to turn aside as they enter or leave the door, and therefore 
touch its jamb, but, on the inside, will in almost every case 
approach the door, or depart from it in the direct line of the 
entrance (people generally walking forward when they enter 
a hall, court, or chamber of any kind, and being forced to do 
so when they enter a passage), it is evident that the bevelling 
may be very slight on the inside, but should be large on the 
outside, so that the plan of the aperture should become as at 
o, Fig. XLIII. Farther, as the bevelled wall cannot con* 
veniently carry an unbevelled arch, the door arch must be 
bevelled also, and the aperture, seen from the outside, will 
have somewhat the aspect of a small cavern diminishing to- 
wards the interior. 

§ vi. If, however, beside frequent entrance, entrance is re 


quired for multitudes at the same time, the size of the aper- 
ture either must be increased, or other apertures must be in- 
troduced. It may, in some buildings, be optional with the 
architect whether he shall give many small doors, or few 
large ones ; and in some, as theatres, amphitheatres, and 
other places where the crowd are apt to be impatient, many 
doors are by far the best arrangement of the two. Often, 
however, the purposes of the building, as when it is to be en- 
tered by processions, or where the crowd most usually enter 
in one direction, require the large single entrance ; and (for 
here again the aesthetic and structural laws cannot be sepa- 
rated) the expression and harmony of the building require, in 
nearly every case, an entrance of largeness proportioned to 
the multitude which is to meet within. Nothing is more un- 
seemly than that a great multitude should find its way out 
and in, as ants and wasps do, through holes ; and nothing 
more undignified than the paltry doors of many of our Eng- 
lish cathedrals, which look as if they were made, not for the 
open egress, but for the surreptitious drainage of a stagnant 
congregation. Besides, the expression of the church door 
should lead us, as far as possible, to desire at least the west- 
ern entrance to be single, partly because no man of right 
feeling would willingly lose the idea of unity and fellowship 
in going up to worship, which is suggested by the vast single 
entrance ; partly because it is at the entrance that the most 
serious words of the building are always addressed, by its 
sculptures or inscriptions, to the worshipper ; and it is well, 
that these words should be spoken to all at once, as by one great 
voice, not broken up into weak repetitions over minor doors. 
In practice the matter has been, I suppose, regulated almost 
altogether by convenience, the western doors being single in 
small churches, while in the larger the entrances become three 
or five, the central door remaining always principal, in con- 
sequence of the fine sense of composition which the mediaeval 
builders never lost, These arrangements have formed the 
noblest buildings in the world. Yet it is worth observing* 

* And worth questioning, also, whether the triple porch has not been 
associated with Romanist views of mediatorship ; the Redeemer being 


how perfect in its simplicity the single entrance may become, 
when it is treated as in the Duomo and St. Zeno of Verona 
and other such early Lombard churches, having noble porches, 
and rich sculptures grouped around the entrance. 

§ vn. However, whether the entrances be single, triple, or 
manifold, it is a constant law that one shall be principal, and 
all shall be of size in some degree proportioned to that of 
the building. And this size is, of course, chiefly to be ex- 
pressed in width, that being the only useful dimension in a 
door (except for pageantry, chairing of bishops and waving of 
banners, and other such vanities, not, I hope, after this cen- 
tury, much to be regarded in the building of Christian 
temples) ; but though the width is the only necessary dimen- 
sion, it is well to increase the height also in some proportion 
to it, in order that there may be less weight of wall above, 
resting on the increased span of the arch. This is, however, 
so much the necessary result of the broad curve of the arch 
itself, that there is no structural necessity of elevating the 
jamb ; and I believe that beautiful entrances might be made 
of every span of arch, retaining the jamb at a little more than 
a man's height, until the sweep of the curves became so vast 
that the small vertical line became a part of them, and one 
entered into the temple as under a great rainbow. 

§ vni. On the other hand, the jamb may be elevated indef- 
initely, so that the increasing entrance retains at lead the 
proportion of width it had originally ; say 4 ft. by 7 ft. 5 in. 
But a less proportion of width than this has always a meagre, 
inhospitable, and ungainly look except in military architecture, 
where the narrowness of the entrance is necessary, and its 

represented as presiding over the central door only, and the lateral en- 
trances heing under the protection of saints, while the Madonna almost 
always has one or both of the transepts. But it would be wrong to press 
this, for, in nine cases out of ten, the architect has hecn merely influenced 
in his placing of the statues by an artist's desire of variety in their forms 
and dress ; and very naturally prefers putting a canonisation over one 
door, a martyrdom over another, and an assumption over a third, to 
repeating a crucifixion or a judgment above all. The architect's doctrine 
is only, therefore, to be noted with indisputable reprobation when the 
Madonna gets possession of the main door. 


height adds to its grandeur, as between the entrance towers 
of our British castles. This law however, observe, applies 
only to true doors, not to the arches of porches, which may be 
of any proportion, as of any number, being in fact interco- 
lumniations, not doois ; as in the noble example of the west 
front of Peterborough, which, in spite of the destructive 
absurdity of its central arch being the narrowest, would still, 
if the paltry porter's lodge, or gatehouse, or turnpike, or what- 
ever it is, were knocked out of the middle of it, be the noblest 
west front in England. 

§ ix. Further, and finally. In proportion to the height and 
size of the building, and therefore to the size of its doors, will 
be the thickness of its walls, especially at the foundation, that 
is to sa} r , beside the doors ; and also in proportion to the 
numbers of a crowd will be the unruliness and pressure of it. 
Hence, partly in necessity and partly in prudence, the splay- 
ing or chamfering of the jamb of the larger door will be 
deepened, and, if possible, made at a larger angle for the large 
door than for the small one ; so that the large door will always 
be encompassed by a visible breadth of jamb proportioned to 
its own magnitude. The decorative value of this feature we 
shall see hereafter. 

§ x. The second kind of apertures we have to examine 
are those of windows. 

Window apertures are mainly of two kinds ; those for out- 
look, and those for inlet of light, many being for both pur- 
poses, and either purpose, or both, combined in military archi- 
tecture with those of offence and defence. But all window 
apertures, as compared with door apertures, have almost 
infinite licence of form and size : they may be of any shape, 
from the slit or cross slit to the circle ; * of anv size, from the 
loophole of the castle to the pillars of light of the cathedral 
apse. Yet, according to their place and purpose, one or two 

* The arclx heading is indeed the "best where there is much incumbent 
weight, but a window frequently has very little weight above it, especial- 
ly when placed high, and the arched form loses light in a low room : 
therefore the square-headed window is admissible where the square* 
headed door is not. 


laws of fitness hold respecting them, which let us examine in 
the two classes of windows successive!}', but without reference 
to military architecture, which here, as before, we may dismiss 
as a subject of separate science, only noticing that windows, 
like all other features, are always delightful, if not beautiful, 
when their position and shape have indeed been thus neces- 
sarily determined, and that many of their most picturesque 
forms have resulted from the requirements of war. We should 
also find in military architecture the typical forms of the two 
classes of outlet and inlet windows in their utmost develop- 
ment ; the greatest sweep of sight and range of shot on the 
one hand, and the fullest entry of light and air on the other, 
being constantly required at the smallest possible apertures. 
Our business, however, is to reason out the laws for ourselves, 
not to take the examples as we find them. 

§ xi. 1. Outlook apertures. For these no general outline ia 
determinable by the necessities or inconveniences of outlook- 
ing, except only that the bottom or sill of the windows, at 
whatever height, should be horizontal, for the convenience of 
leaning on it, or standing on it if the window be to the ground. 
The form of the upper part of the window is quite immaterial, 
for all windows allow a greater range of sight when they are 
approached than that of the eye itself : it is the approachability 
of the window, that is to say, the annihilation of the thickness 
of the wall, which is the real point to be attended to. If, 
therefore, the aperture be inaccessible, or so small that the 
thickness of the wall cannot be entered, the wall is to be 
bevelled * on the outside, so as to increase the range of sight 
as far as possible ; if the aperture can be entered, then bevelled 
from the point to which entrance is possible. The bevelling 
will, if possible, be in every direction, that is to say, upwards 
at the top, outwards at the sides, and downwards at the bottom, 
but essentially downwards ; the earth and the doings upon it 
being the chief object in outlook windows, except of observa- 
tories ; and where the object is a distinct and special view 
downwards, it will be of advantage to shelter the eye as far 

* I do not like the sound oi the word "splayed ; " I always shall use 
"bevelled" instead. 


as possible from the rays of light coming from above, and the 
head of the window may be left horizontal, or even the whcla 
aperture sloped outwards, as the slit in a letter box is inwards. 

The best windows for outlook are, of course, oriels and bow 
windows, but these are not to be considered under the head 
of apertures merely ; they are either balconies roofed and 
glazed, and to be considered under the head of external appli- 
ances, or they are each a story of an external semi-tower hav- 
ing true aperture windows on each side of it. 

§ xii. 2. Inlet windows. These windows may, of course, be 
of any shape and size whatever, according to the other neces- 
sities of the building, and the quantity and direction of light 
desired, their purpose being now to throw it in streams on 
particular lines or spots ; now to diffuse it everywhere ; some- 
times to introduce it in broad masses, tempered in strength, as 
in the cathedral colored window ; sometimes in starry showers 
of scattered brilliancy, like the apertures in the roof of an 
Arabian bath ; perhaps the most beautiful of all forms being 
the rose, which has in it the unity of both characters and 
sympathy with that of the source of light itself. It is notice- 
able, however, that while both the circle and pointed oval are 
beautiful window forms, it would be very pain- 
ful to cut either of them in half and connect 
them by vertical lines, as in Fig. XLIV. The 
reason is, I beheve, that so treated, the upper i 
arch is not considered as connected with the FlG ■ 
lower, and forming an entire figure, but as the 
ordinary arch roof of the aperture, and the lower arch as an 
arch floor, equally unnecessary and unnatural. Also, the ellip- 
tical oval is generally an unsatisfactory form, because it gives 
the idea of useless trouble in building it, though it occurs 
quaintly and pleasantly in the former windows of France : I 
believe it is also objectionable because it has an indeterminate, 
slippery look, like thit of a bubble rising through a fluid. It, 
and all elongated forms, are still more objectionable placed 
horizontally, because this is the weakest position they can 
structurally liave ; that is to say, less light is admitted, with 
greater loss of strength to the building, than by any other 


form. If admissible anywhere, it is for the sake of variety at 
the top of the building, as the flat parallelogram sometimes 
not ungracefully in Italian Renaissance. 

§ xiii. The question of bevelling becomes a little more 
complicated in the inlet than the outlook window, because 
the mass or quantity of light admitted is often of more conse 
quence than its direction, and often vice versa ; and the out- 
look window is supposed to be approachable, which is far 
from being always the case with windows for light, so that 
the bevelling which in the outlook window is chiefly to open 
range of sight, is in the inlet a means not only of admitting 
the light in greater quantity, but of directing it to the spot 
on which it is to fall. But, in general, the bevelling of the 
one window will reverse that of the other ; for, first, no nat- 
ural light will strike on the inlet window from beneath, un- 
less reflected light, which is (I believe) injurious to the health 
and the sight ; and thus, while in the outlook window the 
outside bevel downwards is essential, in the inlet it would be 
useless : and the sill is to be flat, if the window be on a level 
with the spot it is to light ; and sloped downwards within, 
if above it. Again, as the brightest rays of light are the 
steepest, the outside bevel upwards is as essential in the roof 
of the inlet as it was of small importance in that of the out- 
look window. 

§ xrv. On the horizontal section the aperture will expand 
internally, a somewhat larger number of rays being thus re- 
flected from the jambs ; and the aperture being thus the 
smallest possible outside, this is the favorite military form of 
inlet window, always found in magnificent development in 
the thick walls of mediaeval castles and convents. Its effect is 
tranquil, but cheerless and dungeon-like in its fullest develop- 
ment, owing to the limitation of the range of sight in the out- 
look, which, if the window be unapproachable, reduces it to 
a mere point of light. A modified condition of it, with some 
combination of the outlook form, is probably the best for do- 
mestic buildings in general (which, however, in modern archi- 
tecture, are unhappily so thin walled, that the outline of the 
jambs becomes a matter almost of indifference), it being gen^ 


erally noticeable that the depth of recess which I have ob- 
served to be essential to nobility of external effect has also a 
certain dignity of expression, as appearing to be intended 
rather to admit light to persons quietly occupied in their 
homes, than to stimulate or favor the curiosity of idleness. 



8 i. Thus far we have been concerned with the outline only 
of the aperture : we were next, it will be remembered, to 
consider the necessary modes of filling it with valves in the 
case of the door, or with glass or tracery in that of the 

1. Fillings of doors. We concluded, in the previous Chap- 
ter, that doors in buildings of any importance or size should 
have headings in the form of an arch. This is, however, the 
most inconvenient form we could choose, as respects the fitting 
of the valves of the doorway ; for the arch-shaped head of the 
valves not only requires considerable nicety in fitting to the 
arch, but adds largely to the weight of the door, — a double 
disadvantage, straining the hinges and making it cumbersome 
in opening. And this inconvenience is so much perceived by 
the eye, that a door valve with a pointed head is always a dis- 
agreeable object. It becomes, therefore, a matter of true 
necessity so to arrange the doorway as to admit of its being 
fitted with rectangular valves. 

§ ii. Now, in determining the form of the aperture, we 
supposed the jamb of the door to be of the utmost height re- 
quired for entrance. The extra height of the arch is unneces- 
sary as an opening, the arch being required for its strength 
only, not for its elevation. There is, therefore, no reason why 
it should not be barred across by a horizontal lintel, into which 
the valves may be fitted, and the triangular or semicircular 
arched space above the lintel may then be permanently closed, 
as we choose, either with bars, or glass, or stone. 


This is the form of all good doors, without exception, ovei 
the whole world and in all ages, and no other can ever be in- 

§ in. In the simplest doors the cross lintel is of wood only, 
and glass or bars occupy the space above, a very frequent form 
in Venice. In more elaborate doors the cross lintel is of 
stone, and the filling sometimes of brick, sometimes of stone, 
very often a grand single stone being used to close the entire 
space : the space thus filled is called the Tympanum. In 
large doors the cross lintel is too long to bear the great incum- 
bent weight of this stone filling without support ; it is, there- 
fore, carried by a pier in the centre ; and two valves are used, 
fitted to the rectangular spaces on each side of the pier. In 
the most elaborate examples of this condition, each of these 
secondary doorways has an arch heading, a cross lintel, and a 
triangular filling or tympanum of its own, all subordinated to 
the main arch above. 

§ iv. 2. Fillings of windows. 

When windows are large, and to be filled with glass, the 
sheet of glass, however constructed, whether of large panes or 
small fragments, requires the support of bars of some hind, 
either of wood, metal, or stone. Wood is inapplicable on a 
large scale, owing to its destructibility ; very fit for door- 
valves, w r hich can be easily refitted, and in which weight 
would be an inconvenience, but very unfit for window-bars, 
which, if they decayed, might let the whole window be blown 
in before their decay was observed, and in which weight 
would be an advantage, as offering more resistance to the 

Iron is, however, fit for window-bars, and there seems no 
constructive reason why we should not have iron traceries, as 
well as iron pillars, iron churches, and iron steeples. But I 
have, in the "Seven Lamps," given reasons for not consider- 
ing such structures as architecture at all. 

The window T -bars must, therefore, be of stone, and of stone 

§ v. The purpose of the window being always to let in as 
much light, and command as much view, as possible, these 



bars of stone are to be made as slender and as few as they can 
be, consistently with their due strength. 

Let it be required to support the breadth of glass, a, b, Fig. 
XLV. The tendency of the glass sustaining any force, as o! 
wind from without, is to bend 
into an arch inwards, in the & 

dotted line, and break in the ^~T 

centre. It is to be supported, 
therefore, by the bar put in its & I ° 

centre, c. 

But this central bar, c, may e 

not be enough, and the spaces 

a c,cb, may still need support. f.% — o— O—o — H& 

The next step will be to put s 

two bars instead of one, and ^ g — — o—o — o— © — ® 
divide the window into three 

spaces as at d. H___o— o— o— O — o— O— ©— 1 

But this may still not be FlG . X lv. 

enough, and the window may 

need three bars. Now the greatest stress is always on the centre 
of the window. If the three bars are equal in strength, as at 
e, the central bar is either too slight for its work, or the lat- 
eral bars too thick for theirs. Therefore, we must slightly 
increase the thickness of the central bar, and diminish that of 
the lateral ones, so as to obtain the arrangement at / h. If 
the window enlarge farther, each of the spaces / g, g h, is 
treated as the original space a 6, and we have the groups of 

bars k and /. 

So that, whatever the shape of the window, whatever the 
direction and number of the bars, there are to be central or 
main bars ; second bars subordinated to them ; third bars 
subordinated to the second, and so on to the number required. 
This is called the subordination of tracery, a system delight- 
ful to the eye and mind, owing to its anatomical framing and 
unity, and to its expression of the laws of good government 
in all fragile and unstable things. All tracery, therefore, 
which is not subordinated, is barbarous, in so far as this part 
of its structure is concerned. 


§ vi. The next question will be the direction of the bars. 
The reader will understand at once, without anv laborious 
proof, that a given area of glass, supported by its edges, i:i 
stronger in its resistance to violence when it is arranged in a 
long strip or band than in a square ; and that, therefore, glass 
is generally to be arranged, especially in windows on a large 
scale, in oblong areas : and if the bars so dividing it be placed 
horizontally, they will have less power of supporting them- 
selves, and will need to be thicker in consequence, than if 
placed vertically. As far, therefore, as the form of the win- 
dow permits, they are to be vertical. 

§ vii. But even when so placed, they cannot be trusted to 
support themselves beyond a certain height, but will need 
cross bars to steady them. Cross bars of stone are, therefore, 
to be introduced at necessary intervals, not to divide the 
glass, but to support the upright stone bars. The glass is 
always to be divided longitudinally as far as possible, and the 
upright bars which divide it supported at proper intervals. 
However high the* window, it is almost impossible that it 
should require more than two cross bars. 

§ viii. It may sometimes happen that when tall windows 
are placed very close to each other for the sake of more light, 
the masonry between them may stand in need, or at least be 
the better of, some additional support. The cross bars of the 
windows may then be thickened, in order to bond the inter- 
mediate piers more strongly together, and if this thickness 
appear ungainly, it may be modified by decoration. 

§ ix. We have thus arrived at the idea of a vertical frame 
work of subordinated bars, supported by cross bars at the 
necessary intervals, and the only remaining question is the 
method of insertion into the aperture. Whatever its form, if 
we merely let the ends of the bars into the voussoirs of its 
heading, the least settlement of the masonry would distort the 
arch, or push up some of its voussoirs, or break the window 
bars, or push them aside. Evidently our object should be to 
connect the window bars among themselves, so framing them 
together that they may give the utmost possible degree of 
support to the whole window head in case of any settlement. 


But we know how to do this already : our window bars are 
nothing but small shafts. Capital them ; throw small arches 
across between the smaller bars, large arches over them be- 
tween the larger bars, one comprehensive arch over the whole, 
or else a horizontal lintel, if the window have a flat head ; and 
we have a complete system of mutual support, independent of 
the aperture head, and yet assisting to sustain it, if need be. 
Bat we want the spandrils of this arch system to be them- 
selves as light, and to let as much light through them, as pos- 
sible : and we know already how to pierce them (Chap. XII. 
§ vii.). We pierce them with circles ; and we have, if the 
circles are small and the stonework strong, the traceries of 
Giotto and the Pisan school ; if the circles are as large as pos- 
sible and the bars slender, those which I have alreadv fierured 
and described as the only perfect traceries of the Northern 
Gothic* The varieties of their design arise partly from the 
different size of window and consequent number of bars ; 
partly from the different heights of their pointed arches, as ' 
well as the various positions of the window head in relation 
to the roof, rendering one or another arrangement better 
for dividing the light, and partly from aesthetic and expres- 
sional requirements, which, within certain limits, may be al' 
lowed a very important influence : for the strength of the bars 
is ordinarily so much greater than is absolutely necessary, 
that some portion of it may be gracefully sacrificed to the 
attainment of variety in the plans of tracery — a variety which, 
even within its severest limits, is perfectly endless ; more es- 
pecially in the pointed arch, the proportion of the tracery 
being in the round arch necessarily more fixed. 

§ x. The circular window furnishes an exception to the 
common law, that the bars shall be vertical through the 
greater part of their length : for if they were so, they could 
neither have secure perpendicular footing, nor secure heading, 
their thrust being perpendicular to the curve of the voussoirs 
only in the centre of the window ; therefore, a small circle, 
like the axle of a wheel, is put into the centre of the window, 
large enough to give footing to the necessary number of radi« 

* " Seven Lamps." p. 60. 


ating bars ; and the bars are arranged as spokes, being all o! 
course properly capitaled and arch-headed. This is the best 
form of tracery for circular windows, naturally enough called 
wheel windows when so filled. 

§ xi. Now, I wish the reader especially to observe that we 
have arrived at these forms of perfect Gothic tracery without 
the smallest reference to any practice of any school, or to 
any law of authority whatever. They are forms having essen- 
tially nothing whatever to do either with Goths or Greeks. 
They are eternal forms, based on laws of gravity and cohe- 
sion ; and no better, nor any others so good, will ever be in- 
vented, so long as the present laws of gravity and cohesion 

§ xn. It does not at all follow that this group of forms 
owes its origin to any such course of reasoning as that which 
has now ied us to it. On the contrary, there is not the small- 
est doubt that tracery began, partly, in the grouping of win- 
dows together (subsequently enclosed within a large arch*), and 
partly in the fantastic penetrations of a single slab of stones 
under the arch, as the circle in Plate V. above. The perfect 
form seems to have been accidentally struck in passing from 
experiment on the one side, to affectation on the other ; and 
it was so far from ever becoming systematised, that I am 
aware of no type of tracery for which a less decided preference 
is shown in the buildings in which it exists. The early pierced 
traceries are multitudinous and perfect in their kind, — the late 
Flamboyant, luxuriant in detail, and lavish in quantity, — but 
the perfect forms exist in comparatively few churches, gener- 
ally in portions of the church only, and are always connected, 
and that closely, either with the massy forms out of which 
they have emerged, or with the enervated types into which 
they are instantly to degenerate. 

§ xin. Nor indeed are we to look upon them as in all points 

* On the north side of the nave of the cathedral of Lyons, there is an 
early French window, presenting one of the usual groups of foliated 
arches and circles, left, as it were, loose, without any enclosing curve 
The effect is very painful. This remarkable window is associated witli 
others of the jornmon form. 


superior to the more ancient examples. We have above con- 
ducted our reasoning entirely on the supposition that a single 
aperture is given, which it is the object to fill with glass, di- 
minishing the power of the light as little as possible. But 
there are many cases, as in triforium and cloister lights, in 
which glazing is not required ; in which, therefore, the bars, 
if there be any, must have some more important function 
than that of merely holding glass, and in which their actual 
use is to give steadiness and tone, as it were, to the arches 
and walls above and beside them ; or to give the idea of pro- 
tection to those who pass along the triforium, and of seclu- 
sion to those who walk in the cloister. Much thicker shafts, 
and more massy arches, may be properly employed in work 
of this kind ; and many groups of such tracery will be found 
resolvable into true colonnades, with the arches in pairs, or in 
triple or quadruple groups, and with small rosettes pierced 
above them for light. All this is just as right in its place, as 
the glass tracery is in its own function, and often much more 
grand. But the same indulgence is not to be shown to the 
affectations which succeeded the developed forms. Of these 
there are three principal conditions : the Flamboyant of 
France, the Stump tracery of Germany, and the Perpendicu- 
lar of England. 

§ xiv. Of these the first arose, by the most delicate and 
natural transitions, out of the perfect school. It was an en- 
deavor to introduce more grace into its lines, and more 
change into its combinations ; and the aesthetic results are so 
beautiful, that for some time after the right road had been 
left, the aberration was more to be admired than regretted. 
The final conditions became fantastic and effeminate, but, in 
the country where they had been invented, never lost their 
peculiar grace until they were replaced by the Renaissance. 
The copies of the school in England and Italy have all its 
faults and none of its beauties ; in France, whatever it lost in 
method or in majesty, it gained in fantasy : literally Flam- 
boyant, it breathed awa} r its strength into the air ; but there is 
not more difference between the commonest do££Tel that ever 
broke m'ose into unintelligibility, and the burning mystery 


of Coleridge, or spirituality of Elizabeth Barrett, than there is 
between the dissolute dulness of English Flamboyant, and 
the flaming undulations of the wreathed lines of delicate 
stone, that confuse themselves with the clouds of every morn- 
ing sky that brightens above the valley of the Seine. 

§ xv. The second group of traceries, the intersectional or 
German group, may be considered as including the entire 
range of the absurd forms which were invented in order to 
display dexterity in stone-cutting and ingenuity in construc- 
tion. They express the peculiar character of the German 
mind, which cuts the frame of every truth joint from joint, in 
order to prove the edge of its instruments ; and, in all cases, 
prefers a new or a strange thought to a good one, and a 
subtle thought to a useful one. The point and value of the 
German tracery consists principally in turning the features 
of good traceries upside down, and cutting them in two 
where they are properly continuous. To destroy at once 
foundation arid membership, and suspend everything in the 
air, keeping out of sight, as far as possible, the evidences of a 
beginning and the probabilities of an end, are the main ob- 
jects of German architecture, as of modern German divinity. 

§ xvi. This school has, however, at least the merit of in- 
genuity. Not so the English Perpendicular, though a very 
curious school also in its way. In the course of the rea- 
soning which led us to the determination of the perfect 
Gothic tracery, we were induced successively to reject certain 
methods of arrangement as weak, dangerous, or disagreeable. 
Collect all these together, and practise them at once, and you 
have the English Perpendicular. 

As thus. You find in the first place (§ v.), that your tracery 
bars are to be subordinated, less to greater ; so you take a 
group of, suppose, eight, which you make all exactly equal, 
giving you nine equal spaces in the window, as at A, Fig. 
XLVI. You found, in the second place (§ vn.), that there 
was no occasion for more than two cross bars ; so you take at 
least four or five (also represented at A, Fig. XLVI), also 
carefully equalised, and set at equal spaces. You found, in 
the third place (§ mil), that these bars were to be strength* 



ened, in order to support the main piers ; you will therefore 
cut the ends off the uppermost, and the fourth into three 
pieces (as also at A). In the fourth place, you found (§ ix.) 
that you were never to run a vertical bar into the arch head ; 
so you run them all into it (as at B, Fig. XL VI.) : and this 
last arrangement will be useful in two ways, for it will not 
only expose both the bars and the archivolt to an apparent 
probability of every species of dislocation at any moment, but 
it will provide you with two pleasing interstices at the flanks, 
in the shape of carving-knives, a, b, which, by throwing across 











/B t 




nryY^i^tT 1 






A. B C 

Fig. XLVI. 

the curves c, d, you may easily multiply into four ; and these, 
as you can put nothing into their sharp tops, will afford you a 
more than usually rational excuse for a little bit of German- 
ism, in filling them with arches upside down, e, f. You will 
now have left at your disposal two and forty similar inter- 
stices, which, for the sake of variety, you will proceed to fill 
with two and forty similar arches : and, as you were told that 
the moment a bar received an arch heading, it was to be 
treated as a shaft and capitalled, you will take care to give 
your bars no capitals nor bases, but to run bars, foliations 
and all, well into each other after the fashion of cast-iron, as 
Vol. L— 13 


at C. You have still two triangular spaces occurring in an 
important part of your window, g, g, which, as they are very 
conspicuous, and you cannot make them uglier than they are, 
you will do wisely to let alone ; — and you will now have the 
west window of the cathedral of Winchester, a very perfect 
example of English Perpendicular. Nor do I think that you 
can, on the whole, better the arrangement, unless, perhaps, 
by adding buttresses to some of the bars, as is done in the 
cathedral at Gloucester : these buttresses having the double 
advantage of darkening the window when seen from within, 
and suggesting, when it is seen from without, the idea of its 
being divided by two stout party walls, with a heavy thrust 
against the glass. 

§ xvh. Thus far we have considered the plan of the tracery 
only : we have lastly to note the conditions under which the 
glass is to be attached to the bars ; and the sections of the 
bars themselves. 

These bars we have seen, in the perfect form, are to become 
shafts ; but, supposing the object to be the admission of as» 
much light as possible, it is clear that the thickness of the bar 
ought to be chiefly in the depth of the window, and that by 
increasing the depth of the bar we may diminish its breadth : 
clearly, therefore, we should employ the double group of 
shafts, b, of Fig. XTv., setting it edgeways in the window : 
but as the glass would then come between the two shafts, we 
must add a member into which it is to be fit- 
ted, as at a, Fig. XL VII., and uniting these 
three members together in the simplest way, 
with a curved instead of a sharp recess behind 
* ^ ^ T rTT ~ the shafts, we have the section b, the perfect. 

Fig. XLVII. ' ' * . 

but simplest type of the main tracery bars in 
good Gothic. In triforium and cloister tracery, which has no 
glass to hold, the central member is omitted, and we have 
either the pure double shaft, always the most graceful, or a 
single and more massy shaft, which is the simpler and more 
usual form. 

§ xviii. Finally : there is an intermediate arrangement be 
tween the glazed and the open tracery, that of the domestic 


traceries of Venice. Peculiar conditions, hereafter to be de- 
scribed, require the shafts of these traceries to become the 
main vertical supports of the floors and walls. Their thick- 
ness is therefore enormous ; and yet free egress is required 
between them (into balconies) which is obtained by doors in 
their lattice glazing. To prevent the inconvenience and ugli- 
ness of driving the hinges and fastenings of them into the 
shafts, and having the play of the doors in the intervals, the 
entire glazing is thrown behind the pillars, and attached 
to their abaci and bases with iron. It is thus securely sus- 
tained by their massy bulk, and leaves their symmetry and 
shade undisturbed. 

§ xix. The depth at which the glass should be placed, in 
windows without traceries, will generally be fixed by the 
forms of their bevelling, the glass occupying the narrowest 
interval ; but when its position is not thus fixed, as in many 
London houses, it is to be remembered that the deeper the 
glass is set (the wall being of given thickness), the more light 
will enter, and the clearer the prospect will be to a person 
sitting quietly in the centre of the room ; on the contrary, 
the farther out the glass is set, the more convenient the win- 
dow will be for a person rising and looking out of it. The 
one, therefore, is an arrangement for the idle and curious, 
who care only about what is going on upon the earth : the 
other for those who are willing to remain at rest, so that they 
have free admission of the light of Heaven. This might be 
noted as a curious expressional reason for the necessity (of 
which no man of ordinary feeling would doubt for a moment) 
of a deep recess in the window, on the outside, to all good or 
architectural effect : still, as there is no reason why people 
should be made idle by having it in their power to look out 
of window, and as the slight increase of light or clearness of 
view in the centre of a room is more than balanced by the 
loss of space, and the greater chill of the nearer glass and 
outside air, we can, I fear, allege no other structural reason 
for the picturesque external recess, than the expediency of a 
certain degree of protection, for the glass, from the brightest 
glare of sunshine, and heaviest rush of rain. 




8 i. We have hitherto considered the aperture as merely 
pierced in the thickness of the walls ; and when its masonry 
is simple and the fillings of the aperture are unimportant, it 
may well remain so. But when the fillings are delicate and 
of value, as in the case of colored glass, finely wrought 
tracery, or sculpture, such as we shall often find occupying 
the tympanum of doorways, some protection becomes neces- 
sary against the run of the rain down the walls, and back by 
the bevel of the aperture to >the joints or surface of the fill- 


ii. The first and simplest mode of obtaining this is by 
channelling the jambs and arch head ; and this is the chief 
practical service of aperture mouldings, which are otherwise 
entirely decorative. But as this very decorative character 
renders them unfit to be made channels for rain water, it is 
well to add some external roofing to the aperture, which may 
protect it from the run of all the rain, except that which 
necessarily beats into its own area. This protection, in its 
most usual form, is a mere dripstone moulding carried over 
or round the head of the aperture. But this is, in reality, 
only a contracted form of a true roof, projecting from the wall 
over the aperture ; and all protections of apertures whatso- 
ever are to be conceived as portions of small roofs, attached 
to the wall behind ; and supported by it, so long as their scale 
admits of their being so with safety, and afterwards in such 
manner as may be most expedient. The proper forms of 
these, and modes of their support, are to be the subject of 
our final enquiry. 

§ in. Respecting their proper form we need not stay long 
in doubt. A deep gable is evidently the best for throwing off 
rain ; even a low gable being better than a high arch. Flat 
roofs, therefore, may only be used when the nature of the 
building renders the gable unsightly ; as when there is not 
room for it between the stories ; or when the object is rather 



shade than protection from rain, as often in verandahs and 

balconies. But for general service the gable 

is the proper and natural form, and may be 

taken as representative of the rest. Then 

this gable may either project unsupported 

from the wall, a, Fig. XLVIIL, or be carried 

by brackets or spurs, b, or by walls or shafts, 

c, which shafts or walls may themselves be, 

in windows, carried on a sill ; and this, in its 

turn, supported by brackets or spurs. We 

shall glance at the applications of each of 

these forms in order. 

§ iv. There is not much variety in the 

case of the first, a, Fig. XLVIII. In the 

Cumberland and border cottages the door 

is generally protected by two pieces of slate 

arranged in a gable, giving the purest pos- 
sible type of the first form. In elaborate 

architecture such a projection hardly ever 

occurs, and in large architecture cannot with 

safety occur, without brackets ; but by cut- 
ting away the greater part of the projection, 

we shall arrive at the idea of a 
plain gabled cornice, of which a 
perfect example will be found 
in Plate VII. of the folio series. 
With this first complete form 
we may associate the rude, 
single, projecting, pent-house 
roof ; imperfect, because either 
it must be level and the water 
lodge lazily upon it, or throw 
off the drip upon the persons 

§ v. 2. b, Fig. XLVIH. This 
is a most beautiful and natural 

type, and is found in all good architecture, from the highest 

to the most humble : it is a frequent form of cottage door, 


Fig. XLIX. 



more especially when carried on spurs, being of peculiarly 
easy construction in wood : as applied to large architecture, 
it can evidently be built, in its boldest and simplest form, 
either of wood only, or on a scale which will admit of its 
sides being each a single slab of stone. If so large as to re* 
quire jointed masonry, the gabled sides will evidently require 
support, and an arch must be thrown across under them, as 
in Fig. XLIX., from Fiesole. 

If we cut the projection gradually down, we arrive at the 
common Gothic gable dripstone carried on small brackets, 
carved into bosses, heads, or some other ornamental form ; 
the sub-arch in such case being useless, is removed or coin- 
cides with the arch head of the aperture. 

§ vi. 3. c, Fig. XLVIII. Substituting walls or pillars for 
the brackets, we may carry the projection as far out as we 
choose, arid form the perfect porch, either of the cottage or 
village church, or of the cathedral. As we enlarge the struct- 
ure, however, certain modifications of form become neces- 
sary, owing to the increased boldness of the required sup- 

porting arch. For, as the lower end of the gabled roof 9~ul 
of the arch cannot coincide, we have necessarily above Lie 
shafts one of the two forms a or b, in Fig. L., of which the 
latter is clearly the best, requiring less masonry and shorter 
roofing ; and when the arch becomes so large as to cause a 
heavy lateral thrust, it may become necessary to provide for 
its farther safety by pinnacles, c. 

This last is the perfect type of aperture protection. None 
other can ever be invented so good. It is that once employed 


by Giotto in the cathedral of Florence, and torn down by 
the proveditore, Benedetto Uguecione, to erect a Renaissance 
front instead ; and another such has been destroyed, not long 
since, in Venice, the porch of the church of St. Apollinare, 
also to put up some Renaissance upholstery : for Eenaissance, 
as if it were not nuisance enough in the mere fact of its own 
existence, appears invariably as a beast of prey, and founds 
itself on the ruin of all that is best and noblest. Many such 
porches, however, happily still exist in Italy, and are among 
its principal glories. 

§ vn. When porches of this kind, carried by walls, are placed 
close together, as in cases where there are many and large 
entrances to a cathedral front, they would, in their general form, 
leave deep and uncomfortable intervals, in which damp would 
lodge and grass grow ; and there would be a painful feeling 
in approaching the door in the midst of a crowd, as if some 
of them might miss the real doors, and be driven into the 
intervals, and embayed there. Clearly it will be a natural 
and right expedient, in such cases, to open the walls of the 
porch wider, so that they may correspond in slope, or nearly 
so, with the bevel of the doorway, and either meet each other 
in the intervals, or have the said intervals closed up with an 
intermediate wall, so that nobody may get embayed in them. 
The porches will thus be united, and form one range of great 
open guiphs or caverns, ready to receive all comers, and di- 
rect the current of the crowd into the narrower entrances. 
As the lateral thrust of the arches is now met by each other, 
the pinnacles, if there were any, must be removed, and water- 
spouts placed between each arch to discharge the double 
drainage of the gables. This is the form of all the noble 
northern porches, without exception, best represented by that 
of Rheims. 

§ viii. Contracted conditions of the pinnacle porch are 
beautifully used in the doors of the cathedral of Florence ; 
and the entire arrangement, in its most perfect form, as 
adapted to window protection and decoration, is applied by 
Giotto with inconceivable exquisiteness in the windows of the 
campanile ; those of the cathedral itself being all of the same 


type. Various singular and delightful conditions of it are 
applied in Italian domestic architecture (in the Broletto of 
Monza very quaintly), being associated with balconies for 
speaking to the people, and passing into pulpits. In the 
north we glaze the sides of such projections, and they become 
bow- windows, the shape of roofing being then nearly imma- 
terial and very fantastic, often a conical cap. All these con- 
ditions of window protection, being for real service, are end- 
lessly delightful (and I believe the beauty of the balcony, pro- 
tected by an open canopy supported by light shafts, never yet 
to have been properly worked out). But the Renaissance 
architects destroyed all of them, and introduced the magnifi- 
cent and witty Roman invention of a model of a Greek pedi- 
ment, with its cornices of monstrous thickness, bracketed 
up above the window. The horizontal cornice of the pedi- 
ment is thus useless, and of course, therefore, retained ; the 
protection to the head of the window being constructed on 
the principle of a hat with its crown sewn up. But the deep 
and dark triangular cavity thus obtained affords farther op- 
portunity for putting ornament out of sight, of which the 
Renaissance architects are not slow to avail themselves. 

A more rational condition is the complete pediment with 
a couple of shafts, or pilasters, carried on a bracketed sill ; 
and the windows of this kind, which have been well designed, 
are perhaps the best things which the Renaissance schools 
have produced : those of Whitehall are, in their way, ex- 
ceedingly beautiful ; and those of the Palazzo Ricardi at 
Florence, in their simplicity and sublimity, are scarcely un- 
worthy of their reputed designer, Michael Angelo. 



§ i. The reader has now some knowledge of every feature 
of all possible architecture. Whatever the nature of the 
building which may be submitted to his criticism, if it be an 
edifice at all, if it be anything else than a mere heap of stones 


like a pyramid or breakwater, or than a large stone hewn into 
shape, like an obelisk, it will be instantly and easily resolvable 
into some of the parts which we have been hitherto consider- 
ing : its pinnacles will separate themselves into their small 
shafts and roofs ; its supporting members into shafts and 
arches, or walls penetrated by apertures of various shape, and 
supported by various kinds of buttresses. Respecting each 
of these several features I am certain that the reader feels 
himself prepared, by understanding their plain function, to 
form something like a reasonable and definite judgment, 
whether they be good or bad ; and this right judgment of 
parts will, in most cases, lead him to just reverence or con- 
demnation of the whole. 

§ ii. The various modes in which these parts are capable 
of combination, and the merits of buildings of different form 
and expression, are evidently not reducible into lists, nor to 
be estimated by general laws. The nobility of each building 
depends on its special fitness for its own purposes ; and these 
purposes vary with every climate, every soil, and every national 
custom : nay, there were never, probably, two edifices erected 
in which some accidental difference of condition did not 
require some difference of plan or of structure ; so that, 
respecting plan and distribution of parts, I do not hope to 
collect any universal law of right ; but there are a few points 
necessary to be noticed respecting the means by which height 
is attained in buildings of various plans, and the expediency 
and methods of superimposition of one story or tier of archi- 
tecture above another. 

§ in. For, in the preceding inquiry, I have always sup- 
posed either that a single shaft would reach to the top of the 
building, or that the farther height required might be added 
in plain wall above the heads of the arches ; whereas it may 
often be rather expedient to complete the entire lower series 
of arches, or finish the lower wall, with a bold string course 
or cornice, and build another series of shafts, or another wall, 
on the top of it. 

§ iv. This superimposition is seen in its simplest form in 
the interior shafts of a Greek temple ; and it has been largely 


used in nearly all countries where buildings have been meant 
for real service. Outcry has often been raised against it, but 
the thing is so sternly necessary that it has always forced it- 
self into acceptance ; and it would, therefore, be merely losing 
time to refute the arguments of those who have attempted its 
disparagement. Thus far, however, they have reason on their 
side, that if a building can be kept in one grand mass, with- 
out sacrificing either its visible or real adaptation to its ob- 
jects, it is not well to divide it into stories until it has reached 
proportions too large to be justly measured by the eye. It 
ought then to be divided in order to mark its bulk ; and 
decorative divisions are often possible, which rather increase 
than destroy the expression of general unity. 

§ v. Superimposition, wisely practised, is of two kinds, di- 
rectly contrary to each other, of weight on lightness, and of 
lightness on weight ; while the superimposition of weight on 
weight, or lightness on lightness, is nearly always wrong. 

1. Weight on lightness : I do not say weight on weakness. 
The superimposition of the human body on its limbs I call 
weight on lightness : the superimposition of the branches on 
a tree trunk I call lightness on weight : in both cases the 
support is fully adequate to the work, the form of support 
being regulated by the differences of requirement. Nothing 
in architecture is half so painful as the apparent want of suf- 
ficient support when the weight above is visibly passive : for 
all buildings are not passive ; some seem to rise by their own 
strength, or float by their own buoyancy ; a dome requires no 
visibility of support, one fancies it supported by the air. But 
passive architecture without help for its passiveness is unen- 
durable. In a lately built house, No. 86, in Oxford Street, 
three huge stone pillars in the second story are carried ap- 
parently by the edges of three sheets of plate glass in the 
first I hardly know anything to match the painfulness of 
this and some other of our shop structures, in which the 
iron-work is concealed ; nor, even when it is apparent, can 
the eye ever feel satisfied of their security, when built, as at 
present, with fifty or sixty feet of wall above a rod of iron not 
the width of this page. 


§ vi. The proper forms of this superimposition of weight 
on lightness have arisen, for the most part, from the neces- 
sity or desirableness, in many situations, of elevating the in- 
habited portions of buildings considerably above the ground 
level, especially those exposed to damp or inundation, and 
the consequent abandonment of the ground story as un- 
serviceable, or else the surrender of it to public purposes. 
Thus, in many market and town houses, the ground story is 
left open as a general place of sheltered resort, and the en- 
closed apartments raised on pillars. In almost all warm 
countries the luxury, almost the necessity, of arcades to pro- 
tect the passengers from the sun, and the desirableness of 
large space in the rooms above, lead to the same construc- 
tion. Throughout the Venetian islet group, the houses seem 
to have been thus, in the first instance, universally built, all 
the older palaces appearing to have had the rez de chaussee 
perfectly open, the upper parts of the palace being sustained 
on magnificent arches, and the smaller houses sustained in the 
same manner on wooden piers, still retained in many of the 
cortiles, and exhibited characteristically throughout the main 
street of Murano. As ground became more valuable and 
house-room more scarce, these ground-floors were enclosed 
with wall veils between the original shafts, and so remain ; 
but the type of the structure of the entire city is given in the 
Ducal Palace. 

§ vii. To this kind of superimposition we owe the most 
picturesque street effects throughout the world, and the most 
graceful, as well as the most grotesque, buildings, from the 
many-shafted fantasy of the Alhambra (a building as beautiful 
in disposition as it is base in ornamentation) to the four-legged 
stolidity of the Swiss Chalet : * nor these only, but great part 
of the effect of our cathedrals, in which, necessarily, the close 

* I have spent much of my life among the Alps; hut I never pass, with- 
out some feeling of new surprise, the Chalet, standing on its four pegs 
teach topped with a flat stone), balanced in the fury of Alpine winds. It is 
not, perhaps, generally known that the chief use of the arrangement is not 
so much to raise the building above the snow, as to get a draught of wind 
beneath it, which may prevent the drift from rising against its sides. 


triforium and clerestory walls are superimposed on the nava 
piers ; perhaps with most majesty where with greatest sim- 
plicity, as in the old basilican types, and the noble cathedral 
of Pisa. 

§ viii. In order to the delightfulness and security of all 
such arrangements, this law must be observed : — that in pro- 
portion to the height of wall above them, the shafts are to 
be short. You may take your given height of wall, and turn 
any quantity of that wall into shaft that you like ; but you 
must not turn it all into tall shafts, and then put more wall 
above. Thus, having a house five stories high, you may turn 
the lower story into shafts, and leave the four stories in wall ; 
or the two lower stories into shafts, and leave three in wall ; 
but, whatever you add to the shaft, you must take from the 
wall. Then also, of course, the shorter the shaft the thicker 
will be its proportionate, if not its actual, diameter. In the 
Ducal Palace of Venice the shortest shafts are always the 

§ ix. The second kind of superimposition, lightness on 
weight, is, in its most necessary use, of stories of houses one 
upon another, where, of course, wall veil is required in the 
lower ones, and has to support wall veil above, aided by as 
much of shaft structure as is attainable within the given 
limits. The greatest, if not the only, merit of the Roman 
and Renaissance Venetian architects is their graceful manage- 
ment of this kind of superimposition ; sometimes of complete 
courses of external arches and shafts one above the other ; 
sometimes of apertures with intermediate cornices at the levels 
of the floors, and large shafts from top to bottom of the build- 
ing ; always observing that the upper stories shall be at once 
lighter and richer than the lower ones. The entire value of 
such buildings depends upon the perfect and easy expression 
of the relative strength of the stories, and the unity obtained 
by the varieties of their proportions, while yet the fact of 
superimposition and separation by floors is frankly told. 

§ x. In churches and other buildings in which there is no 
separation h\ floors, another kind of pure shaft superimposition 
* Appendix 30, " Sliarts of the Ducal Palace." 


is often used, in order to enable the builder to avail himself of 
short and slender shafts. It has been noted that these are 
often easily attainable, and of precious materials, when shafts 
large enough and strong enough to do the work at once, could 
not be obtained except at unjustifiable expense, and of coarse 
stone. The architect has then no choice but to arrange his 
work in successive stories ; either frankly completing the arch 
work and cornice of each, and beginning a new story above it, 
which is the honester and nobler way, or else tying the stories 
together by supplementary shafts from floor to roof, — the 
general practice of the Nothern Gothic, and one which, unless 
most gracefully managed, gives the look of a scaffolding, with 
cross-poles tied to its uprights, to the whole clerestory wall. 
The best method is that which avoids all chance of the upright 
shafts being supposed continuous, by increasing their number 
and changing their places in the upper stories, so that the 
whole work branches from the ground like a tree. This is the 
superimposition of the Byzantine and the Pisan Eomanesque ; 
the most beautiful examples of it being, I think, the Southern 
portico of St. Mark's, the church of S. Giovanni at Pistoja, 
and the apse of the cathedral of Pisa. In Renaissance work 
the two principles are equally distinct, though the shafts are 
(I think) always one above the other. The reader may see one 
of the best examples of the separately superimposed story in 
Whitehall (and another far inferior in St. Paul's), and by turn- 
ing himself round at Whitehall may compare with it the sys- 
tem of connecting shafts in the Treasury ; though this is a 
singularly bad example, the window cornices of the first floor 
being like shelves in a cupboard, and cutting the mass of the 
building in two, in spite of the pillars. 

§ xi. But this superimposition of lightness on weight is 
still more distinctly the system of many buildings of the kind 
which I have above called Architecture of Position, that is to 
say, architecture of which the greater part is intended merely 
to keep something in a peculiar position ; as in light-houses, 
and many towers and belfries. The subject of spire and tower 
architecture, however, is so interesting and extensive, that I 
have thoughts of writing a detached essay upon it, and, at all 


events, cannot enter upon it here : but this much is enough 
for the reader to note for our present purpose, that, although 
many towers do in reality stand on piers or shafts, as the cen- 
tral towers of cathedrals, yet the expression of all of them, 
and the real structure of the best and strongest, are the eleva- 
tion of gradually diminishing weight on massy or even solid 
foundation. Nevertheless, since the tower is in its origin a 
building for strength of defence, and faithfulness of watch, 
rather than splendor of aspect, its true expression is of just so 
much diminution of weight upwards as may be necessary to 
its fully balanced strength, not a jot more. There must be 
no light-headednessin your noble tower : impregnable founda- 
tion, wrathful crest, with the vizor down, and the dark vigil- 
ance seen through the clefts of it ; not the filigree crown or 
embroidered cap. No towers are so grand as the square- 
browed ones, with massy cornices and rent battlements : next 
to these come the fantastic towers, with their various forms 
of steep roof ; the best, not the cone, but the plain gable 
thrown very high ; last of all in my mind (of good towers), 
those with spires or crowns, though these, of course, are fittest 
for ecclesiastical purposes, and capable of the richest orna- 
ment. The paltry four or eight pinnacled things we call 
towers in England (as in York Minster), are mere confec- 
tioner's Gothic, and not worth classing. 

§ xii. But, in all of them, this I believe to be a point of 
chief necessity, — that they shall seem to stand, and shall verity 
stand, in their own strength ; not by help of buttresses nor 
artful balancings on this side and on that. Your noble tower 
must need no help, must be sustained by no crutches, must 
give place to no suspicion of decrepitude. Its office may be 
to withstand war, look forth for tidings, or to point to heaven : 
but it must have in its own walls the strength to do this ; it is 
to be itself a bulwark, not to be sustained by other bulwarks ; 
to rise and look forth, " the tower of Lebanon that looketh 
toward Damascus," like a stern sentinel, not like a child held 
up in its nurse's arms. A tower may, indeed, have a kind of 
buttress, a projection, or subordinate tower at each of its 
angles ; but these are to its main body like the satellites to a 


Plate VI. — Types of Towers. 


shaft, joined with its strength, and associated in its upright 
ness, part of the tower itself : exactly in the proportion in 
which they lose their massive unity with its body and assume 
the form of true buttress walls set on its angles, the tower 
loses its dignity. 

§ xiii. These two characters, then, are common to all noble 
towers, however otherwise different in purpose or feature, — 
the first, that they rise from massy foundation to lighter sum- 
mits, frowning with battlements perhaps, but yet evidently 
more pierced and thinner in wall than beneath, and, in most 
ecclesiastical examples, divided into rich open work : the sec- 
ond, that whatever the form of the tower, it shall not appear 
to stand by help of buttresses. It follows from the first con- 
dition, as indeed it would have followed from ordinary aesthetic 
requirements, that we shall have continual variation in the 
arrangements of the stories, and the larger number of aper- 
tures towards the top, — a condition exquisitely carried out in 
the old Lombardic towers, in which, however small they may 
be, the number of apertures is always regularly increased to- 
wards the summit ; generally one window in the lowest stories, 
two in the second, then three, five, and six ; often, also, one, 
two, four, and six, with beautifyj. symmetries of placing, not 
at present to our purpose. We may sufficiently exemplify the 
general laws of tower building by placing side by side, drawn 
to the same scale, a mediaeval tower, in which most of them 
are simply and unaffectedly observed, and one of our own 
modern towers, in which every one of them is violated, in 
small space, convenient for comparison. (Plate VI.) 

§ xiv. The old tower is that of St. Mark's at Venice, not a 
very perfect example, for its top is Renaissance, but as good 
Renaissance as there is in Venice ; and it is fit for our present 
purpose, because it owes none of its effect to ornament. It is 
built as simply as it well can be to answer its purpose : no 
buttresses ; no external features whatever, except some huts 
at the base, and the loggia, afterwards built, which, on pur< 
pose, I have not drawn ; one bold square mass of brickwork ; 
double walls, with an ascending inclined plane between them, 
with apertures as small as possible, and these only in neces- 


sary places, giving just the light required for ascending th<3 
stair or slope, not a ray more ; and the weight of the whole 
relieved only by the double pilasters on the sides, sustaining- 
small arches at the top of the mass, each decorated with the 
scallop or cockle shell, presently to be noticed as frequent in 
Renaissance ornament, and here, for once, thoroughly well 
applied. Then, when the necessary height is reached, the 
belfry is left open, as in the ordinary Romanesque campanile, 
only the shafts more slender, but severe and simple, and the 
whole crowned by as much spire as the tower would cany, 
to render it more serviceable as a landmark. The arrange- 
ment is repeated in numberless campaniles throughout 

§ xv. The one beside it is one of those of the lately built 
college at Edinburgh. I have not taken it as worse than many 
others (just as I have not taken the St. Mark's tower as better 
than many others) ; but it happens to compress our British 
system of tower building into small space. The Venetian 
tower rises 350 feet,* and has no buttresses, though built of 
brick ; the British tower rises 121 feet, and is built of stone, 
but is supposed to be incapable of standing without two huge 
buttresses on each angle. Jhe St. Mark's tower has a high 
sloping roof, but carries it simply, requiring no pinnacles at 
its angles ; the British tower has no visible roof, but has four 
pinnacles for mere ornament. The Venetian tower has its 
lightest part at the top, and is massy at the base ; the British 
tower has its lightest part at the base, and shuts up its win- 
dows into a mere arrowslit at the top. What the tower was 
built for at all must therefore, it seems to me, remain a mys- 
tery to every beholder ; for surely no studious inhabitant of 
its upper chambers will be conceived to be pursuing his em- 
ployments by the light of the single chink on each side ; and, 
had it been intended for a belfry, the sound of its bells would 

* I have taken Professor Willis's estimate ; there being discrepancy 
among various statements. I did not take the trouble to measure thy 
height myself, the building being one which does not come within the 
range of our future inquiries ; and its exact dimensions, even here, are 
of no importance as respects the question at issue. 


have been as effectually prevented from getting out, as the 
light from getting in. 

§ xvi. In connexion with the subject of towers and of su- 
perimposition, one other feature, not conveniently to be 
omitted from our house-building, requires a moment's notice, 
— the staircase. 

In modern houses it can hardly be considered an architect 
ural feature, and is nearly always an ugly one, from its being 
apparently without support. And here I may not unfitly note 
the important distinction, which perhaps ought to have been 
dwelt upon in some places before now, between the marvellous 
and the perilous in apparent construction. There are many 
edifices which are awful or admirable in their height, and 
lightness, and boldness of form, respecting which, neverthe- 
less, we have no fear that they should fall. Many a mighty 
dome and aerial aisle and arch may seem to stand, as I said, 
by miracle, but by steadfast miracle notwithstanding ; there 
is no fear that the miracle should cease. We have a sense of 
inherent power in them, or, at all events, of concealed and 
mysterious provision for their safety. But in leaning towers, 
as of Pisa or Bologna, and in much minor architecture, pas- 
sive architecture, of modern times, we feel that there is but a 
chance between the building and destruction ; that there is no 
miraculous life in it, which animates it into security, but an 
obstinate, perhaps vain, resistance to immediate danger. The 
appearance of this is often as strong in small things as in 
large ; in the sounding-boards of pulpits, for instance, when 
sustained by a single pillar behind them, so that one is in 
dread, during the whole sermon, of the preacher being crushed 
if a single nail should give way ; and again, the modern geo- 
metrical unsupported staircase. There is great disadvantage, 
also, in the arrangement of this latter, when room is of value ; 
and excessive ungracefulness in its awkward divisions of the 
passage walls, or windows. In mediaeval architecture, where 
there was need of room, the staircase was spiral, and enclosed 
generally in an exterior tower, which added infinitely to the 
picturesque effect of the building ; nor was the stair itself 
steeper nor less commodious than the ordinary compressed 
Vol. I.— 14 


straight staircase of a modern dwelling-house. Many of the 
richest towers of domestic architecture owe their origin to 
this arrangement. In Italy the staircase is often in the open 
air, surrounding the interior court of the house, and giving 
access to its various galleries or loggias : in this case it is al- 
most always supported by bold shafts and arches, and forms 
a most interesting additional feature of the cortile, but pre= 
sents no peculiarity of construction requiring our present ex- 

We may here, therefore, close our inquiries into the sub- 
ject of construction ; nor must the reader be dissatisfied with 
the simplicity or apparent barrenness of their present results. 
He w T ill find, when he begins to apply them, that they are of 
more value than they now seem ; but I have studiously avoided 
letting myself be drawn into any intricate question, because I 
wished to ask from the reader only so much attention as it 
seemed that even the most indifferent would not be unwilling 
to pay to a subject which is hourly becoming of greater prac- 
tical interest. Evidently it would have been altogether beside 
the purpose of this essay to have entered deeply into the ab- 
stract science, or closely into the mechanical detail, of con- 
struction : both have been illustrated by writers far more 
capable of doing so than I, and may be studied at the reader's 
discretion ; all that has been here endeavored was the leading 
him to appeal to something like definite principle, and refer 
to the easilv intellioible laws of convenience and necessity, 
whenever he found his judgment likely to be overborne by 
authority on the one hand, or dazzled by novelty on the other. 
If he has time to do more, and to follow out in all their brill- 
iancy the mechanical inventions of the great engineers and. 
architects of the da} r , I, in some sort, envy him, but must part- 
company with him : for my way lies not along the viaduct, 
but down the quiet valley which its arches cross, nor through 
the tunnel, but up the hill-side which its cavern darkens, to 
see what gifts Nature will give us, and with what imagery she 
will fill our thoughts, that the stones we have ranged in rude 
order may now be touched with life ; nor lose for ever, ia 
their hewn nakedness, the voices they had of old, when the- 


valley streamlet eddied round them in palpitating light, and 
the winds of the hill-side shook over them the shadows of the 



§ i. We enter now on the second division of our subject. 
We have no more to do with heavy stones and hard lines ; we 
are going to be happy : to look round in the world and dis- 
cover (in a serious manner always, however, and under a sense 
of responsibility) what we like best in it, and to enjoy the same 
at our leisure : to gather it, examine it, fasten all we can of it 
into imperishable forms, and put it where we may see it for 


This is to decorate architecture. 

§ ii. There are, therefore, three steps in the process : first, 
to find out in a grave manner what we like best ; secondly, 
to put as much of this as we can (which is little enough) into 
form ; thirdly, to put this formed abstraction into a proper 


And we have now, therefore, to make these three inquiries 
in succession first, what we like, or what is the right material 
of ornament ; then how we are to present it, or its right treat- 
ment ; then, where we are to put it, or its right place. I think 
I can answer that first inquiry in this Chapter, the second in- 
quiry in the next Chapter, and the third I shall answer in a 
more diffusive manner, by taking up in succession the several 
parts of architecture above distinguished, and rapidly noting 
the kind of ornament fittest for each. 

§ in. I said in chapter II. § xrv., that all noble ornamenta- 
tion was the expression of man's delight in God's work. This 
implied that there was an ^noble ornamentation, which was 
the expression of man's delight in his own. There is such a 
school, chiefly degraded classic and Renaissance, in which the 
ornament is composed of imitations of things made by man. I 
think, before inquiring what we like best of God's work, we 


had better get rid of all this imitation of man's, and be quite 
sure we do not like that. 

§ iv. We shall rapidly glance, then, at the material of deco- 
ration hence derived. And now I cannot, as I before have 
done respecting construction, convince the reader of one thing 
being wrong, and another right. I have confessed as much 
again and again ; I am now only to make appeal to him, and 
cross-question him, whether he really does like things or not. 
If he likes the ornament on the base of the column of the Place 
Vendome, composed of Wellington boots and laced frock coats, 
I cannot help it ; I can only say I differ from him, and don't 
like it. And if, therefore, I speak dictatorial!} 7 , and say this 
is base, or degraded, or ugly, I mean only that I believe men 
of the longest experience in the matter would either think it 
so, or would be prevented from thinking it so only by some 
morbid condition of their minds ; and I believe that the reader, 
if he examine himself candidly, will usually agree in my 

§ v. The subjects of ornament found in man's work ma} 
properly fall into four heads : 1. Instruments of art, agriculture, 
and war ; armor, and dress ; 2. Drapery ; 3. Shipping ; 4. 
Architecture itself. 

1. Instruments, armor, and dress. 

The custom of raising trophies on pillars, and of dedicating 
arms in temples, appears to have first suggested the idea of 
employing them as the subjects of sculptural ornament : 
thenceforward, this abuse has been chiefly characteristic of 
classical architecture, whether true or Renaissance. Armor is 
a noble thing in its proper service and subordination to the 
body ; so is an animal's hide on its back ; but a heap of cast 
skins, or of shed armor, is alike unworthy of all regard or imi- 
tation. We owe much true sublimity, and more of delightful 
picturesqueness, to the introduction of armor both in painting 
and sculpture : in poetry it is better still, — Homer's undressed 
Achilles is less grand than his crested and shielded Achilles, 
though Phidias would rather have had him naked ; in all medi- 
aeval painting, arms, like all other parts of costume, are treated 
with exquisite care and delight ; in the designs of Leonardo, 


Raffaelle, and Perugino, the armor sometimes becomes almost 
too conspicuous from the rich and endless invention bestowed 
upon it ; while Titian and Rubens seek in its flash what the 
Milanese and Perugian sought in its form., sometimes subordi- 
nating heroism to the light of the steel, while the great 
designers wearied themselves in its elaborate fancy. 

But all this labor was given to the living, not the dead 
armor ; to the shell with its animal in it, not the cast shell of 
the beach ; and even so, it was introduced more sparingly by 
the good sculptors than the good painters ; for the former 
felt, and with justice, that the painter had the power of con- 
quering the over prominence of costume by the expression 
and color of the countenance, and that by the darkness of the 
eye, and glow of the cheek, he could always conquer the gloom 
and the flash of the mail ; but they could hardly, by any 
boldness or energy of the marble features, conquer the for- 
wardness and conspicuousness of the sharp armorial forms. 
Their armed figures were therefore almost always subordi- 
nate, their principal figures draped or naked, and their choice 
of subject was much influenced by this feeling of necessity. 
But the Renaissance sculptors displayed the love of a Camilla 
for the mere crest and plume. Paltry and false alike in every 
feeling of their narrowed minds, they attached themselves, not 
only to costume without the person, but to the pettiest de- 
tails of the costume itself. They could not describe Achilles, 
but they could describe his shield ; a shield like those of 
dedicated spoil, without a handle, never to be waved in the 
face of war. And then we have helmets and lances, banners 
and swords, sometimes with men to hold them, sometimes 
without ; but always chiselled with a tailor-like love of the 
chasing or the embroidery, — show helmets of the stage, no 
'Vulcan work on them, no heavy hammer strokes, no Etna fire 
in the metal of them, nothing but pasteboard crests and high 
feathers. And these, cast together in disorderly heaps, or 
grinning vacantly over key-stones, form one of the leading 
decorations of Renaissance architecture, and that one of the 
best ; for helmets and lances, however loosely laid, are better 
than violins, and pipes, and books of music, which were 


another of the Palladian and Sansovinian sources of orna- 
ment. Supported by ancient authority, the abuse soon be- 
came a matter of pride, and since it was easy to copy a heap 
of cast clothes, but difficult to manage an arranged design of 
human figures, the indolence of architects came to the aid of 
their affectation, until by the moderns we find the practice 
carried out to its most interesting results, and, as above 
noted, a large pair of boots occupying the principal place in 
the bas-reliefs on the base of the Colonne Vendome. 

§ vi. A less offensive, because singularly grotesque, ex- 
ample of the abuse at its height, occurs in the Hotel des In- 
valides, where the dormer windows are suits of armor down 
to the bottom of the corselet, crowned by the helmet, and 
with the window in the middle of the breast 

Instruments of agriculture and the arts are of less frequent 
occurrence, except in hieroglyphics, and other work, where 
they are not employed as ornaments, but represented for the 
sake of accurate knowledge, or as symbols. Wherever they 
have purpose of this kind, they are of course perfectly right ; 
but they are then part of the building's conversation, not con- 
ducive to its beauty. The French have managed, with great 
dexterity, the representation of the machinery for the eleva- 
tion of their Luxor obelisk, now sculptured on its base. 

§ vn. 2. Drapery. I have already spoken of the error of 
introducing drapery, as such, for ornament, in the " Seven 
Lamps." I may here note a curious instance of the abuse in 
the church of the Jesuiti at Venice (Renaissance). On first 
entering you suppose that the church, being in a poor quarter 
of the city, has been somewhat meanly decorated by heavy 
green and white curtains of an ordinary upholsterer's pat" 
tern : on looking closer, they are discovered to be of marble, 
with the green pattern inlaid. Another remarkable instance 
is in a piece of not altogether unworthy architecture at Paris 
(Rue Rivoli), where the columns are supposed to be decorated 
with images of handkerchiefs tied in a stout knot round the 
middle of them. This shrewd invention bids fair to become a 
new order. Multitudes of massy curtains and various uphol- 
stery, more or less in imitation of that of the drawing-room, 


are carved and gilt, in wood or stone, about the altars and 
other theatrical portions of Romanist churches ; but from 
these coarse and senseless vulgarities we may well turn, in all 
haste, to note, with respect as well as regret, one of the errors 
of the great school of Niccolo Fisano,— an error so full of 
feeling as to be sometimes all but redeemed, and altogether 
forgiven,-— the sculpture, namely, of curtains around the re- 
cumbent statues upon tombs, curtains which angels are rep- 
resented as withdrawing, to gaze upon the faces of those who 
are at rest. For some time the idea was simply and slightly 
expressed, and though there was always a painfulness in find- 
ing the shafts of stone, which were felt to be the real support- 
ers of the canopy, represented as of yielding drapery, yet the 
beauty of the angelic figures, and the tenderness of the 
thought, disarmed all animadversion. But the scholars of the 
Pisani, as usual, caricatured when they were unable to invent ; 
and the quiet curtained canopy became a huge marble tent, 
with a pole in the centre of it. Thus vulgarised, the idea 
itself soon disappeared, to make room for urns, torches, and 
weepers, and the other modern paraphernalia of the church- 

§ viii. 3. Shipping. I have allowed this kind of subject to 

form a separate head, owing to the importance of rostra in 

Roman decoration, and to the continual occurrence of naval 

subjects in modern monumental bas-relief. Mr. Fergusson 

says, somewhat doubtfully, that he perceives a "kind of 

beauty " in a ship : I say, without any manner of doubt, that 

a ship is one of the loveliest things man ever made, and one of 

the noblest ; nor do I know any lines, out of divine work, so 

lovely as those of the head of a ship, or even as the sweep of 

the timbers of a small boat, not a race boat, a mere floating 

chisel, but a broad, strong, sea boat, able to breast a wave and 

break it : and yet, with all this beauty, ships cannot be made 

subjects of sculpture. No one pauses in particular delight 

beneath the pediments of the Admiralty ; nor does scenery of 

shipping ever become prominent in bas-relief without destroy- 

ing it : witness the base of the Nelson pillar. It may be, and 

must be sometimes, introduced in severe subordination to th« 


figure subject, but just enough to indicate the scene ; sketched 
in the lightest lines on the background ; never with any at- 
tempt at realisation, never with any equality to the force of 
the figures, unless the whole purpose of the subject be pictu- 
resque. I shall explain this exception presently, in speaking 
of imitative architecture. 

§ rx. There is one piece of a ship's fittings, however, which 
may be thought to have obtained acceptance as a constant 
element of architectural ornament, — the cable : it is not, how- 
ever, the cable itself, but its abstract form, a group of twisted 
lines (which a cable only exhibits in common with many natu- 
ral objects), which is indeed beautiful as an ornament. Make 
the resemblance complete, give to the stone the threads and 
character of the cable, and you may, perhaps, regard the 
sculpture with curiosity, but never more with admiration. 
Consider the effect of the base of the statue of King William 
IV. at the end of London Bridge. 

§ x. 4. Architecture itself. The erroneous use of armor, or 
dress, or instruments, or shipping, as decorative subject, is 
almost exclusively confined to bad architecture — Roman or 
Renaissance. But the false use of architecture itself, as an 
ornament of architecture, is conspicuous even in the mediaeval 
work of the best times, and is a grievous fault in some of its 
noblest examples. 

It is, therefore, of great importance to note exactly at what 
point this abuse begins, and in what it consists. 

§ xi. In all bas-relief, architecture may be introduced as an 
explanation of the scene in which the figures act ; but with 
more or less prominence in the inverse ratio of the importance 
of the figures. 

The metaphysical reason of this is, that where the figures 
are of great value and beauty, the mind is supposed to be en- 
gaged wholly with them ; and it is an impertinence to disturb 
its contemplation of them by any minor features whatever. 
As the figures become of less value, and are regarded with less 
intensity, accessory subjects may be introduced, such as the 
thoughts may have leisure for. 

Thus, if the figures be as large as life, and complete statues, 


it is gross vulgarity to carve a temple above them, or distribute 
them over sculptured rocks, or lead them up steps into pyra- 
mids : I need hardly instance Can ova's works,* and the Dutch 
pulpit groups, with fishermen, boats, and nets, in the midst 
of church naves. 

If the figures be in bas-relief, though as large as life, the 
scene may be explained by lightly traced outlines : this is ad- 
mirably done in the Ninevite marbles. 

If the figures be in bas-relief, or even alto-relievo, but less 
than life, and if their purpose is rather to enrich a space and 
produce picturesque shadows, than to draw the thoughts en- 
tirely to themselves, the scenery in which they act may become 
prominent. The most exquisite examples of this treatment are 
the gates of Ghiberti. What would that Madonna of the An- 
nunciation be, without the little shrine into which she shrinks 
back ? But all mediaeval work is full of delightful examples 
of the same kind of treatment : the gates of hell and of para- 
dise are important pieces, both of explanation and effect, in 
all early representations of the last judgment, or of the de- 
scent into Hades. The keys of St. Peter, and the crushing 
flat of the devil under his own door, when it is beaten in, 
would hardly be understood without the respective gateways 
above. The best of all the later capitals of the Ducal Palace 
of Venice depends for great part of its value on the richness 
of a small campanile, which is pointed to proudly by a small 
emperor in a turned-np hat, who, the legend informs us, is 
"Numa Pompilio, imperador, edifichador di tempi e chiese." 

§ xn. Shipping may be introduced, or rich fancy of vest- 
ments, crowns, and ornaments, exactly on the same conditions 
as architecture ; and if the reader will look back to my defi- 
nition of the picturesque in the " Seven Lamps," he will see 
why I said, above, that they might only be prominent when the 
purpose of the subject was partly picturesque ; that is to say, 
when the mind is intended to derive part of its enjoyment 
from the parasitical qualities and accidents of the thing, not 
from the heart of the thing itself. 

* The admiration of Oanoval hold to be one of the most deadly symp- 
toms in the civilisation of the upper classes in the present century. 


And thus, while we must regret the flapping sails in the 
death of Nelson in Trafalgar Square, we may yet most heartily 
enjoy the sculpture of a storm in one of the bas reliefs of the 
tomb of St. Pietro Martire in the church of St. Eustorgio at 
Milan, where the grouping of the figures is most fancifully 
complicated by the under-cut cordage of the vessel. 

§ xiii. In all these instances, however, observe that the per- 
mission to represent the human work as an ornament, is con- 
ditional on its being necessary to the representation of a 
scene, or explanation of an action. On no terms whatever 
could any such subject be independently admissible. 

Observe, therefore, the use of manufacture as ornament is — 

1. With heroic figure sculpture, not admissible at all. 

2. "With picturesque figure sculpture, admissible in the de- 

gree of its picturesqueness. 

3. Without figure sculpture, not admissible at all. 

So also in painting : Michael Angelo, in the Sistine Chapel, 
would not have willingly painted a dress of figured damask or 
of watered satin ; his was heroic painting, not admitting ac- 

Tintoret, Titian, Veronese, Rubens, and Vandyck, would 
be very sorry to part with their figured stuffs and lustrous 
silks ; and sorry, observe, exactly in the degree of their pict- 
uresque feeling. Should not we also be sorry to have Bishop 
Ambrose without his vest, in that picture of the National Gal- 

But I think Vandyck would not have liked, on the other 
hand, the vest without the bishop. I much doubt if Titian or 
Veronese would have enjoyed going into Waterloo House, and 
making studies of dresses upon the counter. 

§ xiv. So, therefore, finally, neither architecture nor any 
other human work is admissible as an ornament, except in 
subordination to figure subject. And this law is grossly and 
painfully violated by those curious examples of Gothic, both 
early and late, in the north, (but late, I think, exclusively, in 
Italy,) in which the minor features of the architecture were 


co nposed of small models of the larger : examples which led 
the way to a series of abuses materially affecting the life, 
strength, and nobleness of the Northern Gothic,— abuses 
which no Ninevite, nor Egyptian, nor Greek, nor Byzantine, 
nor Italian of the earlier ages would have endured for an in- 
stant, and which strike me with renewed surprise whenever 
I pass beneath a portal of thirteenth century Northern 
Gothic, associated as they are with manifestations of exqui- 
site feeling and power in other directions. The porches of 
Bourges, Amiens, Notre Dame of Paris, and Notre Dame of 
Dijon, may be noted as conspicuous in error : small models 
of feudal towers with diminutive windows and battlements, 
of cathedral spires with scaly pinnacles, mixed with temple 
pediments and nondescript edifices of every kind, are crowded 
together over the recess of the niche into a confused fool's 
cap for the saint below. Italian Gothic is almost entirely 
free from the taint of this barbarism until the Renaissance 
period, when it becomes rampant in the cathedral of Como 
find Certosa of Pavia ; and at Venice we find the Renaissance 
churches decorated with models of fortifications like those in 
the repository at Woolwich, or inlaid with mock arcades in 
pseudo-perspective, copied from gardeners' paintings at the 
ends of conservatories. 

§ xv. I conclude, then, with the reader's leave, that all 
ornament is base which takes for its subject human work, 
that it is utterly base,— painful to every rightly-toned mind, 
without perhaps immediate sense of the reason, but for a 
reason palpable enough when we do think of it. For to carve 
our own work, and set it up for admiration, is a miserable 
self-complacency, a contentment in our own wretched doings, 
when we might have been looking at God's doings. And all 
noble ornament is the exact reverse of this. It is the expres- 
sion of man's delight in God's work. 

§ xvi. For observe, the function of ornament is to make 
you happy. Now in what are you rightly happy? Not in 
thinking of what you have done yourself ; not in your own 
pride, not your own birth ; not in your own being, or your 
own will, but in looking at God ; watching what He does. 


what He is ; and obeying His law, and yielding yourself to 
His will. 

You are to be made happy by ornaments ; therefore they 
must be the expression of all this. Not copies of your own 
handiwork ; not boastings of your own grandeur ; not herald- 
ries ; not king's arms, nor any creature's arms, but God's arm, 
seen in His work. Not manifestation of your delight in youi 
own laws, or your own liberties, or your own inventions ; but 
in divine laws, constant, daily, common laws ; — not Composite 
laws, nor Doric laws, nor laws of the five orders, but of the 
Ten Commandments. 

§ xvii. Then the proper material of ornament will be what- 
ever God has created ; and its proper treatment, that which 
seems in accordance with or symbolical of His laws. And, for 
material, we shall therefore have, first, the abstract lines 
which are most frequent in nature ; and then, from lower to 
higher, the whole range of systematised inorganic and organic 
forms. We shall rapidly glance in order at their kinds ; and, 
however absurd the elemental division of inorganic matter by 
the ancients may seem to the modern chemist, it is one so 
grand and simple for arrangements of external appearances, 
that I shall here follow it ; noticing first, after abstract lines, 
the imitable forms of the four elements, of Earth, Water, 
Fire, and Air, and then those of animal organisms. It may 
be convenient to the reader to have the order stated in a 
clear succession at first, thus : — 

1. Abstract lines. 

2. Forms of Earth (Crystals). 

3. Forms of Water (Waves). 

4. Forms of Fire (Flames and Eays). 

5. Forms of Air (Clouds). 

6. (Organic forms.) Shells. 

7. Fish. 

8. Reptiles and insects. 

9. Vegetation (A.) Stems and Trunks, 

10. Vegetation (B.) Foliage. 

11. Birds. 

12. Mammalian animals and Man. 


It may be objected that clouds are a form of moisture, not 
cf air. They are, however, a perfect expression of aerial states 
and currents, and may sufficiently well stand for the element 
they move in. And I have put vegetation apparently some- 
what out of its place, owing to its vast importance as a means 
of decoration, and its constant association with birds and men. 

§ xviii. 1. Abstract lines. I have not with lines named 
also shades and colors, for this evident reason, that there are 
no such things as abstract shadows, irrespective of the forms 
which exhibit them, and distinguished in their own nature 
from each other ; and that the arrangement of shadows, in 
greater or less quantity, or in certain harmonical successions, 
is an affair of treatment, not of selection. And when we use 
abstract colors, we are in fact using a part of nature herself, 
— using a quality of her light, correspondent with that of the 
air, to carry sound ; and the arrangement of color in harmo- 
nious masses is again a matter of treatment, not selection. 
Yet even in this separate art of coloring, as referred to archi- 
tecture, it is very notable that the best tints are always those 
of natural stones. These can hardly be wrong ; I think I 
never yet saw an offensive introduction of the natural colors of 
marble and precious stones, unless in small mosaics, and in one 
or two glaring instances of the resolute determination to pro- 
duce something ugly at any cost. On the other hand, I have 
most assuredly never yet seen a painted building, ancient or 
modern, which seemed to me quite right. 

§ xix. Our first constituents of ornament will therefore be 
abstract lines, that is to say, the most frequent contours of 
natural objects, transferred to architectural forms when it is 
not right or possible to render such forms distinctly imitative. 
For instance, the line or curve of the edge of a leaf may be 
accurately given to the edge of a stone, without rendering the 
stone in the least like a leaf, or suggestive of a leaf ; and this 
the more fully, because the lines of nature are alike in all her 
works ; simpler or richer in combination, but the same in 
character ; and when they are taken out of their combinations 
it is impossible to say from which of her works they have been 
borrowed, their universal property being that of ever-varying 


curvature in the most subtle and subdued transitions, witn 
peculiar expressions of motion, elasticity, or dependence, which 
I have already insisted upon at some length in the chapters on 
typical beauty in "Modern Painters." But, that the reader 
may here be able to compare them for himself as deduced from 
different sources, I have drawn, as accurately as I can, on the 
opposite plate, some ten or eleven lines from natural forms of 
very different substances and scale : the first, a b, is in the orig- 
inal, I think, the most beautiful simple curve I have ever seen 
in my life ; it is a curve about three quarters of a mile long, 
formed by the surface of a small glacier of the second order, 
on a spur of the Aiguille de Blaitiere (Chamouni). I have 
merely outlined the crags on the right of it, to show their 
sympathy and united action with the curve of the glacier, 
which is of course entirely dependent on their opposition to 
its descent ; softened, however, into unity by the snow, which 
rarely melts on this high glacier surface. 

The line d cis some mile and a half or two miles long ; it is 
part of the flank of the chain of the Dent d'Oche above the 
lake of Geneva, one or two of the lines of the higher and more 
distant ranges being given in combination with it. 

h is a line about four feet long, a branch of spruce fir. I 
have taken this tree because it is commonly supposed to be 
stiff and ungraceful ; its outer sprays are, however, more noble 
in their sweep than almost any that I know : but this fragment 
is seen at great disadvantage, because placed upside down, in 
order that the reader may compare its curvatures with c d, eg, 
and i k, which are all mountain lines ; e g, about five hundred 
feet of the southern edge of the Matterhorn ; i k, the entire 
slope of the Aiguille Bouchard, from its summit into the valley 
of Chamouni, a line some three miles long ; I m is the line of 
the side of a willow leaf traced by laying the leaf on the paper ; 
n o, one of the innumerable groups of curves at the lip of a 
paper Nautilus ; p, a spiral, traced on the paper round a Ser- 
j3ula ; q r, the leaf of the Alisma Plantago with its interior 
ribs, real size ; s t, the side of a bay-leaf ; u w, of a salvia leaf ; 
and it is to be carefully noted that these last curves, being 
never intended by nature to be seen singly, are more heavy 











i __ . 



and less agreeable than any of the others which would be seen 
as independent lines. But all agree in their character of 
changeful curvature, the mountain and glacier lines only ex- 
celling the rest in delicacy and richness of transition. 

§ xx. Why lines of this kind are beautiful, I endeavored to 
show in the "Modern Painters;" but one point, there omitted, 
may be mentioned here, — that almost all these lines are ex- 
pressive of action of force of some kind, while the circle is a 
line of limitation or support. In leafage they mark the forces 
of its growth and expansion, but some among the most beau- 
tiful of them are described by bodies variously in motion, or 
subjected to force ; as by projectiles in the air, by the par- 
ticles of water in a gentle current, by planets in motion in an 
orbit, by their satellites, if the actual path of the satellite in 
space be considered instead of its relation to the planet ; by 
boats, or birds, turning in the water or air, by clouds in vari- 
ous action upon the wind, by sails in the curvatures they as- 
sume under its force, and by thousands of other objects mov- 
ing or bearing force. In the Alisma leaf, q r, the lines through 
its body, which are of peculiar beauty, mark the different ex- 
pansions of its fibres, and are, I think, exactly the same as 
those which would be traced by the currents of a river enter- 
ing a lake of the shape of the leaf, at the end where the stalk 
is, and passing out at its point. Circular curves, on the con- 
trary, are always, I think, curves of limitation or support ; that 
is to say, curves of perfect rest. The cylindrical curve round 
the stem of a plant binds its fibres together ; while the ascent 
of the stem is in lines of various curvature : so the curve of the 
horizon and of the apparent heaven, of the rainbow, etc. : and 
though the reader might imagine that the circular orbit of any 
moving body, or the curve described by a sling, was a curve 
of motion, he should observe that the circular character is 
given to the curve not by the motion, but by the confinement : 
the circle is the consequence not of the energy of the body, 
but of its being forbidden to leave the centre ; and whenever 
the whirling or circular motion can be fully impressed on it 
we obtain instant balance and rest with respect to the centre 
of the circle. 


Hence the peculiar fitness of the circular curve as a sign of 
rest, and security of support, in arches ; while the other curves, 
belonging especially to action, are to be used in the more ac- 
tive architectural features — the hand and foot (the capital and 
base), and in all minor ornaments ; more freely in proportion 
to their independence of structural conditions. 

§ xxi. We need not, however, hope to be able to imitate, in 
general work, any of the subtly combined curvatures of nat- 
ure's highest designing : on the contrary, their extreme re- 
finement renders them unfit for coarse sendee or material. 
Lines which are lovely in the pearly film of the Nautilus shell, 
are lost in the grey roughness of stone ; and those which are 
sublime in the blue of far away hills, are weak in the sub- 
stance of incumbent marble. Of all the graceful lines assem- 
bled on Plate VII., we shall do well to be content with two of 
the simplest. We shall take one mountain line (e g) and one 
leaf line (u iv), or rather fragments of them, for we shall per- 
haps not want them all. I will mark off from u w the little 
bit x y, and from e g the piece ef; both which appear to me 
likely to be serviceable : and if hereafter we need the help of 
any abstract lines, we will see what we can do with these only. 

§ xxn. 2. Forms of Earth (Crystals). It may be asked why 
I do not say rocks or mountains ? Simply, because the no- 
bility of these depends, first, on their scale, and, secondly, on 
accident. Their scale cannot be represented, nor their acci- 
dent systematised. No sculptor can in the least imitate the 
peculiar character of accidental fracture : he can obey or ex- 
hibit the laws of nature, but he cannot copy the felicity of 
her fancies, nor follow the steps of her fury. The very glory 
of a mountain is in the revolutions which raised it into power, 
and the forces which are striking it into ruin. But we want 
no cold and careful imitation of catastrophe ; no calculated 
mockery of convulsion ; no delicate recommendation of ruin. 
We are to follow the labor of Nature, but not her disturb- 
ance ; to imitate what she has deliberately ordained,* not 

* Thus above, I adduced for the architect's imitation the appointed 
stories and beds of the Matterhorn, not its irregular forms of crag or fibr 


what she lias violently suffered, or strangely permitted. The 
only uses, therefore, of rock form which are wise in the archi- 
tect, are its actual introduction (by leaving untouched such 
blocks as are meant for rough service), and that noble use of 
the general examples of mountain structure of which I have 
often heretofore spoken. Imitations of rock form have, for 
the most part, been confined to periods of degraded feeling and 
to architectural toys or pieces of dramatic effect, — the Calva- 
ries and holy sepulchres of Eomanism, or the grottoes and 
fountains of English gardens. They were, however, not un- 
f requent in medieval bas-reliefs ; very curiously and elaborately 
treated by Ghiberti on the doors of Florence, and in religious 
sculpture necessarily introduced wherever the life of the anch- 
orite was to be expressed. They were rarely introduced as 
of ornamental character, but for particular service and expres- 
sion ; we shall see an interesting example in the Ducal Palace 

at Venice. 

§ xxiii. But against crystalline form, which is the com- 
pletely systematised natural structure of the earth, none of 
these objections hold good, and, accordingly, it is an endless 
element of decoration, where higher conditions of structure 
cannot be represented. The four-sided pyramid, perhaps the 
most frequent of all natural crystals, is called in architecture 
a dogtooth ; its use is quite limitless, and always beautiful : 
the cube and rhomb are almost equally frequent in chequers 
and dentils ; and all mouldings of the middle Gothic are little 
more than representations of the canaliculated crystals of the 
beryl, and such other minerals : 

§ xxiv. Not knowingly. I do not suppose a single hint 
was ever actually taken from mineral form ; not even by tli3 
Arabs in their stalactite pendants and vaults : all that I mean 
to allege is, that beautiful ornament, wherever found, or how- 
ever invented, is always either an intentional or unintentional 
copy of some constant natural form ; and that in this particu- 
lar instance, the pleasure we have in these geometrical figures 
of our own invention, is dependent for all its acuteness on the 
natural tendency impressed on us by our Creator to love the 
forms into which the earth He gave us to tread, and out of 
Vol. I.— 15 


which He formed our bodies, knit itself as it was separated 
from the deep. 

§ xxv. 3. Forms of Water (Waves). 

The reasons which prevent rocks from being used for orna- 
ment repress still more forcibly the portraiture of the sea. 
Yet the constant necessity of introducing some representation 
of water in order to explain the scene of events, or as a sacred 
symbol, has forced the sculptors of all ages to the invention of 
some type or letter for it, if not an actual imitation. We 
find every degree of conventionalism or of naturalism in these 
types, the earlier being, for the most part, thoughtful sym- 
bols ; the latter, awkward attempts at portraiture.* The 
most conventional of all types is the Egyptian zigzag, pre- 
served in the astronomical sign of Aquarius ; but every na- 
tion, with any capacities of thought, has given, in some of its 
work, the same great definition of open water, as "an undula- 
tory thing with fish in it." I say open water, because inland 
nations have a totally different conception of the element. 
Imagine for an instant the different feelings of an husband- 
man whose hut is built by the Rhine or the Po, and who 
sees, day by day, the same giddy succession of silent power, 
the same opaque, thick, whirling, irresistible labyrinth of 
rushing lines and twisted eddies, coiling themselves into ser- 
pentine race by the reedy banks, in omne volubilis aevum, — 
and the image of the sea in the mind of the fisher upon the 
rocks of Ithaca, or by the Straits of Sicily, who sees how, day 
by day, the morning winds come coursing to the shore, every 
breath of them with a green wave rearing before it ; clear, 
crisp, ringing, merry-minded waves, that fall over and over 
each other, laughing like children as they near the beach, and 
at last clash themselves all into dust of crystal over the daz- 
zling sweeps of sand. Fancy the difference of the image of 
water in those two minds, and then compare the sculpture of 
the coiling eddies of the Tigris and its reedy branches in 
those slabs of Nineveh, with the crested curls of the Greek 
sea on the coins of Camerina or Tarentum. But both agree 
in the undulatory lines, either of the currents or the surface, 
* Appendix 21, "Ancient Representations of Water." 


and in the introduction of fish as explanatory of the meaning 
of those lines (so also the Egyptians in their frescoes, with 
most elaborate realisation of the fish). There is a very curi- 
ous instance on a Greek mirror in the British Museum, rep- 
resenting Orion on the Sea ; and multitudes of examples with 
dolphins on the Greek vases ; the type is preserved without 
alteration in mediaeval painting and sculpture. The sea in 
that Greek mirror (at least 400 b.c), in the mosaics of Tor- 
cello and St. Mark's, on the front of St. Frediano at Lucca, on 
the gate of the fortress of St. Michael's Mount in Normandy, 
on the Bayeux tapestry, and on the capitals of the Ducal 
Palace at Venice (under Arion on his Dolphin), is represented 
in a manner absolutely identical. Giotto, in the frescoes of 
Avignon, has, vith. his usual strong feeling for naturalism, 
given the best example I remember, in painting, of the unity 
of the conventional system with direct imitation, and that 
both in sea and river ; giving in pure blue color the coiling 
whirlpool of the stream, and the curled crest of the breaker. 
But in all early sculptural examples, both imitation and dec- 
orative effect are subordinate to easily understood symbolical 
language ; the undulatory lines are often valuable as an en- 
richment of surface, but are rarely of any studied graceful- 
ness. , One of the best examples I know of their expressive 
arrangement is around some figures in a spandril at Bourges, 
representing figures sinking in deep sea (the deluge) : the 
waved lines yield beneath the bodies and wildly lave the edge 
of the moulding, two birds, as if to mark the reverse of all 
order of nature, lowest of all sunk in the depth of them. In 
later times of debasement, water began to be represented with 
its waves, foam, etc., as on the Vendramin tomb at Venice, 
above cited ; but even there, without any definite ornamental 
purpose, the sculptor meant partly to explain a story, partly 
to display dexterity of chiselling, but not to produce beauti- 
ful forms pleasant to the eye. The imitation is vapid and 
joyless, and it has often been matter of surprise to me that 
sculptors, so fond of exhibiting their skill, should have suf- 
fered this imitation to fall so short, and remain so cold, — 
should not have taken more pains to curl the waves clearly, to 


edge them sharply, and to express, by drillholes or other ar- 
tifices, the character of foam. I think in one of the Antwerp 
churches something of this kind is done in wood, but in gen- 
eral it is rare. 

§ xxvi. 4. Forms of Fire (Flames and Rays). If neither the 
sea nor the rock can be imagined, still less the devouring fire. 
It has been symbolised by radiation both in painting and 
sculpture, for the most part in the latter very unsuccessfully. 
It was suggested to me, not long ago,* that zigzag decorations 
of Norman architects were typical of light springing from the 
half-set orb of the sun ; the resemblance to the ordinary sun 
type is indeed remarkable, but I believe accidental. I shall 
give you, in my large plates, two curious instances of radiation 
in brick ornament above arches, but I think these also without 
any very luminous intention. The imitations of fire in the 
torches of Cupids and genii, and burning in tops of urns, which 
attest and represent the mephitic inspirations of the seven- 
teenth century in most London churches, and in monuments 
all over civilised Europe, together with the gilded rays of Ro- 
manist altars, may be left to such mercy as the reader is in- 
clined to show them. 

§ xxvii. 5. Forms of Air (Clouds). Hardly more manage- 
able than flames, and of no ornamental use, their majesty being 
in scale and color, and inimitable in marble. They are lightly 
traced in much of the cinque cento sculpture ; very boldly and 
grandly in the strange Last judgment in the porch of St. 
Maclou at Rouen, described in the "Seven Lainps." But the 
most elaborate imitations are altogether of recent date, ar- 
ranged in concretions like flattened sacks, forty or fifty feet 
above the altars of continental churches, mixed with the gilded 
truncheons intended for sunbeams above alluded to. 

§ xxviii. 6. Shells. I place these lowest in the scale (after 
inorganic forms) as being moulds or coats of organism ; not 
themselves organic. The sense of this, and of their being 
mere emptiness and deserted houses, must always prevent 
them, however beautiful in their lines, from being largely used 
in ornamentation. It is better to take the line and leave the 
* By the friend to whoin I owe Appendix 21. 


shell. One form, indeed, that of the cockle, has been in all 
a°"es used as the decoration of half domes, which were named 
conchas from their shell form : and I believe the wrinkled lip 
of the cockle, so used, to have been the origin, in some parts 
of Europe at least, of the exuberant foliation of the round 
arch. The scallop also is a pretty radiant form, and mingles 
well with other symbols when it is needed. The crab is always 
as delightful as a grotesque, for here we suppose the beast in- 
side the shell ; and he sustains his part in a lively manner 
among the other signs of the zodiac, with the scorpion ; or 
scattered upon sculptured shores, as beside the Bronze Boar 
of Florence. We shall find him in a basket at Venice, at the 
base of one of the Piazzetta shafts. 

§ xxix. 7. Fish. These, as beautiful in their forms as they 
are familiar to our sight, while their interest is increased by 
their symbolic meaning, are of great value as material of orna- 
ment. Love of the picturesque has generally induced a choice 
of some supple form with scaly body and lashing tail, but the 
simplest fish form is largely employed in mediaeval work. "We 
shall find the plain oval body and sharp head of the Thunny 
constantly at Venice ; and the fish used in the expression of 
sea-water, or water generally, are always plain bodied creat- 
ures in the best mediaeval sculpture. The Greek type of the 
dolphin, however, sometimes but slightly exaggerated from 
the real outline of the Delphinus Delphis,* is one of the most 
picturesque of animal forms ; and the action of its slow revolv- 
ing plunge is admirably caught upon the surface sea repre- 
sented in Greek vases. 

§ xxx. 8. Eeptiles and Insects. The forms of the serpent 
and lizard exhibit almost every element of beauty and horror 
in strange combination ; the horror, which in an imitation is 
felt only as a pleasurable excitement, has rendered them favor- 
ite subjects in all periods of art ; and the unity of both lizard 

* One is glad to hear from Cuvier, that though dolphins in general are 
" lesplus curnassiers, et proportion garde' e avec leurtaille, les plus cruels 
de l'ordre ; " yet that in the Delphinus Delphis, " tout l'organisation de 
son cerveau annonce quHl ne doit pas etre depourvu de la docilite qu'ils 
(les anciens) lui attribuaient." 


and serpent in the ideal dragon, the most picturesque and 
powerful of all animal forms, and of peculiar symbolical in- 
terest to the Christian mind, is perhaps the principal of all the 
materials of mediaeval picturesque sculpture. By the best 
s2ulptors it is always used with this symbolic meaning, by the 
cinque cento sculptors as an ornament merely. The best and 
most natural representations of mere viper or snake are to be 
found interlaced among their confused groups of meaningless 
objects. The real power and horror of the snake-head has, 
however, been rarely reached. I shall give one example from 
Verona of the twelfth century. 

Other less powerful reptile forms are not unfrequent. 
Small frogs, lizards, and snails almost alwa}'s enliven the fore- 
grounds and leafage of good sculpture. The tortoise is less 
usually employed in groups. Beetles are chiefly mystic and 
colossal. Various insects, like everything else in the world, 
occur in cinque cento work ; grasshoppers most frequently. 
We shall see on the Ducal Palace at Venice an interesting use 
of the bee. 

§ xxxi. 9. Branches and stems of Trees. I arrange these 
under a separate head ; because, while the forms of leafage 
belong to all architecture, and ought to be employed in it 
always, those of the branch and stem belong to a peculiar 
imitative and luxuriant architecture, and are only applicable 
at times. Pagan sculptors seem to have perceived little beauty 
in the stems of trees ; they were little else than timber to 
them ; and they preferred the rigid and monstrous triglyph, 
or the fluted column, to a broken bough or gnarled trunk. 
But with Christian knowledge came a peculiar regard for the 
forms of vegetation, from the root upwards. The actual rep- 
resentation of the entire trees required in many scripture sub- 
jects, — as in the most frequent of Old Testament subjects, the 
Fall ; and again in the Drunkenness of Noah, the Garden 
Agony, and many others, familiarised the sculptors of bas- 
relief to the beauty of forms before unknown ; while the sym- 
bolical name given to Christ by the Prophets, "the Branch," 
and the frequent expressions referring to this image through- 
out every scriptural description of conversion, gave an especial 


interest to the Christian mind to this portion of vegetative 
structure. For some time, nevertheless, the sculpture of trees 
was confined to bas-relief ; but it at last affected even the treat- 
ment of the main shafts in Lombard Gothic buildings, — as in 
the western facade of Genoa, where two of the shafts are rep* 
resented as gnarled trunks : and as bas-relief itself became 
more boldly introduced, so did tree sculpture, until we find 
the writhed and knotted stems of the vine and fig used for 
angle shafts on the Doge's Palace, and entire oaks and apple- 
trees forming, roots and all, the principal decorative sculp- 
tures of the Scala tombs at Verona. It was then discovered 
to be more easy to carve branches than leaves ; and, much 
helped by the frequent employment in later Gothic of the 
" Tree of Jesse," for traceries and other purposes, the system 
reached full development in a perfect thicket of twigs, which 
form the richest portion of the decoration of the porches of 
JBeauvais. It had now been carried to its richest extreme : 
men wearied of it and abandoned it, and like all other natural 
and beautiful things, it was osti'acised by the mob of Kenais- 
sance architects. But it is interesting to observe how the 
human mind, in its acceptance of this feature of ornament, 
proceeded from the ground, and followed, as it were, the nat- 
ural growth of the tree. It began with the rude and solid 
trunk, as at Genoa ; then the branches shot out, and became 
loaded leaves ; autumn came, the leaves were shed, and the 
eye was directed to the extremities of the delicate branches ; 
— the Renaissance frosts came, and all perished. 

§ xxxii. 10. Foliage, Flowers, and Fruit. It is necessary 
to consider these as separated from the stems ; not only, as 
above noted, because their separate use marks another school 
of architecture, but because they are the only organic struct- 
ures which are capable of being so treated, and intended to be 
so, without strong effort of imagination. To pull animals to 
pieces, and use their paws for feet of furniture, or their heads 
for terminations of rods and shafts, is usually the characteris- 
tic of feelingless schools ; the greatest men like their animals 
whole. The head may, indeed, be so managed as to look 
emergent from the stone, rather than fastened to it ; and 


wherever there is throughout the architecture any expression 
of sternness or severity (severity in its literal sense, as in 
Romans,' xi. 22), such divisions of the living form may be per- 
mitted ; still, you cannot cut an animal to pieces as you can 
gather a flower or a leaf. These were intended for our gath- 
ering, and for our constant delight : wherever men exist in a 
perfectly civilised and healthy state, they have vegetation 
around them ; wherever their state approaches that of inno- 
cence or perfectness, it approaches that of Paradise, — it is a 
dressing of garden. And, therefore, where nothing else can 
be used for ornament, vegetation may ; vegetation in any 
form, however fragmentary, however abstracted. A single 
leaf laid upon the angle of a stone, or the mere form or frame- 
work of the leaf drawn upon it, or the mere shadow and ghosf 
of the leaf, — the hollow "foil" cut out of it, — possesses # 
charm which nothing else can replace ; a charm not exciting, 
nor demanding laborious thought or sympathy, but perfectly 
simple, peaceful, and satisfying. 

§ xxxm. The full recognition of leaf forms, as the general 
source of subordinate decoration, is one of the chief charac- 
teristics of Christian architecture ; but the two roots of 
leaf ornament are the Greek acanthus, and the Egyptian 

The dry land and the river thus each contributed their part ; 
and all the florid capitals of the richest Northern Gothic on 
the one hand, and the arrowy lines of the severe Lombardic 
capitals on the other, are founded on these two gifts of the 
dust of Greece and the waves of the Nile. The leaf which is, 
I believe, called the Persepolitan water- leaf, is to be associated 
with the lotus flower and stem, as the origin of our noblest 
types of simple capital ; and it is to be noted that the florid 
leaves of the dry land are used most by the Northern archie 

* Vide "Wilkinson, vol. v., woodcut Xo. 478, fig 8. The tamarisk ap- 
pears afterwards to have given the idea 0? a subdivision of leaf more 
pure and quaint than that of the acanthus. Of late our botanists have 
discovered, in the "Victoria regia " 'supposing its blossom reversed), an- 
other strangely beautiful type of what we may perhaps hereafter find it 
convenient to call Lily capitals. 


tects, while the water leaves are gathered for their ornaments 
by the parched builders of the Desert. 

§ xxxiv. Fruit is, for the most part, more valuable in color 
than form ; nothing is more beautiful as a subject of sculpture 
on a tree ; but, gathered and put in baskets, it is quite possible 
to have too much of it. We shall find it so used very dex- 
terously on the Ducal Palace of Venice, there with a meaning 
which rendered it right necessary ; but the Renaissance archi- 
tects address themselves to spectators who care for nothing 
but feasting, and suppose that clusters of pears and pineapples 
are visions of which their imagination can never weary, and 
above which it will never care to rise. I am no advocate for 
image worship, as I believe the reader will elsewhere suffi- 
ciently find ; but I am very sure that the Protestantism of 
London would have found itself quite as secure in a cathedral 
decorated with statues of good men, as in one hung round 
with bunches of ribston pippins. 

§ xxxv. 11. Birds. The perfect and simple grace of bird 
form, in general, has rendered it a favorite subject with early 
sculptors, and with those schools which loved form more than 
action ; but the difficulty of expressing action, where the mus- 
cular markings are concealed, has limited the use of it in later 
art. Half the ornament, at least, in Byzantine architecture, 
and a third of that of Lombardic, is composed of birds, either 
pecking at fruit or flowers, or standing on either side of a 
flower or vase, or alone, as generally the symbolical peacock. 
But how much of our general sense of grace or power of 
motion, of serenity, peacefulness, and spirituality, we owe to 
these creatures, it is impossible to conceive ; their wings sup- 
plying us with almost the only means of representation of spir- 
itual motion which we possess, and with an ornamental form of 
which the eye is never weary, however meaninglessly or end- 
lessly repeated ; whether in utter isolation, or associated with 
the bodies of the lizard, the horse, the lion, or the man. The 
heads of the birds of prey are always beautiful, and used as 
the richest ornaments in all ages. 

§ xxxvi. 12. Quadrupeds and Men. Of quadrupeds the 
horse has received an elevation into the primal rank of sculp 


tural subject, owing to his association with men. The full 
value of other quadruped forms has hardly been perceived, or 
worked for, in late sculpture ; and the want of science is more 
felt in these subjects than in any other branches of early work. 
The greatest richness of quadruped ornament is found in the 
huntiDg sculpture of the Lombards ; but rudely treated (the 
most noble examples of treatment being the lions of Egypt, 
the Ninevite bulls, and the mediaeval griffins). Quadrupeds 
of course form the noblest subjects of ornament next to the 
human form ; this latter, the chief subject of sculpture, being 
sometimes the end of architecture rather than its decoration. 
"We have thus completed the list of the materials of archi- 
tectural decoration, and the reader may be assured that no 
effort has ever been successful to draw elements of beauty from 
any other sources than these. Such an effort was once reso- 
lutely made. It was contrary to the religion of the Arab to 
introduce any animal form into his ornament ; but although 
all the radiance of color, all the refinements of proportion, and 
all the intricacies of geometrical design were open to him, he 
could not produce any noble work without an abstraction of 
the forms of leafage, to be used in his capitals, and made the 
ground plan of his chased ornament. But I have above noted 
that coloring is an entirely distinct and independent art ; and 
in the " Seven Lamps " we saw that this art had most power 
when practised in arrangements of simple geometrical form *. 
the Arab, therefore, lay under no disadvantage in coloring, 
and he had all the noble elements of constructive and propor- 
tional beauty at his command : he might not imitate the sea- 
shell, but he could build the dome. The imitation of radiance 
by the variegated voussoir, the expression of the sweep of the 
desert by the barred red lines upon the wall, the starred in- 
shedding of light through his vaulted roof, and all the endless 
fantasy of abstract line,* were still in the power of his ardent 
and fantastic spirit. Much he achieved ; and yet in the effort 
of his overtaxed invention, restrained from its proper food, he 
made his architecture a glittering vacillation of undisciplined 

* Appendix 22, "Arabian Ornamentation." 


enchantment, and left the lustre of its edifices to wither like a 
startling dream, whose beauty we may indeed feel, and whose 
instruction we may receive, but must smile at its inconsistency, 
and mourn over its evanescence. 



§ i. We now know where we are to look for subjects of 
decoration. The next question is, as the reader must remem- 
ber, how to treat or express these subjects. 

There are evidently two branches of treatment : the first 
being the expression, or rendering to the eye and mind, of 
the thing itself ; and the second, the arrangement of the 
thing so expressed : both of these being quite distinct from 
the placing of the ornament in proper parts of the building. 
For instance, suppose we take a vine-leaf for our subject. 
The first question is, how to cut the vine-leaf ? Shall we cut 
its ribs and notches on the edge, or only its general outline? 
and so on. Then, how to arrange the vine-leaves when we 
have them ; whether symmetrically, or at random ; or unsym- 
metrically, yet within certain limits? All these I call ques- 
tions of treatment. Then, whether the vine-leaves so arranged 
are to be set on the capital of a pillar or on its shaft, I call a 
question of place. 

§ n. So. then, the questions of mere treatment are twofold, 
how to express, and how to arrange. And expression is to 
the mind or the sight. Therefore, the inquiry becomes really 
threefold : — 

1. How ornament is to be expressed with reference to the 

2. How ornament is to be arranged with reference to the 

3. How ornament is to be arranged with reference to both. 


§ in. (1.) How is ornament to be treated with reference to 
the mind? 

If, to produce a good or beautiful ornament, it were only 
necessary to produce a perfect piece of sculpture, and if a well 
cut group of flowers or animals were indeed an ornament 
wherever it might be placed, the work of the architect would 
be comparatively easy. Sculpture and architecture would be- 
come separate arts ; and the architect would order so many 
pieces of such subject and size as he needed, without troub- 
ling himself with any questions but those of disposition and 
proportion. But this is not so. No perfect piece either of 
painting or sculpture is an architectural ornament at all, except 
in that vague sense in which any beautiful thing is said to 
ornament the place it is in. Thus we say that pictures orna- 
ment a room ; but we should not thank an architect who told 
us that his design, to be complete, required a Titian to be 
put in one corner of it, and a Velasquez in the other ; and it 
is just as unreasonable to call perfect sculpture, niched in, or 
encrusted on a building, a portion of the ornament of that 
building, as it would be to hang pictures by the way of orna- 
ment on the outside of it It is very possible that the sculp- 
tured work may be harmoniously associated with the build- 
ing, or the building executed with reference to it ; but in this 
latter case the architecture is subordinate to the sculpture, as 
in the Medicean chapel, and I believe also in the Parthenon. 
And so far from the perfection of the work conducing to its 
ornamental purpose, we may say, with entire security, that its 
perfection, in some degree, unfits it for its purpose, and that 
no absolutely complete sculpture can be decoratively right. 
We have a familiar instance in the flower-work of St. Paul's, 
which is probably, in the abstract, as perfect flower sculpture 
as could be produced at the time ; and which is just as ra- 
tional an ornament of the building as so many valuable Van 
Huysums, framed and glazed and hung up over each window. 

§ iv. The especial condition of true ornament is, that it be 
beautiful in its place, and nowhere else, and that it aid the 
effect of every portion of the building over which it has influ- 
ence ; that it does not, by its richness, make other parts bald, 


or, by its delicac}', make other parts coarse. Every one of its 
qualities has reference to its place and use : and it is fitted for 
its service by what would be faults and deficiencies if it had no 
especial duty. Ornament, the servant, is often formal, where 
sculpture, the master, would have been free ; the servant is 
often silent where the master would have been eloquent ; or 
hurried, where the master would have been serene. 

§ v. How far this subordination is in different situations to 
be expressed, or how far it may be surrendered, and ornament, 
the servant, be permitted to have independent will ; and by 
what means the subordination is best to be expressed when it 
is required, are by far the most difficult questions I have ever 
tried to work out respecting any branch of art ; for, in many 
of the examples to which I look as authoritative in their majesty 
of effect, it is almost impossible to say whether the abstraction 
or imperfection of the sculpture was owing to the choice, or 
the incapacity of the workman ; and if to the latter, how far 
the result of fortunate incapacity can be imitated by prudent 
self-restraint. The reader, I think, will understand this at 
once by considering the effect of the illuminations of an old 
missal. In their bold rejection of all principles of perspective, 
light and shade, and drawing, they are infinitely more orna- 
mental to the page, owing to the vivid opposition of their 
bright colors and quaint lines, than if they had been drawn 
by Da Vinci himself : and so the Arena chapel is far more 
brightly decorated by the archaic frescoes of Giotti, than the 
Stanze of the Vatican are by those of Raffaelle. But how far 
it is possible to recur to such archaicism, or to make up for it 
by any voluntary abandonment of power, I cannot as yet vent- 
ure in any wise to determine. 

§ vi. So, on the other hand, in many instances of finished 
work in which I find most to regret or to reprobate, I can 
hardly distinguish what is erroneous in principle from what 
is vulgar in execution. For instance, in most Romanesque 
churches of Italy, the porches are guarded by gigantic animals, 
liens or griffins, of admirable severity of design ; yet, in many 
cases, of so rude workmanship, that it can hardly be deter- 
mined how much of this severity was intentional, — how much 


involuntary : in the cathedral of Genoa two modern lions have, 
in imitation of this ancient custom, been placed on the stepa 
of its west front ; and the Italian sculptor, thinking himself a 
marvellous great man because he knew what lions were really 
like, has copied them, in the menagerie, with great success, 
and produced two hairy and well-whiskered beasts, as like to 
real lions as he could possibly cut them. One wishes them 
back in the menagerie for his pains ; but it is impossible to 
say how far the offence of their presence is owing to the mere 
stupidity and vulgarity of the sculptor, and how far we 
might have been delighted with a realisation, carried to nearly 
the same length byGhiberti or Michael Angelo. (I say nearly, 
because neither Ghiberti nor Michael Angelo would ever have 
attempted, or permitted, entire realisation, even in independ- 
ent sculpture. 

§ vn. In spite of these embarrassments, however, some few 
certainties may be marked in the treatment of past architect- 
ure, and secure conclusions deduced for future practice. 
There is first, for instance, the assuredly intended and resolute 
abstraction of the Ninevite and Egyptian sculptors. The men 
who cut those granite lions in the Egyptian room of the Brit- 
ish Museum, and who carved the calm faces of those Ninevite 
kings, knew much more, both of lions and kings, than they 
chose to express. Then there is the Greek system, in which 
the human sculpture is perfect, the architecture and animal 
sculpture is subordinate to it, and the architectural ornament 
severely subordinated to this again, so as to be composed of 
little more than abstract lines : and, finally, there is the pecul- 
iarly mediaeval system, in which the inferior details are carried 
to as great or greater imitative perfection as the higher sculp- 
ture ; and the subordination is chiefly effected by symmetries 
of arrangement, and quaintnesses of treatment, respecting 
which it is difficult to say how far they resulted from inten- 
tion, and how far from incapacity. 

§ vni. Now of these systems, the Ninevite and Egyptian 
are altogether opposed to modern habits of thought and 
action ; they are sculptures evidently executed under absolute 
authorities, physical and mental, such as cannot at present ex- 


ist. The Greek system presupposes the possession of a 
Phidias ; it is ridiculous to talk of building in the Greek 
manner ; you may build a Greek shell or box, such as the 
Greek intended to contain sculpture, but you have not the 
sculpture to put in it. Find your Phidias first, and your new 
Phidias will very soon settle all your architectural difficulties 
in very unexpected ways indeed ; but until you find him, do 
not think yourselves architects while you go on cop} r ing those 
poor subordinations, and secondary and tertiary orders of or- 
nament, which the Greek put on the shell of his sculpture 
Some of them, beads, and dentils, and such like, are as good 
as they can be for their work, and you may use them for sub- 
ordinate work still ; but they are nothing to be proud of, 
especially when you did not invent them : and others of them 
are mistakes and impertinences in the Greek himself, such as 
his so-called honeysuckle ornaments and others, in which there 
is a starched and dull suggestion of vegetable form, and yet no 
real resemblance nor life, for the conditions of them result 
from his own conceit of himself, and ignorance of the physical 
sciences, and want of relish for common nature, and vain 
fancy that he could improve everything he touched, and that 
he honored it by taking it into his service : by freedom from 
which conceits the true Christian architecture is distinguished 
— not by points to its arches. 

§ ix. There remains, therefore, only the mediseval system, 
in which I think, generally, more completion is permitted 
(though this often because more was possible) in the inferior 
than in the higher portions of ornamental subject. Leaves, 
and birds, and lizards are realised, or nearly so ; men and 
quadrupeds formalised. For observe, the smaller and inferior 
subject remains subordinate, however richly finished ; but the 
human sculpture can only be subordinate by being imperfect. 
The realisation is, however, in all cases, dangerous except 
under most skilful management, and the abstraction, if true 
and noble, is almost always more delightful.* 

§ x, What, then, is noble abstraction ? It is taking first 

* Vide "Seven Lamps," Chap. IV. § 34. 


the essential elements of the thing to be represented, then tna 
rest in the order of importance (so that wherever we pause we 
shall always have obtained more than we leave behind), and 
usino" any expedient to impress what we want upon the mind, 
without caring about the mere literal accuracy of such expe- 
dient. Suppose, for instance, we have to represent a peacock : 
now a peacock has a graceful neck, so has a swan ; it has a 
high crest, so has a cockatoo ; it has a long tail, so has a bird 
of Paradise. But the whole spirit and power of peacock is in 
those eyes of the tail. It is true, the argus pheasant, and one 
or two more birds, have something like them, but nothing for 
a moment comparable to them in brilliancy : express the 
gleaming of the blue eyes through the plumage, and you have 
nearly all you want of peacock, but without this, nothing ; and 
yet those eyes are not in relief ; a rigidly true sculpture of a 
peacock's form could have no eyes, — nothing but feathers. 
Here, then, enters the stratagem of sculpture ; you must cut 
the eyes in relief, somehow or another ; see how it is done in 
the peacock on the opposite page ; it is so done by nearly all 
the Byzantine sculptors : this particular peacock is meant to 
be seen at some distance (how far off I know not, for it is an 
interpolation in the building where it occurs, of which more 
hereafter), but at all events at a distance of thirty or forty 
feet ; I have put it close to you that you may see plainly the 
rude rings and rods which stand for the eyes and quills, but 
at the just distance their effect is perfect. 

§ xi. And the simplicity of the means here employed may 
help us, both to some clear understanding of the spirit of 
Ninevite and Egyptian work, and to some perception of the 
kind of enfantillage or archaicism to which it may be possible, 
even in days of advanced science, legitimately to return. The 
architect has no right, as we said before, to require of us a 
picture of Titian's in order to complete his design ; neither 
has he the right to calculate on the co-operation of perfect 
sculptors, in subordinate capacities. Far from this ; his 
business is to dispense with such aid altogether, and to de- 
vise such a system of ornament as shall be capable of execu- 
tion by uninventive and even unintelligent workmen ; for 


T c 


.Drrrrntftan bv Di^ta. 





supposing that he required noble sculpture for his ornament, 
how far would this at once limit the number and the scale of 
possible buildings? Architecture is the work of nations ; but 
we cannot have nations of great sculptors. Every house in 
every street of every city ought to be good architecture, but 
we cannot have Flaxman or Thorwaldsen at work upon it : 
nor, even if we chose only to devote ourselves to our public 
buildings, could the mass and majesty of them be great, if we 
required all to be executed by great men ; greatness is not to 
be had in the required quantity. Giotto may design a cam- 
panile, but he cannot carve it ; he can only carve one or two 
of the bas-reliefs at the base of it. And with every increase 
of your fastidiousness in the execution of your ornament, you 
diminish the possible number and grandeur of your buildings. 
Do not think you can educate your workmen, or that the de- 
mand for perfection will increase the supply : educated imbe- 
cility and finessed foolishness are the worst of all imbecilities 
and foolishnesses ; and there is no free-trade measure, which 
will ever lower the price of brains, — there is no California of 
common sense. Exactly in the degree in which you require 
your decoration to be "wrought by thoughtful men, you dimin- 
ish the extent and number of architectural works. Your 
business as an architect, is to calculate only on the co-opera- 
tion of inferior men, to think for them, and to indicate for 
them such expressions of your thoughts as the weakest capac- 
ity can comprehend and the feeblest hand can execute. This 
is the definition of the purest architectural abstractions. They 
are the deep and laborious thoughts of the greatest men, put 
into such easy letters that they can be written by the simplest. 
They are expressions of the mind of manhood by the hands of 

§ xn. And now suppose one of those old Ninevite or 
Egyptian builders, with a couple of thousand men — mud- 
bred, onion-eating creatures — under him, to be set to work, 
like so many ants, on his temple sculptures. What is he to do 
with them ? He can put them through a granitic exercise of 
current hand ; he can teach them all how to curl hair thor- 
oughly into croche-cceurs, as you teach a bench of school-boys 
Vol. I. — 1G 


how to shape pothooks ; be can teach them all how to dra^v 
iong eyes aud straight noses, and how to copy accurately cer- 
tain well-defined lines. Then he fits his own great design to 
their capacities ; he takes out of king, or lion, or god, as much 
as was expressible by croche-cceurs and granitic pothooks ; 
he throws this into noble forms of his own imagining, and 
having mapped out their lines so that there can be no possi- 
bility of error, sets his two thousand men to work upon them, 
with a will, and so many onions a day. 

§ xiii. I said those times cannot now return. We have, 
with Christianity, recognised the individual value of every 
soul ; and there is no intelligence so feeble but that its single 
ray may in some sort contribute to the general light. This is 
the glory of Gothic architecture, that every jot and tittle, 
every point and niche of it, affords room, fuel, and focus for 
individual fire. But you cease to acknowledge this, and you 
refuse to accept the help of the lesser mind, if you require 
the work to be all executed in a great manner. Your busi- 
ness is to think out all of it nobly, to dictate the expression 
of it as far as your dictation can assist the less elevated intel- 
ligence : then to leave this, aided and taught as far as may 
be, to its own simple act and effort ; and to rejoice in its sim- 
plicity if not in its power, and in its vitality if not in its 

§ xiv. We have, then, three orders of ornament, classed 
according to the degrees of correspondence of the executive 
and conceptive minds. We have the servile ornament, in 
which the executive is absolutely subjected to the inventive, 
— the ornament of the great Eastern nations, more especially 
Hamite, and all pre-Christian, yet thoroughly noble in its 
submissiveness. Then we have the mediseval system, in which 
the mind of the inferior workman is recognised, and has full 
room for action, but is guided and ennobled by the ruling 
mind. This is the truly Christian and only perfect system. 
Finally, we have ornaments expressing the endeavor to 
equalise the executive and inventive, — endeavor which is 
Eenaissance and revolutionary, and destructive of all noble 


§ xv. Thus far, then, of the incompleteness or simplicity 
of execution necessary in architectural ornament, as referred 
to the mind. Next we have to consider that which is re- 
quired when it is referred to the sight, and the various modi' 
fications of treatment which are rendered necessary by the 
variation of its distance from the eye. I say necessary : not 
merely expedient or economical. It is foolish to carve what 
is to be seen forty feet off with the delicacy which the eye de- 
mands within two yards ; not merely because such delicacy is 
lost in the distance, but because it is a great deal worse than 
lost : — the delicate work has actually worse effect in the 
distance than rough work. This is a fact well known to 
painters, and, for the most part, acknowledged by the critics 
of painters, namely, that there is a certain distance for which 
a picture is painted ; and that the finish, which is delightful 
if that distance be small, is actually injurious if the distance 
be great : and, moreover, that there is a particular method of 
handling which none but consummate artists reach, which has 
its effects at the intended distance, and is altogether hiero- 
glyphical and unintelligible at any other. This, I say, is ac- 
knowledged in painting, but it is not practically acknowl- 
edged in architecture ; nor until my attention was espe- 
cially directed to it, had I myself any idea of the care with 
which this great question was studied by the mediaeval archi- 
tects. On my first careful examination of the capitals of 
the upper arcade of the Ducal Palace at Venice, I was in- 
duced, by their singular inferiority of workmanship, to sup- 
pose them posterior to those of the lower arcade. It was not 
till I discovered that some of those which I thought the 
worst above, were the best when seen from below, that I ob- 
tained the key to this marvellous system of adaptation ; a 
system which I afterwards found carried out in every build- 
ing of the great times which I had opportunity of examin- 

§ xvi. There are two distinct modes in which this adapta- 
tion is effected. In the first, the same designs which are deli- 
cately worked when near the eye, are rudely cut, and have far 
fewer details when they are removed from it. In this method 


it is not always easy to distinguish economy from skill, or 
slovenliness from science. But, in the second method, a dif- 
ferent design is adopted, composed of fewer parts and of sim- 
pler lines, and this is cut with exquisite precision. This is of 
course the higher method, and the more satisfactory proof of 
purpose ; but an equal degree of imperfection is found in both 
kinds when they are seen close ; in the first, a bald execution 
of a perfect design ; the second, a baldness of design with 
perfect execution. And in these very imperfections lies the 
admirableness of the ornament. 

§ xvn. It may be asked whether, in advocating this adap. 
tation to the distance of the eye, I obey my adopted rule of 
observance of natural law. Are not all natural things, it may 
be asked, as lovely near as far away ? Nay, not so. Look at 
the clouds, and watch the delicate sculpture of their alabaster 
sides, and the rounded lustre of their magnificent rolling. 
They are meant to be beheld far away ; they were shaped for 
their place, high above your head ; approach them, and they 
fuse into vague mists, or whirl away in fierce fragments of 
thunderous vapor. Look at the crest of the Alp, from the 
far-away plains over which its light is cast, whence human 
souls have communion with it by their myriads. The child 
looks up to it in the dawn, and the husbandman in the burden 
and heat of the day, and the old man in the going down of the 
sun, and it is to them all as the celestial city on the world's 
horizon ; dyed with the depth of heaven, and clothed with 
the calm of eternity. There was it set, for holy dominion, 
by Him who marked for the sun his journey, and bade the 
moon know her going down. It was built for its place in 
the far-off sky ; approach it, and as the sound of the voice 
of man dies away about its foundations, and the tide of 
human life shallowed upon the vast aerial shore, is at last 
met by the Eternal " Here shall thy waves be stayed," the 
glory of its aspect fades into blanched fearfulness ; its pur- 
ple walls are rent into grisly rocks, its silver fretwork sad- 
dened into wasting snow, the storm-brands of ages are on 
its breast, the ashes of its own ruin lie solemnly on its white 


Nor in such instances as these alone, though strangely 
enough, the discrepancy between apparent and actual beauty 
is greater in proportion to the unapproachableness of the 
object, is the law observed. For every distance from the eye 
there is a peculiar kind of beauty, or a different system of 
lines of form ; the sight of that beauty is reserved for that 
distance, and for that alone. If you approach nearer, that 
kind of beauty is lost, and another succeeds, to be disorgan- 
ised and reduced to strange and incomprehensible means and 
appliances in its turn. If you desire to perceive the great 
harmonies of the form of a rocky mountain, } T ou must not 
ascend upon its sides. All is there disorder and accident, or 
seems so ; sudden starts of its shattered beds hither and 
thither ; ugly struggles of unexpected strength from under 
the ground ; fallen fragments, toppling one over another into 
more helpless fall. Retire from it, and, as your eye commands 
it more and more, as you see the ruined mountain world with 
a wider glance, behold ! dim sympathies begin to busy them- 
selves in the disjointed mass ; line binds itself into stealthy 
fellowship with line ; group by group, the helpless fragments 
gather themselves into ordered companies ; new captains of 
hosts and masses of battalions become visible, one by one, and 
far away answers of foot to foot, and of bone to bone, until 
the powerless chaos is seen risen up with girded loins, and 
not one piece of all the unregarded heap could now be spared 
from the mystic whole. 

§ xviii. Now it is indeed true that where nature loses one 
kind of beauty, as you approach it, she substitutes another ; 
this is worthy of her infinite power : and, as we shall see, art 
can sometimes follow her even in doing this ; but all I insist 
upon at present is, that the several effects of nature are each 
worked with means referred to a particular distance, and pro- 
ducing their effect at that distance only. Take a singular and 
marked instance : When the sun rises behind a ridge of pines, 
and those pines are seen from a distance of a mile or two, 
against his light, the whole form of the tree, trunk, branches, 
and all, becomes one frostwork of intensely brilliant silver, 
which is relieved against the clear sky like a burning fringe, 


for some distance on either side of the sun.* Now suppose 
that a person who had never seen pines were, for the first time 
in his life, to see them under this strange aspect, and, reason- 
ing as to the means by which such effect could be produced, 
laboriously to approach the eastern ridge, how would he be 
amazed to find that the fiery spectres had been produced by 
trees with swarthy and grey trunks, and dark green leaves I 
We, in our simplicity, if we had been required to produce such 
an appearance, should have built up trees of chased silver, with 
trunks of glass, and then been grievously amazed to find that, 
at two miles off, neither silver nor glass were any more visible ; 
but nature knew better, and prepared for her fairy work with 
the strong branches and dark leaves, in her own mysterious 

§ xix. Now this is exactly what you have to do with your 
good ornament. It may be that it is capable of being ap- 
proached, as well as likely to be seen far away, and then it 
ought to have microscopic qualities, as the pine leaves have, 
which will bear approach. But your calculation of its pur- 
pose is for a glory to be produced at a given distance ; it may 
be here, or may be there, but it is a given distance ; and the 
excellence of the ornament dejiends upon its fitting that dis- 
tance, and being seen better there than anywhere else, and 
having a particular function and form which it can only dis- 
charge and assume there. You are never to say that ornament 
has great merit because " you cannot see the beauty of it 
here ; ™ but, it has great merit because " you can see its beauty 
here only." And to give it this merit is just about as difficult 
a task as I could well set you. I have above noted the two 

* Shakspeare and Wordsworth (I think they only) have noticed this. 
Shakspeare, in Richard II. : — 

*' But when, from under this terrestrial ball, 
He fires the prond tops of the eastern pines." 

And Wordsworth, in one of his minor poems, on leaving Italy: 

" My thoughts become bright like yon edging of pines 
On the steep's lofty verge— how it blackened the air ! 
But, touched from behind by the sun, it now shines 
With threads that seem part of his own silver hair." 


ways in which it is done : the one, being merely rough cut- 
tiog, may be passed over ; the other, which is scientific alter 
ation of design, falls, itself, into two great branches, Simplifi- 
cation and Emphasis. 

A word or two is necessary on each of these heads. 

§ xx. "When an ornamental work is intended to be seen 
near, if its composition be indeed fine, the subdued and deli- 
cate portions of the design lead to, and unite, the energetic 
parts, and those energetic parts form with the rest a whole, in 
which their own immediate relations to each other are not per- 
ceived. Eemove this design to a distance, and the connecting 
delicacies vanish, the energies alone remain, now either dis- 
connected altogether, or assuming with each other new rela- 
tions, which, not having been intended by the designer, will 
probably be painful. There is a like, and a more palpable, 
effect, in the retirement of a band of music in which the in- 
struments are of very unequal powers ; the fluting and fifeing 
expire, the drumming remains, and that in a painful arrange- 
ment, as demanding something which is unheard. In like 
manner, as the designer at arm's length removes or elevates 
his work, fine gradations, and roundings, and incidents, vanish, 
and a totally unexpected arrangement is established between 
the remainder of the markings, certainly confused, and in all 
probability painful. 

§ xxi. The art of architectural design is therefore, first, the 
preparation for this beforehand, the rejection of all the delicate 
passages as worse than useless, and the fixing the thought upon 
the arrangement of the features which will remain visible far 
away. Nor does this always imply a diminution of resource ; 
for, while it may be assumed as a law that fine modulation of 
surface in light becomes quickly invisible as the object retires, 
there are a softness and mystery given to the harder markings, 
which enable them to be safely used as media of expression. 
There is an exquisite example of this use, in the head of the 
Adam of the Ducal Palace. It is onlv at the height of 17 or 
18 feet above the eye ; nevertheless, the sculptor felt it was no 
use to trouble himself about drawing the corners of the mouth, 
or the lines of the lips, delicately, at that distance ; his object 


has been to mark them clearly, and to prevent accidental 
shadows from concealing them, or altering their expression. 
The lips are cut thin and sharp, so that their line cannot "be 
mistaken, and a good deep drill-hole struck into the angle of 
the mouth ; the eye is anxious and questioning, and one is 
surprised, from below, to perceive a kind of darkness in the 
iris of it, neither like color, nor like a circular furrow. The 
expedient can only be discovered by ascending to the level of 
the head ; it is one which would have been quite inadmissible 
except in distant work, six drill-holes cut into the iris, round 
a central one for the pupil. 

§ xxn. By just calculation, like this, of the means at our 
disposal, by beautiful arrangement of the prominent features, 
and by choice of different subjects for different places, choos- 
ing the broadest forms for the farthest distance, it is possible 
to give the impression, not only of perfection, but of an ex- 
quisite delicacy, to the most distant ornament. And this is 
the true sign of the right having been done, and the utmost 
possible power attained : — The spectator should be satisfied 
to stay in his place, feeling the decoration, wherever it may 
be, equally rich, full, and lovely : not desiring to climb the 
steeples in order to examine it, but sure that he has it all, 
where he is. Perhaps the capitals of the cathedral of Genoa 
are the best instances of absolute perfection in this kind : 
seen from below, they appear as rich as the frosted silver of 
the Strada degli Orefici ; and the nearer you approach them, 
the less delicate they seem. 

§ xxhi. This is, however, r>ot the only mode, though the 
best, in which ornament is adapted for distance. The other 
is emphasis, — the unnatural insisting upon explanatory lines, 
where the subject would otherwise become unintelligible. It 
is to be remembered that, by a deep and narrow incision, an 
architect has the power, at least in sunshine, of drawing a 
black line on stone, just as vigorously as it can be drawn with 
chalk on grey paper ; and that he may thus, wherever and 
in the degree that he chooses, substitute chalk sketching for 
sculpture. They are curiously mingled by the Romans. The 
bas-reliefs of the Arc d'Orange are small, and would be con- 


fused, though in bold relief, if they depended for intelligibility 
on the relief only ; but each figure is outlined by a strong 
incision at its edge into the background, and all the ornaments 
on the armor are simply drawn with incised lines, and not cut 
out at all. A similar use of lines is made by the Gothic na- 
tions in all their early sculpture, and with delicious effect. 
Now, to draw a mere pattern — as, for instance, the bearings 
of a shield — with these simple incisions, would, I suppose, 
occupy an able sculptor twenty minutes or half an hour ; and 
the pattern is then clearly seen, under all circumstances of 
light and shade ; there can be no mistake about it, and no 
missing it. To carve out the bearings in due and finished 
relief would occupy a long summer's da} T , and the results 
would be feeble and indecipherable in the best lights, and in 
some lights totally and hopelessly invisible, ignored, non- 
existent. Now the Renaissance architects, and our modern 
ones, despise the simple expedient of the rough Roman 01 
barbarian. They do not care to be understood. They care 
only to speak finely, and be thought great orators, if one 
could only hear them. So I leave you to choose between the 
old men, who took minutes to tell things plainly, and the 
modern men, who take days to tell them unintelligibly. 

§ xxiv. All expedients of this kind, both of simplification 
and energy, for the expression of details at a distance where 
their actual forms would have been invisible, but more es- 
pecially this linear method, I shall call Proutism ; for the 
greatest master of the art in modern times has been Samuel 
Prout. He actually takes up buildings of the later times in 
which the ornament has been too refined for its place, and 
translates it into the energised linear ornament of earlier art : 
and to this power of taking the life and essence of decoration, 
and putting it into a perfectly intelligible form, when its own 
fulness would have been confused, is owing the especial power 
of his drawings. Nothing can be more closely analogous than 
the method with which an old Lombard uses his chisel, and. 
that with which Prout uses the reed-pen ; and we shall see 
presently farther correspondence in their feeling about the 
enrichment of luminous surfaces. 


§ xxv. Now, all that lias been hitherto said refers to orna- 
ment whose distance is fixed, or nearly so ; as when it is at 
any considerable height from the ground, supposing the spec- 
tator to desire to see it, and to get as near it as he can. But 
the distance of ornament is never fixed to the general specta- 
tor. The tower of a cathedral is bound to look well, ten miles 
off, or five miles, or half a mile, or within fifty yards. The 
ornaments of its top have fixed distances, compared with those 
of its base ; but quite unfixed distances in their relation to the 
great world : and the ornaments of the base have no fixed dis- 
tance at all. They are bound to look well from the other side 
of the cathedral close, and to look equally well, or better, as 
we enter the cathedral door. How are we to manage this ? 

§ xxvi. As nature manages it. I said above, § xvn., that 
for every distance from the eye there was a different system 
of form in all natural objects : this is to be so then in archi- 
tecture. The lesser ornament is to be grafted on the greater, 
and third or fourth orders of ornaments upon this again, as 
need may be, until we reach the limits of possible sight ; each 
order of ornament being adapted for a different distance : 
first, for example, the great masses, — the buttresses and stories 
and black windows and broad cornices of the tower, which 
give it make, and organism, as it rises over the horizon, half a 
score of miles away : then the traceries and shafts and pinna- 
cles, which give it richness as we approach : then the niches 
and statues and knobs and flowers, which we can only see 
when we stand beneath it. At this third order of ornament, 
we may pause, in the upper portions ; but on the roofs of the 
niches, and the robes of the statues, and the rolls of the 
mouldings, comes a fourth order of ornament, as delicate as the 
eye can follow, when any of these features may be approached. 

§ xxvii. All good ornamentation is thus arborescent, as it 
were, one class of it branching out of another and sustained 
by it ; and its nobility consists in this, that whatever order or 
class of it we may be contemplating, we shall find it subor- 
dinated to a greater, simpler, and more powerful ; and if we 
then contemplate the greater order, we shall find it again sub' 
prdinated to a greater still ; until the greatest can only be 


quite grasped by retiring to the limits of distance command- 
ing it. 

And if this subordination be not complete, the ornament is 
bad : if the figurings and chasings and borderings of a dress 
be not subordinated to the folds of it, — if the folds are not 
subordinate to the action and mass of the figure, — if this 
action and mass not to the divisions of the recesses and shafts 
among which it stands, — if these not to the shadows of the 
great arches and buttresses of the whole building, in each 
case there is error ; much more if all be contending with each 
other and striving for attention at the same time. 

§ xxviii. It is nevertheless evident, that, however perfect 
this distribution, there cannot be orders adapted to every dis- 
tance of the spectator. Between the ranks of ornament there 
must always be a bold separation ; and there must be many 
intermediate distances, where we are too far off to see the 
lesser rank clearly, and yet too near to grasp the next higher 
rank wholly : and at all these distances the spectator will feel 
himself ill-placed, and will desire to go nearer or farther away. 
This must be the case in all noble work, natural or artificial. 
It is exactly the same with respect to Rouen cathedral or the 
Mont Blanc. We like to see them from the other side of the 
Seine, or of the lake of Geneva ; from the Marche aux Fleurs, 
or the Valley of Chamouni ; from the parapets of the apse, or 
the crags of the Montague de la Cote: but there are interme- 
diate distances which dissatisfy us in either case, and from 
which one is in haste either to advance or to retire. 

§ xxix. Directly opposed to this ordered, disciplined, well 
officered and variously ranked ornament, this type of divine, 
and therefore of all good human government, is the demo- 
cratic ornament, in which all is equally influential, and has 
equal office and authority ; that is to say, none of it any office 
nor authority, but a life of continual struggle for independence 
and notoriety, or of gambling for chance regards. The Eng- 
lish perpendicular work is by far the worst of this kind that 
I know ; its main idea, or decimal fraction of an idea, being 
to cover its walls with dull, successive, eternity of reticulation, 
to fill with equal foils the equal interstices between the equai 


bars, and charge the interminable blanks with statues and 
rosettes, invisible at a distance, and uninteresting near. 

The early Lombardic, Veronese, and Norman work is the 
exact reverse of this ; being divided first into large masses, 
and these masses covered with minute chasing and surface 
work, which fill them with interest, and yet do not disturb 
nor divide their greatness. The lights are kept broad and 
bright, and yet are found on near approach to be charged 
with intricate design. This, again, is a part of the great sys- 
tem of treatment which I shall hereafter call "Proutism;" 
much of what is thought mannerism and imperfection in 
Prout's work, being the result of his determined resolution 
that minor details shall never break up his large masses of 

§ xxx. Such are the main principles to be observed in the 
adaptation of ornament to the sight. We have lastly to in- 
quire by what method, and in what quantities, the ornament, 
thus adapted to mental comtemplation, and prepared for its 
physical position, may most wisely be arranged. I think the 
method ought first to be considered, and the quantity last ; 
for the advisable quantity depends upon the method. 

§ xxxi. It was said above, that the proper treatment or ar- 
rangement of ornament was that which expressed the laws 
and ways of Deity. Now, the subordination of visible orders 
to each other, just noted, is one expression of these. But there 
may also — must also— be a subordination and obedience of 
tbe parts of each order to some visible law, out of itself, but 
having reference to itself only (not to any upper order) : 
some law which shall not oppress, but guide, limit, and sus- 

In the tenth chapter of the second volume of ''Modern 
Painters," the reader will find that I traced one part of the 
beauty of God's creation to the expression of a seZ/'-restrained 
liberty : that is to say, the image of that perfection of divine 
action, which, though free to work in arbitrary methods, works 
always in consistent methods, called by us Laws. 

Now, correspondingly, we find that when these natural ob- 
jects are to become subjects of the art of man, their perfect 


treatment is an image of the perfection of human action : a 
voluntary submission to divine law. 

It was suggested to me but lately by the friend to whose 
originality of thought I have before expressed my obligations, 
Mr? Newton, that the Greek pediment, with its enclosed sculpt- 
ures, represented to the Greek mind the law of Fate, con- 
fining human action within limits not to be overpassed. I do 
not believe the Greeks ever distinctly thought of this ; but 
the instinct of all the human race, since the world began, 
agrees in some expression of such limitation as one of the first 
necessities of good ornament. * And this expression is height- 
ened, rather than diminished, when some portion of the design 
slightly breaks the law to which the rest is subjected ; it is 
like expressing the use of miracles in the divine government ; 
or, perhaps, in slighter degrees, the relaxing of a law, gener- 
ally imperative, in compliance with some more imperative 
need— the hungering of David. How eagerly this special in- 
fringement of a general law was sometimes sought by the 
mediaeval workmen, I shall be frequently able to point oat to 
the reader ; but I remember just now a most curious instance, 
in an archivolt of a house in the Corte del Remer close to the 
Rialto at Venice. It is composed of a wreath of flower-work 
—a constant Byzantine design— with an animal in each coil ; 
the whole enclosed between two fillets. Each animal, leaping 
or eating, scratching or biting, is kept nevertheless strictly 
within its coil, and between the fillets. Not the shake of an 
ear, not the tip of a tail, overpasses this appointed line, through 
a series of some five-and-twenty or thirty animals ; until, on a 
sudden, and by mutual consent, two little beasts (not looking, 
for the rest, more rampant than the others), one on each side, 
lay their small paws across the enclosing fillet at exactly the 
same point of its course, and thus break the continuity of its 
line. Two ears of corn, or leaves, do the same thing in the 

* Some valuable remarks on tins stuVect will be found in a notice of 
the " Seven Lamps ' ia the British Quarterly for August, 1849. I think, 
however, the writer attaches too great importance to one out of many or- 
namental necessities. 


mouldings round the northern door of the Baptistery at Flor« 

§ xxxii. Observe, however, and this is of the utmost pos- 
sible importance, that the value of this type does not consist 
in the mere shutting of the ornament into a certain space, but 
in the acknowledgment by the ornament of the fitness of the 
limitation — of its own perfect willingness to submit to it ; nay, 
of a predisposition in itself to fall into the ordained form, 
without any direct expression of the command to do so ; an 
anticipation of the authority, and an instant and wilhng sub- 
mission to it, in every fibre and spray : not merely willing, 
but happy submission, as being pleased rather than vexed to 
have so beautiful a law suggested to it, and one which to fol- 
low is so justly in accordance with its own nature. You must 
not cut out a branch of hawthorn as it grows, and rule a tri- 
angle round it, and suppose that it is then submitted to law. 
Not a bit of it. It is only put in a cage, and will look as if it 
must get out, for its life, or wither in the confinement. Bat 
the spirit of triangle must be put into the hawthorn. It must 
suck in isoscelesism with its sap. Thorn and blossom, leaf 
and spray, must grow with an awful sense of triangular neces- 
sity upon them, for the guidance of which they are to be 
thankful, and to grow all the stronger and more gloriously. 
And though there may be a transgression here and there, and 
an adaptation to some other need, or a reaching forth to some 
other end greater even than the triangle, yet this liberty is to 
be always accepted under a solemn sense of special permis- 
sion ; and when the full form is reached and the entire sub- 
mission expressed, and every blossom has a thrilling sense of 
its reponsibility down into its tiniest stamen, you may take 
your terminal line away if you will. No need for it any more. 
The commandment is written on the heart of the thing. 

§ xxxiii. Then, besides this obedience to external law, there 
is the obedience to internal headship, which constitutes the 
unity of ornament, of which I think enough has been said for 
my present purpose in the chapter on Unity in the second 
vol. of "Modern Painters." But I hardlv know whether to 
arrange as an expression of a divine law, or a representation 


of a physical fact, the alternation of shade with light which, 
in equal succession, forms one of the chief elements of contin- 
uous ornament, and in some peculiar ones, such as dentils and 
billet mouldings, is the source of their only charm. The op- 
position of good and evil, the antagonism of the entire human 
system (so ably worked out by Lord Lindsay), the alternation 
of labor with rest, the mingling of life with death, or the 
actual physical fact of the division of light from darkness, and 
of the falling and rising of night and day, are all typified or 
represented by these chains of shade and light of which the 
eye never wearies, though their true meaning may never occur 
to the thoughts. 

§ xxxiv. The next question respecting the arrangement of 
ornament is ODe closely connected also with its quantity. The 
system of creation is one in which " God's creatures leap not, 
but express a feast, where all the guests sit close, and nothing 
wants." It is also a feast, where there is nothing redundant. 
So, then, in distributing our ornament, there must never be 
any sense of gap or blank, neither airy sense of there being a 
single member, or fragment of a member, which could be 
spared. Whatever has nothing to do, whatever could go with- 
out being missed, is not ornament ; it is deformity and en- 
cumbrance. Away with it. And, on the other hand, care 
must be taken either to diffuse the ornament which we permit, 
in due relation over the whole building, or so to concentrate 
it, as never to leave a sense of its having got into knots, and 
curdled upon some points, and left the rest of the building 
whejr. It is very difficult to give the rules, or analyse the 
feelings, which should direct us in this matter: for some 
shafts may be carved and others left unfinished, and that with 
advantage ; some windows may be jewelled like Aladdin's, 
and one left plain, and still with advantage ; the door or doors, 
or a single turret, or the whole western facade of a church, 
or the apse or transept, may be made special subjects of de- 
coration, and the rest left plain, and still sometimes with ad- 
vantage. But in all such cases there is either sign of that 
feeling which I advocated in the First Chapter of the "Seven 
Lamps," the desire of rather doing some portion of the build- 


ing as we would have it, and leaving the rest plain, than doing 
the whole imperfectly ; or else there is choice made of some 
important feature, to wdiich, as more honorable than the rest, 
the decoration is confined. The evil is when, without system, 
and without preference of the nobler members, the ornament 
alternates between sickly luxuriance and sudden blankness. 
In many of our Scotch and English abbeys, especially Melrose, 
this is painfully felt ; but the worst instance I have ever seen 
is the window in the side of the arch under the Wellington 
statue, next St. George's Hospital. In the first place, a win- 
dow has no business there at all ; in the second, the bars of 
the window are not the proper place for decoration, especially 
wavy decoration, w r hich one instantly fancies of cast iron ; in 
the third, the richness of the ornament is a mere patch and 
eruption upon the wall, and one hardly knows whether to be 
most irritated at the affectation of severity in the rest, or at 
the vain luxuriance of the dissolute parallelogram. 

§ xxxv. Finally, as regards quantity of ornament I have 
already said, again and again, you cannot have too much if it 
be good ; that is, if it be thoroughly united and harmonised by 
the laws hitherto insisted upon. But you may easily have too 
much if you have more than you have sense to manage. For 
with every added order of ornament increases the difficulty of 
discipline. It is exactly the same as in war : you cannot, as 
an abstract law, have too many soldiers, but you may easily 
have more than the country is able to sustain, or than your 
generalship is competent to command. And every regiment 
which you cannot manage will, on the day of battle, be in 
your way, and encumber the movements it is not in disposi- 
tion to sustain. 

§ xxxvi. As an architect, therefore, you are modestly to 
measure your capacity of governing ornament. Remember, 
its essence, — its being ornament at all, consists in its being 
governed. Lose your authority over it, let it command you, 
or lead you, or dictate to you in any wise, and it is an offence, 
an incumbrance, and a dishonor. And it is always ready to 
do this ; wild to get the bit in its teeth, and rush forth on its 
own devices. Measure, therefore, your strength ; and as long 


as there is no chance of mutiny, add soldier to soldier, bat- 
talion to battalion ; but be assured that all are heartily in the 
cause, and that there is not one of whose position you are ig- 
norant, or whose service you could spare. 



§ i. We have now examined the treatment and specific 
kinds of ornament at our command. We have lastly to note 
the fittest places for their disposal. Not but that all kinds of 
ornament are used in all places ; but there are some parts of 
the building, which, without ornament, are more painful than 
others, and some which wear ornament more gracefully than 
others ; so that, although an able architect will always be find- 
ing out some new and unexpected modes of decoration, and 
fitting his ornament into wonderful places where it is least ex- 
pected, there are, nevertheless, one or two general laws which 
may be noted respecting every one of the parts of a building, 
laws not (except a few) imperative like those of construction, 
but yet generally expedient, and good to be understood, if it 
were only that we might enjoy the brilliant methods in which 
they are sometimes broken. I shall note, however, only a few 
of the simplest ; to trace them into their ramifications, and 
class in due order the known or possible methods of decoration 
for each part of a building, would alone require a large vol- 
ume, and be, I think, a somewhat useless work ; for there is 
often a high pleasure in the very unexpectedness of the orna- 
ment, which would be destroyed by too elaborate an arrange- 
in 3nt of its kinds. 

§ ii. I think that the reader must, by this time, so thor- 
oughly understand the connection of the parts of a building, 
that I may class together, in treating of decoration, several 
parts which I kept separate in speaking of construction. Thus 
I shall put under one head (a) the base of the wall and of the 
shaft ; then (b) the wall veil and shaft itself ; then (c) the 
cornice and capital ; then (d) the jamb and archivolt, includ- 



ing the arches both over shafts and apertures, and the jambs 
of apertures, which are closely connected with their archi volts ; 
finally (e) the roof, including the real roof, and the minor root's 
or gables of pinnacles and arches. I think, under these divis- 
ions, all may be arranged which is necessary to be generally 
stated ; for tracery decorations or aperture fillings are but 
smaller forms of application of the arch, and the cusps are 
merely smaller spandrils, while buttresses have, as far as I 
know, no specific ornament. The best are those which have 
least ; and the little they have resolves itself into pinnacles, 
which are common to other portions of the building, or into 
small shafts, arches, and niches, of still more general applica- 
bility. Yv^e shall therefore have only five divisions to examine 
in succession, from foundation to roof. 

§ in. But in the decoration of these several parts, certain 

minor conditions of ornament occur which are of perfectly 
general application. For instance, whether, in archivolts, 
jambs, or buttresses, or in square piers, or at the extremity 
of the entire building, we necessarily have the awkward 
(moral or architectural) feature, the corner. How to turn a 
corner gracefully becomes, therefore, a perfectly general ques- 
tion ; to be examined without reference to any particular part 
of the edifice. 

§ iv. Again, the furrows and ridges by which bars of paral- 
lel light and shade are obtained, whether these are employed 
in arches, or jambs, or bases, or cornices, must of necessity 
present one or more of six forms : square projection, a (Fig. 
LI.), or square recess, b, sharp projection, c, or sharp recess, d, 
curved projection, e, or curved recess, f. What odd curves the 
projection or recess may assume, or how these different condi- 
tions may be mixed and run into one another, is not our pres- 
et bnsin«s* We note only the six distinct kinds or types. 


Now, when these ridges or furrows are on a small scale they 
often themselves constitute all the ornament required for 
larger features, and are left smooth cut ; but on a very large 
scale they are apt to become insipid, and they require a sub- 
ornament of their own, the consideration of which is, of course, 
in great part, general, and irrespective of the place held by the 
mouldings in the building itself : which consideration I think 
we had better undertake first of all. 

§ v. But before we come to particular examination of these 
minor forms, let us see how far we can simplify it. Look 
back to Fig. LI., above. There are distinguished in it six 
forms of moulding. Of these, c is nothing but a small corner ; 
but, for convenience sake, it is better to call it an edge, and to 
consider its decoration together with that of the member a, 
which is called a fillet ; while e, which I shall call a roll (be- 
cause I do not choose to assume that it shall be only of the 
semicircular section here given), is also best considered to- 
gether with its relative recess,/; and because the shape of a 
recess is of no great consequence, I shall class all the three 
recesses together, and we shall thus have only three subjects 
for separate consideration : — 

1. The Angle. 

2. The Edge and Fillet. 

3. The Roll and Recess. 

§ vi. There are two other general forms which may prob- 
ably occur to the reader's mind, namely, the ridge (as of a 
roof), which is a corner laid on its back, or sloping, — a supine 
corner, decorated in a very different manner from a stiff up- 
right corner : and the point, which is a concentrated corner, 
and has wonderfully elaborate decorations all to its insignifi- 
cant self, finials, and spikes, and I know not what more. 
But both these conditions are so closely connected with roofs 
(even the cusp finial being a kind of pendant to a small roof), 
that I think it better to class them and their ornament under 
the head of roof decoration, together with the whole tribe of 
crockets and bosses ; so that we shall be here concerned only 



with the three subjects above distinguished : and, first, the 
corner or Angle. 

§ vn. The mathematician knows there are many kinds of 
angles ; but the one we have principally to deal with now, is 
that which the reader may very easily conceive as the corner 
of a square house, or square anything. It is of course 1he 
one of most frequent occurrence ; and its treatment, once 
understood, may, with slight modification, be referred to 
other corners, sharper or blunter, or with curved sides. 

§ vin. Evidently the first and roughest idea which would 

occur to any one who found a 
corner troublesome, would be 
to cut it off. This is a very sum- 
mary and t3 T rannical proceed- 
ing, somewhat barbarous, yet 
advisable if nothing else can be 
done : an amputated corner is 
said to be chamfered. It can, however, evidently be cut off 
in three ways : 1. with a concave cut, a ; 2. w T ith a straight 
cut, b ; 3. with a convex cut, c, Fig. LIT. 

The first two methods, the most violent and summary, have 
the apparent disadvantage that we get by them, — two corners 
instead of one ; much milder corners, however, and with a 
different light and shade between them ; so that both meth- 
ods are often very expedient. You may see the straight 
chamfer (b) on most lamp posts, and pillars at railway sta- 
tions, it being the easiest to cut : the concave chamfer requires 
more care, and occurs generally in well-finished but simple 
architecture — very beautifully in the small arches of the Bro- 
letto of Como, Plate V. ; and the straight chamfer in archi- 
tecture of every kind, very constantly in Norman cornices and 
arches, as in Fig. 2, Plate IV., at Sens. 

§ ix. The third, or convex chamfer, as it is the gentlest 
mode of treatment, so (as in medicine and morals) it is very 
generally the best. For while the two other methods produce 
two corners instead of one, this gentle chamfer does verily 
get rid of the corner altogether, and substitutes a soft curve h; 
itr/ olace. 



But it has, in the form above given, this grave disadvantage, 
that it looks as if the corner had been rubbed or worn off, 
blunted by time and weather, and in want of sharpening again. 
A great deal often depends, and in such a case as this, every- 
thing depends, on the Voluntariness of the ornament. The 
work of time is beautiful on surfaces, but not on edges intended 
to be sharp. Even if we needed them blunt, we should not 
like them blunt on compulsion ; so, to show that the bluntness 
is our own ordaining, we will put a slight incised line to mark 
off the rounding, and show that it goes no farther than wa 

f ill IIIII11I 


Fig. LIII. 

choose. We shall thus have the section a, Fig. LITE. ; and 
this mode of turning an angle is one of the very best ever in- 
vented. By enlarging and deepening the incision, we get in 
succession the forms b, c, d ; and by describing a small equaj 
arc on each of the sloping lines of these figures, we get e, f 9 

9, h. 

§ x. I do not know whether these mouldings are called by 
architects chamfers or beads ; but I think bead a bad word for 
a continuous moulding, and the proper sense of the word 
chamfer is fixed by Spenser as descriptive not merely of trun- 
cation, but of trench or furrow : — 



" Tho gin you, fond flies, the cold to scorn, 
And, crowing in pipes made of green corn, 
You thinken to be lords of the year ; 
But eft when ye count you freed from fear, 
Comes the breine winter with chamfred brows, 
Full of wrinkles and frosty furrows. " 

So I sliall call the above mouldings beaded chamfers, when 
there is any chance of confusion with the plain chamfer, a, or 
b, of Fig. LII. : and when there is no such chance, I shall use 
the word chamfer only. 

8 xi. Of those above <nven, b is 

the constant chamfer of 
Venice, and a of Verona : 
a being the grandest and 
best, and having a pecu- 
liar precision and quaint- 
ness of effect about it. I 
found it twice in Venice, 
used on the sharp angle, 
as at a and b, Fig. LIV., a 
being from the angle of a 
house on the Rio San 
Zulian, and b from the 
windows of the church of 
San Stefano. 

§ xii. There is, how- 
ever, evidently another 
variety of the chamfers, 
/and g, Fig. LTTT., form- 
ed by an unbroken curve 
instead of two curves, as 
c, Fig. LIV. ; and when 
this, or the chamfer d, Fig. LITE., is large, it is impossible to say 
whether they have been devised from the incised augle, or from 
small shafts set in a nook, as at e, Fig. LIV., or in the hollow 
of the curved chamfer, as d, Fig. LIV. In general, however, the 
shallow chamfers, a, b, e, and/, Fig. LIIL, are peculiar to south- 
ern work ; and may be assumed to have been derived from the 
incised angle, while the deep chamfers, c, d, g, h, are charac* 

Fig. LIV. 


teristic of northern work, and may be partly derived or imi- 
tated from the angle shaft ; while, with the usual extrava- 
gance of the northern architects, they are cat deeper and 
deeper until we arrive at the condition f, Fig. L1V., which 
is the favorite chamfer at Bourges and Bayeux, and in other 
good French work. 

I have placed in the Appendix * a figure belonging to this 
subject, but which cannot interest the general reader, show- 
ing the number of possible chamfers with a roll moulding of 
given size. 

§ xiii. If we take the plain chamfer, b, of Fig. LIL, on a 
large scale, as at a, Fig. LV., and bead both its edges, cutting 
away the parts there shaded, we shall have a form much used 
in richly decorated Gothic, both in England and Italy. It 
might be more simply described as the chamfer a of Fig. LIL, 
with an incision on each edge ; but the part here shaded is 
often worked into ornamental forms, not being entirely cut 

§ xiv. Many other mouldings, which at first sight appear 
very elaborate, are 
nothing more than a 
chamfer, with a series 
of small echoes of it 
on each side, dying 
away with a ripple on 
the surface of the wall, 
as in b, Fig. LV., from 
Coutances (observe, 
here the white part is the solid stone, the shade is cut away.) 

Chamfers of this kind are used on a small scale and in deli- 
cate work ; the coarse chamfers are found on all scales : f and 
g, Fig. LHL, in Venice, form the great angles of almost every 
Gothic palace ; the roll being a foot or a foot and a half round, 
and treated as a shaft, with a capital and fresh base at every 
story, while the stones of which it is composed form alternate 
quoins in the brick-work beyond the chamfer curve, I need 

* Appendix 23 : " Varieties of Chamfer,," 

Fig. LV. 


hardly say how much nobler this arrangement is than a com* 
mon quoined angle ; it gives a finish to the aspect of the 
whole pile attainable in no other way. And thus much may 
serve concerning angle decoration by chamfer. 



§ i. The decoration of the angle by various forms of cham- 
fer and bead, as above described, is the quietest method we 
can employ ; too quiet, when great energy is to be given to 
the moulding, and impossible, when, instead of a bold angle, 
we have to deal with a small projecting edge, like c in Fig. LT. 
In such cases we may employ a decoration, far ruder and 
easier in its simplest conditions than the bead, far more effec- 
tive when not used in too great profusion ; and of which the 
complete developments are the source of mouldings at once 
the most picturesque and most serviceable which the Gothic 
builders invented. 

§ ii. The gunwales of the Venetian heavy barges being 
liable to somewhat rough collision with each other, and with 
the walls of the streets, are generally protected by a piece of 
timber, which projects in the form of the fillet, a, Fig. LT. ; 
but which, like all other fillets, may, if we so choose, be con- 
sidered as composed of two angles or edges, which the natural 
and most wholesome love of the Venetian boatmen for orna- 
ment, otherwise strikingly evidenced by their painted sails 
and glittering flag- vanes, will not suffer to remain wholly 
undecorated. The rough service of these timbers, however, 
will not admit of rich ornament, and the boatbuilder usually 
contents himself with cutting a series of notches in each edge, 
one series alternating with the other, as represented at 1, 
Plate IX. 

§ hi. In that simple ornament, not as confined to Venetian 
boats, but as representative of a general human instinct to 
hack at an edge, demonstrate 1 bv all school-bovs and all idle 

THE i 

pu v i 

hssJT^ tmM --idl 

****» p*** P* 



'■ ■■ - - « - . „ v 



Plate IX.— Edge Decokatiox. 

* i 


possessors of penknives or other cutting instruments on both 
sides of the Atlantic ;— in that rude Venetian gunwale, I say, 
is the germ of all the ornament which has touched, with its 
rich successions of angular shadow, the portals and archivolts 
ol nearly every early building of importance, from the North 
Cape to the Straits of Messina. Nor are the modifications of 
the first suggestion intricate. All that is generic in their 
character may be seen on Plate IX. at a glance. 

§ iv. Taking a piece of stone instead of timber, and enlarg- 
ing the notches, until they meet each other, we have the con- 
dition 2 f which is a moulding from the tomb of the Doge 
Andrea Dandolo, in St. Mark's. Now, considering this mould- 
ing as composed of two decorated edges, each edge will be 
reduced, by the meeting of the notches, to a series of four- 
sided pyramids (as marked off by the dotted lines), which, 
the notches here being shallow, will be shallow pyramids; 
but by deepening the notches, we get them as at 3, with a 
profile a, more or less steep. This moulding I shall always 
call " the plain dogtooth ; " it is used in profusion in the Ve- 
netian and Veronese Gothic, generally set with its front to the 
spectator, as here at 3 ; but its effect may be much varied by 
placing it obliquely (4, and profile as at b) ; or with one side 
horizontal (5, and profile e). Of these three conditions, 3 and 
5 are exactly the same in reality, only differently placed ; but 
in 4 the pyramid is obtuse, and the inclination of its base va- 
riable, the upper side of it being always kept vertical. It is 
comparatively rare. Of the three, the last, 5, is far the most 
brilliant in effect, giving in the distance a zigzag form to the 
high light on it, and a full sharp shadow below. The use of 
this shadow is sufficiently seen by fig. 7 in this plate (the arch 
on the left, the number beneath it), in which these levelled 
dogteeth, with a small interval between each, are employed to 
set off by their vigor the delicacy of floral ornament above. 
This arch is the side of a niche from the tomb of Can Signorio 
della Scala, at Verona ; and the value, as well as the distant 
expression of its dogtooth, may be seen by referring to Prout's 
beautiful drawing of this tomb in his " Sketches in France 
and Italy." I have before observed that this artist never fails 


of seizing the true and leading expression of whatever he 
touches : he has made this ornament the leading feature of the 
niche, expressing it, as in distance it is only expressible, by a 

§ v. The reader may perhaps be surprised at my speaking 
so highly of this drawing, if he take the pains to compare 
Prout's symbolism of the work on the niche with the facts as 
they stand here in Plate IX. But the truth is that Prout has 
rendered the effect of the monument on the mind of the passer- 
by ; — the effect it was intended to have on every man who 
turned the corner of the street beneath it : and in this sense 
there is actually more truth and likeness * in Prout's transla- 
tion than in my fac-simile, made diligently by peering into the 
details from a ladder. I do not say that all the symbolism in 
Prout's Sketch is the best possible ; but it is the best which 
any architectural draughtsman has yet invented ; and in its 
application to special subjects it always shows curious internal 
evidence that the sketch has been made on the spot, and that 
the artist tried to draw what he saw, not to invent an attrac- 
tive subject. I shall notice other instances of this hereafter. 

§ vi. The dogtooth, employed in this simple form, is, how- 
ever, rather a foil for other ornament, than itself a satisfactory 
or generally available decoration. It is, however, easy to en- 
rich it as we choose : taking up its simple form at 3, and de- 
scribing the arcs marked by the dotted lines upon its sides, 
and cutting a small triangular cavity between them, we shall 
leave its ridges somewhat rudely representative of four leaves, 
r„s at 8, which is the section and front view of one of the Ve- 
netian stone cornices described above, Chap. XIV., § iv., the 
figure 8 being here put in the hollow of the gutter. The dog- 
tooth is put on the outer lower truncation, and is actually in 
position as fig. 5 ; but being always looked up to, is to the 
spectator as 3, and always rich and effective. The dogteeth 
are perhaps most frequently expanded to the width of fig. 9. 

* I do not here speak of artistical merits, but the play of the lighi 
among the lower shafts is also singularly beautiful in this sketch o; 
Prout's, and the character of the wild and broken leaves, half dead, oil 
the stone of the foreground. 


§ vii. As in nearly all other ornaments previously described, 
so in this, — we have only to deepen the Italian cutting, and 
we shall get the Northern type. If we make the original pyra- 
mid somewhat steeper, and instead of lightly incising, cut it 
through, so as to have the leaves held only by their points to 
the base, we shall have the English dogtooth ; somewhat vul- 
gar in its piquanc}^ when compared with French mouldings 
of a similar kind.* It occurs, I think, on one house in Venice, 
in the Campo St. Polo ; but the ordinary moulding, w T ith light 
incisions, is frequent in archivolts and architraves, as well as 
in the roof cornices. 

§ viii. This being the simplest treatment of the pyramid, 
fig. 10, from the refectory of Wenlock Abbey, is an example 
of the simplest decoration of the recesses or inward angles 
between the pyramids ; that is to say, of a simple hacked edge 
like one of those in fig. 2, the cuts being taken up and decorated 
instead of the points. Each is worked into a small trefoiled 
arch, with an incision round it to mark its outline, and another 
slight incision above expressing the angle of the first cutting. 
I said that the teeth in fig. 7 had in distance the effect of a 
zigzag : in fig. 10 this zigzag effect is seized upon and de- 
veloped, but with the easiest and roughest work ; the angular 
incision being a mere limiting line, like that described in § ix. 
of the last chapter. But hence the farther steps to every con- 
dition of Norman ornament are self evident. I do not say 
that all of them arose from development of the dogtooth in 
this manner, many being quite independent inventions and 
uses of zigzag lines ; still, they may all be referred to this 
simple type as their root and representative, that is to say, the 
mere hack of the Venetian gunwale, with a limiting line fol- 
lowing the resultant zigzag. 

§ ix. Fig. 11 is a singular and much more artificial condi- 
tion, cast in brick, from the church of the Frari, and given 
here only for future reference. Fig. 12, resulting from a fillet 
with the cuts on each of its edges interrupted by a bar, is a 
frequent Venetian moulding, and of great value ; but the plain 

* Vide the " Seven Lamps,'' j). 128. 



or leaved dogteeth have been the favorites, and that to such a 
degree, that even the -Renaissance architects took them up ; 
and the best bit of Renaissance design in Venice, the side of 
the Ducal Palace next the Bridge of Sighs, owes great part of 
its splendor to its foundation, faced with large flat dogteeth, 
each about a foot wide in the base, with their points truncated, 
and alternating with cavities which are their own negatives or 

§ x. One oilier form of the dogtooth is of great impor- 
tance in northern architecture, that produced by 
oblique cuts slightly curved, as in the margin, 
Fig. LVL It is susceptible of the most fantastic 
and endless decoration ; each of the resulting 
leaves being, in the early porches of Rouen and 
Lisieux, hollowed out and worked into branching 
tracery : and at Bourges, for distant effect, 
worked into plain leaves, or bold bony processes 
with knobs at the points, and near the spectator, 
into crouching demons and broad winged owls, 
and other fancies and intricacies, innumerable 
and inexpressible. 

§ xi. Thus much is enough to be noted respect- 
ing edge decoration. We were next to con- 
sider the fillet. Professor Willis has noticed an ornament, 
which he has called the Venetian dentil, " as the most universal 
ornament in its own district that ever I met with ; ' but has 
not noticed the reason for its frequency. It is nevertheless 
highly interesting. 

The whole early architecture of Venice is architecture of 
incrustation : this has not been enough noticed in its peculiar 
relation to that of the rest of Italy. There is, indeed, much 
incrusted architecture throughout Italy, in elaborate ecclesi- 
astical work, but there is more which is frankly of brick, or 
thoroughly of stone. But the Venetian habitually incrusted 
his work with macre ; he built his houses, even the meanest, 
as if he had been a shell-fish, — roughly inside, mother-of« 
pearl on the surface : he was content, perforce, to gather the 
clay of the Brenta banks, and bake it into brick for his sub- 



stance of wall ; but lie overlaid it with the wealth of ocean, 
with the most precious foreign marbles. You might fancy 
early Venice one wilderness of brick, which a petrifying sea 
had beaten upon till it coated it with marble : at first a dark 
city — washed white by the sea foam. And I told you before 
that it was also a city of shafts and arches, and that its dwell- 
ings were raised upon continuous arcades, among which the 
sea waves wandered. Hence the thoughts of its builders 
were early and constantly directed to the incrustation qI 

§ xii. In Fig. LVII. I have given two of these Byzantine 
stilted arches : the one on 
the right, a, as they now too 
often appear, in its bare 
brickwork ; that on the left, 
with its alabaster covering, 
literally marble defensive 
armor, riveted together in 
pieces, which follow the con- 
tours of the building. Now, 
on the wall, these pieces are mere flat slabs cut to the 
arch outline ; but under the soffit of the arch the marble mail 
is curved, often cut singularly thin, like bent tiles, and fitted 
together so that the pieces would sustain each other even 
without rivets. It is of course desirable that this thin sub- 
arch of marble should project enough to sustain the facing of 
the wall ; and the reader will see, in Fig. LVTL, that its edge 
forms a kind of narrow band round the arch (6), a band which 
the least enrichment would render a valuable decorative feat- 
ure. Now this band is, of course, if the soffit-pieces project 
a little beyond the face of the wall-pieces, a mere fillet, like 
the wooden gunwale in Plate IX. ; and the question is, how to 
enrich it most wisely. It might easily have been dog-toothed, 
but the Byzantine architects had not invented the dogtooth, 
and would not have used it here, if they had ; for the dogtooth 
cannot be employed alone, especially on so principal an angle 
as this of the main arches, without giving to the whole build- 
ing a peculiar look, which I can no otherwise describe than as 

Fig. XVII. 



being to the eye, exactly what untempered acid is to the 
tongue. The mere dogtooth is an acid moulding, and can 
only be used in certain mingling with others, to give them 
piquancy ; never alone. What, then, will be the next easiest 
method of giving interest to the fillet ? 

§ xiii. Simply to make the incisions square instead of sharp, 
and to leave equal intervals of the square edge between them. 
Fig. LVIII. is one of the curved pieces of arch armor, with its 
edge thus treated ; one side only being done 
at the bottom, to show the simplicity and ease 
of the work. This ornament gives force and 
interest to the edge of the arch, without in the 
least diminishing its quietness. Nothing was 
ever, nor could be ever invented, fitter for its 
purpose, or more easily cut. From the arch it 
therefore found its way into every position 
where the edge of a piece of stone projected, 
and became, from its constancy of occurrence 
in the latest Gothic as well as the earliest Byzan- 
tine, most truly deserving of the name of the 
" Venetian Dentil." Its complete intention is 
now, however, only to be seen in the pictures 
of Gentile Bellini and Vittor Carpaccio ; for, 
like most of the rest of the mouldings of Vene- 
tian buildings, it was always either gilded or 
painted — often both, gold being laid on the 
faces of the dentils, and their recesses colored 
alternately red and blue. 

§ xiv. Observe, however, that the reason above 
given for the universality of this ornament was by 
no means the reason of its invention. The Venetian dentil is a 
particular application (consequent on the incrusted character 
of Venetian architecture) of the general idea of dentil, which 
had been originally given by the Greeks, and realised both by 
them and by the Byzantines in many laborious forms, long be- 
fore there was need of them for arch armor ; and the lower 
half of Plate IX. will give some idea of the conditions which 
cecur in the Romanesque of Venice, distinctly derived from the 

Pig. LVIII. 


classical dentil ; and of the gradual transition to the more 
convenient and simple type, the running-hand dentil, which 
afterwards became- the characteristic of Venetian Gothic. 
No. 13 * is the common dentiled cornice, which occurs re- 
peatedly in St. Mark's ; and, as late as the thirteenth century, 
a reduplication of it, forming the abaci of the capitals of the 
Piazzetta shafts. Fig. 15 is perhaps an earlier type ; per- 
haps only one of more careless workmanship, from a Byzan- 
tine ruin in the Eio di Ca' Foscari : and it is interesting to 
compare it w T ith fig. 14 from the Cathedral of Vienne, in 
South France. Fig. 17, from St. Mark's, and 18, from the 
apse of Murano, are two very early examples in which the 
future true Venetian dentil is already developed in method 
of execution, though the object is still only to imitate the 
classical one ; and a rude imitation of the bead is joined with 
it in fig. 17. No. 16 indicates two examples of experimental 
forms : the uppermost from the tomb of Mastino della Scala, 
at Verona ; the lower from a door in Venice, I believe, of the 
thirteenth century : 19 is a more frequent arrangement, 
chiefly found in cast brick, and connecting the dentils with 
the dogteeth : 20 is a form introduced richly in the later 
Gothic, but of rare occurrence until the latter half of the 
thirteenth centuiw. I shall call it the gabled dentil. It is 
found in the greatest profusion in sepulchral Gothic, associ- 
ated with several slight variations from the usual dentil type, 
of which No. 21, from the tomb of Pietro Comoro, may serve 
as an example. 

§ xv. All the forms given in Plate IX. are of not unfrequent 
occurrence : varying much in size and depth, according to the 
expression of the work in which they occur ; generally in- 
creasing in size in late work (the earliest dentils are seldom 
more than an inch or an inch and a half long : the fully de- 
veloped dentil of the later Gothic is often as much as four or 
five in length, by one and a half in breadth) ; but they are all 
somewhat rare, compared to the true or armor dentil, above 

* The sections of all the mouldings are given on the right of each ; 
the part which is constantly solid being shaded, and that which is cut 
in*o dentils left. 


described. On the other hand, there are one or two unique 
conditions, which will be noted in the buildings where they 
occur.* The Ducal Palace furnishes three anomalies in the 
arch, dogtooth, and dentil : it has a hyperbolic arch, as noted 
above, Chap. X., § xv. ; it has a double-fanged dogtooth in the 
rings of the spiral shafts on its angles ; and, finally, it has a 
dentil with concave sides, of which the section and two of the 
blocks, real size, are given in Plate XIV. The labor of ob- 
taining this difficult profile has, however, been thrown away ; 
for the effect of the dentil at ten feet distance is exactly the 
same as that of the usual form : and the reader may consider 
the dogtooth and dentil in that plate as fairly representing 
the common use of them in the Venetian Gothic. 

§ xvi. I am aware of no other form of fillet decoration re- 
quiring notice : in the Northern Gothic, the fillet is employed 
chiefly to give severity or flatness to mouldings supposed to 
be too much rounded, and is therefore generally plain. It is 
itself an ugly moulding, and, when thus employed, is merely 
a foil for others, of which, however, it at last usurped the 
place, and became one of the most painful features in the de* 
based Gothic both of Italy and the North. 



§ i. I have classed these two means of architectural effect 
together, because the one is in most cases the negative of the 
other, and is used to relieve it exactly as shadow relieves light ; 
recess alternating with roll, not only in lateral, but in succes- 
sive order ; not merely side by side with each other, but inter- 
rupted the one by the other in their own lines. A recess itself 

* As, however, we shall not probably be led either to Bergamo or 
Bologna, I may mention here a curiously rich use of the dentil, entirely 
covering the foliation and tracery of a nicbe on the outside of the 
duomo of Bergamo ; and a roll, entirely incrusted, as the handle of a 
mace often is with nails, with massy dogteeth or nail-heads, on the 
door of the Pepoli palace of Bologna. 


has properly no decoration ; but its depth gives value to the 
decoration which flanks, encloses, or interrupts it, and the 
form which interrupts it best is the roll. 

§ ii. I use the word roll generally for any mouldings which 
present to the eye somewhat the appearance of being cylindri- 
cal, and look like round rods. When upright, they are in ap- 
pearance, if not in fact, small shafts ; and are a kind of bent 
shaft, even when used in archivolts and traceries ; — when hori- 
zontal, they confuse themselves with cornices, and are, in fact, 
generally to be considered as the best means of drawing an 
architectural line in any direction, the soft curve of their side 
obtaining some shadow at nearly all times of the day, and that 
more tender and grateful to the eye than can be obtained 
either by an incision or by any other form of projection. 

§ in. Their decorative power is, however, too slight for rich 
work, and they frequently require, like the angle and the fillet, 
to be rendered interesting by subdivision or minor ornament 
of their own. When the roll is small, this is effected, exactly 
as in the case of the fillet, by cutting pieces out of it ; giving 
in the simplest results what is called the Norman billet mould- 
ing : and when the cuts are given in couples, and the pieces 
rounded into spheres and almonds, we have the ordinary 
Greek bead, both of them too well known to require illustra- 
tion. The Norman billet we shall not meet with in Venice ; 
the bead constantly occurs in Byzantine, and of course in 
Renaissance work. In Plate IX., Fig. 17, there is a remarka- 
ble example of its early treatment, where the cuts in it are left 

§ iv. But the roll, if it be of any size, deserves better treat- 
ment. Its rounded surface is too beautiful to be cut away in 
notches ; and it is rather to be covered with flat chasing or in- 
laid patterns. Thus ornamented, it gradually blends itself 
with the true shaft, both in the Romanesque work of the 
North, and in the Italian connected schools ; and the patterns 
used for it are those used for shaft decoration in general. 

§ v. But, as alternating with the recess, it has a decoration 
peculiar to itself. We have often, in the preceding chapters, 
noted the fondness of the Northern builders for deep shade 
Vol. I.— 18 


and hollo wness in their mouldings ; and in the second chapter 
of the " Seven Lamps," the changes are described which re- 
duced the massive roll mouldings of the early Gothic to a 
series of recesses, separated by bars of light. The shape of 
these recesses is at present a matter of no importance to us : 
it was, indeed, endlessly varied ; but needlessly, for the value 
of a recess is in its darkness, and its darkness disguises its 
form. But it was not in mere wanton indulgence of their love 
of shade that the Flamboyant builders deepened the furrows 
of their mouldings : they had found a means of decorating 
those furrows as rich as it was expressive, and the entire 
framework of their architecture was designed with a view to 
the effect of this decoration ; where the ornament ceases, the 
framework is meagre and mean : but the ornament is, in the 
best examples of the style, unceasing. 

§ vi. It is, in fact, an ornament formed by the ghosts or 
anatomies of the old shafts, left in the furrows which had 
taken their place. Every here and there, a fragment of a roll 
or shaft is left in the recess or furrow : a billet-moulding on a 
huge scale, but a billet-moulding reduced to a skeleton ; for 
the fragments of roll are cut hollow, and worked into mere 
entanglement of stony fibres, with the gloom of the recess 
shown through them. These ghost rolls, forming sometimes 
pedestals, sometimes canopies, sometimes covering the whole 
recess with an arch of tracery, beneath which it runs like a 
tunnel, are the peculiar decorations of the Flamboyant Gothic. 

§ vii. Now observe, in all kinds of decoration, we must 
keep carefully under separate heads, the consideration of the 
changes wrought in the mere physical form, and in the intel- 
lectual purpose of ornament. The relations of the canopy to 
Die statue it shelters, are to be considered altogether distinctly 
from those of the canopy to the building which it decorates. 
In its earliest conditions the canopy is partly confused with 
representations of miniature architecture : it is sometimes a 
small temple or gateway, sometimes a honorary addition to 
the pomp of a saint, a covering to his throne, or to his shrine ) 
and this canopy is often expressed in bas-relief (as in painting), 
without much reference to the great reouirements of the build- 


ing. At other times it is a real protection to the statue, and is 
enlarged into a complete pinnacle, carried on proper shafts, 
and boldly roofed. But in the late northern system the cano- 
pies are neither expressive nor protective. They are a kind 
of stone lace-work, required for the ornamentation of the build- 
ing, for which the statues are often little more than an excuse, 
and of which the physical character is, as above described, that 
of ghosts of departed shafts. 

§ viii. There is, of course, much rich tabernacle work which 
will not come literally under this head, much which is strag- 
gling or flat in its plan, connecting itself gradually with the 
ordinary forms of independent shrines and tombs ; but the 
general idea of all tabernacle work is marked in the common 
phrase of a "niche," that is to say a hollow intended for a 
statue, and crowned by a canopy ; and this niche decoration 
only reaches its full development when the Flamboyant hol- 
lows are cut deepest, and when the manner and spirit of sculpt- 
ure had so much lost their purity and intensity that it became 
desirable to draw the eye away from the statue to its cover- 
ing, so that at last the canopy became the more important of 
the two, and is itself so beautiful that we are often contented 
with architecture from which profanity has struck the statues, 
if only the canopies are left ; and consequently, in our modern 
ingenuity, even set up canopies where we have no intention 
of setting statues. 

§ ix. It is a pity that thus w r e have no really noble example 
of the effect of the statue in the recesses of architecture : for 
the Flamboyant recess was not so much a preparation for it 
as a gulf which swallowed it up. When statues were most 
earnestly designed, they were thrust forward in all kinds of 
places, often in front of the pillars, as at Amiens, awkwardly 
enough, but with manly respect to the purpose of the figures. 
The Flamboyant hollows yawned at their sides, the statues 
fell back into them, and nearly disappeared, and a flash of 
flame in the shape of a canopy rose as they expired. 

§ x. I do not feel myself capable at present of speaking 
with perfect justice of this niche ornament of the north, my 
late studies in Italy having somewhat destroyed my sympa- 


thies with it. But I once loved it intensely, and will not sav 
anything to depreciate it now, save only this, that while i 
have studied long at Abbeville, without in the least finding 
that it made me care less for Verona, I never remained long 
in Verona without feeling some doubt of the nobility of Abbe- 

§ xi. Recess decoration by leaf mouldings is constantly 
and beautifully associated in the north with niche decoration, 
but requires no special notice, the recess in such cases being 
used merely to give value to the leafage by its gloom, and the 
difference between such conditions and those of the south 
being merely that in the one the leaves are laid across a hol- 
low, and in the other over a solid surface ; but in neither of 
the schools exclusively so, each in some degree intermingling 
the method of the other. 

§ xn. Finally the recess decoration by the ball llower is 
very definite and characteristic, found, I believe, chiefly in 
English work. It consists merely in leaving a small boss 
or sphere, fixed, as it were, at intervals in the hollows ; such 
bosses being afterwards carved into roses, or other ornamental 
forms, and sometimes lifted quite up out of the hollow, on 
projecting processes, like vertebrae, so as to make them more 
conspicuous, as throughout the decoration of the cathedral of 

The value of this ornament is chiefly in the spotted char- 
acter which it gives to the lines of mouldings seen from a dis- 
tance. It is very rich and delightful when not used in excess ; 
but it would satiate and weary the eye if it were ever used in 
general architecture. The spire of Salisbury, and of St. 
Mary's at Oxford, are agreeable as isolated masses ; but if an 
entire street were built with this spotty decoration at every 
casement, we could not traverse it to the end without disgust. 
It is only another example of the constant aim at piquancy of 
effect which characterised the northern builders ; an ingenious 
but somewhat vulgar effort to give interest to their grey 
masses of coarse stone, without overtaking their powers either 
of invention or execution. We will thank them for it without 
blame or praise, and pass on. 

THE BASE. ' 277 



§ i. We know now as much as is needful respecting the 
methods of minor and universal decorations, which were dis- 
tinguished in Chapter XXII., § in., from the ornament which 
has special relation to particular parts. This local ornament, 
which, it will be remembered, we arranged in § ir. of the same 
chapter under five heads, we have next, under those heads, to 
consider. And, first, the ornament of the bases, both of walls 
and shafts. 

It was noticed in our account of the divisions of a wall, that 
there are something in those divisions like the beginning, the 
several courses, and the close of a human life. And as, in all 
well-conducted lives, the hard work, and roughing, and gain- 
ing of strength come first, the honor or decoration in certain 
intervals during their course, but most of all in their close, so, 
in general, the base of the wall, which is its beginning of labor, 
will bear least decoration, its body more, especially those 
epochs of rest called its string courses ; but its crown or cor- 
nice most of all. Still, in some buildings, all these are dec- 
orated richly, though the last most ; and in others, when the 
base is well protected and yet conspicuous, it may probably 
receive even more decoration than other parts. 

§ ii. Now, the main things to be expressed in a base are its 
levelness and evenness. We cannot do better than construct 
the several members of the base, as developed in Fig. II., p. 
66, each of a different colored marble, so as to produce 
marked level bars of color all along the foundation. This is 
exquisitely done in all the Italian elaborate wall bases ; that 
of St. Anastasia at Verona is one of the most perfect existing, 
for play of color ; that of Giotto's campanile is on the whole 
the most beautifully finished. Then, on the vertical portions, 
a, b, c, we may put what patterns in mosaic we please, so that 
they be not too rich ; but if we choose rather to have sculpture 
(or must have it for want of stones to inlay), then observe that 
all sculpture on bases must be in panels, or it will soon be 


worn away, and that a plain panelling is often good without 
any other ornament. The member b, which in St. Mark's is 
subordinate, and c, which is expanded into a seat, are both of 
them decorated with simple but exquisitely-finished panelling, 
in red and white or green and white marble ; and the mem- 
ber e is in bases of this kind very valuable, as an expression 
of a firm beginning of the substance of the wall itself. This 
member has been of no service to us hitherto, and was unno- 
ticed in the chapters on construction ; but it was expressed 
in the figure of the wall base, on account of its great value 
when the foundation is of stone and the wall of brick (coated 
or not). In such cases it is always better to add the course e, 
above the slope of the base, than abruptly to begin the com- 
mon masonry of the wall. 

§ in. It is, however, with the member d, or Xb, that we are 
most seriously concerned ; for this being the essential feature 
of all bases, and the true preparation for the wall or shaft, 
it is most necessary that here, if anywhere, we should have 
full expression of levelness and precision ; and farther, that, 
if possible, the eye should not be suffered to rest on the 
points of junction of the stones, which would give an effect of 
instability. Both these objects are accomplished by attracting 
the eye to two rolls, separated by a deep hollow, in the mem- 
ber d itself. The bold projections of their mouldings entirely 
prevent the attention from being drawn to the joints of the 
masonry, and besides form a simple but beautifully connected 
group of bars of shadow, which express, in their perfect paral- 
lelism, the absolute levelness of the foundation. 

§ iv. I need hardly give any perspective drawing of an ar- 
rangement which must be perfectly familiar to the reader, as 
occurring under nearly every column of the too numerous 
classical buildings all over Europe. But I may name the base 
of the Bank of England as furnishing a very simple instance 
of the group, with a square instead of a rounded hollow, both 
forming the base of the wall, and gathering into that of the 
shafts as they occur ; while the bases of the pillars of the 
facade of the British Museum are as good examples as the 
reader can study on a larger scale. 



§ v. I believe this group of mouldings was first invented 
by the Greeks, and it has never been materially improved, as 
far as its peculiar purpose is concerned ; * the classical at- 
tempts at its variation being the ugliest : one, the using a 
single roll of larger size, as may be seen in the Duke of York's 
column, which therefore looks as if it stood on a large saus- 
age (the Monument has the same base, but more concealed 
by pedestal decoration) : another, the using two rolls without 
the intermediate cavetto, — a condition hardly less awkward, 
and which may be studied to advantage in the wall and shaft- 
bases of the Athenaeum Club-house : and another, the intro- 
duction of what are called fillets between the rolls, as may be 
seen in the pillars of Hanover Chapel, Regent Street, which 
look, in consequence, as if they were standing upon a pile of 
pewter collection plates. But the only successful changes 
have been mediaeval ; and their nature will be at once under- 
stood by a glance at the varieties given on the opposite page. 
It will be well first to give the buildings in which they occur, 
in order. 


Santa Fosca, Torcello. 



North, transept, St. Mark's, 





Nave, Torcello. 



Nave, Torcello. 


South transept, St. Mark's. 



Northern portico, upper shafts, 


St. Mark's. 



Another of the same group. 



Cortile of St. Amhrogio, Milan. 



Nave shafts, St. Michele, Pavia. 



Outside wall base, St. Mark's, 





Fondaco de' Turchi, Venice. 



Nave, Vienne, France. 



Fondaco de' Turchi, Venice. 


Ca' Giustiniani, Venice. 
Byzantine fragment, Venice. 
St. Mark's, upper Colonnade. 
Ducal Palace, Venice (win« 

Ca' Falier, Venice. 
St. Zeno, Verona. 
San Stefano, Venice. 
Ducal Palace, Venice(windows) 
Nave, Salisbury. 
Santa Fosca, Torcello. 
Nave, Lyons Cathedral. 
Notre Dame, Dijon. 
Nave, Bourges Cathedral. 
Nave, Mortain (Normandy). 
Nave, Rouen Cathedral. 

* Another most important reason for the peculiar sufficiency and 
value of this base, especially as opposed to the bulging forms of the sin- 
gle or double roll, without the cavetto, has been suggested by the writer 


§ vi. Eighteen out of the twenty-eight varieties are Vene* 
tian, being bases to which I shall have need of future refer- 
ence ; but the interspersed examples, 8, 9, 12, and 19, from 
Milan, Pavia, Vienne (France), and Verona, show the exactly 
correspondent conditions of the Romanesque base at the 
period, throughout the centre of Europe. The last five ex- 
amples show the changes effected by the French Gothic archi- 
tects : the Salisbury base (22) I have only introduced to show 
its dulness and vulgarity beside them ; and 23, from Torcello, 
for a special reason, in that place. 

§ vii. The reader will observe that the two bases, 8 and 9, 
from the two most important Lombardic churches of Italy, 
St. Ambrogio of Milan and St. Michele of Pavia, mark the 
character of the barbaric base founded on pure Roman 
models, sometimes approximating to such models very closely ; 
and the varieties 10, 11, 13, 16 are Byzantine types, also 
founded on Roman models. But in the bases 1 to 7 inclus- 
ive, aDd, still more characteristically, in 23 below, there is 
evidently an original element, a tendency to use the fillet and 
hollow instead of the roll, which is eminently Gothic ; which 
in the base 3 reminds one even of Flamboyant conditions, 
and is excessively remarkable as occurring in Italian work cer- 
tainly not later than the tenth century, taking even the date 
of the last rebuilding of the Duomo of Torcello, though I am 
strongly inclined to consider these bases j)ortions of the orig- 
inal church. And I have therefore put the base 23 among 
the Gothic group to which it has so strong relationship, 
though, on the last supposition, five centuries older than the 
earliest of the five terminal examples ; and it is still more re- 
markable because it reverses the usual treatment of the lower 
roll, which is in general a tolerably accurate test of the age of 
a base, in the degree of its projection. Thus, in the ex- 
amples 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, the lower roll is hardly rounded 
at all, and diametrically opposed to the late Gothic conditions, 
24 to 28, in which it advances gradually, like a wave preparing 

of the Essay on the ^Esthetics of Gothic Architecture in the British 
Quarterly for August, 1849 : — " The Attic hase recedes at the point 
where, if it suffered from superincumbent weight, it would bulge out." 

Plate X. — Profiles of Bases. 




THE BASE. 281 

to break, and at last is actually seen curling over with the long- 
backed rush of surf upon the shore. Yet the Torcello base 
resembles these Gothic ones both in expansion beneath and 
in depth of cavetto above. 

§ vni. There can be no question of the ineffable superiority 
of these Gothic bases, in grace of profile, to any ever invented 
by the ancients. But they have all two great faults : They 
seem, in the first place, to have been designed without suffi- 
cient reference to the necessity of their being usually seen 
from above ; their grace of profile cannot be estimated when 
so seen, and their excessive expansion gives them an appear- 
ance of flatness and separation from the shaft, as if they had 
splashed out under its pressure : in the second place their 
cavetto is so deeply cut that it has the appearance of a black 
fissure between the members of the base ; and in the Lyons 
and Bourges shafts, 24 and 26, it is impossible to conquer the 
idea suggested by it, that the two stones above and below have 
been intended to join close, but that some pebbles have got in 
and kept them from fitting ; one is always expecting the 
pebbles to be crushed, and the shaft to settle into its place 
with a thunder- clap. 

§ ix. For these reasons, I said that the profile of the pure 
classic base had hardly been materially improved ; but the 
various conditions of it are beautiful or commonplace, in pro- 
portion to the variety of proportion among their lines and the 
delicacy of their curvatures ; that is to say, the expression of 
characters like those of the abstract lines in Plate VII. 

The five best profiles in Plate X. are 10, 17, 19, 20, 21 ; 10 
is peculiarly beautiful in the opposition between the bold pro- 
jection of its upper roll, and the delicate leafy curvature of its 
lower ; and this and 21 may be taken as nearly perfect types, 
the one of the steep, the other of the expansive basic profiles. 
The characters of all, however, are so dependent upon their 
place and expression, that it is unfair to judge them thus sepa- 
rately ; and the precision of curvature is a matter of so small 
consequence in general effect, that we need not here pursue 
the subject farther. 

§ x. We have thus far, however, considered only the lines 



of moulding in the member X b, whether of wall or shaft base. 
But the reader will remember that in our best shaft base, in 
Fig. XII. (p. 87), certain props or spurs were applied to the 

slope of X b ; but now 
that X b is divided into 
these delicate mouldings, 
we cannot conveniently 
apply the spur to its ir- 
regular profile ; we must 
be content to set it against 
the lower roll. Let the 
upper edge of this lower 
roll be the curved line 
here, a, d, e, b, Fig. LIX., 
and c the angle of the 
square plinth projecting 
beneath it. Then the spur, 
applied as we saw in Chap. 
as the triangle c e d, Fig. 

Fm. LIX. 

VII., will be of some such form 

§ xi. Now it has just been stated that it is of small impor- 
tance whether the abstract lines of the profile of a base mould- 
ing be fine or not, because we rarely stoop down to look at 
them. But this triangular spur is nearly always seen from 
above, and the eye is drawn to it as one of the most important 
features of the whole base ; therefore it is a point of immediate 
necessity to substitute for its harsh right lines (c d, c e) some 
curve of noble abstract character. 

§ xn. I mentioned, in speaking of the line of the salvia leaf 
at p. 224, that I had marked off the portion of it, x y, because 
I thought it likely to be generally useful to us afterwards ; and 
I promised the reader that as he had built, so he should deco- 
rate his edifice at his own free will. If, therefore, he likes the 
above triangular spur, c d e, by all means let him keep it ; but 
if he be on the whole dissatisfied with it, I may be permitted, 
perhaps, to advise him to set to work like a tapestry bee, to cut 
off the little bit of line of salvia leaf x y, and try how he can 
best substitute it for the awkward lines c d c e. He may try 



AL . 

Plate XI. — Plans of Bases. 



it any way that lie likes ; but if he puts the salvia curvature 
inside the present lines, he will find the spur looks weak, and I 
think he will determine at last on placing it as I have done at 
c d, c e, Fig. LX. (If the reader will be at the pains to trans- 
fer the salvia leaf line with tracing paper, he will find it accu- 
rately used in this figure. ) Then I merely acid an outer circular 
line to represent the outer swell of the roll against which the 
spur is set, and I put another such spur to the opposite corner 
of the square, and we have the half base, Fig. LX., which is a 
general type of the best Gothic bases in existence, being very 
nearly that of the upper shafts of the Ducal Palace of Venice. 

Fig. LX. 

In those shafts the quadrant a b, or the upper edge of the lower 
roll, is 2 feet If inches round, and the base of the spur d e, is 
10 inches ; the line d e being therefore to a b as 10 to 25 f. In 
Fig. LX. it is as 10 to 24, the measurement being easier and 
the type somewhat more generally representative of the best, 
i. e. broadest, spurs of Italian Gothic. 

§ xin. Now, the reader is to remember, there is nothing 
magical in salvia leaves : the line I take from them happened 
merely to fall conveniently on the page, and might as well 
have been taken from anything else ; it is simply its character 
of gradated curvature which fits it for our use. On Plate XI., 
opposite, I have given plans of the spurs and quadrants of 


twelve Italian and three Northern bases ; these latter (13), 
from Bourges, (14) from Lyons, (15) from Rouen, are given 
merely to show the Northern disposition to break up bound- 
ing lines, and lose breadth in picturesqueness. These North- 
ern bases look the prettiest in this plate, because this varia- 
tion of the outline is nearly all the ornament they have, 
being cut very rudely ; but the Italian bases above them are 
merely prepared by their simple outlines for far richer decora- 
tion at the next step, as w r e shall see presently. The Northern 
bases are to be noted also for another grand error : the pro- 
jection of the roll beyond the square plinth, of which the cor- 
ner is seen, in various degrees of advancement, in the three 
examples. 13 is the base whose profile is No. 26 in Plate X. ; 
14 is 24 in the same plate ; and 15 is 28. 

§ xiv. The Italian bases are the following ; all, except 7 and 
10, being Venetian : 1 and 2, upper colonnade, St. Mark's ; 3, 
Ca' Falier ; 4, lower colonnade, and 5, transept, St. Mark's ; 
G, from the Church of St. John and Paul ; 7, from the tomb 
near St. Anastasia, Verona, described above (p. 147) ; 8 and 
9, Fon daco de' Turchi, Venice ; 10, tomb of Can Mastino 
della Scala, Verona ; 11, San Stefano, Venice ; 12, Ducal 
Palace, Venice, upper colonnade. The Nos. 3, 8, 9, 11 are the 
bases whose profiles are respectively Nos. 18, 11, 13, and 20 
in Plate X. The flat surfaces of the basic plinths are here 
shaded ; and in the lower corner of the square occupied by 
each quadrant is put, also shaded, the central profile of each 
spur, from its root at the roll of the base to its point ; those 
of Nos. 1 and 2 being conjectural, for their spurs were so rude 
and ugly, that I took no note of their profiles ; but they would 
probably be as here given. As these bases, though here, for 
the sake of comparison, reduced within squares of equal size, 
in reality belong to shafts of very different size, 9 being some 
six or seven inches in diameter, and 6, three or four feet, the 
proportionate size of the roll varies accordingly, being largest, 
as in 9, where the base is smallest, and in 6 and 12 the leaf 
profile is given on a larger scale than the plan, or its character 
could not have been exhibited. 

§ xv. Now, in all these spurs, the reader will observe that 

THE BASE. 285 

the narrowest are for the most part the earliest. No. 2, from 
the upper colonnade of St. Mark's, is the only instance I ever 
saw of the double spur, as transitive between the square and 
octagon plinth ; the truncated form, 1, is also rare and very 
ugly. Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 are the general conditions of the 
Byzantine spur ; 8 is a very rare form of plan in Byzantine 
work, but proved to be so by its rude level profile ; while 7, 
on the contrary, Byzantine in plan, is eminently Gothic in the 
profile. 9 to 12 are from formed Gothic buildings, equally 
refined in their profile and plan. 

§ xvi. The character of the profile is indeed much altered 
by the accidental nature of the surface decoration ; but the 
importance of the broad difference between the raised and flat 
profile will be felt on glancing at the examples 1 to 6 in Plate 
XII. The three upper examples are the Romanesque types, 
which occur as parallels with the Byzantine types, 1 to 3 of 
Plate XI. Their plans would be nearly the same ; but instead 
of resembling flat leaves, they are literally spurs, or claws, as 
high as they are broad ; and the third, from St. Michele of 
Pavia, appears to be intended to have its resemblance to a 
claw enforced by the transverse fillet. 1 is from St. Ambrogio, 
Milan ; 2 from Vienne, France. The 4th type, Plate XII, 
almost like the extremity of a man's foot, is a Byzantine form 
(perhaps worn on the edges), from the nave of St. Mark's ; 
and the two next show the unity of the two principles, form- 
ing the perfect Italian Gothic types, — 5, from tomb of Can 
Signorio della Scala, Verona ; 6, from San Stefano, Venice (the 
base 11 of Plate XI., in perspective). The two other bases, 
10 and 12 of Plate XL, are conditions of the same kind, 
showing the varieties of rise and fall in exquisite modulation ; 
the 10th, a type more frequent at Verona than Venice, in 
which the spur profile overlaps the roll, instead of rising out 
of it, and seems to hold it down, as if it were a ring held by 
sockets. This is a character found both in early and late 
work ; a kind of band, or fillet, appears to hold, and even 
compress, the centre of the roll in the base of one of the crypt 
shafts of St. Peter's, Oxford, which has also spurs at its 
angles ; and long bands flow over the base of the angle 


shaft of the Ducal Palace of Venice, next the Porta della 

§ xvii. When the main contours of the base are once deter- 
mined, its decoration is as easy as it is infinite. I have merely 
given, in Plate XII., three examples to which I shall need to 
refer, hereafter. No. 9 is a very early and curious one ; the 
decoration of the base 6 in Plate XI., representing a leaf 
turned over and flattened down ; or, rather, the idea of the 
turned leaf, worked as well as could be imagined on the flat 
contour of the spur. Then 10 is the perfect, but simplest 
possible development of the same idea, from the earliest 
bases of the upper colonnade of the Ducal Palace, that is to 
say, the bases of the sea facade ; and 7 and 8 are its lateral 
profile and transverse section. Finally, 11 and 12 are two oi 
the spurs of the later shafts of the same colonnade on the 
Piazzetta side (No. 12 of Plate XL). No. 11 occurs on one 
of these shafts only, and is singularly beautiful. I suspect it 
to be earlier than the other, which is the characteristic base 
of the rest of the series, and already shows the loose, sensual, 
ungoverned character of fifteenth century ornament in the 
dissoluteness of its rolling. 

§ xviii. I merely give these as examples ready to my hand, 
and necessary for future reference ; not as in anywise repre- 
sentative of the variety of the Italian treatment of the general 
contour, far less of the endless caprices of the North. The 
most beautiful base I ever saw, on the whole, is a Byzantine 
one in the Baptistery of St. Mark's, in which the spur profile 
approximates to that of No. 10 in Plate XI. ; but it is formed 
by a cherub, who sweeps downwards on the wing. His two 
wings, as they half close, form the upper part of the spur, 
and the rise of it in the front is formed by exactly the action 
of Alichino, swooping on the pitch lake : " quei drizzo, 
volando, suso il j:>etto." But it requires noble management 
to confine such a fancy within such limits. The greater 
number of the best bases are formed of leaves ; and the 
reader may amuse himself as he will by endless inventions of 
them, from types which he may gather among the weeds at 
the nearest roadside. The value of the vegetable form is es* 

THE BASE. 287 

pecially here, as above noted, Chap. XX., § xxxii., its capa- 
bility of unity with the mass of the base, and of being sug- 
gested by few lines ; none but the Northern Gothic archi- 
tects are able to introduce entire animal forms in this posi- 
tion with perfect success. There is a beautiful instance at- 
the north door of the west front of Rouen ; a lizard pausing 
and curling himself round a little in the angle ; one expects 
him the next instant to lash round the shaft and vanish : and 
we may with advantage compare this base with those of 
Renaissance Scuola di San Rocca * at Venice, in which the 
architect, imitating the mediaeval bases, which he did not un- 
derstand, has put an elephant, four inches higher, in the same 

§ xix. I have not in this chapter spoken at all of the pro- 
files which are given in Northern architecture to the projec- 
tions of the lower members of the base, b and c in Fig. II., 
nor of the methods in which both these, and the rolls of the 
mouldings in Plate X., are decorated, especially in Roman 
architecture, with superadded chainwork or chasing of vari- 
ous patterns. Of the first I have not spoken, because I shall 
have no occasion to allude to them in the following essay ; 
nor of the second, because I consider them barbarisms. 
Decorated rolls and decorated ogee profiles, such, for in- 
stance, as the base of the Arc de l'Etoile at Paris, are among 
the richest and farthest refinements of decorative appliances ; 
and they ought always to be reserved for jambs, cornices, 
and archivolts : if you begin with them in the base, you have 
no power of refining your decorations as you ascend, and, 
which is still worse, you put your most delicate work on the 
jutting portions of the foundation, — the very portions which 
are most exposed to abrasion. The best expression of a base 
is that of stern endurance, — the look of being able to bear 
roughing ; or, if the whole building is so delicate that no one 

* I have put in Appendix 24, " Renaissance Bases," mj r memorandum 
written respecting tliis building on the spot. But the reader had better 
delay referring to it, until we have completed our examination of orna' 
ments in sba r ts and f.initals. 


can be expected to treat even its base with unkindness,* then 
at least the expression of quiet, prefatory simplicity. The 
angle spur may receive such decoration as we have seen, be- 
cause it is one of the most important features in the whole 
building ; and the eye is always so attracted to it that it can- 
not be in rich architecture left altogether blank ; the e} r e is 
stayed upon it by its position, but glides, and ought to glide, 
along the basic rolls to take measurement of their length : 
and even with all this added fitness, the ornament of the 
basic spur is best, in the long run, when it is boldest and sim- 
plest. The base above described, § xvin., as the most beau- 
tiful I ever saw, was not for that reason the best I ever saw : 
beautiful in its place, in a quiet corner of a Baptistery sheeted 
with jasper and alabaster, it would have been utterly wrong, 
nay, even offensive, if used in sterner work, or repeated along 
a whole colonnade. The base No. 10 of Plate XII. is the 
richest with which I was ever perfectly satisfied for general 
service ; and the basic spurs of the building which I have 
named as the best Gothic monument in the world (p. 147), 
have no ornament upon them whatever. The adaptation, 
therefore, of rich cornice and roll mouldings to the level and 
ordinary lines of bases, whether of walls or shafts, I hold to 
be one of the worst barbarisms which the Boman and Benais- 
sance architects ever committed ; and that nothing can after- 
wards redeem the effeminacy and vulgarity of the buildings 
in which it prominently takes place. 

§ xx. I have also passed over, without present notice, the 
fantastic bases formed by couchant animals, which sustain 
many Lombardic shafts. The pillars they support have inde- 
pendent bases of the ordinary kind ; and the animal form be- 
neath is less to be considered as a true base (though often 
exquisitely combined with it, as in the shaft on the south- 
west angle of the cathedral of Genoa) than as a piece of sculpt- 
ure, otherwise necessary to the nobilit}- of the building, and 
deriving its value from its special positive fulfilment of ex- 
pressional purposes, with which we have here no concern, 

* Appendix 25, " Romanist Decoration of Bases." 

Plate XII. — Decoration of Bases. 

THE I ! 




lM 1111 - ■ ■><«■>- 


As the embodiment of a wild superstition, and the represen- 
tation of supernatural powers, their appeal to the imagina- 
tion sets at utter defiance all judgment based on ordinary 
canons of law; and the magnificence of their treatment 
atones, in nearly every case, for the extravagance of their 
conception. I should not admit this appeal to the imagina- 
tion, if it had been made by a nation in whom the powers of 
body and mind had been languid ; but by the Lombard, 
strong in all the realities of human life, we need not fear 
being led astray : the visions of a distempered fancy are not 
indeed permitted to replace the truth, or set aside the laws of 
science : but the imagination which is thoroughly under the 
command of the intelligent will,* has a dominion indiscerni- 
ble by science, and illimitable by law ; and we may acknowl- 
edge the authority of the Lombardic gryphons in the mere 
splendor of their presence, without thinking idolatry nn ex- 
cuse for mechanical misconstruction, or dreading to be called 
upon, in other cases, to admire a systemless architecture, be- 
cause it may happen to have sprung from an irrational relig- 



§ i. No subject has been more open ground of dispute 
among architects than the decoration of the wall veil, because 
no decoration appeared naturally to grow out of its construc- 
tion ; nor could any curvatures be given to its surface large 
enough to prodr-ce much impression on the eye. It has be- 
come, therefore, a kind of general field for experiments of 
various effects of surface ornament, or has been altogether 
abandoned to the mosaicist and fresco painter. But we may 
perhaps conclude, from what was advanced in the Fifth Chap- 

* In all the wildness of the Lombardic fancy (described in Appendix 
8j, this command of the will over its action is as distinct as it is stern. 
The fancy is, in th? early work of the nation, visibly diseased ; but 
never the will, nor the reason. 
Vol. I. —19 


ter, that there is one kind of decoration which will, indeed, 
naturally follow on its construction. For it is perfectly natu- 
ral that the different kinds of stone used in its successive 
courses should be of different colors ; and there are many as- 
sociations and analogies which metaphysically justify the in- 
troduction of horizontal bands of color, or of light and shade. 
They are, in the first place, a kind of expression of the growth 
or age of the wall, like the rings in the wood of a tree ; then 
they are a farther symbol of the alternation of light and dark- 
ness, which was above noted as the source of the charm of 
many inferior mouldings : again, they are valuable as an ex- 
pression of horizontal space to the imagination, space of which 
the conception is opposed, and gives more effect by its oppo- 
sition, to the enclosing power of the wall itself (this I spoke 
of as probably the great charm of these horizontal bars to the 
Arabian mind) : and again they are valuable in their sugges- 
tion of the natural courses of rocks, and beds of the earth it- 
self. And to all these powerful imaginative reasons we have 
to add the merely ocular charm of interlineal opposition of 
color ; a charm so great, that all the best colorists, without a 
single exception, depend upon it for the most piquant of their 
pictorial effects, some vigorous mass of alternate stripes or 
bars of color being made central in all their richest arrange- 
ments. The wdiole system of Tintoret's great picture of the 
Miracle of St. Mark is poised on the bars of blue, which cross 
the white turban of the executioner. 

§ ii. There are, therefore, no ornaments more deeply sug- 
gestive in their simplicity than these alternate bars of horizon- 
tal colors ; nor do I know any buildings more noble than those 
of the Pisan Romanesque, in which they are habitually em- 
ployed ; and certainly none so graceful, so attractive, so endur- 
ingly delightful in their nobleness. Yet, of this pure and 
graceful ornamentation, Professor Willis says, "a practice more 
destructive of architectural grandeur can hardly be conceived :" 
and modern architects have substituted for it the ingenious 
ornament of which the reader has had one specimen above, 
Fig. III., p. 72, and with which half the large buildings in 
London are disfigured, or else traversed by mere straight lines, 












as, for instance, the back of the Bank. The lines on the Bank 
may, perhaps, be considered typical of accounts ; but in 
general the walls, if left destitute of them, would have been as 
much fairer than the walls charged with them, as a sheet oi 
white paper is than the leaf of a ledger. But that the reader 
may have free liberty of judgment in this matter, I place two 
examples of the old and the Renaissance ornament side by 
side on the opposite page. That on the right is Romanesque, 
from St. Pietro of Pistoja ; that on the left, modern English, 
from the Arthur Club-house, St. James's Street. 

§ in. But why, it will be asked, should the lines which mark 
the division of the stones be wrong when they are chiselled, 
and right when they are marked by color ? First, because 
the color separation is a natural one. You build with different 
kinds of stone, of which, probably, one is more costly than 
another ; which latter, as you cannot construct your building 
of it entirely, you arrange in conspicuous bars. But the chis- 
elling of the stones is a wilful throwing away of time and labor 
in defacing the building : it costs much to hew one of those 
monstrous blocks into shape ; and, when it is done, the build- 
ing is weaker than it was before, by just as much stone as has 
been cut away from its joints. And, secondly, because, as I 
have repeatedly urged, straight lines are ugly things as lines, 
but admirable as limits of colored spaces ; and the joints of 
the stones, which are painful in proportion to their regularity, 
if drawn as lines, are perfectly agreeable when marked by 
variations of hue. 

§ iv. What is true of the divisions of stone by chiselling, 
is equally true of divisions of bricks by pointing. Nor, of 
course, is the mere horizontal bar the only arrangement in 
which the colors of brickwork or masonry can be gracefully 
disposed. It is rather one which can only be employed with 
advantage when the courses of stone are deep and bold. When 
the masonry is small, it is better to throw its colors into cheq- 
uered patterns. We shall have several interesting examples 
to study in Venice besides the well-known one of the Ducal 
Palace. The town of Moulins, in France, is one of the most 
remarkable on this side the Alps for its chequered patterns in 


bricks. The church of Christchurch, Streatham, lately built 
though spoiled by mairy grievous errors (the iron work in 
the campanile being the grossest), yet affords the inhabitants 
of the district a means of obtaining some idea of the variety 
of effects which are possible with no other material than 

§ v. We have yet to notice another effort of the Eenais* 
sance architects to adorn the blank spaces of their walls by 
what is called Rustication. There is sometimes an obscure 
trace of the remains of the imitation of something organic in 
this kind of work. In some of the better French eighteenth 
century buildings it has a distinctly floral character, like a final 
degradation of Flamboyant leafage ; and some of our modern 
English architects appear to have taken the decayed teeth of 
elephants for their type ; but, for the most part, it resembles 
nothing so much as worm casts ; nor these with any precision. 
If it did, it would not bring it within the sphere of our prop- 
erly imitative ornamentation. I thought it unnecessary to 
warn the reader that he was not to copy forms of refuse or 
corruption ; and that, while he might legitimately take the 
worm or the reptile for a subject of imitation, he was not to 
study the worm cast or coprolite. 

§ vi. It is, however, I believe, sometimes supposed that rus- 
tication gives an appearance of solidity to foundation stones. 
Not so ; at least to any one who knows the look of a hard 
stone. You may, by rustication, make your good marble or 
granite look like wet slime, honeycombed by sand-eels, or like 
half-baked tufo covered with slow exudation of stalactite, or 
like rotten claystone coated with concretions of its own mud ; 
but not like the stones of which the hard world is built. Do 
not think that nature rusticates her foundations. Smooth 
sheets of rock, glistening like sea waves, and that ring under 
the hammer like a brazen bell, — that is her preparation for 
first stories. She does rusticate sometimes : crumbly sand- 
stones, with their ripple-marks filled with red mud ; dusty 
lime-stones, which the rains wash into labyrinthine cavities ; 
spongy lavas, which the volcano blast drags hither and thither 
into ropy coils and bubbling hollows ; — these she rusticates, 


indeed, when she wants to make oyster- shells and magnesia 
of them ; but not when she needs to lay foundations with 
them. Then she seeks the polished surface and iron heart, 
not rough looks and incoherent substance. 

§ vii. Of the richer modes of wall decoration it is impossi- 
ble to institute any general comparison ; they are quite in- 
finite, from mere inlaid geometrical figures up to incrustations 
of elaborate bas-relief. The architect has perhaps more li- 
cense in them, and more power of producing good effect with 
rude design than in any other features of the building ; the 
chequer and hatchet w r ork of the Normans and the rude bas- 
reliefs of the Lombards being almost as satisfactory as the 
delicate panelling and mosaic of the Duomo of Florence. 
But this is to be noted of all good wall ornament, that it re- 
tains the expression of firm and massive substance, and of 
broad surface, and that architecture instantly declined when 
linear design was substituted for massive, and the sense of 
weight of wall was lost in a wilderness of upright or undulat- 
ing rods. Of the richest and most delicate wall veil decora- 
tion by inlaid w T ork, as practised in Italy from the twelfth to 
the fifteenth century, I have given the reader two characteris- 
tic examples in Plates XX. and XXI. 

§ vin. There are, however, three spaces in which the wall 
veil, peculiarly limited in shape, was always felt to be fitted 
for surface decoration of the most elaborate kind ; and in 
these spaces are found the most majestic instances of its 
treatment, even to late periods. One of these is the spandril 
space, or the filling be- 
tween any two arches, 
commonly of the shape 
a, Fig. LXI. ; the half 
of which, or the flank 
filling of any arch, is 
called a spandril. In 
Chapter XVII, on Fill- 
ing of Apertures, the reader will find another of these spaces 
noted, called the tympanum, and commonly of the form b, 
Fig. LXI. : and finally, in Chapter XVIII. , he will find the 



third space described, that between an arch and its protecting 
gable, approximating generally to the form c, Fig. LXI. 

§ ix. The methods of treating these spaces might alone fur- 
nish subject for three very interesting essays ; but I shall 
only note the most essential points respecting them. 

(1.) The Spandril. It was observed in Chapter XII., that 
this portion of the arch load might frequently be lightened 
with great advantage by piercing it with a circle, or with a 
group of circles ; and the roof of the Euston Square railroad 
station was adduced as an example. One of the spandril 
decorations of Bayeux Cathedral is given in the "Seven 
Lamps," Plate VII. fig. 4. It is little more than one of these 
Euston Square spandrils, with its circles foliated. 

Sometimes the circle is entirely pierced ; at other times it 
is merely suggested by a mosaic or light tracery on the wall 
surface, as in the plate opposite, which is one of the spandrils 
of the Ducal Palace at Venice. It was evidently intended 
that all the spandrils of this building should be decorated in 
this manner, but only two of them seem to have been com- 

§ x. The other modes of spandril filling may be broadly 
reduced to four heads. 1. Free figure sculpture, as in the 
Chapter-house of Salisbury, and very superbly along the west 
front of Bourges, the best Gothic spandrils I know. 2. Radi- 
ated foliage, more or less referred to the centre, or to the bot- 
tom of the spandril for its origin ; single figures with expanded 
wings often answering the same purpose. 3. Trefoils ; and 4, 
ordinary wall decoration continued into the spandril space, as 
in Plate XIII., above, from St. Pietro at Pistoja, and in West- 
minster Abbey. The Renaissance architects introduced speai- 
dril fillings composed of colossal human figures reclining on 
the sides of the arch, in precarious lassitude ; but these can- 
not come under the head of wall veil decoration. 

§ xi. (2.) The Tympanum. It was noted that, in Gothic 
architecture, this is for the most part a detached slab of stone, 
having no constructional relation to the rest of the building. 
The plan of its sculpture is therefore quite arbitrary ; and, as 

* Vide end of Appendix 20. 








I— I 


THE IV, .7 




it is generally in a conspicuous position, near the eye, and 
above the entrance, it is almost always charged with a series 
of rich figure sculptures, solemn in feeling and consecutive in 
subject. It occupies in Christian sacred edifices very nearly 
the position of the pediment in Greek sculpture. This latter 
is itself a kind of tympanum, and charged with sculpture ii: 
the same manner. 

§ xn. (3.) The Gable. The same principles apply to it 
which have been noted respecting the spandril, with one more 
of some importance. The chief difficulty in treating a gable 
lies in the excessive sharpness of its upper point. It may, in- 
deed, on its outside apex, receive a finial ; but the meeting 
of the inside lines of its terminal mouldings is necessarily 
both harsh and conspicuous, unless artificially concealed. The 
most beautiful victory I have ever seen obtained over this dif- 
ficulty was by placing a sharp shield, its point, as usual, 
downwards, at the apex of the gable, which exactly reversed 
the offensive lines, yet without actually breaking them ; the 
gable being completed behind the shield. The same thing is 
done in the Northern and Southern Gothic : in the porches of 
Abbeville and the tombs of Verona. 

§ xiii. I believe there is little else to be noted of general 
laws of ornament respecting the wall veil. We have next to 
consider its concentration in the shaft. 

Now the principal beauty of a shaft is its perfect proportion 
to its work, — its exact expression of necessary strength. If 
this has been truly attained, it will hardly need, in some cases 
hardly bear, more decoration than is given to it by its own 
rounding and taper curvatures ; for, if we cut ornaments in 
intaglio on its surface, we weaken it ; if we leave them in 
relief, we overcharge it, and the sweep of the line from its 
base to its summit, though deduced in Chapter VIII. , from 
necessities of construction, is already one of gradated curva- 
ture, and of high decorative value. 

§ xrv. It is, however, carefully to be noted, that decorations 
are admissible on colossal and on diminutive shafts, which are 
wrong upon those of middle size. For, when the shaft is 
enormous, incisions or sculpture on its sides (unless colossal 


also), do not materially interfere with the sweep of its curve, 
nor diminish the efficiency of its sustaining mass. And if it 
be diminutive, its sustaining function is comparatively of so 
small importance, the injurious results of failure so much less, 
and the relative strength and cohesion of its mass so much 
greater, that it may be suffered in the extravagance of orna- 
ment or outline which would be unendurable in a shaft of 
middle size, and impossible in one of colossal. Thus, the 
shafts drawn in Plate XIII., of the " Seven Lamps," though 
given as examples of extravagance, are yet pleasing in the gen- 
eral effect of the arcade they support ; being each some six or 
seven feet high. But they would have been monstrous, as 
well as unsafe, if they had been sixty or seventy. 

§ xv. Therefore, to determine the general rule for shaft 
decoration, we must ascertain the proportions representative 
of the mean bulk of shafts : they might easily be calculated 
from a sufficient number of examples, but it may perhaps be 
assumed, for our present general purpose, that the mean 
standard would be of some twenty feet in height, by eight or 
nine in circumference : then this will be the size on which 
decoration is most difficult and dangerous : and shafts become 
more and more fit subjects for decoration, as they rise farther 
above, or fall farther beneath it, until very small and very vast 
shafts will both be found to look blank unless they receive 
some chasing or imagery ; blank, whether they support a chair 
or table on the one side, or sustain a village on the ridge of 
an Egyptian architrave on the other. 

§ xvi. Of the various ornamentation of colossal shafts, there 
are no examples so noble as the Egyptian ; these the reader 
can study in Mr. Roberts' work on Egypt nearly as well, I 
imagine, as if he were beneath their shadow, one of their chief 
merits, as examples of method, being the perfect decision and 
visibility of their designs at the necessary distance : contrast 
with these the incrustations of bas-relief on the Trajan pillar, 
much interfering with the smooth lines of the shaft, and yet 
themselves untraceable, if not invisible. 

8 xvn. On shafts of middle size, the only ornament which 
has ever been accepted as right, is the Doric fluting, which, 


indeed, gave the effect of a succession of unequal lines of 
shade, but lost much of the repose of the cylindrical gradation. 
The Corinthian fluting, which is a mean multiplication and 
deepening of the Doric, with a square instead of a sharp ridge 
between each hollow, destroyed the serenity of the shaft alto- 
gether, and is always rigid and meagre. Both are, in fact, 
wrong in principle ; they are an elaborate weakening * of the 
shaft, exactly opposed (as above shown) to the ribbed form, 
which is the result of a group of shafts bound together, and 
which is especially beautiful when special service is given to 
each member. 

§ xviii. On shafts of inferior size, every species of decora- 
tion may be wisely lavished, and in any quantity, so only that 
the form of the shaft be clearly visible. This I hold to be 
absolutely essential, and that barbarism begins wherever the 
sculpture is either so bossy, or so deeply cut, as to break the 
contour of the shaft, or compromise its solidity. Thus, in 
Plate XXI. (Appendix 8), the richly sculptured shaft of the 
lower story has lost its dignity and definite function, and be- 
come a shapeless mass, injurious to the symmetry of the build- 
ing, though of some value as adding to its imaginative and 
fantastic character. Had all the shafts been like it, the facade 
would have been entirely spoiled ; the inlaid pattern, on the 
contrary, which is used on the shortest shaft of the upper 
story, adds to its preciousness without interfering with its 
purpose, and is every way delightful, as are all the inlaid shaft 
ornaments of this noble church (another example of them is 
given in Plate XII. of the "Seven Lamps "). The same rule 
would condemn the Caryatid ; which I entirely agree with Mr. 
Fergusson in thinking (both for this and other reasons) one 
of the chief errors of the Greek schools ; and, more decisively 
still, the Renaissance inventions of shaft ornament, almost too 
absurd and too monstrous to be seriously noticed, which con- 
sist in leaving square blocks between the cylinder joints, as in 
the portico of No. 1, Regent Street, and many other buildings 
in London ; or in rusticating portions of the shafts, or wrap- 

* Vide, however, their defence in the Essay above quoted, p. 251. 



ping fleeces about them, as at the entrance of Burlington 
House, in Piccadilly ; or tying drapery round them in knots, 
as in the new buildings above noticed (Chap. 20, § vii.), at 
Paris. But, within the limits thus denned, there is no feature 
capable of richer decoration than the shaft ; the most beauti- 
ful examples of all I have seen, are the slender pillars, encrusted 
with arabesques, which flank the portals of the Baptistery and 
Duomo at Pisa, and some others of the Pisan and Lucchese 
churches ; but the varieties of sculpture and inlaying, with 
which the small Romanesque shafts, whether Italian or North- 
ern, are adorned when they occupy important positions, are 
quite endless, and nearly all admirable. Mr. Digby Wyatt 
has given a beautiful example of inlaid work so employed, 
from the cloisters of the Lateran, in his work on early mosaic ; 
an example which unites the surface decoration of the shaft 

with the adoption of the sj)iral contour. 
This latter is often all the decoration which 
is needed, and none can be more beautiful ; 
it has been spoken against, like many other 
good and lovely things, because it has been 
too often used in extravagant degrees, like 
the well-known twisting of the pillars in 
Rafiaelle's "Beautiful gate." But that ex- 
travagant condition was a Renaissance bar- 
barism : the old Romanesque builders kept 
their spirals slight and pure ; often, as in the 
example from St. Zeno, in Plate XVII. below, 
giving only half a turn from the base of the 
shaft to its head, and nearly always observing 
what I hold to be an imperative law, that no 
twisted shaft shall be single, but composed of at least two 
distinct members, twined with each other. I suppose they 
followed their own right feeling in doing this, and had never 
studied natural shafts ; but the type they might have followed 
was caught by one of the few great painters who were not af- 
fected by the evil influence of the fifteenth century, Benozzo 
Gozzoli, who, in the frescoes of the Ricardi Palace, among 
stems of trees for the most part as vertical as stone shafts, has 

Fig. LXII. 


suddenly introduced one of the shape given in Fig. LXIl 
Many forest tree? present, in their accidental contortions, 
types of most complicated spiral shafts, the plan being origi- 
nally of a grouped shaft rising from several roots ; nor, 
indeed, will the reader ever find models for every kind of shaft 
decoration, so graceful or so gorgeous, as he will find in the 
great forest aisle, where the strength of the earth itself seems 
to rise from the roots into the vaulting ; but the shaft surface, 
barred as it expands with rings of ebony and silver, is fretted 
with traceries of ivy, marbled with purple moss, veined with 
grey lichen, and tesselated, by the rays of the rolling heaven, 
with flitting fancies of blue shadow and burning gold. 



§ i. There are no features to which the attention of archi- 
tects has been more laboriously directed, in all ages, than 
these crowning members of the wall and shaft ; and it would 
be vain to endeavor, within any moderate limits, to give the 
reader any idea of the various kinds of admirable decoration 
which have been invented for them. But, in proportion to 
the effort and straining of the fancy, have been the extrava- 
gances into which it has occasionally fallen ; and while it is 
utterly impossible severally to enumerate the instances either 
of its success or its error, it is very possible to note the limits 
of the one and the causes of the other. This is all that we 
shall attempt in the present chapter, tracing first for our- 
selves, as in previous instances, the natural channels by which 
invention is here to be directed or confined, and afterwards 
remarking the places where, in real practice, it has broken 

§ ii. The reader remembers, I hope, the main points respect- 
ing the cornice and capital, established above in the Chapters 
on Construction. Of these I must, however, recapitulate thus 
much : — 


1. That both the cornice and capital are, with reference to 
the slope of their profile or bell, to be divided into two great 
orders ; in one of which the ornament is convex, and in the 
other concave. (Ch. VI., § v.) 

2. That the capital, with reference to the method of twist- 
mo- the cornice round to construct it, and to unite the circular 
shaft with the square abacus, falls into five general forms, rep- 
resented in Fig. XXII., p. 117. 

3. That the most elaborate capitals were formed by true or 
simple capitals with a common cornice added above their aba- 
cus. (Ch. IX., § xxiv.) 

We have then, in considering decoration, first to observe 
the treatment of the two great orders of the cornice ; then 
their gathering into the five of the capital ; then the addition 
of the secondary cornice to the capital when formed. 

§ in. The two great orders or families of cornice were 
above distinguished in Fig. V, p. 75. ; and it was mentioned 
in the same place that a third family arose from their com- 
bination. We must deal with the two great opposed groups 

Thev were distinguished in Fie;. V. bv circular curves drawn 
on opposite sides of the same line. But we now know that 
in these smaller features the circle is usually the least inter- 
esting curve that we can use ; and that it will be well, since 
the capital and cornice are both active in their expression, to 
use some of the more abstract natural lines. We will go 
back, therefore, to our old friend the salvia leaf ; and taking 
the same piece of it we had before, x y, Plate VII., we will 
apply it to the cornice line ; first within it, giving the concave 
cornice, then without, giving the convex cornice. In all the 
figures, a, b, c, d, Plate XV., the dotted line is at the same 
slope, and represents an average profile of the root of cornices 
(a, Fig. V., p. 75) ; the curve of the salvia leaf is applied to it 
ia each case, first with its roundest curvature up, then with 
its roundest curvature down ; and we have thus the two varie- 
ties, a and b, of the concave family, and c and d, of the convex 

§ iv. These four profiles will represent all the simple cor- 




Plate XV. — Cornice Profiles. 





nices in the world ; represent thero, I mean, as central types •. 
for in any of the profiles an infinite number of slopes may be 
given to the dotted line of the root (which in these four fie- 
ures is always at the same angle) ; and on each of these innu- 
merable slopes an innumerable variety of curves may be fitted, 
from every leaf in the forest, and every shell on the shore, 
and every movement of the human fingers and fancy ; there- 
fore, if the reader wishes to obtain something like a numerical 
representation of the number of possible and beautiful cornices 
which may be based upon these four types or roots, and among 
which the architect has leave to choose according to the cir- 
cumstances of his building and the method of its composi- 
tion, let him set down a figure 1 to begin with, and write 
cyphers after it as fast as he can, without stopping, for an 

§ v. None of the types are, however, found in perfection of 
curvature, except in the best work. Very often cornices are 
worked with circular segments (with a noble, massive effect, 
for instance, in St, Michele of Lucca), or with rude approxi- 
mation to finer curvature, especially a, Plate XV., which oc- 
curs often so small as to render it useless to take much pains 
upon its curve. It occurs perfectly pure in the condition rep- 
resented by 1 of the series 1 — 6, in Plate XV., on many of 
the Byzantine and early Gothic buildings of Venice ; in more 
developed form it becomes the profile of the bell of the capital 
in the later Venetian Gothic, and in much of the best North- 
ern Gothic. It also represents the Corinthian capital, in 
which the curvature is taken from the bell to be added in 
some excess to the nodding leaves. It is the most graceful of 
all simple profiles of cornice and capital. 

§ vi. b is a much rarer and less manageable type : for this 
evident reason, that while a is the natural condition of a line 
rooted and strong beneath, but bent out by superincumbent 
weight, or nodding over in freedom, b is yielding at the base 
and rigid at the summit. It has, however, some exquisite 
uses, especially in combination, as the reader may see by 
glancing in advance at the inner line of the profile 14 in Plate 


' > 

§ vn. c is the leading convex or Doric type, as a is the leacU 
ing concave or Corinthian. Its relation to the best Greek 
Doric is exactly what the relation of a is to the Corinthian ; 
that is to say, the curvature must be taken from the straighter 
limb of the curve and added to the bolder bend, giving it a 
sudden turn inwards (as in the Corinthian a nod outwards)^ 
as the reader may see in the capital of the Parthenon in the 
British Museum, where the lower limb of the curve is all but a 
right line.* But these Doric and Corinthian lines are mere 
varieties of the great families which are represented by the 
central lines a and c, including not only the Doric capital, but 
all the small cornices formed by a slight increase of the curve 
of c, which are of so frequent occurrence in Greek ornaments. 

§ vin. d is the Christian Doric, which I said (Chap. I., § xx.) 
was invented to replace the antique : it is the representative 
of the great Byzantine and Norman families of convex cornice 
and capital, and, next to the profile a, the most important of 
the four, being the best profile for the convex capital, as a is 
for the concave ; a being the best expression of an elastic line 
inserted vertically in the shaft, and d of an elastic line inserted 
horizontally and rising to meet vertical pressure. 

If the reader will glance at the arrangements of boughs of 
trees, he will find them commonly dividing into these two 
families, a and d : they rise out of the trunk and nod from it, 
as a, or they spring with sudden curvature out from it, 
and rise into sympathy with it, as at d ; but they only acci- 
dentally display tendencies to the lines b or c. Boughs which 
fall as they spring from the tree also describe the curve d in 
the plurality of instances, but reversed in arrangement ; their 
junction with the stem being at the topj of it, their sprays 
bending out into rounder curvature. 

§ ix. These then being the two primal groups, we have 
next to note the combined group, formed by the concave and 
convex lines joined in various proportions of curvature, so as 
to form together the reversed or ogee curve, represented in 

* In very oarly Doric it was an absolute right line ; and that capital 
is therefore derived from the pure cornice root, represented by th« 
dotted line. 


one of its most beautiful states by the glacier line a, on Plate 
VII. I would rather have taken this line than any other to 
have formed my third group of cornices by, but as it is too 
large, and almost too delicate, we will take instead that of the 
Matterhorn side, ef, Plate VII. For uniformity's sake I keep 
the slope of the dotted line the same as in the primal forms ; 
and applying this Matterhorn curve in its four relative posi- 
tions to that line, I have the types of the four cornices or 
capitals of the third family, e,f, g, h, on Plate XV. 

These are, however, general types only thus far, that their 
line is composed of one short and one long curve, and that 
they represent the four conditions of treatment of every such 
line ; namely, the longest curve concave in e and f, and con- 
vex in g and h ; and the point of contrary flexure set high in 
e and g, and low in f and h. The relative depth of the arcs, 
or nature of their curvature, cannot be taken into considera- 
tion without a complexity of system which my space does not 

Of the four types thus constituted, e and/ are of great im- 
portance ; the other two are rarely used, having an appear- 
ance of weakness in consequence of the shortest curve being 
concave : the profiles e and f, when used for cornices, have 
usually a fuller sweep and somewhat greater equality between 
the branches of the curve ; but those here given are better 
representatives of the structure applicable to capitals and cor- 
nices indifferently. 

§ x. Very often, in the farther treatment of the profiles e 
ovf, another limb is added to their curve in order to join it to 
the upper or lower members of the cornice or capital. I do 
not consider this addition as forming another family of cor- 
nices, because the leading and effective part of the curve is in 
these, as in the others, the single ogee ; and the added bend 
is merely a less abrupt termination of it above or below : still 
this group is of so great importance in the richer kinds of 
ornamentation that we must have it sufficiently represented. 
We shall obtain a type of it by merely continuing the line of 
the Matterhorn side, of which before we took only a fragment. 
The entire line e to g on Plate VII., is evidently composed of 


three curves of unequal lengths, which if we call the shortest 
1, the intermediate one 2, and the longest 3, are there arranged 
in the order 1, 3, 2, counting upwards. But evidently we 
might also have had the arrangements 1, 2, 3, and 2, 1, 3, 
giving us three distinct lines, altogether independent of posi- 
tion, which being applied to one general dotted slope will each 
give four cornices, or twelve altogether. Of these the six 
most important are those which have the shortest curve con- 
vex : they are given in light relief from k to p, Plate XV., and, 
by turning the page upside down, the other six will be seen 
in dark relief, only the little upright bits of shadow at the 
bottom are not to be considered as parts of them, being only 
admitted in order to give the complete profile of the more 
important cornices in light. 

§ xi. In these types, as in e and f, the only general condi- 
tion is, that their line shall be composed of three curves of dif- 
ferent lengths and different arrangements (the depth of arcs 
and radius of curvatures being unconsidered). They are ar- 
ranged in three couples, each couple being two positions of 
the same entire line ; so that numbering the component curves 
in order of magnitude and counting upwards, they will read — 

k 1, 2, 3, 

I 3, 2, 1, 

m 1, 3, 2, 

n 2, 3, 1, 

o 2, 1, 3, 

p 3, 1, 2. 

rn and n, which are the Matterhorn line, are the most beauti- 
ful and important of all the twelve ; k and I the next ; o and 
p are used only for certain conditions of flower carving on 
the surface* The reverses (dark) of k and I are also of con- 
siderable service ; the other four hardly ever used in good 

§ xii. If we were to add a fourth curve to the component 
series, we should have forty-eight more cornices : but there 
is no use in pursuing the system further, as such arrange- 

THE . 


Plate XVI. — Cornice Decoration 


ments are yery rare and easily resolved into the simpler tj'pes 
with certain arbitrary additions fitted to their special place ; 
and, in most cases, distinctly separate from the main curve, as 
in the inner line of No. 14, which is a form of the type e, 
the longest curve, i.e., the lowest, having deepest curvature, 
and each limb opposed by a short contrary curve at its ex- 
tremities, the convex limb by a concave, the concave by a 

§ xm. Such, then, are the great families of profile lines 
into which all cornices and capitals may be divided ; but their 
best examples unite two such profiles in a mode which we 
cannot understand till we consider the further ornament with 
which the profiles are charged. And in doing this we must ; 
for the sake of clearness, consider, first the nature of the de- 
signs themselves, and next the mode of cutting them. 

§ xiv. In Plate XVI., opposite, I have thrown together a 
few of the most characteristic mediaeval examples of the treat- 
ment of the simplest cornice profiles : the uppermost, a, is the 
pure root of cornices from St. Mark's. The second, d, is the 
Christian Doric cornice, here lettered d in order to avoid con- 
fusion, its profile being d of Plate XV. in bold development, 
and here seen on the left-hand side, truly drawn, though filled 
up with the ornament to show the mode in which the angle 
is turned. This is also from St. Mark's. The third, b, is b 
of Plate XV., the pattern being inlaid in black because its 
office was in the interior of St. Mark's, where it was too dark 
to see sculptured ornament at the required distance. (The 
other two simple profiles, a and c of Plate XV., would be dec- 
orated in the same manner, but require no example here, for 
the profile a is of so frequent occurrence that it will have a 
page to itself alone in the next volume ; and c may be seen 
over nearly every shop in London, being that of the common 
Greek egg cornice.) The fourth, e in Plate XVI, is a tran- 
sitional cornice, passing from Byzantine into Venetian Gothic : 
f is a fully developed Venetian Gothic cornice founded on 
Byzantine traditions ; and g the perfect Lombardic-Gothic 
cornice, founded on the Pisan Romanesque traditions, and 
strongly marked with the noblest Northern element, the Lorn 
Vol. I.— 20 


bardic vitality restrained by classical models. I consider it n 
perfect cornice, and of the highest order. 

§ xv. Now in the design of this series of ornaments there 
are two main points to be noted ; the first, that they all, ex- 
cept b, are distinctly rooted in the lower part of the cornice, 
and spring to the top. This arrangement is constant in all 
the best cornices and capitals ; and it is essential to the ex- 
pression of the supporting power of both. It is exactly op- 
posed to the system of running cornices and banded * capitals, 
in which the ornament flows along them horizontally, or is 
twined round them, as the mouldings are in the early English 
capital, and the foliage in many decorated ones. Such cor- 
nices have arisen from a mistaken appliance of the running 
ornaments, which are proper to archivolts, jambs, &c, to the 
features which have definite functions of support. A tendril 
may nobly follow the outline of an arch, but must not creep 
along a cornice, nor swathe or bandage a capital ; it is essen- 
tial to the expression of these features that their ornament 
should have an elastic and upward spring ; and as the proper 
profile for the curve is that of a tree bough, as we saw above, 
so the proper arrangement of its farther ornament is that 
which best expresses rooted and ascendant strength like that 
of foliage. 

There are certain very interesting exceptions to the rule (we 
shall see a curious one presently) ; and in the carrying out of 
the rule itself, we may see constant licenses taken by the great 
designers, and momentary violations of it, like those above 
spoken of, respecting other ornamental laws — violations which 
are for our refreshment, and for increase of delight in the 
general observance ; and this is one of the peculiar beauties 
of the cornice g, which, rooting itself in strong central clus- 
ters, suffers some of its leaves to fall languidly aside, as the 
drooping outer leaves of a natural cluster do so often ; but at 
the very instant that it does this, in order that it may not 

* The word banded is used by Professor Willis in a different sense ; 
which I would respect, by applying it in his sense always to the Impost, 
and in mine to the capital itself. (This note is not for the general 
reader, who need not trouble himself about the matter.) 



lose any of its expression of strength, a fruit-stalk is thrown 
up above the languid leaves, absolutely vertical, as muchstiffer 
and stronger than the rest of the plant as the falling leaves 
are weaker. Cover this with your finger, and the cornice falls 
to pieces, like a bouquet which has been untied. 

§ xvi. There are some instances in which, though the real _ 
arrangement is that of a ruDning stem, throwing off leaves up 
and down, the positions of the leaves give nearly as much 
elasticity and organisation to the cornice, as if they had been 
rightly rooted ; and others, like 6, where the reversed portion 
of & the ornament is lost in the shade, and the general expres- 
sion of strength is got by the lower member. This cornice 
will, nevertheless, be felt at once to be inferior to the rest ; 
and though we may often be called upon to admire designs 
of these kinds, which would have been exquisite if not thus 
misplaced, the reader will find that they are both of rare oc- 
currence, and significative of declining style ; while the greater 
mass of the banded capitals are heavy and valueless, mere ag- 
gregations of confused sculpture, swathed round the extremity 
of the shaft, as if she had dipped it into a mass of melted or- 
nament, as the glass-blower does his blow-pipe into the metal, 
and brought up a quantity adhering glutinously to its ex- 
tremity. We have many capitals of this kind in England : 
some of the worst and heaviest in the choir of York. The 
later capitals of the Italian Gothic have the same kind of ef- 
fect, but owing to another cause : for their structure is quite 
pure, and based on the Corinthian type : and it is the branch- 
ing form of the heads of the leaves which destroys the effect 
of their organisation. On the other hand, some of the Italian 
cornices which are actually composed by running tendrils, 
throwing off leaves into oval interstices, are so massive in their 
treatment, and so marked and firm in their vertical and arched 
lines, that they are nearly as suggestive of support as if they 
had been arranged on the rooted system. A cornice of this 
kind is used in St. Michele of Lucca (Plate VI. in the " Seven 
Lamps," and XXI. here), and with exquisite propriety ; for 
that cornice is at once a crown to the story beneath it and f 
foundation to that which is above it, and therefore unites tha 


strength, and elasticity of the lines proper to the cornice with 
the submission and prostration of those proper to the founda- 

§ xvn. This, then, is the first point needing general notice 
in the designs in Plate XVI. The second is the difference 
between the freedom of the Northern and the sophistication 
of the classical cornices, in connection with what has been 
advanced in Appendix 8. The cornices, a, d, and b, are of 
the same date, but they show a singular difference in the 
workman's temper : that at b is a single copy of a classical 
mosaic ; and many carved cornices occur, associated with it, 
which are, in like manner, mere copies of the Greek and 
Roman egg and arrow mouldings. But the cornices a and d 
are copies of nothing of the kind : the idea of them has in- 
deed been taken from the Greek honeysuckle ornament, but 
the chiselling of them is in no wise either Greek, or Byzan- 
tine, in temper. The Byzantines were languid copyists : this 
work is as energetic as its original ; energetic, not in the 
quantity of work, but in the spirit of it : an indolent man, 
forced into toil, may cover large spaces with evidence of his 
feeble action, or accumulate his dulness into rich aggregation 
of trouble, but it is gathered weariness still. The man who 
cut those two uppermost cornices had no time to spare : did 
as much cornice as he could in half an hour ; but would not 
endure the slightest trace of error in a curve, or of biuntness 
in an edge. His work is absolutely unreprovable ; keen, and 
true, as Nature's own ; his entire force is in it, and fixed on 
seeing that every line of it shall be sharp and right : the 
faithful energy is in him : we shall see something come of 
that cornice : The fellow who inlaid the other (b), will stay 
where he is for ever ; and when he has inlaid one leaf up, 
will inlay another down, — and so undulate up and down to 
all eternity : but the man of a and d will cut his way forward, 
or there is no truth in handicrafts, nor stubbornness in stone. 

§ xviii. But there is something else noticeable in those two 
cornices, besides the energy of them : as opposed either to b, 
or the Greek honeysuckle or egg patterns, they are natural 
designs. The Greek egg and arrow cornice is a nonsenss 


cornice, very noble in its lines, but utterly absurd in mean- 
ing. Arrows have had nothing to do with eggs (at least since 
Leda's time), neither are the so-called arrows like arrows, nor 
the eggs like eggs, nor the honeysuckles like honeysuckles ; 
they are all conventionalised into a monotonous successiveness 
of nothing, — pleasant to the eye, useless to the thought. Bat 
those Christian cornices are, as far as may be, suggestive ; 
there is not the tenth of the work in them that there is in the 
Greek arrows, but, as far as that work will go, it has consistent 
intention ; with the fewest possible incisions, and those of the 
easiest shape, they suggest the true image, of clusters of 
leaves, each leaf with its central depression from root to 
point, and that distinctly visible at almost any distance from 
the eye, and in almost any light. 

§ xix. Here, then, are two great new elements visible ■ 
energy and naturalism : — Life, with submission to the laws of 
God, and love of his works ; this is Christianity, dealing with 
her classical models. Now look back to what 1 said in Chap. 
I. § xx. of this dealing of hers, and invention of the new Doric 
line ; then to what is above stated (§ vm.) respecting that new 
Doric, and the boughs of trees ; and now to the evidence in 
the cutting of the leaves on the same Doric section, and see 
how the whole is beginning to come together. 

§ xx. We said that something would come of these two 
cornices, a and d. In e and/ we see that something has come 
of them : e is also from St. Mark's, and one of the earliest 
examples in Venice of the transition from the Byzantine to 
the Gothic cornice. It is already singularly developed ; flow- 
ers have been added between the clusters of leaves, and the 
leaves themselves curled over : and observe the well-directed 
thought of the sculptor in this curling ;— the old incisions are 
retained below, and their excessive rigidity is one of the 
proofs of the earliness of the cornice ; but those incisions now 
stand for the under surface of the leaf ; and behold, when it 
turns over, on the top of it you see true ribs. Look at the 
upper and under surface of a cabbage-leaf, and see what quick 
steps we are making. 

I xxi. The fifth example (/) was cut in 1347; it is from 


the tomb of Marco Giustiniani, in the church of St. John anfl 
Paul, and it exhibits the character of the central Venetian 
Gothic fully developed. The lines are all now soft and undu- 

%J J. 

latory, though elastic ; the sharp incisions have become deeply- 
gathered folds ; the hollow of the leaf is expressed completely 
beneath, and its edges are touched with light, and incised into 
several lobes, and their ribs delicately drawn above. (The 
flower between is only accidentally absent ; it occurs in most 
cornices of the time.) 

But in both these cornices the reader will notice that while 
the naturalism of the sculpture is steadily on the increase, the 
classical formalism is still retained. The leaves are accurately 
numbered, and sternly set in their places ; they are leaves in 
office, and dare not stir nor wave. They have the shapes of 
leaves, but not the functions, "having the form of knowledge, 
but denying the power thereof." What is the meaning of 

§ xxii. Look back to paragraph xxxiii. of the first chapter, 
and you will see the meaning of it. These cornices are the 
Venetian Ecclesiastical Gothic ; the Christian element strug- 
gling with the Formalism of the Papacy, — the Papacy being 
entirely heathen in all its principles. That officialism of the 
leaves and their ribs means Apostolic succession, and I don't 
know how much more, and is already preparing for the transi- 
tion to old Heathenism again, and the Benaissance.* 

§ xxiii. Now look to the last cornice (g). That is Protestant- 

* The Renaissance period being one of return to formalism on the 
one side, of utter licentiousness on the other, so that sometimes, as here, 
I have to declare its lifelessness, at other times (Chap. XXV. , § xvn. ) 
its lasciviousness. There is. of course, no contradiction in this: but 
the reader might well ask how I knew the change from the base 11 to 
the base 12, in Plate XII., to be one from temperance to luxury ; and 
from the cornice/ to the cornice r/, in Plate XVI., to be one from form- 
alism to vitality. I know it, both by certain internal evidences, on 
Avhich I shall have to dwell at length hereafter, and by the context of 
the works of the time. But the outward signs might in both ornament? 
be the same, distinguishable only as signs of opposite tendencies by the 
event of both. The blush of shame cannot always be told from the 
blush of indignation. 


ism, — a slight touch of Dissent, hardly amounting to schism, 
in those falling leaves, but true life in the whole of it. The 
forms all broken through, and sent heaven kaows where, but 
the root held fast ; and the strong sap in t%e branches ; and, 
best of all, good fruit ripening and openiug straight towards 
heaven, and in the face of it, even though some of the leaves 
lie in the dust. 

Now, observe. The cornice f represents Heathenism and 
Papistry, animated by the mingling of Christianity and nature. 
The good in it, the life of it, the veracity and liberty of it, 
such as it has, are Protestantism in its heart ; the. rigidity and 
saplessness are the Romanism of it. It is the mind of Fra 
Angelico in the monk's dress, — Christianity beinre the Refor- 
mation. The cornice g has the Lombardic life element in its 
fulness, with only some color and shape of Ciassicalism min- 
gled with it — the good of ciassicalism ; as much method and 
Formalism as are consistent with life, and fitting for it -• The 
continence within certain border lines, the unity at the root, 
the simplicity of the great profile, — all these are the healthy 
classical elements retained : the rest is reformation, new 
strength, and recovered liberty. 

§ xxiv. There is one more point about it especially notice- 
able. The leaves are thoroughly natural in their general char- 
acter, but they are of no particular species : and after being 
something like cabbage-leaves in the beginning, one of them 
suddenly becomes an ivy-leaf in the end. Now I don't know 
what to say of this. I know it, indeed, to be a classical char- 
acter ; — it is eminently characteristic of Southern work ; and 
markedly distinctive of it from the Northern ornament, which 
would have been oak, or ivy, or apple, but not anything, nor 
two things in one. It is, I repeat, a clearly classical element ; 
but whether a good or bad element, I am not sure ; — whether 
it is the last trace of Centaurism and other monstrosity dying 
away ; or whether it has a figurative purpose, legitimate in 
architecture (though never in painting), and has been rightly 
retained by the Christian sculptor, to express the working of 
that spirit which grafts one nature upon another, and discerns 
a law in its members warring against the law of its mind 



§ xxv. These, then, being the points most noticeable in tha 
spirit both of the designs and the chiselling, we have now to 
return to the question proposed in § xiil, and observe the 
modifications of form of profile which resulted from the 
changing contours of the leafage ; for up to § xiil, we had, as 
usual, considered the possible conditions of form in the ab 
stract ; — the modes in which they have been derived from 
each other in actual practice require to be followed in their 
turn. How the Greek Doric or Greek ogee cornices were 
invented is not easy to determine, and, fortunately, is little to 
our present purpose ; for the mediaeval ogee cornices have an 
independent development of their own, from the first type of 
the concave cornice a in Plate XV. 

§ xxvi. That cornice occurs, in the simplest work, perfectly 

pure, but in finished work it 
was quickly felt that there 
was a meagreness in its junc- 
tion with the wall beneath it, 
where it was set as here at a, 
Fig. LXIIL, which could only 
be conquered by concealing 
such junction in a bar of 
shadow. There were two ways 
of getting this bar : one by a 
projecting roll at the foot of the cornice (b, Fig. LXIIL), the 
other by slipping the whole cornice a little forward (c. Fig. 
LXHL). From these two methods arise two groups of cor- 
nices and capitals, which we shall pursue in succession. 

§ xxvil First group. With the roll at the base (b, Fig. 
LXHI.). The chain of its succession is represented from 1 
to 6, in Plate XV. : 1 and 2 are the steps already gained, as lis 
Fig. LXIII. ; and in them the profile of cornice used is a of 
Plate XV., or a refined condition of b of Fig. V., p. 75 above 
Now, keeping the same refined profile, substitute the condition 
of it, f oi Fig. V. (and there accounted for), above the roll 
here, and you have 3, Plate XV. This superadded abacus 
was instantly felt to be harsh in its projecting angle ; but you 
know what to do with an angle when it is harsh. Use your 




simplest chamfer on it (a or b, Fig. LLTL, page 261, above), 
but on the visible side only, and you have fig. 4, Plate XV. 
(the top stone being made deeper that you may have room to 
chamfer it). Now this fig. 4 is the profile of Lombardic and 
Venetian early capitals and cornices, by tens of thousands ; 
and it continues into the late Venetian Gothic, with this only 
difference, that as time advances, the vertical line at the top 
of the original cornice begins to slope outwards, and through 
a series of years rises like the hazel wand in the hand of a 
diviner : — but how slowly ! a stone dial which marches but 45 
degrees in three centuries, and through the intermediate con- 
dition 5 arrives at 6, and so stays. 

In tracing this chain I have kept all the profiles of the same 
height in order to make the comparison more easy ; the depth 
chosen is about intermediate between that which is customary 
in cornices on the one hand, which are often a little shorter, 
and capitals on the other, which are often a little deeper.* 
And it is to be noted that the ironies 5 and 6 establish them- 
selves in capitals chiefly, while 4 is retained in cornices to the 
latest times. 

§ xxviii. Second group (c, Fig. LXIIL). If the lower angle, 
which was quickly felt to be hard, be rounded off, we have 
the form a, Fig. LXIV. The front of the curved line is then 
decorated, as we have seen ; and the termination of the deco- 
rated surface marked by an incision, as in an ordinary cham- 
fer, as at b here. This I believe to have been the simple ori- 

* The reader must always remember that a cornice, in becoming a 
capital, must, if not originally bold and deep, have depth added to its 
profile, in order to reach the just proportion of the lower member of the 
shaft head ; and that therefore the small Greek egg cornices are utterly 
incapable of becoming capitals till they have totally changed their form 
and depth. The Renaissance architects, who never obtained hold of a 
right principle but they made it worse than a wrong one by misapplica- 
tion, caught the idea of turning the cornice into a capital, but did not 
comprehend the necessity of the accompanying change of depth. Hence 
we have pilaster heads formed of small egg cornices, and that meanest 
of all mean heads of shafts, the coarse Roman Doric profile chopped 
into a small egg and arrow moulding, both which may be seen disfigur 
ing half the buildings in London. 


gin of most of the Venetian ogee cornices ; but they are farthet 
complicated by the curves given to the leafage which flows 
over them. In the ordinary Greek cornices, and in a and d 
of Plate XVI., the decoration is incised from the outside pro- 
file, without any suggestion of an interior surface of a differ- 
ent contour. But in the leaf cornices which follow, the 
decoration is represented as overlaid on one of the early 
profiles, and has another outside contour of its own ; which 
is, indeed, the true profile of the cornice, but beneath which, 
more or less, the simpler profile is seen or suggested, which 
terminates all the incisions of the chisel. This under pro- 
file will often be found to be some condition of the type a or 
b, Fig. LXIV. ; and the leaf profile to be another ogee with 
its fullest curve up instead of down, lapping over the cornice 

edge above, so that the entire pro- 
file miirht be considered as made 
up of two ogee curves laid, like 
packed herrings, head to tail. 
Figures 8 and 9 of Plate XV. ex- 
emplify this arrangement. Fig. 
7 is a heavier contour, doubtless 
composed in the same manner, 
but of which I had not marked the innermost profile, and 
which I have given here only to complete the series 
which, from 7 to 12 inclusive, exemplifies the gradual restric- 
tion of the leaf outline, from its boldest projection in the 
cornice to its most modest service in the capital. This change, 
however, is not one which indicates difference of age, but 
merely of office and position : the cornice 7 is from the 
tomb of the Doge Andrea Dandolo (1350) in St. Mark's, 8 
from a canopy over a door of about the same period, 9 from 
the tomb of the Dogaressa Agnese Venier (1411), 10 from that 
of Pietro Cornaro (1361),* and 11 from that of Andrea Moro- 
sini (1347), all in the church of San Giov. and Paola, all there 
being cornice profiles ; and, finally, 12 from a capital of the 
Ducal Palace, of fourteenth century work. 

* I have taken these dates roughly from Selvatico ; their absolute ao 
curacy to within a year or two, is here of no importance. 


§ xxrx. Now the reader will doubtless notice that in the 
three examples, 10 to 12, the leaf has a different contour from 
that of 7, 8, or 9. This difference is peculiarly significant. I 
have always desired that the reader should theoretically con 
sider the capital as a concentration of the cornice ; but in 
ju-actice it often happens that the cornice is, on the contrary, 
an unrolled capital ; and one of the richest early forms of the 
Byzantine cornice (not given in Plate XV., because its sepa- 
rate character and importance require examination apart) is 
nothing more than an unrolled continuation of the lower range 
of acanthus leaves on the Corinthian capital. From this cor- 
nice others appear to have been derived, like e in Plate XVI., 
in which the acanthus outline has become confused with that 
of the honeysuckle, and the rosette of the centre of the Co- 
rinthian capital introduced between them ; and thus their 
forms approach more and more to those derived from the cor- 
nice itself. Now if the leaf has the contour of 10, 11, or 12, 
Plate XV., the profile is either actually of a capital, or of a 
cornice derived from a capital ; while, if the leaf have the con- 
tour of 7 or 8, the profile is either actually of a cornice or of 
a capital derived from a cornice. Where the Byzantines use 
the acanthus, the Lombards use the Persepolitan water-leaf ; 
but the connection of the cornices and capitals is exactly the 

§ xxx. Thus far, however, we have considered the charac- 
ters of profile which are common to the cornice and capital 
both. We have now to note what farther decorative features 
or peculiarities belong to the capital itself, or result from the 
theoretical gathering of the one into the other. 

Look back to Fig. XXII., p. 117. The five types there 
given, represented the five different methods of concentration 
of the root of cornices, a of Fig. V. Now, as many profiles 
of cornices as were developed in Plate XV. from this cornice 
root, there represented by the dotted slope, so many may be 
applied to each of the five types in Fig. XXII., — apjDlied sim- 
ply in a and b, but with farther modifications, necessitated by 
their truncations or spurs, in c, d, and e. 

Then, these cornice profiles having been so applied in such 


length and slope as is proper for capitals, the farther condition 
comes into effect described in Chapter IX. § xxiv., and any 
one of the cornices in Plate XV. may become the abacus of a 
capital formed ont of any other, or out of itself. The infinity 
of forms thus resultant cannot, as may well be supposed, be 
exhibited or catalogued in the space at present permitted to 
us : but the reader, once master of the principle, will easily be 
able to investigate for himself the syntax of all examples that 
may occur to him, and I shall only here, as a kind of exercise, 
put before him a few of those which he will meet with most 
frequently in his Venetian inquiries, or which illustrate points, 
not hitherto touched upon, in the disposition of the abacus. 

§ xxxi. In Plate XVII. the capital at the top, on the left 
hand, is the rudest possible gathering of the plain Christian 
Doric cornice, d of Plate XV. The shaft is octagonal, and 
the capital is not cut to fit it, but is square at the base ; and 
the curve of its profile projects on two of its sides more than 
on the other two, so as to make the abacus oblong, in order to 
carry an oblong mass of brickwork, dividing one of the upper 
lights of a Lombard campanile at Milan. The awkward 
stretching of the brickwork, to do what the capital ought to 
have done, is very remarkable. There is here no second su- 
perimposed abacus. 

§ xxxii. The figure on the right hand, at the top, shows the 
simple but perfect fulfilment of all the requirements in which 
the first example fails. The mass of brickwork to be carried 
is exactly the same in size and shape ; but instead of being 
trusted to a single shaft, it has two of smaller area (compare 
Chap. VIII., § xni.), and all the expansion necessary is now 
gracefully attained by their united capitals, hewn out of one 
stone. Take the section of these capitals through their angle, 
and nothing can be simpler or purer ; it is composed of 2, in 
Plate XV., used for the capital itself, with c of Fig. LXIII. 
used for the abacus ; the reader could hardlv have a neater 
little bit of syntax for a first lesson. If the section be taken 
through the side of the bell, the capital profile is the root of 
cornices, a of Fig. V., with the added roll. This capital is 
somewhat remarkable in having its sides perfectly straight 


AS . 





Plate XVII. — Capitals. Concave Group. 



some slight curvature being usual on so bold a scale ; but it is 
all the better as a first example, the method of reduction being 
of order d, in Fig. XXII. , p. 117, and with a concave cut, as 
in Fio\ XXL, p. 116. These two capitals are from the cloister 
of the duomo of Verona. 

§ xxxiii. The lowermost figure in Plate XVII. represents 
an exquisitely finished example of the same type, from St. 
Zeno of Verona. Above, at 2, in Plate II., the plan of the 
shafts was given, but I inadvertently reversed their position : 
in comparing that plan with Plate XVII., Plate II. must be 
held upside down. The capitals, with the band connecting 
them, are all cut out of one block ; their profile is an adapta- 
tion of 4 of Plate XV., with a plain headstone superimposed. 
This method of reduction is that of order d in Fig. XXII. , 

Fig. LXV. 

but the peculiarity of treatment of their truncation is highly 
interesting. Fig. LXV. represents the plans of the capitals 
at the base, the shaded parts being the bells : the open line, 
the roll with its connecting band. The bell of the one, it will 
be seen, is the exact reverse of that of the other : the angle 
truncations are, in both, curved horizontally as well as up- 
rightly ; but their curve is convex in the one, and in the other 
concave. Plate XVII. will show the effect of both, with the 
farther incisions, to the same depth, on the flank of the one 
with the concave truncation, which join with the rest of its 


singularly bold and keen execution in giving the impression 
of its rather having been cloven into its form by the sweeps of 
a sword, than by the dull travail of a chisel. Its workman 
was proud of it, as well he might be : he has written his name 
upon its front (I would that more of his fellows had been as 
kindly vain), and the goodly stone proclaims for ever, ada- 


§ xxxrv. The reader will easily understand that the grace- 
fulness of this kind of truncation, as he sees it in Plate XVII., 
soon su^'Q-ested the idea of reducing it to a vegetable outline, 
and laying four healing leaves, as it were, upon the wounds 
which the sword had made. These four leaves, on the trun- 
cations of the capital, correspond to the four leaves which, we 
saw, in like manner, extend themselves over the spurs of the 
base, and, as they increase in delicacy of execution, form one 
of the most lovely groups of capitals which the Gothic work- 
men ever invented ; represented by two perfect types in the 
capitals of the Piazzetta columns of Venice. But this pure 
group is an isolated one ; it remains in the first simplicity of its 
conception far into the thirteenth century, while around it rise 
up a crowd of other forms, imitative of the old Corinthian, 
and in which other and younger leaves spring up in luxuriant 
growth among the primal four. The varieties of their group- 
ing we shall enumerate hereafter : one general characteristic 
of them all must be noted here. 

§ xxxv. The reader has been told repeatedly * that there 
are two, and only two, real orders of capitals, originally repre- 
sented by the Corinthian and the Doric ; and distinguished by 
the concave or convex contours of their bells, as shown by the 
dotted lines at e, Fig. V., p. 75. And hitherto, respecting the 
capital, we have been exclusively concerned with the methods 
in which these two families of simple contours have gathered 
themselves together, and obtained reconciliation to the abacus 
above, and the shaft below. But the last paragraph introduces 
us to the surface ornament disposed upon these, in the chisel- 
ling of which the characters described above, § xxviil, which 

* Chap. I. § xix., Appendix 7: and Chap. VI. § v. 


are but feebly marked in the cornice, boldly distinguished and 
divide the families of the capital. 

§ xxxvi. Whatever the nature of the ornament be, it must 
clearly have relief of some kind, and must present projecting 
surfaces separated by incisions. But it is a very material ques- 
tion whether the contour, hitherto broadly considered as that 
of the entire bell, shall be that of the out aide of the project- 
in"- and relieved ornaments, or of the bottoms of the incisions 
which divide them ; whether, that is to say, we shall first cut 
out the bell of our capital quite smooth, and then cut farther 
into it, with incisions, which shall leave ornamental forms in 
relief, or whether, in originally cutting the contour of the bell, 
we shall leave projecting bits of stone, which we may after- 
wards work into the relieved ornament. 

§ xxxvii. Now, look back to Fig. V., p. 75. Clearly, if to 
ornament the already hollowed profile, b, we cut deep incisions 
into it, we shall so far weaken it at the top, that it will nearly 
lose all its supporting power. Clearly, also, if to ornament 
the already bulging profile c we were to leave projecting pieces 
of stone outside of it, we should nearly destroy all its relation 
to the original sloping line X, and produce an unseemly and 
ponderous mass, hardly recognizable as a cornice profile. It is 
evident, on the other hand, that we can afford to cut into this 
profile without fear of destroying its strength, and that we can 
afford to leave projections outside of the other, without fear of 
destroying its lightness. Such is, accordingly, the natural dis- 
position of the sculpture, and the two great families of capitals 
are therefore distinguished, not merely by their concave and 
convex contours, but by the ornamentation being left outside 
the bell of the one, and cut into the bell of the other ; so that, 
in either case, the ornamental portions will fall between the 
dotted lines at e, Fig. V., and the pointed oval, or vesica piscis, 
which is traced by them, may be called the Limit of ornamen- 

§ xxxviii. Several distinctions in the quantity and style of 
the ornament must instantly follow from this great distinction 
in its position. First, in its quantity. For, observe : since in 
the Doric profile, c of Fig. V., the contour itself is to be com- 


posed of the surface of the ornamentation, this ornamentation 
must be close and united enough to form, or at least suggest, a 
continuous surface ; it must, therefore, be rich in quantity and 
close in aggregation ; otherwise it will destroy the massy char- 
acter of the profile it adorns, and approximate it to its opposite, 
the concave. On the other hand, the ornament left projecting 
from the concave, must be sparing enough, and dispersed 
enough, to allow the concave bell to be clearly seen beneath it ; 
otherwise it will choke up the concave profile, and approximate 
it to its opposite, the convex. 

§ xxxix. And, secondly, in its style. For, clearly, as the 
sculptor of the concave profile must leave masses of rough 
stone prepared for his outer ornament, and cannot finish them 
at once, but must complete the cutting of the smooth bell 
beneath first, and then return to the projecting masses (for if 
he were to finish these latter first, they would assuredly, if 
delicate or sharp, be broken as he worked on ; since, I say, he 
must work in this foreseeing and predetermined method, he is 
sure to reduce the system of his ornaments to some definite 
symmetrical order before he begins) ; and the habit of conceiv- 
ing beforehand all that he has to do, will probably render him 
not only more orderly in its arrangement, but more skilful 
and accurate in its execution, than if he could finish all as he 
worked on. On the other hand, the sculptor of the convex 
profile has its smooth surface laid before him, as a piece of 
paper on which he can sketch at his pleasure ; the incisions he 
makes in it are like touches of a dark pencil ; and he is at 
liberty to roam over the surface in perfect freedom, with light 
incisions or with deep ; finishing here, suggesting there, or 
perhaps in places leaving the surface altogether smooth. It is 
ten to one, therefore, but that, if he yield to the temptation, 
he becomes irregular in design, and rude in handling ; and we 
shall assuredly find the two families of capitals distinguished, 
the one by its symmetrical, thoroughly organised, and exqui- 
sitely executed ornament, the other by its rambling, confused, 
and rudely chiselled ornament : But, on the other hand, while 
we shall often have to admire the disciplined precision of the 
one, and as often to regret the irregular rudeness of the other. 





Plate XVIII. — Capitals. Convex, 


we shall not fail to find balancing qualities in both. The 
severity of the disciplinarian capital represses the power of the 
imagination ; it gradually degenerates into Formalism ; and 
the indolence which cannot escape from its stern demand of 
accurate workmanship, seeks refuge in copyism of established 
forms, and loses itself at last in lifeless mechanism. The license 
of the other, though often abused, permits full exercise to the 
imagination : the mind of the sculptor, unshackled by the 
niceties of chiselling, wanders over its orbed field in endless 
fantasy ; and, when generous as well as powerful, repays the 
liberty which has been granted to it with interest, by develop- 
ing through the utmost wildness and fulness of its thoughts, 
an order as much more noble than the mechanical symmetry 
of the opponent school, as the domain which it regulates is 

§ xl. And now the reader shall judge whether I had not 
reason to cast aside the so-called Five orders of the Renaissance 
architects, with their volutes and fillets, and to tell Jiim that 
there were only two real orders, and that there could never be 
more.* For we now find that these two great and real orders 
are representative of the two great influences which must for 
ever divide the heart of man : the one of Lawful Discipline, 
with its perfection and order, but its danger of degeneracy 
into Formalism ; the other of Lawful Freedom, with its vigor 
and variety^but its danger of degeneracy into Licentiousness. 

§ xli. I shall not attempt to give any illustrations here of 
the most elaborate developments of either order ; they will be 
better given on a larger scale : but the examples in Plate 
XVII. and XVIII. represent the two methods of ornament in 
their earliest appliance. The Uyo lower capitals in Plate 

XVII. are a pure type of the concave school ; the two in the 
centre of Plate XVIII., of the convex. At the top of Plate 

XVIII. are two Lombardic capitals ; that on the left from Sta. 
Sofia at Padua, that on the right from the cortile of St. Am- 
brogio at Milan. They both have the concave angle truncation ; 
but being of date prior to the time when the idea of the con- 
cave bell was developed, they are otherwise left square, and 

* Chap. I. , § xix. 
Vol. I.— 21 



decorated with the surface ornament characteristic of the con- 
vex school. The relation of the designs to each other is in- 
teresting ; the cross being prominent iu the centre of each, but 
more richly relieved in that from St. Ambrogio. The two 
beneath are from the southern portico of St. Mark's ; the 
shafts having been of different lengths, and neither, in all 
probability, originally intended for their present place, they 
have double abaci, of which the uppermost is the cornice run- 
ning round the whole facade. The zigzagged capital is highly 
curious, and in its place very effective and beautiful ; although 
one of the exceptions which it was above noticed that we 
should sometimes find to the law stated in § xv. above. 

§ xlii. The lower capital, which is also of the true convex 
school, exhibits one of the conditions of the spurred type, e 
of Fig. XXII., respecting which one or two points must be 

If we were to take up the plan of the simple spur, repre- 
sented at e in Fig. XXII., p. 
117, and treat it, with the salvia 
leaf, as we did the sj)ur of the 
base, we should have for the 
head of our capital a plan like 
Fig. LXVI., which is actually 
that of one of the capitals of the 
Fondaco de' Turchi at Venice ; 
with this only difference, that 
the intermediate curves between 
the spurs would have been cir- 
cular : the reason they are not so, 
here, is that the decoration, in- 
stead of being confined to the 
spur, is now spread over the whole mass, and contours are 
therefore given to the intermediate curves which fit them for 
this ornament ; the inside shaded space being the head of the 
shaft, and the outer, the abacus. The reader has in Fig. 
LXVI. a characteristic type of the plans of the spurred capitals, 
generally preferred by the sculptors of the convex school, but 
treated with infinite variety, the spurs often being cut into 

Fig. LXVI. 



animal forms, or the incisions between them multiplied, for 
richer effect ; and in our own Norman capital the type c of 
Fig. XXII. is variously subdivided by incisions on its slope, 
approximating in general effect to many conditions of the real 
spurred type, e, but totally differing from them in principle. 

§ xliii. The treatment of the spur in the concave school is 
far more complicated, being borrowed in nearly every case 
from the -original Corinthian. Its plan may be generally 
represented by Fig. LXYII. The spur itself is carved into 

Fig. LXVII. 


a curling tendril or concave leaf, which supports the project- 
ing angle of a four-sided abacus, whose hollow sides fall back 
behind the bell, and have generally a rosette or other orna- 
ment in their centres. The mediseval architects often put 
another square abacus above all, as represented by the shaded 
portion of Fig. LXVII., and some massy conditions of this 
form, elaborately ornamented, are very beautiful ; but it is 
apt to become rigid and effeminate, as assuredly it is in the 
original Corinthian, which is thoroughly mean and meagre in 
its upper tendrils and abacus. 

§ xliv. The lowest capital in Plate XVHI. is from St. 
Mark's, and singular in having double spurs ; it is therefore 
to be compared with the doubly spurred base, also from St. 
Mark's, in Plate XI. In other respects it is a good example 
of the union of breadth of mass with subtlety of curvature, 


which characterises nearly all the spurred capitals of the con« 
vex school. Its plan is given in Fig. LXVIII. : the inner 
shaded circle is the head of the shaft ; the white cross, the 
bottom of the capital, which expands itself into the external 
shaded portions at the top. Each spur, thus formed, is cut 
like a ship's bow, with the Doric profile ; the surfaces so ob- 
tained are then charged with arborescent ornament. 

§ xlv. I shall not here farther exemplify the conditions of 
the treatment of the spur, because I am afraid of confusing 
the reader's mind, and diminishing the distinctness of his 
conception of the differences between the two great orders, 
which it has been my principal object to develope through- 
out this chapter. If all my readers lived in London, I could 
at once fix this difference in their minds by a simple, yet 
somewhat curious illustration. In many parts of the west 
end of London, as, for instance, at the corners of Belgrave 
Square, and the north side of Grosvenor Square, the Corin- 
thian capitals of newly-built houses are put into cages of wire. 
The w T ire cage is the exact form of the typical capital of the 
convex school ; the Corinthian capital, within, is a finished 
and highly decorated example of the concave. The space be- 
tween the cage and capital is the limit of ornamentation. 

§ xlvi. Those of my readers, however, to whom this illus- 
tration is inaccessible, must be content with the two profiles, 
13 and 14, on Plate XV. If they will glance along the line 
of sections from 1 to 6, they will see that the profile 13 is their 
final development, with a superadded cornice for its abacus. 
It is taken from a capital in a very important ruin of a palace, 
near the Rialto of Venice, and hereafter to be described ; the 
projection, outside of its principal curve, is the profile of its 
superadded leaf ornamentation ; it may be taken as one of the 
simplest, yet a perfect type of the concave group. 

§ xlvii. The profile 14 is that of the capital of the main 
shaft of the northern portico of St. Mark's, the most finished 
example I ever met with of the convex family, to which, in 
spite of the central inward bend of its profile, it is marked as 
distinctly belonging, by the bold convex curve at its root, 
springing from the shaft in the line of the Christian Dorio 


cornice, and exactly reversing the structure of the other pro- 
file, which rises from the shaft, like a palm leaf from its stem. 
Farther, in the profile 13, the innermost line is that of the 
bell ; but in the profile 14, the outermost line is that of the 
bell, and the inner line is the limit of the incisions of the 
chisel, in undercutting a reticulated veil of ornament, sur- 
rounding a flower like a lily ; most ingeniously, and, I hope, 
justly, conjectured by the Marchese Selvatico to have been 
intended for an imitation of the capitals of the temple of 
Solomon, which Hiram made, with " nets of checker work, 
and wreaths of chain work for the chapiters that were on the 
top of the pillars . . . and the chapiters that were upon the 
top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch." (1 Kings, 

vii. 17, 19.) 

§ xlviii. On this exquisite capital there is imposed an 
abacus of the profile with which we began our investigation 
long ago, the profile a of Fig. V. This abacus is formed by 
the cornice already given, a, of Plate XVI. : and therefore we 
have, in this lovely Venetian capital, the summary of the re- 
sults of our investigation, from its beginning to its close : the 
type of the first cornice ; the decoration of it, in its emer- 
gence from the classical models ; the gathering into the capi- 
tal ; the superimposition of the secondary cornice, and the 
refinement of the bell of the capital by triple curvature in the 
two limits of chiselling. I cannot express the exquisite refine- 
ments of the curves on the small scale of Plate XV. ; I will 
give them more accurately in a larger engraving ; but the 
scale on which they are here given will not prevent the reader 
from perceiving, and let him note it thoughtfully, that the 
outer curve of the noble capital is the one which was our first 
example of associated curves ; that I have had no need, 
throughout the whole of our inquiry, to refer to any other 
ornamental line than the three which I at first chose, the sim- 
plest of those which Nature set by chance before me ; and 
that this lily, of the delicate Venetian marble, has but been 
wrought, by the highest human art, into the same line which 
the clouds disclose, when they break from the rough rocks of 
the flank of the Matterhorn. 





§ i. If the windows and doors of some of our best northern 
Gothic buildings were built up, and the ornament of their 
archivolts concealed, there would often remain little but masses 
of dead wall and unsightly buttress ; the whole vitality of the 
building consisting in the graceful proportions or rich mould- 
ings of its apertures. It is not so in the south, where, fre- 
quently, the aperture is a mere dark spot on the variegated 
wall ; but there the column, with its horizontal or curved 
architrave, assumes an importance of another kind, equally 
dependent upon the methods of lintel and archivolt decora- 
tion. These, though in their richness of minor variety they 

defy all exemplification, may be very broadly 

Of the mere lintel, indeed, there is no spe- 
cific decoration, nor can be ; it has no organ- 
ism to direct its ornament, and therefore may 
receive any kind and degree of ornament, ac- 
cording to its position. In a Greek temple, 
it has meagre horizontal lines ; in a Roman- 
esque church, it becomes a row of upright 
niches, with an apostle in each ; and may 
become anything else at the architect's will. 
But the arch head has a natural organism, 
which separates its ornament into distinct 
families, broadly definable. 

§ ii. In speaking of the arch-line and arch 
masonry, we considered the arch to be cut 
straight through the wall ; so that, if half 
built, it would have the appearance at a, 
Fig. LXIX. But in the chapter on Form 
of Apertures, we found that the side of the 
arch, or jamb of the aperture, might often require to be 
bevelled, so as to give the section b, Fig. LXIX. It is easily 

Fig. LXIX. 

«— » 



THP ' 




conceivable that when two ranges of voussoirs were used, 
one over another, it would be easier to leave those beneath, 
of a smaller diameter, than to bevel them to accurate junc- 
tion with those outside. Whether influenced by this facility, 
or by decorative instinct, the early northern builders often 
substitute for the bevel the third condition, c, of Fig. LXIX. ; 
so that, of the three forms in that figure, a belongs principally 
to the south, c to the north, and b indifferently to both. 

§ in. If the arch in the northern building be very deep, its 
depth will probably be attained by a succession of steps, like 
that in c ; and the richest results of northern archivolt deco- 
ration are entirely based on the aggregation of the ornament 
of these several steps ; while those of the south are only the 
complete finish and perfection of the ornament of one. In 
this ornament of the single arch, the points for general note 
are very few. 

§ iv. It was, in the first instance, derived from the classical 
architrave,* and the early Romanesque arches are nothing but 
such an architrave, bent round. The horizontal lines of the 
latter become semicircular, but their importance and value re- 
main exactly the same ; their continuity is preserved across all 
the voussoirs, and the joints and functions of the latter are 
studiously concealed. As the builders get accustomed to the 
arch, and love it better, they cease to be ashamed of its struct- 
ure : the voussoirs begin to show themselves confidently, and 
fight for precedence with the architrave lines ; and there is an 
entanglement of the two structures, in consequence, like the cir- 
cular and radiating lines of a cobweb, until at last the architrave 
lines get worsted, and driven away outside of the voussoirs ; be- 
ing permitted to stay at all only on condition of their dressing 
themselves in mediseval costume, as in the plate opposite. 

§ v. In other cases, however, before the entire discomfiture 
of the architrave, a treaty of peace is signed between the ad- 
verse parties on these terms : That the architrave shall en* 

* The architrave is properly the horizontal piece of stone laid across 
the tops of the pillars in Greek buildings, and commonly marked with 
horizontal lines, obtained by slight projections of its surface, while it is 
protected above in the richer orders, by a small cornice. 


tirely dismiss its inner three meagre lines, and leave the space 
of them to the voussoirs, to display themselves after their 
manner ; but that, in return for this concession, the architrave 
shall have leave to expand the small cornice which usually 
terminates it (the reader had better look at the original form 
in that of the Erechtheum, in the middle of the El<nn room 
of the British Museum) into bolder prominence, and even to 
put brackets under it, as if it were a roof cornice, and thus 
mark with a bold shadow the terminal line of the voussoirs. 
This condition is seen in the arch from St. Pietro of Pistoja, 
Plate XIII., above. 

§ vi. If the Gothic spirit of the building be thoroughly de- 
termined, and victorious, the architrave cornice is compelled 
to relinquish its classical form, and take the profile of a Gothic 
cornice or dripstone ; while, in other cases, as in much of the 
Gothic of Verona, it is forced to disappear altogether. But 
the voussoirs then concede, on the other hand, so much of 
their dignity as to receive a running ornament of foliage or 
animals, like a classical frieze, and continuous round the arch. 
In fact, the contest between the adversaries may be seen run- 
ning through all the early architecture of Italy : success in- 
clining sometimes to the one, sometimes to the other, and 
various kinds of triice or reconciliation being effected between 
them : sometimes merely formal, sometimes honest and affec- 
tionate, but with no regular succession in time. The greatest 
victory of the voussoir is to annihilate the cornice, and receive 
an ornament of its own outline, and entirely limited by its own 
joints : and yet this may be seen in the very early apse of Murano, 

§ vii. The most usual condition, however, is that unity of 
the two members above described, § v., and which may be 
generally represented by the archivolt section a, Fig. LXX. ; 
and from this descend a family of Gothic archivolts of the 
highest importance. For the cornice, thus attached to the 
arch, suffers exactly the same changes as the level cornice, or 
capital ; receives, in due time, its elaborate ogee profile and 
leaf ornaments, like Fig. 8 or 9 of Plate XV. ; and, when the 
shaft loses its shape, and is lost in the later Gothic jamb, the 
archivolt has influence enough to introduce this ogee profile 




in the jamb also, through the banded impost : and we im- 
mediately find ourselves involved in deep successions of ogee 
mouldings in sides of doors and windows, which never would 
have been thought of, but for the obstinate resistance of the 
classical architrave to the attempts of the voussoir at its degra- 
dation or banishment. 

§ viii. This, then, will be the first great head under which 
we shall in future find it convenient to arrange a large num- 
ber of archivolt decorations. It is the distinctively Southern 
and Byzantine form, and typically represented by the section 
a, of Fig. LXX. ; and it is susceptible of almost every species 
of surface ornament, respecting which only 
this general law may be asserted : that, 
while the outside or vertical surface may 
properly be decorated, and yet the soffit or 
under surface left plain, the soffit is never 
to be decorated, and the outer surface left 
plain. Much beautiful sculpture is, in the 
best Byzantine buildings, half lost by be- 
ing put under soffits ; but the eye is led 
to discover it, and even to demand it, by 
the rich chasing of the outside of the vous- 
soirs. It would have been an hypocrisy to 
carve them externally only. But there 
is not the smallest excuse for carving the soffit, and not the 
outside ; for, in that case, we approach the building under the 
idea of its being perfectly plain ; we do not look for the soffit 
decoration, and, of course, do not see it : or, if we do, it is 
merely to regret that it should not be in a better place. In 
the Renaissance architects, it may, perhaps, for once, be con- 
sidered a merit, that they put their bad decorations systemat- 
ically in the places where we should least expect it, and can 
seldom'est see it : — Approaching the Scuola di San Rocco, you 
probably will regret the extreme plainness and barrenness of 
the window traceries ; but, if you will go very close to the 
wall beneath the windows, you may, on sunny days, discover 
a quantity of panel decorations which the ingenious architect 
has concealed under the soffits. 

Fig. LXX. 


The custom of decorating the arch soffit with panelling is a 
Roman application of the Greek roof ornament, which, what- 
ever its intrinsic merit (compare Chap. XXIX. § iv.), may 
rationally be applied to waggon vaults, as of St. Peter's, and 
to arch soffits under which one walks. But the Renaissance 
architects had not wit enough to reflect that people usually 
do not walk through windows. 

§ rx. So far, then, of the Southern archivolt : In Fig. 
LXIX., above, it will be remembered that c represents the 
simplest form of the Northern. In the farther development 
of this, which we have next to consider, the voussoirs, in con- 
sequence of their own negligence or over-confidence, sustain a 
total and irrecoverable defeat. That archivolt is in its earliest 
conditions perfectly pure and undecorated, — the simplest and 
rudest of Gothic forms. Necessarily, when it falls on the 
pier, and meets that of the opposite arch, the entire section 
of masonry is in the shape of a cross, and is carried by the 
crosslet shaft, which we above stated to be distinctive of 
Northern design. I am more at a loss to account for the sud- 
den and fixed development of this type of archivolt than for 
any other architectural transition with which I am acquainted. 
But there it is, pure and firmly established, as early as the 
building of St. Michele of Pavia ; and we have thenceforward 
only to observe what comes of it. 

§ x. We find it first, as I said, perfectly barren ; cornice 
and architrave altogether ignored, the existence of such things 
practically denied, and a plain, deep-cut recess with a single 
mighty shadow occupying their place. The voussoirs, think- 
ing their great adversary utterly defeated, are at no trouble 
to show themselves ; visible enough in both the ujDper and 
under archivolts, they are content to wait the time when, as 
might have been hoped, they should receive a new decoration 
peculiar to themselves. 

§ xi. In this state of paralysis, or expectation, their flank is 
turned by an insidious chamfer. The edges of the two great 
blank archivolts are felt to be painfully conspicuous ; all the 
four are at once beaded or chamfered, as at b, Fig. LXX. ; a 
rich group of deep lines, running concentrically with the arch, 


is the result on the instant, and the fate of the voussoirs is 
sealed. They surrender at once without a struggle, and un- 
conditionally ; the chamfers deepen and multiply themselves, 
cover the soffit, ally themselves with other forms resulting from 
grouped shafts or traceries, and settle into the inextricable 
richness of the fully developed Gothic jamb and arch ; farther 
complicated in the end by the addition of niches to their re- 
cesses, as above described. 

§ xii. The voussoirs, in despair, go over to the classical 
camp, in hope of receiving some help or tolerance from their 
former enemies. They receive it indeed : but as traitors 
should, to their own eternal dishonor. They are sharply 
chiselled at the joints, or rusticated, or cut into masks and 
satyrs' heads, and so set forth and pilloried in the various de- 
testable forms of which the simplest is given above in Plate 
XIII. (on the left) : and others may be seen in nearly every 
large building in London, more especially in the bridges ; and, 
as if in pure spite at the treatment they had received from 
the archivolt, they are now not content with vigorously show- 
ing their lateral joints, but shape themselves into right-angled 
steps at their heads, cutting to pieces their limiting line, 
which otherwise would have had sympathy with that of the 
arch, and fitting themselves to their new friend, the Renais- 
sance Ruled Copy-book wall. It had been better they had 
died ten times over, in their own ancient cause, than thus pro- 
longed their existence. 

8 xm. We bid them farewell in their dishonor, to return 
to our victorious chamfer. It had not, we said, obtained so 
easy a conquest, unless by the help of certain forms of the 
grouped shaft. The chamfer was quite enough to decorate 
the archi volts, if there were no more than two ; but if, as 
above noticed in § in., the archivolt was very deep, and com- 
posed of a succession of such steps, the multitude of chamfer- 
ings were felt to be weak and insipid, and instead of dealing 
with the outside edges of the archivolts, the group was soft- 
ened by introducing solid shafts in their dark inner angles. 
This, the manliest and best condition of the early northern 
jamb and archivolt, is represented in section at fig. 12 of Plate 


II. ; and its simplest asj>ect in Plate V., from the Broletto ol 
Como, — an interesting example, because there the voussoirs 
being in the midst of their above-described southern contest 
with the architrave, were better prepared for the flank at- 
tack upon them by the shaft and chamfer, and make a noble 
resistance, with the help of color, in which even the shaft itself 
gets slightly worsted, and cut across in several places, like 
General Zach's column at Marengo. 

§ xry. The shaft, however, rapidly rallies, and brings up its 
own peculiar decorations to its aid ; and the intermediate 
archivolts receive running or panelled ornaments, also, until we 
reach the exquisitely rich conditions of our own Norman archi- 
volts, and of the parallel Lombardic designs, such as the en- 
trance of the Duomo, and of San Ferino, at Verona. This 
change, however, occupies little time, and takes place princi- 
pally in doorways, owing to the greater thickness of wall, 
and depth of archivolt ; so that we find the rich shafted suc- 
cession of ornament, in the doorway and window aperture, 
associated with the earliest and rudest double archivolt, in 
the nave arches, at St. Michele of Pavia. The nave arches, 
therefore, are most usually treated by the chamfer, and the 
voussoirs are there defeated much sooner than by the shafted 
arrangements, which they resist, as we saw, in the south by 
color ; and even in the north, though forced out of their own 
shape, they take that of birds' or monsters' heads, which for 
some time peck and pinch the rolls of the archivolt to their 
hearts' content; while the Norman zigzag ornament allies itself 
with them, each zigzag often restraining itself amicably be- 
tween the joints of each voussoir in the ruder work, and even in 
the highly finished arches, distinctly presenting a concentric 
or sunlike arrangement of lines ; so much so, as to prompt the 
conjecture, above stated, Chap. XX. § xxvi., that all such 
ornaments were intended to be typical of light issuing from 
the orb of the arch. I doubt the intention, but acknowledge 
the resemblance ; which perhaps goes far to account for the 
never-failing delightfulness of this zigzag decoration. The 
diminution of the zigzag, as it gradually shares the defeat of 
the voussoir, and is at last overwhelmed by the complicated, 


railroad-like fluency of the later Gothic mouldings, is to me 
one of the saddest sights in the drama of architecture. 

§ xv. One farther circumstance is deserving of especial 
note in Plate V., the greater depth of the voussoirs at the top 
of the arch. This has been above alluded to as a feature of 
good construction, Chap. XI., § m. ; it is to be noted now as 
one still more valuable in decoration : for when we arrive 
at the deep succession of concentric archivolts, with which 
northern portals, and many of the associated windows, are 
headed, Ave immediately find a difficulty in reconciling the 
o titer curve with the inner. If, as is sometimes the case, the 
width of the group of archivolts be twice or three times that 
of the inner aperture, the inner arch may be distinctly 
pointed, and the outer one, if drawn with concentric arcs, ap- 
proximate very nearly to a round arch. This is actually the 
case in the later Gothic of Yerona ; the outer line of the 
archivolt having a hardly perceptible point, and every inner 
arch of course forming the point more distinctly, till the in- 
nermost becomes a lancet. By far the nobler method, how- 
ever, is that of the pure early Italian Gothic ; to make every 
outer arch a magnified facsimile of the innermost one, every 
arc including the same number of degrees, but degrees of a 
larger circle. The result is the condition represented in 
Plate V., often found in far bolder development ; exquisitely 
springy and elastic in its expression, and entirely free from 
the heaviness and monotony of the deep northern archivolts. 

§ xvi. We have not spoken of the intermediate form, b, of 
Fig. LXIX. (which its convenience for admission of light has 
rendered common in nearly all architectures), because it has 
no transitions peculiar to itself : in the north it sometimes 
shares the fate of the outer architrave, and is channelled into 
longitudinal mouldings ; sometimes remains smooth and massy. 
as in military architecture, or in the simpler forms of domestic 
and ecclesiastical. In Italy it receives surface decoration like 
the architrave, but has, perhaps, something of peculiar expres- 
sion in being placed between the tracery of the window within, 
and its shafts and tabernacle work without, as in the Duomo 
of Florence : in this position it is always kept smooth in sur- 


face, and inlaid (or painted) with delicate arabesques ; whila 
the tracery and the tabernacle work are richly sculptured. 
The example of its treatment by colored voussoirs, given in 
Plate XIX., may be useful to the reader as a kind of central 
expression of the aperture decoration of the pure Italian 
Gothic ; — aperture decoration proper ; applying no shaft work 
to the jambs, but leaving the bevelled opening unenriched ; 
using on the outer archivolt the voussoirs and concentric 
architrave in reconcilement (the latter having, however, some 
connection with the Norman zigzag) ; and beneath them, the 
pure Italian two-pieced and mid-cusped arch, with rich cusp 
decoration. It is a Veronese arch, probably of the thirteenth 
century, and finished with extreme care ; the red portions are 
all in brick, delicately cast : and the most remarkable feature 
of the whole is the small piece of brick inlaid on the angle of 
each stone voussoir, with a most just feeling, which every 
artist will at once understand, that the color ought not to be 
let go all at once. 

§ xvii. We have traced the various conditions of treatment 
in the archivolt alone ; but, except in what has been said of 
the peculiar expression of the voussoirs, we might throughout 
have spoken in the same terms of the jamb. Even a parallel 
to the expression of the voussoir may be found in the Lom- 
bardic and Norman divisions of the shafts, by zigzags and 
other transverse ornamentation, which in the end are all swej)t 
away by the canaliculated mouldings. Then, in the recesses 
of these and of the archivolts alike, the niche and statue deco- 
ration develops itself ; and the vaulted and cavernous apertures 
are covered with incrustations of fretwork, and with every 
various application of foliage to their fantastic mouldings. 

§ xviii. I have kept the inquiry into the proper ornament 
of the archivolt wholly free from all confusion with the ques- 
tions of beauty in tracery ; for, in fact, all tracery is a mere 
multiplication and entanglement of small archivolts, and its 
cusp ornament is a minor condition of that proper to the span- 
dril. It does not reach its completely defined form until the 
jamb and archivolt have been divided into longitudinal mould- 
ings ; and then the tracery is formed by the innermost group 

THE ROOF. 335 

of the shafts or fillets, bent into whatever forms or foliations 
the designer may choose ; but this with a delicacy of adapta- 
tion which I rather choose to illustrate by particular examples, 
of which we shall meet with many in the course of our inquiry, 
than to delay the reader by specifying here. As for the con- 
ditions of beauty in the disposition of the tracery bars, I see 
no hope of dealing with the subject fairly but by devoting, if 
I can find time, a separate essay to it — which, in itself, need 
not be long, but would involve, before it could be completed, 
the examination of the whole mass of materials lately collected 
by the indefatigable industry of the English architects who 
have devoted their special attention to this subject, and which 
are of the highest value as illustrating the chronological suc- 
cession or mechanical structure of tracery, but which, in most 
cases, touch on their sesthetic merits incidentally only. Of 
works of this kind, by far the best I have met with is Mr. 
Edmund Sharpe's, on Decorated Windows, which seems to 
me, as far as a cursory glance can enable me to judge, to ex- 
haust the subject as respects English Gothic ; and which may 
be recommended to the readers who are interested of the 
subject, as containing a clear and masterly enunciation of the 
general principles by which the design of tracery has been 
regulated, from its first development to its final degradation. 



§ i. The modes of decoration hitherto considered, have 
been common to the exteriors and interiors of all noble build- 
ings ; and we have taken no notice of the various kinds of 
ornament which require protection from weather, and are 
necessarily confined to interior work. But in the case of the 
roof, the exterior and interior treatments become, as we saw 
in construction, so also in decoration, separated by broad and 
bold distinctions. One side of a wall is, in most cases, the 
same as another, and if its structure be concealed, it is mostly 


on the inside ; but, in the roof, the anatomical structure, out 
of which decoration should naturally spring, is visible, if at 
all, in the interior only : so that the subject of internal orna- 
ment becomes both wide and important, and that of external, 
comparatively subordinate. 

§ ii. Now, so long as we were concerned principally with 
the outside of buildings, we might with safety leave expres- 
sional character out of the question for the time, because it is 
not to be expected that all persons who pass the building, or 
see it from a distance, shall be in the temper which the build- 
ing is properly intended to induce ; so that ornaments some- 
what at variance with this temper may often be employed 
externally without painful effect. But these ornaments would 
be inadmissible in the interior, for those who enter will for the 
most part either be in the proper temper which the building 
requires, or desirous of acquiring it. (The distinction is not 
rigidly observed by the mediaeval builders, and grotesques, or 
profane subjects, occur in the interior of churches, in bosses, 
crockets, capitals, brackets, and such other portions of minor 
ornament : but we do not find the interior wall covered with 
hunting and battle pieces, as often the Lombardic exteriors.) 
And thus the interior expression of the roof or ceiling becomes 
necessarily so various, and the kind and degree of fitting dec- 
oration so dependent upon particular circumstances, that it is 
nearly impossible to classify its methods, or limit its applica- 

§ in. I have little, therefore, to say here, and that touching 
rather the omission than the selection of decoration, as far as 
regards interior roofing. Whether of timber or stone, roofs 
are necessarily divided into surfaces, and ribs or beams ; — 
surfaces, flat or carved ; ribs, traversing these in the direc- 
tions where main strength is required ; or beams, filling the 
hollow of the dark gable with the intricate roof-tree, or sup- 
porting the flat ceiling. Wherever the ribs and beams are 
simply and unaffectedly arranged, there is no difficulty about 
decoration ; the beams may be carved, the ribs moulded, and 
the eye is satisfied at once ; but when the vaulting is unribbed, 
as in plain waggon vaults and much excellent early Gothic, of 

THE ROOF. 337 

when the ceiling is flat, it becomes a difficult question how 
far their services may receive ornamentation independent of 
their structure. I have never myself seen a flat ceiling satis- 
factorily decorated, except by painting : there is much good 
and fanciful panelling in old English domestic architecture, 
but it always is in some degree meaningless and mean. The 
flat ceilings of Venice, as in the Scuola di San Rocco and 
Ducal Palace, have in their vast panellings some of the noblest 
paintings (on stretched canvas) which the world possesses : 
and this is all very well for the ceiling ; but one would rather 
have the painting in a better place, especially when the rain 
soaks through its canvas, as I have seen it doing through 
many a noble Tintoret. On the whole, flat ceilings are as 
much to be avoided as possible ; and, when necessary, per- 
haps a panelled ornamentation with rich colored patterns is 
the most satisfying, and loses least of valuable labor. But I 
leave the question to the reader's thought, being myself ex- 
ceedingly undecided respecting it : except only touching one 
point — that a blank ceiling is not to be redeemed by a deco- 
rated ventilator. 

§ iv. I have a more confirmed opinion, however, respecting 
the decoration of curved surfaces. The majesty of a roof is 
never, I think, so great, as when the eye can pass undisturbed 
over the course of all its curvatures, and trace the dying of the 
shadows along its smooth and sweeping vaults. And I would 
rather, myself, have a plain ridged Gothic vault, with all its 
rough stones visible, to keep the sleet and wind out of a cathe- 
dral aisle, than all the fanning and pend anting and foliation 
that ever bewildered Tudor wight. But mosaic or fresco 
may of course be used as far as we can afford or obtain them ; 
for these do not break the curvature. Perhaps the most 
solemn roofs in the world are the apse conchas of the Roman- 
esque basilicas, with their golden ground and severe figures. 
Exactly opposed to these are the decorations which disturb the 
serenity of the curve without giving it interest, like the vulgar 
panelling of St. Peter's and the Pantheon ; both, I think, in 
the last degree detestable. 

§ v. As roofs internally may be divided into surfaces and 


ribs, externally they ma}' be divided into surfaces, and points, 
or ridges ; these latter often receiving very bold and distinc- 
tive ornament. The outside surface is of small importance in 
central Europe, being almost universally low in slope, and 
tiled throughout Spain, South France, and North Italy : of 
still less importance where it is flat, as a terrace ; as often in 
South Italy and the East, mingled with low domes : but the 
lamer Eastern and Arabian domes become elaborate in orna- 
mentation : I cannot speak of them with confidence ; to the 
mind of an inhabitant of the north, a roof is a guard against 
wild weather ; not a surface which is forever to bask in serene 
heat, and gleam across deserts like a rising moon. I can only 
say, that I have never seen any drawing of a richly decorated 
Eastern dome that made me desire to see the original. 

§ vi. Our own northern roof decoration is necessarily sim- 
ple. Colored tiles are used in some cases with quaint effect ; 
but I believe the dignity of the building is always greater 
when the roof is kept in an undisturbed mass, opposing itself 
to the variegation and richness of the walls. The Italian 
round tile is itself decoration enough, a deep and rich fluting, 
which all artists delight in ; this, however, is fitted exclusively 
for low pitch of roofs. On steep domestic roofs, there is no 
ornament better than may be obtained by merely rounding, 
or cutting to an angle, the lower extremities of the flat tiles 
or shingles, as in Switzerland : thus the whole surface is 
covered with an appearance of scales, a fish-like defence 
against water, at once perfectly simple, natural, and effective 
at any distance ; and the best decoration of sloping stone 
roofs, as of spires, is a mere copy of this scale armor ; it en- 
riches every one of the spires and pinnacles of the cathedral 
of Coutances, and of many Norman and early Gothic build- 
ings. Roofs covered or edged with lead have often patterns 
designed upon the lead, gilded and relieved with some dark 
color, as on the house of Jaques Cceur at Bourges ; and I 
imagine the effect of this must have been singularly delicate 
and beautiful, but only traces of it now remain. The north- 
ern roofs, however, generally stand in little need of surface 
decoration, the eye being drawn to the fantastic ranges of 

THE ROOF. 339 

their dormer windows, and to the finials and fringes on their 
points and ridges. 

§ vii. Whether dormer windows are legitimately to be 
classed as decorative features, seems to me to admit of doubt. 
The northern spire system is evidently a mere elevation and 
exaggeration of the domestic turret with its look-out windows, 
and one can hardly part with the grotesque lines of the projec- 
tions, though nobody is to be expected to live in the spire : 
but, at all events, such windows are never to be allowed in 
places visibly inaccessible, or on less than a natural and ser- 
viceable scale. 

§ viii. Under the general head of roof-ridge and point 
decoration, we may include, as above noted, the entire race 
of fringes, finials, and crockets. As there is no use in any of 
these things, and as they are visible additions and parasitical 
portions of the structure, more caution is required in their use 
than in any other features of ornament, and the architect and 
spectator must both be in felicitous humor before they can be 
well designed or thoroughly enjoyed. They are generally 
most admirable where the grotesque Northern spirit has most 
power ; and I think there is almost always a certain spirit of 
playfulness in them, adverse to the grandest architectural 
effects, or at least to be kept in severe subordination to the 
serener character of the prevalent lines. But as they are op- 
posed to the seriousness of majesty on the one hand, so they 
are to the weight of dulness on the other ; and I know not any 
features which make the contrast between continental domestic 
architecture, and our own, more humiliatingly felt, or which 
give so sudden a feeling of new life and delight, when we pass 
from the streets of London to those of Abbeville or Rouen, as 
the quaint points and pinnacles of the roof gables and turrets. 
The commonest and heaviest roof may be redeemed by a spike 
at the end of it, if it is set on with any spirit ; but the foreign 
builders have (or had, at least) a peculiar feeling in this, and 
gave animation to the whole roof by the fringe of its back, 
and the spike on its forehead, so that all goes together, like 
the dorsal fins and spines of a fish ; but our spikes have a dull, 
screwed on, look ; a far-off relationship to the nuts of machin* 


ery ; and our roof fringes are sure to look like fenders, as ii 
they were meant to catch ashes out of the London smoke- 

§ ix. Stone finials and crockets are, I think, to be considered 
in architecture, what points and Hashes of light are in the 
color of painting, or of nature. There are some landscapes 
whose best character is sparkling, and there is a possibility of 
repose in the midst of brilliancy, or embracing it, — as on the 
fields of summer sea, or summer land : 

"Calm, and deep peace, on this high wold, 
And on the dews that drench the furze, 
And on the silvery gossamers, 
That twinkle into green and <jold." 

And there are colons ts who can keep their quiet in the midst 
of a jewellery of light ; but, for the most part, it is better to 
avoid breaking up either lines or masses by too many points, 
and to make the few points used exceedingly precious. So 
the best crockets and finials are set, like stars, along the lines, 
and at the points, which they adorn, with considerable inter- 
vals between them, and exquisite delicacy and fancy of sculpt- 
ure in their own designs ; if very small, they may become 
more frequent, and describe lines by a chain of points ; but 
their whole value is lost if they are gathered into bunches or 
clustered into tassels and knots ; and an over-indulgence in 
them always marks lowness of school. In Venice, the addi- 
tion of the finial to the arch-head is the first sio:n of desrada- 
tion ; all her best architecture is entirely without either crock- 
ets or finials ; and her ecclesiastical architecture may be classed, 
with fearless accuracy, as better or worse, in proportion to the 
diminution or expansion of the crocket. The absolutely per- 
fect use of the crocket is found, I think, in the tower of Giotto, 
and in some other buildings of the Pisan school. In the North 
they generally err on one side or other, and are either florid 
and huge, or mean in outline, looking as if they had been 
pinched out of the stone-work, as throughout the entire cathe- 
dral of Amiens ; and are besides connected with the generally 


spotty system which has been spoken of under the head of 
archivolt decoration. 

§ x. Employed, however, in moderation, they are among the 
most delightful means of delicate expression ; and the archi- 
tect has more liberty in their individual treatment than in any 
other feature of the building. Separated entirely from the 
structural system, they are subjected to no shadow of any 
other laws than those of grace and chastity ; and the fancy 
may range without rebuke, for materials of their design, 
through the whole field of the visible or imaginable creation. 



§ i. I have hardly kept my promise. The reader has deco- 
rated but little for himself as yet ; but I have not, at least, 
attempted to bias his judgment. Of the simple forms of deco- 
ration which have been set before him, he has always been 
left free to choose ; and the stated restrictions in the methods 
of applying them have been only those which followed on the 
necessities of construction previously determined. These hav- 
ing been now defined, I do indeed leave my reader free to 
build ; and with what a freedom ! All the lovely forms of the 
universe set before him, whence to choose, and all the lovely 
lines that bound their substance or guide their motion ; and 
of all these lines, —and there are myriads of myriads in every 
bank of grass and every tuft of forest ; and groups of them 
divinely harmonized, in the bell of every flower, and in every 
several member of bird and beast, — of all these lines, for the 
principal forms of the most important members of architect- 
ure, I have used but Three ! What, therefore, must be the 
infinity of the treasure in them all ! There is material enough 
in a single flower for the ornament of a score of cathedrals, 
but suppose we were satisfied with less exhaustive appliance, 
and built a score of cathedrals, each to illustrate a single 
flower'? that would be better than trying to invent new 


styles, I think. There is quite difference of style enough, be« 
tween a violet and a harebell, for all reasonable purposes. 

§ ii. Perhaps, however, even more strange than the strug- 
gle of our architects to invent new styles, is the way they com- 
monly speak of this treasure of natural infinity. Let us take 
our patience to us for an instant, and hear one of them, not 
among the least intelligent : — 

"It is not true that all natural forms are beautiful. We 
may hardly be able to detect this in Nature herself ; but when 
the forms are separated from the things, and exhibited alone 
(by sculpture or carving), we then see that they are not all 
fitted for ornamental purposes ; and indeed that very few, per- 
haps none, are so fitted without correction. Yes, I say cor- 
rection, for though it is the highest aim of every art to imitate 
nature, this is not to be done by imitating any natural form, 
but by criticising and correcting it, — criticising it by Nature's 
rules gathered from all her works, but never completely car- 
ried out by her in any one work ; correcting it, by rendering- 
it more natural, i. e. more conformable to the general tendency 
of Nature, according to that noble maxim recorded of Eaffaelle, 
'that the artist's object was to make things not as Nature 
makes them, but as she would make them ; ' as she ever tries 
to make them, but never succeeds, though her aim may be de- 
duced from a comparison of her efforts ; just as if a number 
of archers had aimed unsuccessfully at a mark upon a wall, 
and this mark were then removed, we could by the examina- 
tion of their arrow marks point out the most probable position 
of the spot aimed at, with a -certainty of being nearer to it than 
any of their shots." * 

§ in. I had thought that, by this time, we had done with 
that stale, second-hand, one-sided, and misunderstood savins: 
of Eaffaelle 's ; or that at least, in these days of purer Christian 
light, men might have begun to get some insight into the 
meaning of it : Eaffaelle was a painter of humanity, and as- 
suredly there is something the matter with humanity, a few 
dovrebbe's, more or less, wanting in it. We have most of us 
heard of original sin, and may perhaps, in our modest moments, 
conjecture that we are not quite what God, or nature, would 

* Garbett on Design, p. 74. 


have us to be. Raffaelle had something to mend in Humanity : 
I should have liked to have seen him mending a daisy!— or a 
pease-blossom, or a moth, or a mustard seed, or any other of 
God's slightest works. If he had accomplished that, one 
might have found for him more respectable employment, — 
to set the stars in better order, perhaps (they seem grievously 
scattered as they are, and to be of all manner of shapes and 
sizes,— except the ideal shape, and the proper size) ; or to give 
us a corrected view of the ocean ; that, at least, seems a very 
irregular and improveable thing ; the very fishermen do not 
know, this day, how far it will reach, driven up before the 
west wind : — perhaps Some One else does, bat that is not our 
business. Let us go down and stand by the beach of it,— of 
the great irregular sea, and count whether the thunder of it is 
not out of time. One,— two -.—here comes a well-formed wave 
at last, trembling a little at the top, but, on the whole, orderly. 
So, crash among the shingle, and up as far as this grey pebble ; 
now stand by and watch ! Another :— Ah, careless wave ! why 
couldn't you have kept your crest on ? it is all gone away into 
spray, striking up against the cliffs there— I thought as much 
—missed the mark by a couple of feet ! Another :— How now, 
impatient one ! couldn't you have waited till your friend's re- 
flux was done with, instead of rolling yourself up with it in 
that unseemly manner ? You go for nothing. A fourth, and 
a goodly one at last. What think we of yonder slow rise, and 
crystalline hollow, without a flaw? Steady, good wave ; not 
so fast ; not so fast ; where are you coming to ?— By our archi- 
tectural word, this is too bad ; two yards over the mark, and 
ever so much of you in our face besides ; and a wave which we 
had some hope of, behind there, broken all to pieces out at sea, 
and laying a great white table-cloth of foam all the way to the 
shore, as if the marine gods were to dine off it ! Alas, for 
these unhappy arrow shots of Nature ; she will never hit her 
mark with those unruly waves of hers, nor get one of them 
into the ideal shape, if we wait for a thousand years. Let us 
send for a Greek architect to do it for her. He comes— the 
great Greek architect, with measure and rule. Will he not 
also make the weight for the winds ? and weigh out the waters 


by measure ? and make a decree for the rain, and a way for the 
lightning of the thunder ? He sets himself orderly to his work, 
and behold ! this is the mark of nature, and this is the thing 
into which the great Greek architect improves the sea — 

©aXaxTa, OdXarra : Was it this, then, that they wept to see 
from the sacred mountain — those wearied ones ? 

§ iv. But the sea was meant to be irregular ! Yes, and 
were not also the leaves, and the blades of grass ; and, in a 
sort, as far as may be without mark of sin, even the counte- 
nance of man ? Or would it be pleasanter and better to have 
us all alike, and numbered on our foreheads, that we might 
be known one from the other? 

§ v. Is there, then, nothing to be done by man's art? Have 
we only to copy, and again copy, for ever, the imagery of the 
universe ? Not so. We have work to do upon it ; there is 
not any one of us so simple, nor so feeble, but he has work to 
do upon it. But the w T ork is not to improve, but to explain. 
This infinite universe is unfathomable, inconceivable, in its 
whole ; every human creature must slowly spell out, ard long 
contemplate, such part of it as may be possible for him to 
reach ; then set forth what he has learned of it for those be- 
neath him ; extricating it from infinity, as one gathers a 
riolet out of grass ; one does not improve either violet or 
grass in gathering it, but one makes the flower visible ; and 
then the human being has to make its power upon his own 
heart visible also, and to give it the honor of the good 
thoughts it has raised up in him, and to write upon it the 
history of his own soul. And sometimes he may be able to 
do more than this, and to set it in strange lights, and display 
it in a thousand ways before unknown : ways specially di- 
rected to necessary and noble purposes, for which he had to 
choose instruments out of the wide armory of God. All thifr 


lie may do •. and in this lie is only doing what every Christian 
has to do with the written, as well as the created word, 
''rightly dividing the word of truth." Out of the infinity of 
the written word, he has aho to gather and set forth things 
new and old, to choose them for the season and the work that 
are before him, to explain and manifest them to others, with 
such illustration and enforcement as may be in his power, 
and to crown them with the history of what, by them, God 
has done for his soul. And, in doiDg this, is he improving 
the Word of God ? Just such difference as there is between 
the sense in which a minister may be said to improve a text, 
to the people's comfort, and the sense in which an atheist 
might declare that he could improve the Book, which, if any 
man shall add unto, there shall be added unto him the 
plagues that are written therein ; just such difference is there 
between that which, with respect to Nature, man is, in his 
humbleness, called upon to do, and that which, in his inso- 
lence, he imagines himself capable of doing. 

§ vi. Have no fear, therefore, reader, in judging between 
nature and art, so only that you love both. If you can love 
one only, then let it be Nature ; you are safe with her : but 
do not then attempt to judge the art, to which you do not 
care to give thought, or time. But if you love both, you may 
judge between them fearlessly ; you may estimate the last, 
by its making you remember the first, and giving you the 
same kind of joy. If, in the square of the city, you can find 
a delight, finite, indeed, but pure and intense, like that which 
3 r ou have in a valley among the hills, then its art and archi- 
tecture are right ; but if, after fair trial, you can find no de- 
light in them, nor any instruction like that of nature, I call 
on you fearlessly to condemn them. 

We are forced, for the sake of accumulating our power and 
knowledge, to live in cities ; but such advantage as we have 
in association with each other is in great part counterbalanced 
by our loss of fellowship with nature. We cannot all have 
our gardens now, nor our pleasant fields to meditate in at 
eventide. Then the function of our architecture is, as far as 
may be, to replace these ; to tell us about nature ; to possess 


us with memories of her quietness ; to be solemn and full of 
tenderness, like her, and rich in portraitures of her ; full of 
delicate imagery of the flowers we can no more gather, and of 
the living creatures now far away from us in their own soli- 
tude. If ever you felt or found this in a London Street, — if 
ever it furnished you with one serious thought, or one ray of 
true and gentle pleasure, — if there is in your heart a true de- 
light in its grim railings and dark casements, and wasteful 
finery of shops, and feeble coxcombry of club-houses, — it is 
well : promote the building of more like them. But if they 
never taught you anything, and never made you happier as 
you passed beneath them, do not think they have any myste- 
rious goodness nor occult sublimity. Have done with the 
wretched affectation, the futile barbarism, of pretending to 
enjoy : for, as surely as you know that the meadow grass, 
meshed with fairy rings, is better than the wood pavement, 
cut into hexagons ; and as surely as you know the fresh winds 
and sunshine of the upland are better than the choke-damp 
of the vault, or the gas-light of the ball-room, you may know, 
as I told you that you should, that the good architecture, 
which has life, and truth, and joy in it, is better than the bad 
architecture, which has death, dishonest}^ and vexation of 
heart in it, from the beginning to the end of time. 

§ vn. And now come with me, for I have kept you too long 
from your gondola : come with me, on an autumnal morning, 
through the dark gates of Padua, and let us take the broad 
road leading towards the East. 

It lies level, for a league or two, between its elms, and vine 
festoons full laden, their thin leaves veined into scarlet hectic, 
and their clusters deepened into gloomy blue ; then mounts 
an embankment above the Brenta, and runs between the river 
and the broad plain, which stretches to the north in endless 
lines of mulberry and maize. The Brenta flows slowly, but 
strongly ; a muddy volume of yellowish-grey water, that 
neither hastens nor slackens, but glides heavily between its 
monotonous banks, witli here and there a short, babbling 
eddy twisted for an instant into its opaque surface, and van- 
ishing, as if something had been dragged into it and gone 


down. Dusty and sliadeless, the road fares along the dyke 
on its northern side ; and the tall white tower of Dolo is seen 
trembling in the heat mist far away, and never seems nearer 
than it did at first. Presently you pass one of the much 
vaunted "villas on the Brenta:" a glaring, spectral shell of 
brick and stucco, its windows with painted architraves like 
picture-frames, and a court-yard paved with pebbles in front 
of it, all burning in the thick glow of the feverish sunshine, 
but fenced from the high road, for magnificence sake, with 
goodly posts and chains ; then another, of Kew Gothic, with 
Chinese variations, painted red and green ; a third composed 
for the greater part of dead-wall, with fictitious windows 
painted upon it, each with a pea-green blind, and a classical 
architrave in bad perspective ; and a fourth, with stucco fig- 
ures set on the top of its garden-wall : some antique, like the 
kind to be seen at the corner of the New Eoad, and some of 
clumsy grotesque dwarfs, with fat bodies and large boots. 
This is the architecture to which her studies of the Renais- 
sance have conducted modern Italy. 

§ vm. The sun climbs steadily, and warms into intense 
white the walls of the little piazza of Dolo, where we change 
horses. Another dreary stage among the now divided 
branches of the Brenta, forming irregular and half-stagnant 
canals ; with one or two more villas on the other side of them, 
but these of the old Venetian type, which we may have recog- 
nised before at Padua, and sinking fast into utter ruin, black, 
and rent, and lonely, set close to the edge of the dull water, 
with what were once small gardens beside them, kneaded into 
mud, and with blighted fragments of gnarled hedges and 
broken stakes for their fencing ; and here and there a few 
fragments of marble steps, which have once given them grace- 
ful access from the water's edge, now settling into the mud 
in broken joints, all aslope, and slippery with green weed. 
At last the road turns sharply to the north, and there is an 
open space, covered with bent grass, on the right of it : but 
do not look that way. 

§ ix. Five minutes more, and we are in the upper room of 
the little inn at Mestre, glad of a moment's rest in shade. 


The table is (always, I think) covered with a cloth of nominal 
white and perennial grey, with plates and glasses at due inter- 
vals, and small loaves of a peculiar white bread, made with 
oil, and more like knots of flour than bread. The view from 
its balcony is not cheerful : a narrow street, with a solitary 
brick church and barren campanile on the other side of it ; 
and some conventual buildings, with a few crimson remnants 
of fresco about their windows ; and, between them and the 
street, a ditch with some slow current in it, and one or two 
small houses beside it, one with an arbor of roses at its door, 
as in an English tea-garden ; the air, however, about us hav- 
ing in it nothing of roses, but a close smell of garlic and crabs, 
warmed by the smoke of various stands of hot chestnuts. 
There is much vociferation also going on beneath the window 
respecting certain wheelbarrows w T hich are in rivalry for our 
baggage : we appease their rivalry with our best patience, and 
follow them down the narrow street. 

§ x. We have but walked some two hundred yards when 
we come to a low wharf or quay, at the extremity of a canal, 
with long steps on each side down to the water, which latter 
w r e fancy for an instant has become black with stagnation ; 
another glance undeceives us, — it is covered with the black 
boats of Venice. We enter one of them, rather to try if they 
be real boats or not, than with any definite purpose, and glide 
away ; at first feeling as if the water were yielding continually 
beneath the boat and letting her sink into soft vacancy. It is 
something clearer than any water w T e have seen lately, and of 
a pale green ; the banks only two or three feet above it, of 
mud and rank grass, with here and there a stunted tree ; glid- 
ing swiftly past the small casement of the gondola, as if they 
were dragged by upon a painted scene. 

Stroke by stroke we count the plunges of the oar, each 
heaving up the side of the boat slightly as her silver beak 
shoots forward. We lose patience, and extricate ourselves 
from the cushions : the sea air blows keenly by, as we stand 
leaning on the roof of the floating cell. In front, nothing to 
be seen but long canal and level bank ; to the west, the tower 
of Mestre is lowering fast, and behind it there have risen pur- 


pie shapes, of the color of dead rose-leaves, all round the hori- 
zon, feebly denned against the afternoon sky,— the Alps of 
Bassano. Forward still : the endless canal bends at last, and 
then breaks into intricate angles about some low bastions, now 
torn to pieces and staggering in ugly rents towards the water, 
— the bastions of the fort of Malghera. Another turn, and 
another perspective of canal ; but not interminable. The 
silver beak cleaves it fast, — it widens : the rank grass of the 
banks sinks lower, and lower, and at last dies in tawny knots 
along an expanse of weedy shore. Over it, on the right, but 
a few years back, we might have seen the lagoon stretching to 
the horizon, and the warm southern sky bending over Mala- 
mocco to the sea. Now we can see nothing but what seems a 
low and monotonous dock-yard wall, with flat arches to let 
the tide through it ;— this is the railroad bridge, conspicuous 
above all things. Eut at the end of those dismal arches, there 
rises, out of the wide water, a straggling line of low and con- 
fused brick buildings, which, but for the many towers which 
are mingled among them, might be the suburbs of an English 
manufacturing town. Four or five domes, pale, and appar- 
ently at a greater distance, rise over the centre of the line ; 
but the object which first catches the eye is a sullen cloud of 
black smoke brooding over the northern half of it, and which 
issues from the belfry of a church. 
It is Venice. 



I find the chroniclers agree in fixing the year 421, if any : 
the following sentence from De Monaci may perhaps interest 

the reader. 

" God, who punishes the sins of men by war sorrows, and 
whose ways are past finding out, willing both to save the in- 
nocent blood, and that a great power, beneficial to the whole 
world, should arise in a spot strange beyond belief, moved 
the chief men of the cities of the Venetian province (which 
from the border of Pannonia, extended as far as the Adda, a 
river of Lombardy), both in memory of past, and in dread of 
future distress, to establish states upon the nearer islands of 
the inner gulphs of the Adriatic, to which, in the last neces- 
sity, they might retreat for refuge. And first Galienus de 
Fontana, Simon de Glauconibus, and Antonius Calvus, or, 
as others have it, Adalburtus Falerius, Thomas Candiano, 
Comes Daulus, Consuls of Padua, by the command of their 
King and the desire of the citizens, laid the foundations of 
the new commonwealth, under good auspices, on the island 
of the Eialto, the highest and nearest to the mouth of the 
deep river now called the Brenta, in the year of Our Lord, 
as many writers assure us, four hundred and twenty-one, on 
the 25th day of March."* 

It is matter also of very great satisfaction to know that 
Venice was founded by good Christians : "La qual citade e 
stada hedificada da veri e boni Christiani : " which inf orma- 

* Ed. Veuetis, 1758, Lib. I. 


tion I found in the MS. copy of the Zancarol Chronicle, in 
the library of St. Mark's. 

Finally the conjecture as to the origin of her name, re- 
corded by Sansovino, will be accepted willingly by all who 
love Venice : " Fu interpretato da alcuni, che questa voce 
Venetia vogiia dire VENI ET1AM, cioo, vieni ancora, e an- 
cora, percioche quante volte verrai, senrpre vedrai nuove cose, 
enuove bellezze." 


The best authorities agree in giving the year 697 as that of 
the election of the first doge, Paul Luke Anafeste. He was 
elected in a general meeting of the commonalty, tribunes, and 
clergy, at Heraclea, "divinus rebus procuratis," as usual, in 
all serious work, in those times. His authority is thus de- 
fined by Sabellico, who was not likely to have exaggerated 
it : — " Penes quern decus onine imperii ac majestasesset : cui 
jus concilium cogendi quoties de republica aliquid referri 
oporteret ; qui tribunos annuos in singulas insulas legeret, a 
quibus ad Ducem esset provocatio. Cseterum, si quis digni- 
tatem, ecclesiam, sacerdotumve cleri populique suffragio esset 
adeptus, ita demum id ratum habere tur si dux ipse auctor 
factus esset." (Lib. I.) The last clause is very important, 
indicating the subjection of the ecclesiastical to the popular 
and ducal (or patrician) powers, which, throughout her ca- 
reer, was one of the most remarkable features in the policy 
of Venice. The appeal from the tribunes to the doge is also 
important ; and the expression " decus omne imperii," if of 
somewhat doubtful force, is at least as energetic as could 
have been expected from an historian under the influence of 
the Council of Ten. 


The date of the decree which made the right of sitting in 
the grand council hereditary, is variously given ; the Venetian 
historians themselves saying as little as they can about it. 
The thing was evidently not accomplished at once, several de- 


crees following in successive years : the Council of Ten was 
established without any doubt in 1310, in consequence of the 
conspiracy of Tiepolo. The Venetian verse, quoted by Muti- 
nelli (Annali Urbani di Venezia, p. 153), is worth remember- 


" Del inille tresento e diese 
A mezzo el mese delle ceriese 
Bagiamonte passo el ponte 
E per esso f o f atto el Consegio di diese. " 

The reader cannot do better than take 1297 as the date of the 
beginning of the change of government, and this will enable 
him exactly to divide the 1100 years from the election of the 
first doge into 600 of monarchy and 500 of aristocracy. The 
coincidence of the numbers is somewhat curious ; 697 the 
date of the establishment of the government, 1297 of its 
change, and 1797 of its fall. 


It is credibly reported to have been founded in the seventh 
century, and (with somewhat less of credibility) in a place 
where the Trojans, conducted by Antenor, had, after the de- 
struction of Troy, built " un castello, chiamato prima Troja, 
poscia Olivolo, interpretato, luogo pieno." It seems that St. 
Peter appeared in person to the Bishop of Heraclea, and com- 
manded him to found in his honor, a church in that spot of 
the rising city on the Rialto : " ove avesse veduto una mandra 
di buoi e di pecore pascolare unitamente. Questa fu la pro- 
digiosa origine della Chiesa di San Pietro, die poscia, o rino- 
vata, o ristaurata, da Orso Participazio IV Vescovo Olivolense, 
divenne la Cattedrale della Nuova citta," (Notizie Storiche 
delle Chiese e Monasteri di Venezia. Padua, 1758.) What 
there was so prodigious in oxen and sheep feeding together, 
we need St. Peter^I think, to tell us. The title of Bishop of 
Castello was first taken in 1091 : St. Mark's was not made the 
cathedral church till 1807. It may be thought hardly fair to 
conclude the small importance of the old St. Pietro di Castello 
from the appearance of the wretched modernisations of 1620, 


But these modernisations are spoken of as improvements; 
and I find no notice of peculiar beauties in the older building, 
either in the work above quoted, or by Sansovino ; who only 
sa} r s that when it was destroyed b} r fire (as everything in 
Venice was, I think, about three times in a century), in the 
reign of Vital Michele, it was rebuilt "with good thick walls, 
maintaining, for all that, the order of its arrangement taken 
from the Greek mode of building." This does not seem the 
description of a very enthusiastic effort to rebuild a highly 
ornate cathedral. The present church is among the least in- 
teresting in Venice ; a wooden bridge, something like that of 
Battersea on a small scale, connects its island, now almost de- 
serted, with a wretched suburb of the city behind the arsenal ; 
and a blank level of lifeless grass, rotted away in places rather 
than trodden, is extended before its mildewed facade and soli- 
tary tower. 


I may refer the reader to the eleventh chapter of the 
twenty-eighth book of Daru for some account of the restraints 
to which the Venetian clergy were subjected. I have not my- 
self been able to devote any time to the examination of the 
original documents bearing on this matter, but the following 
extract from a letter of a friend, who will not at present per- 
mit me to give his name, but who is certainly better con- 
versant with the records of the Venetian State than any 
other Englishman, will be of great value to the general 
reader : — 

" In the year 1410, or perhaps at the close of the thirteenth 
century, churchmen were excluded from the Grand Council 
and declared ineligible to civil employment ; and in the same 
year, 1410, the Council of Ten, with the Giunta, decreed that 
whenever in the state's councils matters concerning ecclesias- 
tical affairs were being treated, all the kinsfolk of Venetian 
beneficed clergymen were to be expelled ; and, in the year 
1434, the eelations of churchmen were declared ineligible to 
the post of ambassador at Rome. 


"The Venetians never gave possession of any see in their 
territories to bishops unless they had been proposed to the 
pope by the senate, which elected the patriarch, who was sup- 
posed, at the end of the sixteenth century, to be liable to ex- 
animation by his Holiness, as an act of confirmation of instal- 
lation ; but of course, everything depended on the relative 
power at any given time of Rome and Venice : for instance, a 
few days after the accession of Julius II, in 1503, he requests 
the Signory, cap in hand, to allow him to confer the archbish- 
opric of Zara on a dependant of his, one Cipico the Bishop 
of Famagosta. Six years later, when Venice was overwhelmed 
by the leaguers of Cambrai, that furious pope would assuredly 
have conferred Zara on Cipico without asking leave. In 1G08, 
the rich Camaldolite Abbey of Vangadizza, in the Polesine, 
fell vacant through the death of Lionardo Loredano, in whose 
family it had been since some while. The Venetian ambassa- 
dor at Rome received the news on the night of the 28th De- 
cember ; and, on the morrow, requested Paul IV. not to dis- 
pose of this preferment until he heard from the senate. The 
pope talked of ' poor cardinals ' and of his nephew, but made 
no positive reply ; and, as Francesco Contarini was withdraw- 
ing, said to him : ' My Lord ambassador, with this opportu- 
nity we will inform you that, to our very great regret, we un« 
derstand that the chiefs of the Ten mean to turn sacristans ; 
for they order the parish priests to close the church doors at 
the Ave Maria, and not to ring the bells at certain hours. This 
is precisely the sacristan's office ; we don't know why their 
lordships, by printed edicts, which we have seen, choose to in- 
terfere in this matter. This is pure and mere ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction; and even, in case of any inconvenience arising, 
is there not the patriarch, who is at any rate your own ; why 
not apply to him, who could remedy these irregularities? 
These are matters which cause us very notable displeasure ; 
we say so that they may be written and known : it is decided 
by the councils and canons, and not uttered by us, that who- 
soever forms any resolve against the ecclesiastical liberty, can- 
not do so without incurring censure : and in order that Father 
Paul [Bacon's correspondent] may not say hereafter, as he did 


in his past writings, that our predecessors assented eithei 
tacitly or by permission, we declare that we do not give our 
assent, nor do we approve it ; nay, we blame it, and let this 
be announced in Venice, so that, for the rest, every one may 
take care of his own conscience. St. Thomas a Becket, whose 
festival is celebrated this very day, suffered martyrdom for the 
ecclesiastical liberty ; it is our duty likewise to support and 
defend it.' Contarini says : ' This remonstrance was delivered 
with some marks of anger, which induced me to tell him how 
the tribunal of the most excellent the Lords chiefs of the Ten is 
in our country supreme ; that it does not do its business unad- 
visedly, or condescend to unworthy matters ; and that, there- 
fore, should those Lords have come to any public declaration of 
their will, it must be attributed to orders anterior, and to im- 
memorial custom and authority, recollecting that, on former 
occasions likewise, similar commissions were given to prevent 
divers incongruities ; wherefore an upright intention, such as 
this, ought not to be taken in any other sense than its own, 
especially as the parishes of Venice were in her own gift,' &c. 
&c. The pope persisted in bestowing the abbacy on his nephew, 
but the republic would not give possession, and a compromise 
was effected by its being conferred on the Venetian Matteo 
Priuli, who allowed the cardinal five thousand ducats per an- 
num out of its revenues. A few years before this, this very 
same pope excommunicated the State, because she had im- 
prisoned two churchmen for heinous crimes ; the strife lasted 
for more than a year, and ended through the mediation of 
Henry IV., at whose suit the prisoners were delivered to the 
French ambassador, who made them over to a papal commis- 

"In January, 1484, a tournament was in preparation on St. 
Mark's Square : some murmurs had been heard about the dis- 
tribution of the prizes having been pre-arranged, without re- 
gard to the 'best man.' One of the chiefs of the Ten was 
walking along Rialto on the 28th January, when a young 
priest, twenty-two years old, a sword-cutler's son, and a Bo- 
lognese, and one of Perugia, both men-at-arms under Robert 
Sansoverino, fell upon a clothier with drawn weapons. The 


chief of the Ten desired they might be seized, but at the mo- 
ment the priest escaped ; he was, however, subsequently re- 
taken, and in that very evening hanged by torch-light between 
the columns with the two soldiers. Innocent VJU. was less 
powerful than Paul IV. ; Venice weaker in 1605 than in 1484. 

" * * * The exclusion from the Grand Council, whether at 
the end of the fourtenth or commencement of the following 
century, of the Venetian ecclesiastics, (as induced either by 
the republic's acquisitions on the main land then made, and 
which, through the rich benefices they embraced, might have 
rendered an ambitious churchman as dangerous in the Grand 
Council as a victorious condottiere ; or from dread of their 
allegiance being divided between the church and their coun- 
try, it being acknowledged that no man can serve two masters,) 
did not render them hostile to their fatherland, whose in- 
terests were, with very few exceptions, eagerly fathered by 
the Venetian prelates at Borne, who, in their turn, received 
all honor at Venice, where state receptions given to cardinals 
of the houses of Correr, Grimani, Cornaro, Pisani, Contarini, 
Zeno, Delfino, and others, vouch for the good understanding 
that existed between the * Papalists ' and their countrymen. 
The Cardinal Grimani was instrumental in detaching Julius 
II. from the league of Cambrai ; the Cardinal Cornaro always 
aided the state to obtain anything required of Leo X. ; and, 
both before and after their times, all Venetians that had a 
seat in the Sacred College w T ere patriots rather than pluralists : 
I mean that they cared more for Venice than for their bene- 
fices, admitting thus the soundness of that policy which de- 
nied them admission into the Grand Council." 

To this interesting statement, I shall add, from the twenty- 
eighth book of Daru, two passages, well deserving considera- 
tion by us English in present days : 

" Pour etre parfaitement assuree contre les envahissements 
de la puissance ecclesiastique, Venise commenca par lui oter 
tout pretexte d'intervenir dans les affaires de l'Etat ; elle resta 
invariablement fidele au dogme. Jamais aucune des opinions 
nouvelles n'y prit la moindre faveur ; jamais aucun heresiarque 
ne sortit de Venise. Les conciles, les disputes, les guerres de 


religion, se pass" 1 rent sans qu'elle y prit jamais la moindrG 
part. Incbranlable dans sa foi, elle ne fut pas nioins invaria- 
ble dans son systeme de tolerance. Non seulement ses sujets 
de la religion grecque conserverent l'exercise de leur culte, 
leurs evoques et leurs pretres ; mais les Protestantes, les 
Armeniens, les Mahomitans, les Juifs, toutes les religions, 
toutes les sectes qui se trouvaient dans Venise, avaient des 
temples, et la sepulture dans les eglises n'etait point refuse 
aux heretiques. Une police vigilante sappliquait avec le 
mjrne soin a eteindre les discordes, et a empecher les fana- 
tiques et les novateurs de troubler l'Etat." 

% * * * * * * * 

" Si on considere que c'est dansun temps oa presque toutes 
les nations tremblaient devant la puissance pontificale, que 
les Venitiens surent tenir leur clerge dans la dependance, et 
braver souvent les censures ecclesiastiques et les interdits, 
sans encourir jamais aucun reproche sur la purete de leur 
foi, on sera force de reconnaitre que cette republique avait 
devance de loin les autres peuples dans cette partie de la 
science du gouvernement. La fameuse maxime, ' Siamo vene- 
ziani, poi christiani,' n'etait qu'une formule energique qui ne 
prouvait |3oint quils voulussent placer l'interet de la religion 
apres celui de l'Etat, mais qui annoncait leur invariable re- 
solution de ne pas souffrir qu'un pouvoir etranger portat 
atteiote aux droits de la republique. 

"Dans toute la duree de son existence, au milieu des revers 
comme dans la prosperite, cet inebranlable gouvernement ne 
fit qu'une seule fois des concessions a la cour de Rome, et ce 
fat pour detacher le Pape Jules II de la ligue de Cambrai. 

"Jamais il ne se relacha du soin de tenir le clerge dans une 
nullite absolue relativement aux affaires politiques ; on peut 
en juger par la conduite qu'il tint avec l'ordre religieux le plus 
i'edoutable et le plus accoutume a s'immiscer dans les secrets 
de l'Etat et dans les inter ets temporels." 

The main points, next stated, respecting the Jesuits are, 
that the decree which permitted their establishment in Venice 
required formal renewal every three years ; that no Jesuit 
could stay in Venice more than three years ; that the slightest 


disobedience to the authority of the government was instantly 
punished by imprisonment ; that no Venetian could enter the 
order without express permission from the government ; that 
the notaries were forbidden to sanction any testamentary dis- 
posal of property to the Jesuits ; finally, that the heads of 
noble families were forbidden to permit their children to be 
educated in the Jesuits' colleges, on pain of degradation from 
their rank. 

Now, let it be observed that the enforcement of absolute 
exclusion of the clergy from Wie councils of the state, dates 
exactly from the period which I have marked for the com- 
mencement of the decline of the Venetian power. The Ro- 
manist is welcome to his advantage in this fact, if advantage 
it be ; for I do not bring forward the conduct of the senate 
of Venice, as Daru does, by way of an example of the general 
science of government. The Venetians accomplished therein 
what we ridiculously call a separation of "Church and State" 
(as if the State were not, in all Christendom, necessarily also 
the Church*), but ought to call a separation of lay and clerical 
officers. I do not point out this separation as subject of 
praise, but as the witness borne by the Venetians against the 
principles of the Papacy. If they were to blame, in yielding 
to their fear of the ambitious spirit of Rome so far as to de- 
prive their councils of all religious element, what excuse are 
we to offer for the state, which, with Lords Spiritual of her 
own faith already in her senate, permits the polity of Rome 
to be represented by lay members ? To have sacrificed relig- 
ion to mistaken policy, or purchased security with ignominy, 
would have been no new thing in the world's history ; but to 
be at once impious and impolitic, and seek for danger through 
dishonor, was reserved for the English parliament of 1829. 

I am glad to have this opportunity of referring to, and far- 
ther enforcing, the note on this subject which, not without 
deliberation, I appended to the "Seven Lamps ; " and of add- 
ing to it the following passage, written by my father in the 
year 1S39, and published in one of the journals of that year; 

* Compare Appendix f2. 


— a passage remarkable as much for its intrinsic value, as foi 
having stated, twelve years ago, truths to which the mind oi 
England seems but now, and that slowly, awakening. 

" We hear it said, that it cannot be merely the Roman re- 
ligion that causes the difficulty [respecting Ireland], for we 
were once all Roman Catholics, and nations abroad of this 
faith are not as the Irish. It is totally overlooked, that when 
we were so, our government was despotic, and fit to cope with 
this dangerous religion, as most of the Continental govern- 
ments yet are. In what Roman Catholic state, or in what age 
of Roman Catholic England, did we ever hear of such agitation 
as now exists in Ireland by evil men taking advantage of an 
anomalous state of things — Roman Catholic ignorance in the 
people, Protestant toleration in the government ? We have 
yet to feel the tremendous difficulty in which Roman Catholic 
emancipation has involved us. Too late we discover that a 
Roman Catholic is wholly incapable of being safely connected 
with the British constitution, as it now exists, in any near re- 
lation. The present constitution is no longer fit for Catholics. 
It is a creature essentially Protestant, growing with the growth, 
and strengthening with the strength, of Protestantism. So 
entirely is Protestantism interwoven with the whole frame of 
our constitution and laws, that I take my stand on this, against 
all agitators in existence, that the Roman religion is totally 
incompatible with the British constitution. We have, in try- 
ing to combine them, got into a maze of difficulties ; we are 
the worse, and Ireland none the better. It is idle to talk of 
municipal reform or popular Lords Lieutenant. The mild 
sway of a constitutional monarchy is not strong enough for a 
Roman Catholic population. The stern soul of a Republican 
would not shrink from sending half the misguided population 
and all the priests into exile, and planting in their place an 
industrious Protestant people. But you cannot do this, and 
you cannot convert the Irish, nor by other means make them 
fit to wear the mild restraints of a Protestant Government. 
It was, moreover, a strange logic that begot the idea of ad- 
mitting Catholics to administer any part of our laws or consti- 
tution. It was admitted by all that, by the very act of aban- 


cloning the Roman religion, we became a free and enlightened 
people. It was only by throwing off the yoke of that slavish 
religion that we attained to the freedom of thought which has 
advanced us in the scale of society. We are so much advanced 
by adopting and adhering to a reformed religion, that to prove 
our liberal and unprejudiced views, we throw down the bar- 
riers betwixt the two religions, of which the one is the ac 
knowledged cause of light and knowledge, the other the cause 
of darkness and ignorance. We are so much altered to the 
better by leaving this people entirely, and giving them neither 
part nor lot amongst us, that it becomes proper to mingle 
again with them. We have found so much good in leaving 
them, that we deem it the best possible reason for returning 
to be among them. No fear of their Church again shaking 
us, with all our light and knowledge. It is true, the most 
enlightened nations fell under the spell of her enchantments, 
fell into total darkness and superstition ; but no fear of us — ■ 
we are too well informed ! What miserable reasoning ! infat- 
uated presumption ! I fear me, when the Roman religion 
rolled her clouds of darkness over the earlier ages, that she 
quenched as much light, and knowledge, and judgment as 
our modern Liberals have ever displayed. I do not expect a 
statesman to discuss the point of Transubstantiation betwixt 
Protestant and Catholic, nor to trace the narrow lines which 
divide Protestant sectarians from each other ; but can any 
statesman that shall have taken even a cursory glance at the 
face of Europe, hesitate a moment on the choice of the Prot- 
estant religion ? If he unfortunately knew nothing of its be- 
ing the true one in regard to our eternal interests, he is at 
least bound to see whether it be not the best for the worldly 
prosperity of a people. He may be but moderately imbued 
with pious zeal for the salvation of a kingdom, but at least he 
will be expected to weigh the comparative merits of religion, 
as of law or government ; and blind, indeed, must he be if he 
does not discern that, in neglecting to cherish the Protestant 
faith, or in too easily yielding to any encroachments on it, he 
is foregoing the use of a state engine more powerful than all 
the laws which the uninspired legislators of the earth have 


ever promulgated, in promoting the happiness, the peace, 
prosperity, and the order, the industry, and the wealth, of a 
people ; in forming every quality valuable or desirable in a 
subject or a citizen ; in sustaining the public mind at that 
point of education and information that forms the best se- 
curity for the state, and the best preservative for the freedom 
of a people, whether religious or political."' 


There having been three principal styles of architecture in 
Venice, — the Greek or Byzantine, the Gothic, and the Renais- 
sance, it will be shown, in the sequel, that the Renaissance 
itself is divided into three correspondent families : Renaissance 
engrafted on Byzantine, which is earliest and best ; Renais- 
sance engrafted on Gothic, which is second, and second best ; 
Renaissance on Renaissance, which is double darkness, and 
worst of all. The palaces in which Renaissance is engrafted 
on Byzantine are those noticed by Commynes : they are char- 
acterized by an ornamentation very closely resembling, and 
in some cases identical with, early Byzantine work ; namely, 
groups of colored marble circles inclosed in interlacing bands. 
I have put on the opposite page one of these ornaments, from 
the Ca' Trevisan, in which a most curious and delicate piece 
of inlaid design is introduced into a band which is almost ex- 
actly copied from the church of Theotocos at Constantinople, 
and correspondent with others in St. Mark's. There is also 
much Byzantine feeling in the treatment of the animals, es- 
pecially in the two birds of the lower compartment, while the 
peculiar curves of the cinque cento leafage are visible in the 
leaves above. The dove, alighted, with the olive-branch 
plucked off, is opposed to the raven with restless expanded 
wings. Beneath are evidently the two sacrifices "of every 
clean fowl and of every clean beast." The color is given with 
green and white marbles, the dove relieved on a ground of 
grayish green, and all is exquisitely finished. 

In Plate I., p. 27, the upper figure is from the same pal ice 
(Ca' Trevisan), and it is very interesting in its proportions. If 

I— I 
















we take five circles in geometrical proportion, each diameter 
being two- thirds of the diameter next above it, and arrange 
the circles so proportioned, in contact with each other, in the 
manner shown in the plate, we shall find that an increase quite 
imperceptible in the diameter of the circles in the angles, 
will enable us to inscribe the whole in a square. The lines so 
described will then run in the centre of the white bands. I 
cannot be certain that this is the actual construction of the 
Trevisan design, because it is on a high wall surface, where I 
could not get at its measurements ; but I found this construc- 
tion exactly coincide with the lines of my eye sketch. The 
lower figure in Plate I. is from the front of the Ca' Dario, and 
probably struck the eye of Commynes in its first brightness. 
Salvatico, indeed, considers both the Ca' Trevisan (which once 
belonged to Bianca Cappello) and the Ca' Dario, as buildings 
of the sixteenth century. I defer the discussion of the ques- 
tion at present, but have, I believe, sufficient reason for as- 
suming the Ca' Dario to have been built about 1486, and the 
Ca' Trevisan not much later. 


Of these phantasms and grotesques, one of some general im- 
portance is that commonly called Ionic, of which the idea was 
taken (Vitruvius says) from a woman's hair, curled ; but its 
lateral processes look more like rams' horns : be that as it may, 
it is a mere piece of agreeable extravagance, and if, instead of 
rams' horns, you put ibex horns, or cows' horns, or an ass's 
head at once, you will have ibex orders, or ass orders, or any 
number of other orders, one for every head or horn. You 
may have heard of another order, the Composite, which is 
Ionic and Corinthian mixed, and is one of the worst of ten 
thousand forms referable to the Corinthian as their head : it 
may be described as a spoiled Corinthian. And you may have 
also heard of another order, called Tuscan (which is no order 
at all, but a spoiled Doric) : and of another called Bom an 
Doric, which is Doric more spoiled, both which are simply 
among the most stupid variations ever invented upon forms 


already known. I find also in a French pamphlet upon archi- 
tecture,* as applied to shops and dwelling houses, a sixth 
order, the " Ordre Francais," at least as good as any of the 
three last, and to be hailed with acclamation, considering 
whence it comes, there being usually more tendency on the 
other side of the channel to the confusion of " orders " than 
their multiplication : but the reader will find in the end that 
there are in very deed only two orders, of which the Greek, 
Doric, and Corinthian are the first examples, and they not 
perfect, nor in anywise sufficiently representative of the vast 
families to which they belong ; but being the first and the 
best known, they may properly be considered as the types of 
the rest. The essential distinctions of the two great orders 
he will find explained in §§ xxxv. and xxxvi. of Chap. XXVII., 
and in the passages there referred to ; but I should rather de- 
sire that these passages might be read in the order in which 
they occur. 


I have sketched above, in the First Chapter, the great events 
of architectural history in the simplest and fewest words I 
could ; but this indraught of the Lombard energies upon the 
Byzantine rest, like a wild north wind descending into a space 
of rarified atmosphere, and encountered by an Arab simoom 
from the south, may well require from us some farther atten- 
tion ; for the differences in all these schools are more in the 
degrees of their impetuosity and refinement (these qualities 
being, in most cases, in inverse ratio, yet much muted by the 
Arabs) than in the style of the ornaments they employ. The 
same leaves, the same animals, the same arrangements, are 
used by Scandinavians, ancient Britons, Saxons, Normans, 

* L' Artiste en Butiments, par Louis Berteaux : Dijon, 1848. My 
printer writes at the side of the page a note, which I insert with thanks : 
— " This is not the first attempt at a French order. The writer has a 
Treatise by Sebastian Le Clerc, a great man in his generation which con- 
tains a Roman order, a Spanish order, which the inventor appears to 
think very grand, and a new French order nationalised by the Gallio 
cock crowing and clapping its wings in the capital." 


Lombards, Romans, Byzantines, and Arabians ; all being alike 
descended through classic Greece from Egypt and Assyria, 
and some from Phoenicia. The belts which encompass the 
Assyrian bulls, in the hall of the British Museum, are the 
same as the belts of the ornaments found in Scandinavian 
tumuli ; their method of ornamentation is the same as that of 
the gate of Mycense, and of the Lombard pulpit of St. Am- 
brogio of Milan, and of the church of Theotocos at Constanti- 
nople ; the essential differences among the great schools are 
their differences of temper and treatment, and science of ex- 
pression ; it is absurd to talk of Norman ornaments, and 
Lombard ornaments, and Byzantine ornaments, as formally 
distinguished ; but there is irreconcileable separation between 
Arab temper, and Lombard temper, and Byzantine temper. 

Now, as far as I have been able to compare the three 
schools, it appears to me that the Arab and Lombard are both 
distinguished from the Byzantine by their energy and love of 
excitement, but the Lombard stands alone in his love of jest : 
Neither an Arab nor Byzantine ever jests in his architecture ; 
the Lombard has great difficulty in ever being thoroughly 
serious ; thus they represent three conditions of humanity, 
one in perfect rest, the Byzantine, with exquisite perception 
of grace and dignity ; the Arab, with the same perception of 
grace, but with a restless fever in his blood ; the Lombard, 
equally energetic, but not burning himself away, capable of 
submitting to law, and of enjoying jest. But the Arabian 
feverishness infects even the Lombard in the South, showing 
itself, however, in endless invention, with a refreshing firmness 
and order directing the whole of it. The excitement is great- 
est in the earliest times, most of all shown in St. Michele of 
Pavia ; and I am strongly disposed to connect much of its 
peculiar manifestations with the Lombard's habits of eating 
and drinking, especially his carnivorousness. The Lombard 
of early times seems to have been exactly what a tiger would 
be, if you could give him love of a joke, vigorous imagination, 
strong sense of justice, fear of hell, knowledge of northern 
mythology a stone den, and a mallet and chisel ; fancy him 
pacing up and down in the said den to digest his dinner, and 


striking on the wall, with a new fancy in his head, at everf 
turn, and you have the Lombardic sculptor. As civilisation 
increases the supply of vegetables, and shortens that of wild 
beasts, the excitement diminishes ; it is still strong in the 
thirteenth century at Lyons and Rouen ; it dies away gradu- 
ally in the later Gothic, and is quite extinct in the fifteenth 

I think I shall best illustrate this general idea by simply 
copying the entries in my diary which were written when, 
after six months' close study of Byzantine work in Venice, I 
came again to the Lombard work of Verona and Pavia. There 
are some other points alluded to in these entries not pertain- 
ing to the matter immediately in hand ; but I have left them, 
as they will be of use hereafter. 

" (Verona.) Comparing the arabesque and sculpture of the 
Duomo here with St. Mark's, the first thing that strikes one 
is the low relief, the second, the greater motion and spirit, 
with infinitely less grace and science. With the Byzantine, 
however rude the cutting, every line is lovely, and the animals 
or men are placed in any attitudes which secure ornamental 
effect, sometimes impossible ones, always severe, restrained, 
or languid. With the Romanesque workmen all the figures 
show the effort (often successful) to express energetic action ; 
hunting chiefly, much fighting, and both spirited ; some of the 
<logs running capitally, straining to it, and the knights hitting 
hard, while yet the faces and drawing are in the last degree 
barbarous. At Venice all is graceful, fixed, or languid ; the 
eastern torpor is in every line, — the mark of a school formed 
on severe traditions, and keeping to them, and never likely or 
desirous to rise beyond them, but with an exquisite sense of 
beauty, and much solemn religious faith. 

"If the Greek outer archivolt of St. Mark's isBvzantine, the 
law is somewhat broken by its busy domesticity ; figures en- 
gaged in every trade, and in the preparation of viands of all 
kinds ; a crowded kind of London Christmas scene, inter- 
leaved (literally) by the superb balls of leafage, unique in 
sculpture ; but even this is strongly opposed to the wild war 
and chase passion of the Lombard. Farther, the Lombard 


building is as sharp, precise, and accurate, as that of St. 
Mark's is careless. The Byzantines seem to have been too 
lazy to put their stones together ; and, in general, my first 
impression on coming to Verona, after four months in Venice, 
is of the exquisitely neat masonry and perfect feeling here ; a 
style of Gothic formed by a combination of Lombard surface 
ornament with Pisan Gothic, than which nothing can possibly 
be more chaste, pure, or solemn." 

I have said much of the shafts of the entrance to the crypt 
of St. Zeno ; * the following note of the sculptures on the 
archivolt above them is to our present purpose : 

" It is covered by very light but most effective bas-reliefs of 
jesting subject : — two cocks carrying on their shoulders a long 
staff to which a fox (?) is tied by the legs, hanging down be- 
tween them : the strut of the foremost cock, lifting one leg at 
right angles to the other, is delicious. Then a stag hunt, with 
a centaur horseman drawing a bow ; the arrow has "'one clear 
through the stag's throat, and is sticking there. Several capi- 
tal hunts with dogs, with fruit trees between, and birds in 
them ; the leaves, considering the early time, singularly well 
set, with the edges outwards, sharp, and deep cut : snails and 
frogs filling up the intervals, as if suspended in the air, with 
some saucy puppies on their hind legs, two or three nonde- 
script beasts ; and, finally, on the centre of one of the arches 
on the south side, an elephant and castle, — a very strange ele- 
phant, yet cut as if the carver had seen one. 

Observe this elephant and castle ; we shall meet with him 
farther north. 

"These sculptures of St. Zeno are, however, quite quiet and 
tame compared with those of St. Michele of Pa via, which are 
designed also in a somewhat gloomier mood ; significative, as I 
think, of indigestion. (Note that they are much earlier than 
St. Zeno ; of the seventh century at latest. There is more of 
nightmare, and less of wit in them.) Lord Lindsay has de- 
scribed them admirably, but has not said half enough ; the 
state of mind represented by the west front is more that of a 

* The lower group in Plato XYII. 


feverish dream, than resultant from any determined architect* 
ural purpose, or even from any definite love and delight in 
the grotesque. One capital is covered with a mass of grinning 
heads, other heads grow out of two bodies, or out of and under 
feet ; the creatures are all fighting, or devouring, or struggling 
which shall be uppermost, and yet in an ineffectual way, as if 
they would fight for ever, and come to no decision. Neither 
sphinxes nor centaurs did I notice, nor a single peacock (I be- 
lieve peacocks to be purely Byzantine), but mermaids with two 
tails (the sculptor having perhaps seen double at the time), 
strange, large fish, apes, stags (bulls ?), dogs, wolves, and 
horses, griffins, eagles, long-tailed birds (cocks ?), hawks, and 
dragons, without end, or with a dozen of ends, as the case may 
be ; smaller birds, with rabbits, and small nondescripts, filling 
the friezes. The actual leaf, which is used in the best Byzan- 
tine mouldings at Venice, occurs in parts of these Pavian de- 
signs. But the Lombard animals are all alive, and fiercely 
alive too, all impatience and spring : the Byzantine birds peck 
idly at the fruit, and the animals hardly touch it with their 
noses. The cinque cento birds in Venice hold it up daintily, 
like train-bearers ; the birds in the earlier Gothic peck at it 
hungrily and naturally ; but the Lombard beasts gripe at it 
like tigers, and tear it off with writhing lips and glaring eyes. 
They are exactly like Jip with the bit of geranium, wor- 
rying imaginary cats in it." 

The notice of the leaf in the above extract is important, — it 
is the vine-leaf ; used constantly both by Byzantines and Lom- 
bards, but by the latter with especial frequency, though at 
this time they were hardly able to indicate what they meant. 
It forms the most remarkable generality of the "St. Michele 
decoration ; though, had it not luckily been carved on the 
facade, twining round a stake, and with grapes, I should never 
have known what it was meant for, its general form being a 
succession of sharp lobes, with incised furrows to the point of 
each. But it is thrown about in endless change ; four or five 
varieties of it might be found on every cluster of capitals : and 
not content with this, the Lombards hint the same form even 
in their griffin wings. They love the vine very heartily. 


A' : : 

Plate XXL— Wall-veil Decoration. 


In St. Michele of Lucca we have perhaps the noblest instance 
in Italy of the Lombard spirit in its later refinement. It is 
some four centuries later than St. Michele of Pavia, and the 
method of workmanship is altogether different. In the Pavian 
church, nearly all the ornament is cut in a coarse sandstone, 
in bold relief : a darker and harder stone (I think, not serpen- 
tine, but its surface is so disguised by the lustre of ages that 
I could not be certain) is used for the capitals of the western 
door, which are especial^ elaborate in their sculpture ; — two 
devilish apes, or apish devils, I know not which, with bristly 
moustaches and edgy teeth, half-crouching, with their hands 
impertinently on their knees, ready for a spit or a spring if 
one goes near them ; but all is pure bossy sculpture ; there is 
no inlaying, except of some variegated tiles in the shape of 
saucers set concave (an ornament used also very gracefully in 
St. Jacopo of Bologna) : and the whole surface of the church 
is enriched with the massy reliefs, well preserved everywhere 
above the reach of human animals, but utterly destroyed to 
some five or six feet from the ground ; worn away into large 
cellular hollows and caverns, some almost deep enough to ren- 
der the walls unsafe, entirely owing to the uses to which the 
recesses of the church are dedicated by the refined and high- 
minded Italians. But St. Michele of Lucca is wrought en- 
tirely in white marble and green serpentine ; there is hardly 
any relieved sculpture except in the capitals of the shafts and 
cornices, and all the designs of wall ornament are inlaid with 
exquisite precision — white on dark ground ; the ground being 
cut out and filled with serpentine, the figures left in solid 
marble. The designs of the Pavian church are encrusted on 
the walls ; of the Lucchese, incorporated w r ith them ; small 
portions of real sculpture being introduced exactly where the 
eye, after its rest on the flatness of the wall, will take most 
delight in the piece of substantial form. The entire arrange- 
ment is perfect beyond all praise, and the morbid restlessness 
of the old designs is now appeased. Geometry seems to have 
acted as a febrifuge, for beautiful geometrical designs are in- 
troduced amidst the tumult of the hunt ; and there is no more 
seeing double, nor ghastly monstrosity of conception ; no more 
Vol. I.— 24 


ending of everything in something else ; no more disputing 
for spare legs among bewildered bodies ; no more setting on 
of heads wrong side foremost. The fragments have come 
together : we are out of 'the Inferno with its weeping down, 
the spine ; we are in the fair hunting-fields of the Lucchese 
mountains (though they had their tears also), — with horse, 
and hound, and hawk ; and merry blast of the trumpet. — Very 
strange creatures to be hunted, in all truth ; but still creatures 
with a single head, and that on their shoulders, which is ex- 
actly the last place in the Pavian church where a head is to be 
looked for. 

My good friend Mr. Cockerell wonders, in one of his lect- 
ures, why I give so much praise to this "crazy front of 
Lucca." But it is not crazy ; not by any means. Altogether 
sober, in comparison with the early Lombard work, or with 
our Norman. Crazy in one sense it is : utterly neglected, to 
the breaking of its old stout heart ; the venomous nights and 
salt frosts of the Maremma winters have their way with it — 
" Poor Tom's a cold ! " The weeds that feed on the marsh 
air, have twisted themselves into its crannies ; the polished 
fragments of serpentine are split and rent out of their cells, 
and lie in green ruins along its ledges ; the salt sea winds 
have eaten away the fair shafting of its star window into a 
skeleton of crumbling rays. It cannot stand much longer ; 
may Heaven only, in its benignity, preserve it from restora- 
tion, and the sands of the Serchio give it honorable grave. 

In the " Seven Lamps," Plate VI., I gave a faithful drawing 
of one of its upper arches, to which I must refer the reader ; 
for there is a marked piece of character in the figure of the 
horseman on the left of it. And in making this reference, ] 
would say a few words about those much abused plates of the 
"Seven Lamps." They are black, they are overbitten, they 
are hastily drawn, they are coarse and disagreeable ; how dis- 
agreeable to many readers I venture not to conceive. But 
their truth is carried to an extent never before attempted in 
architectural drawing. It does not in the least follow that 
because a drawing is delicate, or looks careful, it has been 
carefully drawn from the thing represented ; in nine instances 


out of ten, careful and delicate drawings are made at home. 
It is not so easy as the reader, perhaps, imagines, to finish a 
drawing altogether on the spot, especially of details seventy 
feet from the ground ; and any one who will try the position 
in which I have had to do some of my work — standing, 
namely, on a cornice or window sill, holding by one arm 
round a shaft, and hanging over the street (or canal, at Ven- 
ice), with my sketch-book supported against the wall from 
which I was drawing, by my breast, so as to leave my right 
hand free — will not thenceforward wonder that shadows 
should be occasionally carelessly laid in, or lines drawn with 
some unsteadiness. But, steady, or infirm, the sketches of 
which those plates in the " Seven Lamps " are fac-similes, were 
made from the architecture itself, and represent that archi- 
tecture with its actual shadows at the time of day at which it 
was drawn, and with every fissure and line of it as they now 
exist ; so that when I am speaking of some new point, which 
perhaps the drawing was not intended to illustrate, I can yet 
turn back to it with perfect certainty that if anything be found 
in it bearing on matters now in hand, I may depend upon it 
just as securely as if I had gone back to look again at the 

It is necessary that my readers should understand this 
thoroughly, and I did not before sufficiently explain it ; but I 
believe I can show them the use of this kind of truth, now 
that we are again concerned with this front of Lucca. They 
will find a drawing of the entire front in Gaily Knight's " Ar- 
chitecture of Italy." It may serve to give them an idea of its 
general disposition, and it looks very careful and accurate ; 
but every bit of the ornament on it is drawn out of the artist' a 
head. There is not one line of it that exists on the building. 
The reader will therefore, perhaps, think my ugly black plate 
of somewhat more value, upon the whole, in its rough veracity, 
than the other in its delicate fiction.* 

* One of the upper stories is also in Gaily "Knight's plate represented 
as merely banded, and otherwise plain : it is, in reality, covered with 
as delicate inlaying as the rest. The whole front is besides out of pro- 
portion, and out or perspective, at once; and yet this work is referred 


As, however, I made a drawing of another part of the church 
somewhat more delicately, and as I do not choose that my 
favorite church should suffer in honor by my coarse work, I 
have had this, as far as might be, fac-simihed by line engrav- 
ing (Plate XXI.). It represents the southern side of the 
lower arcade of the west front ; and may convey some idea of 
the exquisite finish and grace of the whole ; but the old plate, 
in the "Seven Lamps," gives a nearer view of one of the up- 
per arches, and a more faithful impression of the present 
aspect of the work, and especially of the seats of the horse- 
men ; the limb straight, and well down on the stirrup (the 
warrior's seat, observe, not the jockey's), with a single pointed 
spur on the heel. The bit of the lower cornice under thif 
arch I could not see, and therefore had not drawn ; it was 
supplied from beneath another arch. I am afraid, however, 
the reader has lost the thread of my story while I have been 
recommending my veracity to him. I was insisting upon the 
healthy tone of this Lucca work as compared with the old 
spectral Lombard friezes. The apes of the Pavian church ride 
without stirrups, but all is in good order and harness here : 
civilisation had done its work ; there was reaping of corn in 
the Val d'Arno, though rough hunting still upon its hills. But 
in the north, though a century or two later, we find the for- 
ests of the Ehone, and its rude limestone cotes, haunted by 
phantasms still (more meat-eating, then, I think). I do not 
know a more interesting group of cathedrals than that of 
Lyons, Vienne, and Valencia : a more interesting indeed, gen- 
erally, than beautiful ; but there is a row of niches on the 
west front of Lyons, and a course of panelled decoration about 
its doors, which is, without exception, the most exquisite 
piece of Northern Gothic I ever beheld, and with which I 

to as of authority, by our architects. Well may our architecture fall 
from its place among the fine arts, as it is doing rapidly ; nearly all our 
works of value being devoted to the Greek architecture, which is utterly 
useless to us— or worse. One most noble book, however has been ded- 
icated to our English abbeys,— Mr. E. Sharpe's "Architectural Paral- 
lels''— almost a model of what I should like to see done for the Gothis 
of all Europe. 


know nothing that is even comparable, except the work of the 
north transept of Eouen, described in the " Seven Lamps," 
p. 164 ; work of about the same date, and exactly the same 
plan ; quatrefoils filled with grotesques, but somewhat less 
finished in execution, and somewhat less wild in imagination. 
I wrote clown hastily, and in their own course, the subjects of 
some of the quatrefoils of Lyons ; of which I here give the 
reader the sequence : — 

1. Elephant and castle; less graphic than the St. Zeno 


2. A huge head walking on two legs, turned backwards, 

hoofed ; the head has a horn behind, with drapery 
over it, which ends in another head. 

3. A boar hunt ; the boar under a tree, very spirited. 

4. A bird putting its head between its legs to bite its own 

tail, which ends in a head. 

5. A dragon with a human head set on the wrong way. 

6. St. Peter awakened by the angel in prison ; full of spirit, 

the prison picturesque, with a trefoiled arch, the an- 
gel eager, St. Peter startled, and full of motion. 

7. St Peter led out by the angel. 

8. The miraculous draught of fishes ; fish and all, in the 

small space. 

9. A large loaf, with two snails rampant, coming out of 

nautilus shells, with grotesque faces, and eyes at the 
ends of their horns. 

10. A man with an axe striking at a dog's head, which comes 

out of a nautilus shell : the rim of the shell branches 
into a stem with two large leaves. 

11. Martyrdom of St. Sebastian ; his body very full of ar- 


12. Beasts coming to ark ; Noah opening a kind of wicker 


13. Noah building the ark on shores. 

14. A vine leaf with a dragon's head and tail, the one biting 

the other. 

15. A man riding a goat, catching a flying devil. 


16. An eel or mnraena grooving into a bunch of flowers, 

which turns into two wings. 

17. A sprig of hazel, with nuts, thrown all around the 

quatrefoils with a squirrel in centre, apparently at- 
tached to the tree only by its enormous tail, richly 
furrowed into hair, and nobly sweeping. 

18. Four hares fastened together by the ears, galloping in 

a circle. Mingled with these grotesques are many 
sword and buckler combats, the bucklers being 
round and conical like a hat ; I thought the first I 
noticed, carried by a man at full gallop on horseback, 
had been a small umbrella. 

This list of subjects may sufficiently illustrate the feverish 
character of the Northern Energy ; but influencing the treat- 
ment of the whole there is also the Northern love of what is 
called the Grotesque, a feeling which I find myself, for the 
present, quite incapable either of analysing or defining, though 
we all have a distinct idea attached to the word : I shall try, 
however, in the next volume. 


I cannot pledge myself to this theory of the origin of the 
vaulting shaft, but the reader will find some interesting con- 
firmations of it in Dahl's work on the wooden churches of Nor- 
way. The inside view of the church of Borgund shows the 
timber construction of one shaft run up through a crossing 
architrave, and continued into the clerestory ; while the 
church of Urnes is in the exact form of a basilica ; but the 
w T ail above the arches is formed of planks, with a strong up- 
right above each capital. The passage quoted from Stephen 
Eddy's Life of Bishop Wilfrid, at p. 86 of Churton's "Early 
English Church," gives us one of the transformations of petri- 
factions of the wooden Saxon churches. " At Ripon he built 
a new church offjolished stone, with columns variously orna- 
mented, and porches." Mr. Churton adds : "It was perhaps 
in bad imitation of the marble buildings he had seen in Italy, 


that he washed the walls of this original York Minster, and 
made them ' whiter than snow. 

? jj 


The very cause which enabled the Venetians to possess 
themselves of the body of St. Mark, was the destruction of the 
church by the caliph for the mice, of its marbles : the Arabs and 
Venetians, though bitter enemies, thus building on the same 
models ; these in reverence for the destroyed church, and 
those with the very pieces of it. In the somewhat prolix ac- 
count of the matter given in the Notizie Storiche (above 
quoted) the main points are, that "il Califa de' Saraceni, per 
fabbricarsi un Palazzo presse di Babilonia, aveva ordinato che 
dalle Chiese d' Cristiani si togliessero i piu scelti marmi ;" 
and that the Venetians, " videro sotto i loro occhi flagellarsi 
crudelmente un Cristiano per aver infranto un marmo." I 
heartily wish that the same kind of punishment were enforced 
to this day, for the same sin. 


I am glad here to re-assert opinions which it has grieved 
me to be suspected of having changed. The calmer tone of 
the second volume of "Modern Painters," as compared with 
the first, induced, I believe, this suspicion, very justifiably, in 
the minds of many of its readers. The difference resulted, 
however, from the simple fact, that the first was written in 
great haste and indignation, for a special purpose and time ; 
— the second, after I had got engaged, almost unawares, in 
inquiries which could not be hastily nor indignantly pursued ; 
my opinions remaining then, and remaining now, altogether 
unchanged on the subject which led me into the discussion. 
And that no farther doubt of them may be entertained by any 
who may think them worth questioning, I shall here, once for 
all, express them in the plainest and fewest words I can. I 
think that J. M. W. Turner is not only the greatest (professed) 
landscape painter who ever lived, but that he has in him as 
much as would have furnished ail the rest with such power as 
they had ; and that if we put Nicolo Poussin, Salvator and 


our own Gainsborough out of the group, he would cut up intd 
Claudes, Cuyps, Ruysdaels, and such others, by uncounted 
bunches. I hope this is plainly and strongly enough stated. 
And farther, I like his later pictures, up to the year 1845, the 
best ; and believe that those persons who only like his early 
pictures do not, in fact, like him at all. They do not like that 
which is essentially his. They like that in which he resem- 
bles other men ; which he had learned from Loutherbourg, 
Claude, or Wilson ; that which is indeed his own, they do not 
care for. Not that there is not much of his own in his early 
works ; they are all invaluable in their way ; but those per- 
sons who can find no beauty in his strangest fantasy on the 
Academy walls, cannot distinguish the peculiarly Turneresque 
characters of the earlier pictures. And, therefore, I again 
state here, that I think his pictures painted between the years 
1830 and 1845 his greatest ; and that his entire power is best 

represented by such pictures as the 
Turner. Tiutoret. Temeraire, the Sun of Venice going to 
Massaccio. Sea, and others, painted exactly at the 

John Bellini. time when the public and the press 

Albert Durer. were together loudest in abuse of him. 

Giorgione. I desire, however, the reader to ob- 

Paul Veronese. serve that I said, above, jjrofessed 

Titian. landscape painters, among whom, per- 

Rubens. haps, I should hardly have put Gains- 

Correggio. borough. The landscape of the great 

Orcagna. figure painters is often majestic in the 

Benozzo Gozzoli. highest degree, and Tintoret's espe- 

Giotto. cially shows exactly the same power 

Raffaelle. and feeling as Turner's. If with Turner 

Perugino. I were to rank the historical painters as 

landscapists, estimating rather the 
power they show, than the actual value of the landscape they 
produced, I should class those, whose landscapes I have 
studied, in some such order as this at the side of the page : — ■ 
associating with the landscape of Perugino that of Francia and 
Angelico, and the other severe painters of religious subjects. 
I have put Turner and Tintoret side by side, not knowing 


which is, in landscape, the greater ; I had nearly associated 
in the same manner the noble names of John Bellini and Albert 
Durer ; but Bellini must be put first, for his profound religious 
peace yet not separated from the other, if but that we might 
remember his kindness to him in Venice ; and it is well we 
should take note of it here, for it furnishes us with a most 
interesting confirmation of what was said in the text respect- 
ing the position of Bellini as the last of the religious painters 
of Venice. The following passage is quoted in Jackson's 
"Essay on Wood-engraving," from Albert Durer's Diary : 

"I have many good friends among the Italians who warn 
me not to eat or drink with their painters, of whom several 
are my enemies, and copy my picture in the church, and 
others of mine, wherever they can find them, and yet they 
blame them, and say they are not according to ancient art, and 
therefore not good. Giovanni Bellini, however, has praised me 
highly to several gentlemen, and wishes to have something of 
my doing : he called on me himself, and requested that I 
would paint a picture for him, for which, he said, he would pay 
me well. People are all surprised that I should be so much 
thought of by a person of his reputation : he is very old, but 
is still the best painter of them all." 

A choice little piece of description this, of the Renaissance 
painters, side by side with the good old Venetian, who was 
soon to leave them to their own ways. The Renaissance men 
are seen in perfection, envying, stealing, and lying, but with- 
out wit enough to lie to purpose. 


It is of the highest importance, in these days, that Roman- 
ism should be deprived of the miserable influence which its 
pomp and picturesqueness have given it over the weak senti- 
mentalism of the English people ; I call it a miserable influ- 
ence, for of all motives to sympathy with the Church of Rome, 
this I unhesitatingly class as the basest : I can, in some meas- 
ure, respect the other feelings which have been the beginnings 
of apostasy ; I can respect the desire for unity which would 


reclaim the Romanist by love, and the distrust of his own 
heart which subjects the proselyte to priestly power ; I say I 
can respect these feelings, though I cannot pardon unprinci- 
pled submission to them, nor enough wonder at the infinite 
fatuity of the unhappy persons whom they have betrayed : — 
Fatuity, self-inflicted, and stubborn in resistance to God's 
Word and man's reason ! — to talk of the authority of the 
Church, as if the Church were anything else than the whole 
company of Christian men, or were ever spoken of in Scripture* 
as other than a company to be taught and fed, not to teach 
and feed. — Fatuity ! to talk of a separation of Church and 
State, as if a Christian state, and every officer therein, were 
not necessarily a part of the Church,-)* and as if any state 
officer could do his duty without endeavoring to aid and pro- 
mote religion, or any clerical officer do his duty without seek- 
ing for such aid and accepting it : — Fatuity ! to seek for the 
unity of a living body of truth and trust in God, with a dead 
body of lies and trust in wood, and thence to expect anything 
else than plague, and consumption by worms undjdng, for 
both. Blasphemy as well as fatuity ! to ask for any better inter- 
preter of God's Word than God, or to expect knowledge of it 
in any other way than the plainly ordered way : if any man 
will do he shall know. But of all these fatuities, the basest is 
the being lured into the Romanist Church by the glitter of it, 
like larks into a trap by broken glass ; to be blown into a 
change of religion by the whine of an organ-pipe ; stitched 
into a new creed by gold threads on priests' petticoats ; jan- 
gled into a change of conscience by the chimes of a belfry, 

* Except in the single passage "tell it unto the Church," which is 
simply the extension of what had been commanded before, i.e., tell the 
fault first "between thee and him," then taking " with thee one or two 
more,'' then, to all Christian men capable of hearing the cause : if he 
refuse to hear their common voice, " let him be unto thee as a heathen 
man and publican : ' (But consider how Christ treated both.) 

f One or two remarks on this sub ect, some of which I had intend -d 
to have inserted here, and others in Appendix 5, I have arranged in 
more consistent order, and published in a separate pamphlet, "Notes on 
the Construction of Sheep- "olds,' for the convenience of readers inter 
ested in other architecture than that ox Venetian palaces. 


1 know nothing in the shape of error so dark as this, no 
imbecility so absolute, no treachery so contemptible. I had 
hardly believed that it was a thing possible, though vague stories 
had been told me of the effect, on some minds, of mere scarlet 
and candles, until I came on this passage in Pugins " Remarks 
on articles in the Rambler " : — 

" Those who have lived in want and privation are the best 
qualified to appreciate the blessinge of plenty ; thus, those 
who have been devout and sincere members of the separated 
portion of the English Church ; who have prayed, and hoped, 
and loved, through all the poverty of the maimed rites which 
it has retained — to them does the realisation of all their long- 
ing desires appear truly ravishing. * * * Oh ! then, what 
delight ! what joy unspeakable ! when one of the solemn piles 
is presented to them, in all its pristine life and glory ! — the 
stoups are filled to the brim ; the rood is raised on high ; the 
screen glows with sacred imagery and rich device ; the niches 
are filled ; the altar is replaced, sustained by sculptured shafts, 
the relics of the saints repose beneath, the body of Our Lord 
is enshrined on its consecrated stone ; the lamps of the sanc- 
tuary burn bright ; the saintly portraitures in the glass win- 
dows shine all gloriously ; and the albs hang in the oaken 
ambries, and the cope chests are filled with orphreyed baude- 
kins ; and pix and pax, and chrismatory are there, and thuri- 
ble, and cross." 

One might have put this man under a pix, and left him, one 
should have thought ; but he has been brought forward, and 
partly received, as an example of the effect of ceremonial 
splendor on the mind of a great architect. It is very neces- 
sary, therefore, that all those who have felt sorrow at this 
should know at once that he is not a great architect, but one 
of the smallest possible or conceivable architects ; and that 
by his own account and setting forth of himself. Hear 
him : — 

"I believe, as regards architecture, few men have been so 
unfortunate as myself. I have passed my life in thinking of 
fine things, studying fine things ; designing fine things, and 
realising very poor ones. I have never had the chance of pro- 


during a single fine ecclesiastical building, except my own 
church, where I am both paymaster and architect ; but every- 
thing else, either for want of adequate funds or injudicious in- 
terference and control, or some other contingency, is more or 

less a failure. * * * 

" St. George's was spoilt by the very instructions laid down 
by the committee, that it was to hold 3000 people on the floor 
at a limited price ; in consequence, height, proportion, every- 
thing, was sacrificed to meet these conditions. Nottingham 
was spoilt by the style being restricted to lancet,— a period 
well suited to a Cistercian abbey in a secluded vale, but very 
unsuitable for the centre of a crowded town. * * * 

" Kirkham was spoilt through several hundred pounds being 
reduced on the original estimate ; to effect this, -which was a 
great sum in proportion to the entire cost, the area of the 
church was contracted, the walls lowered, tower and spire re- 
duced, the thickness of walls diminished, and stone arches 
omitted." (Eemarks, &c, by A. Welby Pugin : Dolman, 1850.) 

Is that so ? Phidias can niche himself into the corner of a 
pediment, and Baffaelle expatiate within the circumference of 
a clay platter ; but Pugin is inexpressible in less than a cathe- 
dral ? Let his ineffableness be assured of this, once for all, 
that no difficulty or restraint ever happened to a man of real 
power, but his power was the more manifested in the contend- 
ing with, or conquering it ; and that there is no field so small, 
no cranny so contracted, but that a great spirit can house and 
manifest itself therein. The thunder that smites the Alp into 
dust, can gather itself into the width of a golden wire. What- 
ever greatness there was in you, had it been Buonarroti's 
own, you had room enough for it in a single niche : you 
might have put the whole power of it into two feet cube of 
Caen stone. St. George's was not high enough for want of 
money ? But was it want of money that made you put that 
blunt, overloaded, laborious ogee door into the side of it ? 
Was it for lack of funds that you sunk the tracery of the par- 
apet in its clumsy zigzags ? Was it in parsimony that you 
buried its paltry pinnacles in that eruption of diseased 
crockets ? or in pecuniary embarrassment that you set up the 


belfry foolscaps, with the mimicry of dormer windows, which 
nobody can ever reach nor look out of ? Not so, but in mere 
incapability of better things. 

I am sorry to have to speak thus of any living architect ; 
and there is much in this man, if he were rightly estimated, 
which one might both regard and profit by. He has a most 
sincere love for his profession, a heartily honest enthusiasm for 
pixes and piscinas ; and though he will never design so much 
as a pix or a piscina thoroughly well, yet better than most of 
the experimental architects of the day. Employ him by all 
means, but on small work. Expect no cathedrals from him ; 
but no one, at present, can design a better finial. That is an ex- 
ceedingly beautiful one over the western door of St. George's ; 
and there is some spirited impishness and switching of tails in 
the supporting figures at the imposts. Only do not allow his 
good designing of finials to be employed as an evidence in 
matters of divinity, nor thence deduce the incompatibilit}*- of 
Protestantism and art. I should have said all that I have said 
above, of artistical apostasy, if Giotto had been now living in 
Florence, and if art were still doing all that it did once for 
Rome. But the grossness of the error becomes incomprehen- 
sible as well as unpardonable, when we look to what level of 
degradation the human intellect has sunk at this instant in 
Italy. So far from Romanism now producing anything greater 
in art, it cannot even preserve what has been given to its keep- 
ing. I know no abuses of precious inheritance half so grievous, 
as the abuse of all that is best in art wherever the Romanist 
priesthood gets possession of it. It amounts to absolute in- 
fatuation. The noblest pieces of mediaeval sculpture in North 
Italy, the two griffins at the central (west) door of the cathe= 
dral of Verona, were daily permitted to be brought into ser- 
vice, when I was there in the autumn of 1849, by a washer- 
woman living in the Piazza, who tied her clothes-lines to their 
beaks : and the shafts of St. Mark's at Venice were used by 
a salesman of common caricatures to fasten his prints upon 
(Compare Appendix 25) ; and this in the face of the continu- 
ally passing priests : while the quantity of noble art annually 
destroyed in altarpieces by candle-droppings, or perishing by 


pure brutality of neglect, passes all estimate. I do not know, 
as I have repeatedly stated, how far the splendor of architect- 
ure, or other art, is compatible with the honesty and useful- 
ness of religious service. The longer I live, the more I incline 
to severe judgment in this matter, and the less I can trust the 
sentiments excited by painted glass and colored tiles. But if 
there be indeed value in such things, our plain duty is to direct 
our strength against the superstition which has dishonored 
them ; there are thousands who might possibly be benefited 
by them, to whom they are now merely an offence, owing to 
their association with idolatrous ceremonies. I have but this 
exhortation for all who love them, — not to regulate their 
creeds by their taste in colors, but to hold calmly to the right, 
at whatever present cost to their imaginative enjoyment ; sure 
that they will one day find in heavenly truth a brighter charm 
than in earthly imagery, and striving to gather stones for the 
eternal building, whose walls shall be salvation, and whose 
gates shall be praise. 


The reader may at first suppose this division of the attri- 
butes of buildings into action, voice, and beauty, to be the 
same division as Mr. Fergusson's, now well known, of their 
merits, into technic, aesthetic and phonetic. 

But there is no connection between the two systems ; mine, 
indeed, does not profess to be a system, it is a mere arrange- 
ment of my subject, for the sake of order and convenience in 
its treatment : but, as far as it goes, it differs altogether from 
Mr. Fergusson's in these two following respects :— 

The action of a building, that is to say its standing or con- 
sistence, depends on its good construction ; and the first part 
of the foregoing volume has been entirely occupied with the 
consideration of the constructive merit of buildings ; but con- 
struction is not their only technical merit. There is as much 
of technical merit in their expression, or in their beauty, as in 
their construction. There is no more mechanical or technical 
admirableness in the stroke of the painter who covers them 


with fresco, than in the dexterity of the mason who cements 
their stones : there is just as much of what is technical in 
their beauty, therefore, as in their construction ; and, on the 
other hand, there is often just as much intellect shown in 
their construction as there is in either their expression or 
decoration. Now Mr. Fergusson means by his " Phonetic " 
division, whatever expresses intellect : my constructive divis- 
ion, therefore, includes part of his phonetic : and my ex- 
pressive and decorative divisions include part of his technical. 

Secondly, Mr. Fergusson tries to make the same divisions 
fit the subjects of art, and art itself ; and therefore talks of 
technic, aesthetic, and phonetic, arts, (or, translating the Greek,) 
of artful arts, sensitive arts, and talkative arts ; but I have 
nothing to do with any division of the arts, I have to deal only 
with the merits of buildings. As, however, I have been led 
into reference to Mr. Fergusson's system, I would fain say a 
word or two to effect Mr. Fergusson's extrication from it. I 
hope to find in him a noble ally, ready to join with me in war 
upon affectation, falsehood, and prejudice, of every kind ; I 
have derived much instruction from his most interesting work, 
and I hope for much more from its continuation ; but he must 
disentangle himself from his system, or he will be strangled 
by it ; never was anything so ingeniously and hopelessly wrong 
throughout ; the whole of it is founded on a confusion of the 
instruments of man with his capacities. 

Mr. Fergusson would have us take — 

"First, man's muscular action or power." (Technics.) 

" Secondly, those developments of sense by which he does ! ! 
as much as by his muscles." (^Esthetics. ) 

"Lastly, his intellect, or to confine this more correctly to its 
external action, his power of speecli ! ! ! ' (Phonetics.) 

Granting this division of humanity correct, or sufficient, the 
writer then most curiously supposes that he may arrange the 
arts as if there were some belonging to each division of man, — 
never observing that every art must be governed by, and ad- 
dressed to, one division, and executed by another ; executed 
by the muscular, addressed to the sensitive or intellectual ; 
and that, to be an art at all, it must have in it work of the 



one, and guidance from the other. If, by any lucky accident, 
he had been led to arrange the arts, either by their objects, 
and the things to which they are addressed, or by their means, 
and the things by which they are executed, he would hava 
discovered his mistake in an instant. As thus : — 

These arts are addressed to the, — Muscles ! ! 

Intellect ; 
or executed by, — Muscles, 

Senses ! ! 

Indeed it is true that some of the arts are in a sort addressed 
to the muscles, surgery for instance ; but this is not among 
Mr Fergusson' s technic, but his politic, arts ! and all the arts 
may, in a sort, be said to be performed by the senses, as the 
senses guide both muscles and intellect in their work : but 
they guide them as they receive information, or are standards 
of accuracy, but not as in themselves capable of action. Mr. 
Fergusson is, I believe, the first person w T ho has told us of 
senses that act or do, they having been hitherto supposed only 
to sustain or perceive. The weight of error, however, rests 
just as much in the original division of man, as in the en- 
deavor to fit the arts to it. The slight omission of the soul 
makes a considerable difference when it begins to influence 
the final results of the arrangement. 

Mr. Fergusson calls morals and religion "Politick arts " (as 
if religion were an art at all ! or as if both were not as neces- 
sary to individuals as to societies) ; and therefore, forming 
these into a body of arts by themselves, leaves the best of the 
arts to do without the soul and the moral feeling as best they 
may. Hence " expression," or " phonetics," is of intellect 
only (as if men never expressed their feelings !) ; and then, 
strangest and worst of all, intellect is entirely resolved into 
talking ! There can be no intellect but it must talk, and all 
talking must be intellectual. I believe people do sometimes 
talk without understanding ; and I think the world would 
fare ill if they never understood without talking. The intel< 


lect is an entirely silent faculty, and has nothing to do with 
parts of speech any more than the moral part has. A man 
may feel and know things without expressing either the feel- 
ing or knowledge ; and the talking is a muscular mode of 
communicating the workings of the intellect or heart : — mus- 
cular, whether it be by tongue or by sign, or by carving or 
writing, or by expression of feature ; so that to divide a man 
into muscular and talking parts, is to divide him into body in 
general, and tongue in particular, the endless confusion re- 
sulting from which arrangement is only less marvellous in 
itself, than the resolution with which Mr. Fergusson has 
worked through it, and in spite of it, up to some very interest- 
ing and suggestive truths ; although starting with a division 
of humanitv which does not in the least raise it above the 
brute, for a rattlesnake has his muscular, sesthetic, and talk- 
ing part as much as man, only he talks with his tail, and says, 
"I am angry with you, and should like to bite } r ou," more la- 
conically and effectively than any phonetic biped could, were 
he so minded. And, in fact, the real difference between the 
brute and man is not so much that the one has fewer means of 
expression than the other, as that it has fewer thoughts to ex- 
press, and that we do not understand its expressions. Ani- 
mals can talk to one another intelligibly enough when they 
have anything to say, and their captains have words of com- 
mand just as clear as ours, and better obeyed. We have in- 
deed, in watching the efforts of an intelligent animal to talk 
to a human being, a melancholy sense of its dumbness ; but 
the fault is still in its intelligence, more than in its tongue. It 
has not wit enough to systematise its cries or signs, and form 
them into language. 

But there is no end to the fallacies and confusions of Mr. 
Fergusson's arrangement. It is a perfect entanglement of 
gun-cotton, and explodes into vacuity wherever one holds a 
light to it. I shall leave him to do so with the rest of it for 
himself, and should perhaps have left it to his own handling 
altogether, but for the intemperateness of the spirit with 
which he has spoken on a subject perhaps of all others de- 
manding gentleness and caution. No man could more ear 
Vol. I.— 25 


nestly have desired the changes lately introduced into the sys*. 
tern of the University of Oxford than I did myself ; no man 
can be more deeply sensible than I of grievous failures in the 
practical working even of the present system : but I believe 
that these failures may be almost without exception traced to 
one source, the want of evangelical, and the excess of rubrical 
religion among the tutors ; together with such rustiness and 
stiffness as necessarily attend the continual operation of any 
intellectual machine. The fault is, at any rate, far less in the 
system than in the imperfection of its administration ; and 
had it been otherwise, the terms in which Mr. Fergusson 
speaks of it are hardly decorous in one who can but be imper- 
fectly acquainted with its working. They are sufficiently an- 
swered by the structure of the essay in which they occur ; for 
if the high powers of mind which its author possesses had 
been subjected to the discipline of the schools, he could not 
have wasted his time on the development of a system which 
their simplest formulae of logic would have shown him to be 

Mr. Fergusson will, however, find it easier to overthrow his 
system than to replace it. Every man of science knows the 
difficulty of arranging a reasonable system of classification, in 
any subject, by any one group of characters ; and that the 
best classifications are, in many of their branches, convenient 
rather than reasonable : so that, to any person who is really 
master of his subject, many different modes of classification 
will occur at different times ; one of which he will use rather 
than another, according to the point which he has to investi- 
gate. I need only instance the three arrangements of miner- 
als, by their external characters, and their positive or negative 
bases, of which the first is the most useful, the second the 
most natural, the third the most simple ; and all in several 
ways unsatisfactory. 

But when the subject becomes one which no single mind 
can grasp, and which embraces the whole range of human 
occupation and enquiry, the difficulties become as great, and 
the methods as various, as the uses to which the classification 
might be put ; and Mr. Fergusson has entirely forgotten to 


inform us what is the object to which his arrangements are 
addressed. For observe : there is one kind of arrangement 
which is based on the rational connection of the sciences or 
arts with one another ; an arrangement which maps them out 
like the rivers of some great country, and marks the points of 
their junction, and the direction and force of their united 
currents ; and this without assigning to any one of them a 
superiority above another, but considering them all as neces- 
sary members of the noble unity of human science and effort. 
There is another kind of classification which contemplates the 
order of succession in which they might most usefully be pre- 
sented to a single mind, so that the given mind should obtain 
the most effective and available knowledge of them all : and, 
finally, the most usual classification contemplates the powers 
of mind which they each require for their pursuit, the objects 
to which they are addressed, or with which they are con- 
cerned ; and assigns to each of them a rank superior or in- 
ferior, according to the nobility of the powers they require, 
or the grandeur of the subjects they contemplate. 

Now, not only would it be necessary to adopt a different 
classification with respect to each of these great intentions, 
but it might be found so even to vary the order of the suc- 
cession of sciences in the case of every several mind to which 
they were addressed ; and that their rank would also vary 
with the power and specific character of the mind engaged 
upon them. I once heard a very profound mathematician 
remonstrate against the impropriety of Wordsworth's receiv- 
ing a pension from government, on the ground that he was 
" only a poet." If the study of mathematics had always this 
narrowing effect upon the sympathies, the science itself would 
need to be deprived of the rank usually assigned to it ; and 
there could be no doubt that, in the effect it had on the mind 
of this man, and of such others, it was a very contemptible 
science indeed. Hence, in estimating the real rank of any 
art or science, it is necessary for us to conceive it as it would 
be grasped by minds of every order. There are some arts 
and sciences which we underrate, because no one has risen to 
show us with what majesty thev may be invested ; and others 


which we overrate, because we are blinded to their genera\ 
meanness by the magnificence which some one man has 
thrown around them: thus, philology, evidently the most 
contemptible of all the sciences, has been raised to unjust 
dignity by Johnson.* And the subject is farther compli- 
cated by the question of usefulness ; for many of the arts and 
sciences require considerable intellectual power for their pur- 
suit, and yet become contemptible by the slightness o what 
they accomplish : metaphysics, for instance, exercising intel- 
ligence of a high order, yet useless to the mass of mankind, 
and, to its own masters, dangerous. Yet, as it has become 
so by the want of the true intelligence which its inquiries 
need, and by substitution of vain subtleties in its stead, it 
may in future vindicate for itself a higher rank than a man of 
common sense usually concedes to it. 

Nevertheless, the mere attempt at arrangement must be 
useful, even where it does nothing more than develop difficul- 
ties. Perhaps the greatest fault of men of learning is their 
so often supposing all other branches of science dependent 
upon or inferior to their own best beloved branch ; and the 
greatest deficiency of men comparatively unlearned, their 
want of perception of the connection of the branches with 
each other. He who holds the tree only by the extremities, 
can perceive nothing but the separation of its sprays. It 
must always be desirable to prove to those the equality of 
rank, to these the closeness of sequence, of what they had 
falsely supposed subordinate or separate. And, after such 
candid admission of the co-equal dignity of the truly noble 
arts and sciences, we may be enabled more justly to estimate 
the inferiority of those which indeed seem ' .tended for the 
occupation of inferior powers and narrow r capacities. In 
Appendix 14, following, some suggestions will bo found \ia 
to the principles on which classification might be based ; but 
the arrangement of all the arts is certainly not a work which 


* Not, however, by Johnson's testimony: Vide Adventurer, No. 80. 
"Such operations as required neither celerity nor strength, — the low 
drudgery ol collating copies, comparing authorities, digesting dictiona- 
ries, or accumulating compilations." 


could with discretion be attempted in the Appendix to an 
essay on a branch of one of them. 


The reader will probably understand this part of the sul> 
ject better if he will take the trouble briefly to consider the 
actions of the mind and body of man in the sciences and arts, 
which give these latter the relations of rank usually attrib- 
uted to them. 

It was above observed (Appendix 13) that the arts were 
generally ranked according to the nobility of the powers they 
require, that is to say, the quantity of the being of man which 
{'ley engaged or addressed. Now their rank is not a very 
important matter as regards each other, for there are few dis- 
putes more futile than that concerning the respective dignity 
of arts, all of which are necessary and honorable. But it is a 
very important matter as regards themselves ; very important 
whether they are practised with the devotion and regarded 
with the respect which are necessary or due to their perfec- 
tion. It does not at all matter whether architecture or sculpt- 
ure be the nobler art ; but it matters much whether the 
thought is bestowed upon buildings, or the feeling is ex- 
pressed in statues, which make either deserving of our admi- 
ration. It is foolish and insolent to imagine that the art 
which we ourselves practise is greater than any other ; but it 
is wise to take care that in our own hands it is as noble as we 
can make it. Let us take some notice, therefore, in what de- 
grees the faculties of man may be engaged in his several arts : 
we may consider the entire man as made up of body, soul, 
and intellect (Lord Lindsay, meaning the same thing, says in- 
accurately — sense, intellect, and spirit — forgetting that there 
is a moral sense as well as a bodily sense, and a spiritual 
body as well as a natural body, and so gets into some awk- 
ward confusion, though right in the main points). Then, 
taking the word soul as a short expression of the moral and 
responsible part of being, each of these three parts has a pas- 
sive and active power. The body has senses and muscles [> 


the soul, feeling and resolution ; the intellect, understanding 
and imagination. The scheme may be put into tabular form, 
thus : — 

Passive or Receptive Part. Active or Motive Part. 

Body - - 

- Senses. 


Soul - - 

- Feeling. 

Be sol ut ion. 

Intellect - - 

- Understanding. 


In HAs scheme I consider memory a part of understanding, 
and conscience I leave out, as being the voice of God in the 
heart, inseparable from the system, yet not an essential part 
of it. The sense of beauty I consider a mixture of the Senses 
of the body and soul. 

Now all these parts of the human system have a reciprocal 
action on one another, so that the true perfection of any of 
them is not possible without some relative perfection of the 
others, and yet any one of the parts of the system may be 
brought into a morbid development, inconsistent with the 
perfection of the others. Thus, in a healthy state, the acute- 
ness of the senses quickens that of the feelings, and these lat- 
ter quicken the understanding, and then all the three quicken 
the imagination, and then all the four strengthen the resolu- 
tion ; while yet there is a danger, on the other hand, that the 
encouraged and morbid feeling may weaken or bias the un- 
derstanding, or that the over shrewd and keen understanding 
may shorten the imagination, or that the understanding and 
imagination together may take place of, or undermine, the 
resolution, as in Hamlet. So in the mere bodily frame there 
is a delightful perfection of the senses, consistent with the ut- 
most health of the muscular system, as in the quick sight and 
hearing of an active savage : another false delicacj 7 of the 
senses, in the Sybarite, consequent on their over indulgence, 
until the doubled rose-leaf is painful ; and this inconsistent 
with muscular perfection. Again ; there is a perfection of 
muscular action consistent with exquisite sense, as in that of 
the fingers of a musician or of a painter, in which the muscle* 
are guided by the slightest feeling of the strings, or of the 


pencil : another perfection of muscular action inconsistent 
with acuteness of sense, as in the effort of battle, in which a 
soldier does not perceive his wounds. So that it is never so 
much the question, what is the solitary perfection of a given 
part of the man, as what is its balanced perfection in relation 
to the whole of him : and again, the perfection of any single 
power is not merely to be valued by the mere rank of the 
power itself, but by the harmony which it indicates among 
the other powers. Thus, for instance, in an archer's glance 
along his arrow, or a hunter's raising of his rifle, there is a 
certain perfection of sense and finger which is the result of 
mere practice, of a simple bodily perfection ; but there is a 
farther value in the habit which . results from the resolution 
and intellect necessary to the forming of it : in the hunter's 
raising of his rifle there is a quietness implying far more than 
mere practice, — implying courage, and habitual meeting of 
danger, and presence of mind, and many other such noble 
characters. So also in a musician's way of laying finger on 
his instrument, or a painter's handling of his pencil, there are 
many qualities expressive of the special sensibilities of each, 
operating on the production of the habit, besides the sensi- 
bility operating at the moment of action. So that there are 
three distinct stages of merit in what is commonly called 
mere bodily dexterity : the first, the dexterity given by prac- 
tice, called command of tools or of weapons ; the second stage, 
the dexterity or grace given by character, as the gentleness of 
hand proceeding from modesty or tenderness of spirit, and the 
steadiness of it resulting from habitual patience coupled with 
decision, and the thousand other characters partially discerni- 
ble, even in a man's writing, much more in his general handi- 
work ; and, thirdly, there is the perfection of action produced 
by the operation of present strength, feeling, or intelligence on 
instruments thus previously perfected, as the handling of a 
great painter is rendered more beautiful by his immediate 
care and feeling and love of his subject, or knowledge of it, 
Mid as physical strength is increased by strength of will and 
greatness of heart. Imagine, for instance, the difference in 
manner of fighting, and in actual muscular strength and en« 


durance, between a common soldier, and a man in the circum 
stances of the Horatii, or of the temper of Leonidas. 

Mere physical skill, therefore, the mere perfection and powei 
of the body as an instrument, is manifested in three stages : 

First, Bodily power by practice ; 
Secondly, Bodily power by moral habit ; 
Thirdly, Bodily power by immediate energy ; 

and the arts will be greater or less, cseteris paribus, according 
to the degrees of these dexterities which they admit. A smith's 
work at his anvil admits little but the first ; fencing, shooting, 
and riding, admit something of the second ; while the fine arts 
admit (merely tlirough the channel of the bodily dexterities) an 
expression almost of the whole man. 

Nevertheless, though the higher arts admit this higher bodily 
perfection, they do not all require it in equal degrees, but can 
dispense with it more and more in proportion to their dignit} r . 
The arts whose chief element is bodily dexterity, may be classed 
together as arts of the third order, of which the highest will 
be those which admit most of the power of moral habit and 
energy, such as riding and the management of weapons ; and 
the rest may be thrown together under the general title of 
handicrafts, of which it does not much matter which are the 
most honorable, but rather, which are the most necessary and 
least injurious to health, which it is not our present business 
to examine. Men engaged in the practice of these are called 
artizans, as opposed to artists, who are concerned with the 
fine arts. * 

The next step in elevation of art is the addition of the intelli- 
gences which have no connection with bodily dexterity ; as, for 
instance, in hunting, the knowledge of the habits of animals 
and their places of abode ; in architecture, of mathematics ; in 
painting, of harmonies of color ; in music, of those of sound ; 
all this pure science being joined with readiness of expedient 
in applying it, and with shrewdness in apprehension of difficul- 
ties, either present or probable. 

It will often happen that intelligence of this kind is possessed 


without bodily dexterity, or the need of it ; one man directing 
and another executing, as for the most part in architecture, 
war, and seamanship. And it is to be observed, also, that in 
proportion to the dignity of the art, the bodily dexterities 
needed even in its subordinate agents become less important, 
and are more and more replaced by intelligence ; as in the 
steering of a ship, the bodily dexterity required is less than in 
shooting or fencing, but the intelligence far greater : and so in 
war, the mere swordsmanship and marksmanship of the troops 
are of small importance in comparison with their disposition, 
and right choice of the moment of action. So that arts of this 
second order must be estimated, not by the quantity of bodily 
dexterity they require, but by the quantity and dignity of the 
knowledge needed in their practice, and by the degree of 
subtlety needed in bringing such knowledge into play. War 
certainly stands first in the general mind, not only as the 
greatest of the arts which I have called of the second order, 
but as the greatest of all arts. It is not, however, easy to 
distinguish the respect paid to the Power, from that rendered 
to the Art of the soldier ; the honor of victory being more 
dependent, in the vulgar mind, on its results, than its difficul- 
ties. I believe, however, that taking into consideration the 
greatness of the anxieties under which this art must be prac- 
tised, the multitude of circumstances to be known and re- 
garded in it, and the subtleties both of apprehension and 
stratagem constantly demanded by it, as well as the multi- 
plicity of disturbing accidents and doubtful contingencies 
against which it must make provision on the instant, it must 
indeed rank as far the first of the arts of the second order ; 
and next to this great art of killing, medicine being much like 
war in its stratagems and watchings against its dark and 
subtle death-enemy. 

Then the arts of the first order will be those in which the 
Imaginative part of the intellect and the Sensitive part of the 
soul are joined : as poetry, architecture, and painting ; these 
forming a kind of cross, in their part of the scheme of the hu< 
man being, with those of the second order, which wed the In- 
telligent part of the intellect and Kesolute part of the souk 


But the reader must feel more and more, at every step, the 
impossibility of classing the arts themselves, independently o\ 
the men by whom they are practised ; and how an art, low in 
itself, may be made noble by the quantity of human strength 
and being which a great man will pour into it ; and an art, 
great in itself, be made mean by the meanness of the mind 
occupied in it. I do not intend, when I call painting an art 
of the first, and war an art of the second, order, to class 
Butch landscape painters with good soldiers ; but I mean, 
that if from such a man as Napoleon we were to take away 
the honor of all that he had done in law and civil government, 
and to give him the reputation of his soldiership only, his 
name would be less, if justly weighed, than that of Buon- 
arroti, himself a good soldier also, when need was. But I 
will not endeavor to pursue the inquiry, for I believe that of 
all the arts of the first order it would be found that all that a 
man has, or is, or can be, he can fully express in them, and 
give to any of them, and find it not enough. 


The same rapid judgment which I wish to enable the reader 
to form of architecture, may in some sort also be formed of 
painting, owing to the close connection between execution and 
expression in the latter ; as between structure and expression 
in the former. We ought to be able to tell good painting by 
a side glance as we pass along a gallery ; and, until we can do 
so, we are not fit to pronounce judgment at all : not that I 
class this easily visible excellence of painting with the great ex- 
pressional qualities which time and watchfulness only unfold 
I have again and again insisted on the supremacy of these 
last and shall always continue to do so. But I perceive a ten- 
dency among some of the more thoughtful critics of the day 
to forget that the business of a painter is to paint, and so al- 
together to despise those men, Veronese and Rubens for in- 
stance, who were painters, par excellence, and in whom the 
expressional qualities are subordinate. Now it is well, when 
we have strong moral or poetical feeling manifested in paint- 
ing, to mark this as the best part of the work ; but it is not 


well to consider as a thing of small account, the painter's lan- 
guage in which that feeling is conveyed ; for if that language 
be not good and lovely, the man may indeed be a just moral- 
ist or a great poet, but he is not a painter, and it was wrong 
of him to paint, He had much better put his morality into 
sermons, and his poetry into verse, than into a language 
of which he was not master. And this mastery of the lan- 
guage is that of which we should be cognizant by a glance of 
the eye ; and if that be not found, it is wasted time to look 
farther : the man has mistaken his vocation, and his expres- 
sion of himself will be cramped by his awkward efforts to do 
what he was not fit to do. On the other hand, if the man be 
a painter indeed, and have the gift of colors and lines, what 
is in him will come from his hand freely and faithfully ; and 
the language itself is so difficult and so vast, that the mere 
possession of it argues the man is great, and that his works 
are worth reading. So that I have never yet seen the case in 
which this true artistical excellence, visible by the eye-glance, 
was not the index of some true expressional worth in the 
work. Neither have I ever eeen a good expressional work 
without high artistical merit : and that this is ever denied is 
only owing to the narrow view which men are apt to take both 
of expression and of art ; a narrowness consequent on their 
own especial practice and habits of thought. A man long 
trained to love the monk's visions of Fra Angelico, turns in 
proud and ineffable disgust from the first work of Kubens 
which he encounters on his return across the Alps. But is he 
right in his indignation ? He has forgotten, that while An- 
gelico prayed and wept in his olive shade, there was different 
work doing in the dank fields of Flanders ;— wild seas to be 
banked out ; endless canals to be dug, and boundless marshes 
to be drained ; hard ploughing and harrowing of the frosty 
clay ; careful breeding of stout horses and fat cattle ; close 
setting of brick walls against cold winds and snow ; much 
hardening of hands and gross stoutening of bodies in all this ; 
gross jovialities of harvest homes and Christmas feasts, which 
were to be the reward of it ; rough affections, and sluggish 
imagination ; fleshy, substantial, ironshod humanities, but 


humanities still ; humanities which God had his eye upon, 
and which won, perhaps, here and there, as much favo* 
in his sight as the wasted aspects of the whispering monks 
of Florence (Heaven forbid it should not be so, since the 
most of us cannot be monks, but must be ploughmen and 
reapers still). And are we to suppose there is no nobility 
in Rubens' masculine and universal sympathy with all this, 
and with his large human rendering of it, Gentleman though 
he was, by birth, and feeling, and education, and place ; and, 
when he chose, lordly in conception also ? He had his 
faults, perhaps great and lamentable faults, though more 
those of his time and his country than his own ; he has 
neither cloister breeding nor boudoir breeding, and is very 
unfit to paint either in missals or annuals ; but he has an 
open sky and wide-world breeding in him, that we may not 
be offended with, fit alike for king's court, knight's camp, or 
peasant's cottage. On the other hand, a man trained here in 
England, in our Sir Joshua school, will not and cannot allow 
that there is any art at all in the technical work of Angelico. 
But he is just as wrong as the other. Fra Angelico is as true 
a master of the art necessary to his purposes, as Rubens was 
of that necessary for his. We have been taught in England 
to think there can be no virtue but in a loaded brush and 
rapid hand ; but if we can shake our common sense free of 
such teaching, we shall understand that there is art also in 
the delicate point and in the hand which trembles as it moves ; 
not because it is more liable to err, but because there is 
more danger in its error, and more at stake upon its precision. 
The art of Angelico, both as a colorist and a draughtsman, is 
consummate ; so perfect and beautiful, that his work may be 
recognised at any distance by the rainbow-play and brilliancy 
of it : However closely it may be surrounded by other works 
of the same school, glowing with enamel and gold, Angelico's 
may be told from them at a glance, like so many huge pieces 
of opal lying among common marbles. So again with Giotto ; 
the Arena chapel is not only the most perfect expression al 
work, it is the prettiest piece of wall decoration and fair color, 
in North Italy. 


Now there is a correspondence of the same kind between 
the technical and expressional parts of architecture ; — not a 
true or entire correspondence, so that when the expression is 
best, the building must be also best ; but so much of corre- 
spondence as that good building is necessary to good expres- 
sion, comes before it, and is to be primarily looked for : and 
the more, because the manner of building is capable of being 
determinately estimated and classed ; but the expressional 
character not so : we can at once determine the true value of 
technical qualities, we can only approximate to the value of 
expressional qualities : and besides this, the looking for the 
technical qualities first will enable us to cast a large quantity 
of rubbish aside at once, and so to narrow the difficult field of 
inquiry into expression : we shall get rid of Chinese pagodas 
and Indian temples, and Kenaissance Palladianisms, and Al- 
hambra stucco and filigree, in one great rubbish heap ; and 
shall not need to trouble ourselves about their expression, or 
anything else concerning them. Then taking the buildings 
which have been rightly put together, and which show com- 
mon sense in their structure, we may look for their farther 
and higher excellences ; but on those which are absurd in 
their first steps we need waste no time. 


I could have wished, before writing this chapter, to have 
given more study to the difficult subject of the strength of 
shafts of different materials and structure ; but I cannot enter 
into every inquiry which general criticism might suggest, and 
this I believe to be one which would have occupied the reader 
with less profit than many others : all that is necessary for 
him to note is, that the great increase of strength gained by a 
tubular form in iron shafts, of given solid contents ; is no con- 
tradiction to the general principle stated in the text, that the 
strength of materials is most available when they are most 
concentrated. The strength of the tube is owing to certain 
properties of the arch formed by its sides, not to the disper- 
sion of its materials : and the principle is altogether inapplica- 


ble to stone shafts. No one would think of building a pillal 
of a succession of sandstone rings ; however strong it might 
be, it would be still stronger filled up, and the substitution of 
such a pillar for a solid one of the same contents would lose 
too much space ; for a stone pillar, even when solid, must be 
quite as thick as is either graceful or convenient, and in mod* 
ern churches is often too thick as it is, hindering sight of the 
preacher, and checking the sound of his voice. 


Some three months ago, and long after the writing of this 
passage, I met accidentally with Mr. Garbett's elementary 
Treatise on Design. (Weale, 1850.) If I had cared about the 
reputation of originality, I should have been annoyed — and 
was so, at first, on finding Mr. Garbett's illustrations of the 
subject exactly the same as mine, even to the choice of the ele- 
phant's foot for the parallel of the Doric pillar : I even thought 
of omitting, or re-writing, great part of the chapter, but deter- 
mined at last to let it stand. I am striving to speak plain 
truths on many simple and trite subjects, and I hope, there- 
fore, that much of what I say has been said before, and am 
quite willing to give up all claim to originality in any reason- 
ing or assertion whatsoever, if any one cares to dispute it. I 
desire the reader to accept what I say, not as mine, but as the 
truth, which may be all the world's, if they look for it. If 
I remember rightly, Mr. Frank Howard promised at some 
discussion respecting the "Seven Lamps," reported in the 
"Builder," to pluck all my borrowed feathers off me ; but I 
did not see the end of the discussion, and do not know to this 
day how many feathers I have left : at all events the elephant's 
foot must belong to Mr. Garbett, though, strictly speaking, 
neither he nor I can be quite justified in using it, for an ele- 
phant in reality stands on tiptoe ; and this is by no means the 
expression of a Doric shaft. As, however, I have been obliged 
to speak of this treatise of Mr. Garbett's, and desire also to 
recommend it as of much interest and utility in its statements 
Df fact, it is impossible for me to pass altogether without no* 


tice, as if unanswerable, several passages in which the writer 
has objected to views stated in the " Seven Lamps." I should 
at any rate have noticed the passage quoted above, (Chap. 
30th,) which runs counter to the spirit of all I have ever writ- 
ten, though without referring to me ; but the references to 
the "Seven Lamps" I should not have answered, unless I had 
desired, generally, to recommend the book, and partly also, be- 
cause they may serve as examples of the kind of animadversion 
which the " Seven Lamps " had to sustain from architects, 
very generally ; which examples being once answered, there 
will be little occasion for my referring in future to other criti- 
cisms of the kind. 

The first reference to the " Seven Lamps " is in the second 
page, where Mr. Garbett asks a question, "Why are not con- 
venience and stability enough to constitute a fine building? " 
— which I should have answered shortly by asking another, 
" Why we have been made men, and not bees nor termites : " 
but Mr. Garbett has given a very pretty, though partial, 
answer to it himself, in his 4th to 9th pages, — an answer 
which I heartily beg the reader to consider. But, in page 12, 
it is made a grave charge against me, that I use the words 
beauty and ornament interchangeably. I do so, and ever 
shall ; and so, I believe, one day, will Mr. Garbett himself; 
but not while he continues to head his pages thus: — "Beauty 
not dependent on ornament, or siqjerjiuous features." What 
right has he to assume that ornament, rightly so called, ever 
was, or can be, superfluous ? I have said before, and. repeat- 
edly in other places, that the most beautiful things are the 
most useless ; I never said superfluous. I said useless in the 
well-understood and usual sense, as meaning, inapplicable to 
the service of the body. Thus I called peacocks and lilies 
useless ; meaning, that roast r^eacock was unwholesome (tak- 
ing Juvenal's word for it), and that dried lilies made bad hay: 
but I do not think peacocks superfluous birds, nor that the 
world could get on well without its lilies. Or, to look closer, 
I suppose the peacock's blue eyes to be very useless to him ; 
not dangerous indeed, as to their first master, but of small 
service, yet I do not think there is a superfluous eye in all his 


tail : and for lilies, though the great King of Israel was not 
"arrayed" like one of them, can Mr. Garbett tell us which 
are their superfluous leaves? Is there no Diogenes among 
lilies? none to be found content to drink dew, but out of 
silver ? The fact is, I never met with the architect yet who 
did not think ornament meant a thing to be bought in a shop 
and pinned on, or left off, at architectural toilets, as the fancy 
seized them, thinking little more than many women do of the 
other kind of ornament — the only true kind, — St. Peters kind, 
— " Not that outward adorning, but the inner — of the heart." 
I do not mean that architects cannot conceive this better or- 
nament, but they do not understand that it is the only orna- 
ment ; that all architectural ornament is this, and nothing but 
this ; that a noble building never has any extraneous or su- 
perfluous ornament; that all its parts are necessar}^ to its love- 
liness, and that no single atom of them could be removed 
without harm to its life. You do not build a temple and then 
dress it.* You create it in its loveliness, and leave it, as her 
Maker left Eve. Not unadorned, I believe, but so well adorned 
as to need no feather crowns. And I use the words ornament 
and beauty interchangeably, in order that architects may un- 
d( rstand this : I assume that their building is to be a perfect 
creature capable of nothing less than it has, and needing noth- 
ing more. It may, indeed, receive additional decoration after- 
wards, exactly as a woman may gracefully put a bracelet on 
her arm, or set a flower in her hair: but that additional 
decoration is not the architecture. It is of curtains, pictures, 
statues, things that may be taken away from the building, and 
not hurt it. What has the architect to do with these ? He has 
only to do with what is part of the building itself, that is to 
say, its own inherent beauty. And because Mr. Garbett does 
not understand or acknowledge this, he is led on from error 
to error ; for we next find him endeavoring to define beauty 
as distinct from ornament, and saying that "Positive beauty 
may be produced by a studious collation of whatever will 

* We have done so— theoretically ; just as one would reason on the 
human form from the hones outwards: but the Architect of huma» 
form frames all at ome— bone and flesh. 


display design, order, and congruity." (p. 14) Is that so? 
There is a highly studious collation of whatever will display 
design, order, and congruity, in a skull, is there not ? — yet 
small beauty. The nose is a decorative feature, — vet slightly 
necessary to beauty, it seems to me ; now, at least, for I once 
thought I must be wrong in considering a skull disagreeable- 
I gave it fair trial : put one on my bedroom chimney-piece, 
and looked at it by sunrise every morning, and by moonlight 
every night, and by all the best lights I could think of, for a 
month, in vain. I found it as ugly at last as I did at first. 
So, also, the hair is a decoration, and its natural curl is of 
little use ; but can Mr. Garbett conceive a bald beauty ; or 
does he prefer a wig, because that is a "studious collation " 
of whatever will produce design, order, and congruity? So 
the flush of the cheek is a decoration, — God's painting of the 
temple of his spirit, — and the redness of the lip ; and yet poor 
Viola thought it beauty truly blent ; and I hold with her. 

I have answered enough to this count. 

The second point questioned is my assertion, " Ornament 
cannot be overcharged if it is good, and is always overcharged 
when it is bad." To which Mr. Garbett objects in these terms : 
" I must contend, on the contrary, that the very best ornament 
may be overcharged by being misplaced." 

A short sentence with two mistakes in it. 

First. Mr. Garbett cannot get rid of his unfortunate notion 
that ornament is a' thing to be manufactured separately, and 
fastened on. He supposes that an ornament may be called 
good in itself, in the stonemason's yard, or in the ironmonger's 
shop : Once for all, let him put this idea out of his head. We 
may say of a thing, considered separately, that it is a pretty 
thing ; but before we can say it is a good ornament, we must 
know what it is to adorn, and how. As, for instance, a ring 
of gold is a pretty thing ; it is a good ornament on a woman's 
finger ; not a good ornament hung through her under lip. A 
hollyhock, seven feet high, would be a good ornament for a 
cottage-garden ; not a good ornament for a lady's head-dress. 
Might not Mr. Garbett have seen this without my showing ? 
and that, therefore, when I said "good' ornament, I saicj 
Vol. I.— 26 


*' well-placed " ornament, in one word, and that, also, when 
Mr. Garbett says "it may be overcharged by being mis- 
placed,'"' he merely says it may be overcharged by being bad. 

Secondly. But, granted that ornament were independent 
of its position, and might be pronounced good in a separate 
form, as books are good, or men are good, — Suppose I had 
written to a student in Oxford, " You cannot have too many 
books, if they be good books ; ' : and he had answered me, 
" Yes, for if I have many, I have no place to put them in but 
the coal-cellar." Would that in anywise affect the general 
principle that he could not have too many books ? 

Or suppose he had written, " I must not have too many, 
they confuse my head." I should have written back to him : 
" Don't buy books to put in the coal-hole, nor read them if 
they confuse your head ; you cannot have too many, if they be 
good : but if you are too lazy to take care of them, or too dull 
to profit by them, you are better without them." 

Exactly in the same tone, I repeat to Mr. Garbett, " You 
cannot have too much ornament, if it be good : but if you are 
too indolent to arrange it, or too dull to take advantage of it, 
assuredly you are better without it." 

The other points bearing on this question have already been 
stated in the close of the 21st chapter. 

The third reference I have to answer, is to my repeated as- 
sertion, that the evidence of manual labor is one of the chief 
sources of value in ornament, (" Seven Lamps," p. 56, " Mod- 
ern Painters," § 1, Chap. III.,) to which objection is made in 
these terms : " We must here warn the reader against a re- 
markable error of Ruskin. The value of ornaments in archi- 
tecture depends not in the slightest degree on the manual labor 
they contain. If it did, the finest ornaments ever executed 
would be the stone chains that hang before certain Indian 
rock-temples." Is that so ? Hear a parallel argument. " The 
value of the Cornish mines depends not in the slightest degree 
on the quantity of copper they contain. If it did, the most 
valuable things ever produced would be copper saucepans." 
It is hardly worth my while to answer this ; but, lest any of 
my readers should be confused by the objection, and as I hold 


the fact to be of great importance, I may re-state it for them 
with some explanation. 

Observe, then, the appearance of labor, that is to say, the 
evidence of the past industry of man, is always, in the abstract, 
intensely delightful : man being meant to labor, it is delightful 
to see that he has labored, and to read the record of his active 
and worthy existence. 

The evidence of labor becomes painful only when it is a sign 
of Evil greater, as Evil, than the labor is great, as Good. As, 
for instance, if a man has labored for an hour at what might 
have been done by another man in a moment, this evidence of 
his labor is also evidence of his weakness ; and this weakness is 
greater in rank of evil, than his industry is great in rank of 

Again, if a man have labored at what was not worth accom- 
plishing, the signs of his labor are the signs of his folly, and his 
folly dishonors his industry ; we had rather he had been a wise 
man in rest than a fool in labor. 

Again, if a man have labored without accomplishing any- 
thing, the signs of his labor are the signs of his disappoint- 
ment; and we have more sorrow in sympathy with his failure, 
than pleasure in sympathy with his work. 

Now, therefore, in ornament, whenever labor replaces what 
was better than labor, that is to say, skill and thought ; wher- 
ever it substitutes itself for these, or negatives these by its exist- 
ence, then it is positive evil. Copper is an evil when it alloys 
gold, or poisons food : not an evil, as copper ; good in the 
form of pence, seriously objectionable when it occupies the 
room of guineas. Let Danae cast it out of her lap, when 
the gold comes from heaven ; but let the poor man gather it 
up carefully from the earth. 

Farther, the evidence of labor is not only a good when added 
to other good, but the utter absence of it destroys good in 
human work. It is only good for God to create without toil ; 
that which man can create without toil is worthless : machine 
ornaments are no ornaments at all. Consider this carefully, 
reader : I could illustrate it for you endlessly ; but yon feel it 
yourself every hour of your existence. And if you do not 


know that you feel it, take up, for a little time, the trade 
which of all manual trades has been most honored : be for 
once a carpenter. Make for yourself a table or a chair, and 
see if you ever thought any table or chair so delightful, 
and what strange beauty there will be in their crooked limbs. 

I have not noticed any other animadversions on the " Seven 
Lamps" in Mr. Garbett's volume ; but if there be more, I must 
now leave it to his own consideration, whether he may not, as 
in the above instances, have made them incautiously : I may, 
perhaps, also be permitted to request other architects, who 
may happen to glance at the preceding pages, not immediately 
to condemn what may appear to them false in general principle, 
I must often be found deficient in technical knowledge ; I may 
often err in my statements respecting matters of practice or of 
special law. But I do not write thoughtlessly respecting prin- 
ciples ; and my statements of these will generally be found 
worth reconnoitring before attacking. Architects, no doubt, 
fancy they have strong grounds for supposing me wrong when 
they seek to invalidate my assertions. Let me assure them, at 
least, that I mean to be their friend, although they may not 
immediately recognise me as such. If I could obtain the 
public ear, and the principles I have advocated were carried 
into general practice, porphyry and serpentine would be 
given to them instead of limestone and brick ; instead of tavern 
and shop-fronts they would have to build goodly churches 
and noble dwelling-houses ; and for every stunted Grecism 
and stucco Romanism, into which they are now forced to 
shape their palsied thoughts, and to whose crumbling plagiar- 
isms they must trust their doubtful fame, they would be 
asked to raise whole streets of bold, and rich, and living archi- 
tecture, with the certainty in their hearts of doing what was 
honorable to themselves, and good for all men. 

Before I altogether leave the question of the influence of 
labor on architectural effect, the reader may expect from me a 
word or two respecting the subject which this year must be 
interesting to all— the applicability, namely, of glass and iron 
to architecture in general, as in some sort exemplified by the 
Crystal Palace. 


It, is thought by many that we shall forthwith have great 
part of our architecture in glass and iron, and that new forms 
of beauty will result from the studied employment of these 

It may be told in a few words how far this is possible ; how 
far eternally impossible. 

There are two means of delight in all productions of art — 
color and form. 

The most vivid conditions of color attainable by human art 
are those of works in glass and enamel, but not the most per- 
fect. The best and noblest coloring possible to art is that 
attained by the touch of the human hand on an opaque sur- 
face, upon which it can command any tint required, without 
subjection to alteration by fire or other mechanical means. 
No color is so noble as the color of a good painting on canvas 
or gesso. 

This kind of color being, however, impossible, for the most 
part, in architecture, the next best is the scientific disposition 
of the natural colors of stones, which are far nobler than any 
abstract hues producible by human art. 

The delight which we receive from glass painting is one 
altogether inferior, and in which we should degrade ourselves 
by over indulgence. Nevertheless, it is possible that we may 
raise some palaces like Aladdin's with colored glass for jewels, 
which shall be new in the annals of human splendor, and 
good in their place ; but not if they superseded nobler edi- 

Now, color is producible either on opaque or in transpar- 
ent bodies : but form is only expressible, in its perfection, on 
opaque bodies, without lustre. 

This law is imperative, universal, irrevocable. No perfect 
or refined form can be expressed excej^t in opaque and lustre- 
less matter. You cannot see the form of a jewel, nor, in any 
perfection, even of a cameo or bronze. You cannot perfectly 
see the form of a humming-bird, on account of its burnish- 
ing ; but you can see the form of a swan perfectly. No noble 
work in form can ever, therefore, be produced in transparent 
or lustrous glass or enamel. All noble architecture depends 


for its majesty on its form : therefore you can never have an} 
noble architecture in transparent or lustrous glass or enamel 
Iron is, however, opaque ; and both it and opaque enamel 
may, perhaps, be rendered quite lustreless ; and, therefore, 
fit to receive noble form. 

Let this be thoroughly done, and both the iron and enamel 
made fine in paste or grain, and you may have an architect- 
ure as noble as cast or struck architecture even can be : as 
noble, therefore, as coins can be, or common cast bronzes, and 
such other multiplicable things ; * — eternally separated from 
all good and great things by a gulph which not all the tubu- 
lar bridges nor engineering of ten thousand nineteenth cen- 
turies cast into one great bronze-foreheaded century, wiil ever 
overpass one inch of. All art which is worth its room in this 
world, all art which is not a piece of blundering refuse, occu- 
pying the foot or two of earth which, if unencumbered by it, 
would have grown corn or violets, or some better thing, is art 
ivhich proceeds from an individual mind, working through in- 
struments which assist, but do not supersede, the muscular action 
of the human hand, upon the materials ivhich most tenderly re- 
ceive, and most securely retain, the impressions of such human 

And the value of every work of art is exactly in the ratio of 
the quantity of humanity which has been put into it, and leg- 
ibly expressed upon it for ever : — 

First, of thought and moral purpose ; 

Secondly, of technical skill ; 

Thirdly, of bodily industry. 

* Of course meremultiplicability, as of an engraving, does not dimin= 
ish the intrinsic value of the work ; and if the casts of sculpture could 
be as sharp as the sculpture itself, they would hold to it the relation of 
value which engravings hold to paintings. And, if we choose to have 
our churches all alike, we might cast them all in bronze— we might ac- 
tually coin churches, and have mints of Cathedrals. It would be worthy 
of the spirit of the century to put milled edges for mouldings, and have 
a popular currency of religious subjects : a new cast of nativities every 
Christmas. I have not heard this contemplated, however, and I speak, 
therefore, only of the results which I believe are contemplated, as at- 
tainable by mere mechanical applications of glass and iron. 


The quantity of bodily industry which that Crystal Palace 
expresses is very great. So far it is good. 

The quantity of thought it expresses is, I suppose, a single 
and very admirable thought of Mr. Paxton's, probably not a bit 
brighter than thousands of thoughts which pass through his 
active and intelligent brain every hour,— that it might be pos- 
sible to build a greenhouse larger than ever greenhouse was 
built before. This thought, and some very ordinary algebra, 
are as much as all that glass can represent of human intellect, 
<c But one poor half -penny worth of bread to all this intolerable 
deal of sack." Alas ! 

11 The earth liath bubbles as the water hath : 
And this is of them." 


The depth of the cutting in some of the early English capi- 
tals is, indeed, part of a general system of attempts at exag- 
gerated force of effect, like the " black touches " of second-rate 
draughtsmen which I have noticed as characteristic of nearly 
all northern work, associated with the love of the grotesque : 
but the main section of the capital is indeed a dripstone rolled 
round, as above described ; and dripstone sections are con- 
tinually found in northern work, where not only they cannot 
increase force of effect, but are entirely invisible except on 
close examination ; as, for instance, under the uppermost range 
of stones of the foundation of Whitehall, or under the slope of 
the restored base of All Souls College, Oxford, under the level 
of the eye. I much doubt if any of the Fellows be aware of 

its existence. 

Many readers will be surprised and displeased by the dis- 
paragement of the early English capital That capital has, 
indeed, one character of considerable value ; namely, the bold- 
ness with which it stops the mouldings which fall upon it, and 
severs them from the shaft, contrasting itself with the multi- 
plicity of their vertical lines. Sparingly used, or seldom seen, 
it is thus, in its place, not unpleasing ; and we English love it 
from association, it being always found in connection with our 


purest and loveliest Gothic arches, and never in multitudes 
large enough to satiate the eye with its form. The reader 
who sits in the Temple church every Sunday, and sees no 
architecture during the week but that of Chancery Lane, may 
most justifiably quarrel with me for what I have said of it 
But if every house in Fleet Street or Chancery Lane were 
Gothic, and all had early English capitals, I would answer fox 
his making peace with me in a fortnight. 


Whose they are, is of little consequence to the reader or o 
me, and I have taken no pains to discover ; their value being 
not in any evidence they bear respecting dates, but in their 
intrinsic merit as examples of composition. Two of them are 
within the gate, one on the top of it, and this latter is on the 
whole the best, though all are beautiful ; uniting the intense 
northern energy in their figure sculpture with the most serene 
classical restraint in their outlines, and unaffected, but mas- 
culine simplicity of construction. 

I have not put letters to the diagram of the lateral arch at 
page 158, in order not to interfere with the clearness of the 
curves, but I shall always express the same points by the same 
letters, whenever I have to give measures of arches of this 
simple kind, so that the reader need never have the diagrams 
lettered at all. The base or span of the centre arch will 
always be a b ; its vertex will always be V ; the points of the 
cusps will be c c ; p p will be the bases of perpeudiculars let 
fall from V and c on a b ; and d the base of a perpendicular 
from the point of the cusp to the arch line. Then a b will 
always be a span of the arch, V p its perpendicular height, V 
a the chord of its side arcs, d c the depth of its cusps, c c the 
horizontal interval between the cusps, a c the length of the 
chord of the lower arc of the cusp, V c the length of the chord 
of the upper arc of the cusp, (whether continuous or not,) and 
c p the length of a perpendicular from the point of the cusp 
on a b. 

Of course we do not want all these measures for a single 
arch, but it often happens that some of them are attainable 


more easily than others ; .some are often unattainable al- 
together, and it is necessary therefore to have expressions for 
whichever we may be able to determine. 

VporV a, a b, and d c are always essential ; then either a 
c and Y c or c c and c p : when I have my choice, I always 
take ab,Y p, d c, c c, and c p, but c p is not to be generally 
obtained so accurately as the cusp arcs. 

The measures of the present arch are : 

Ft. In. 
a b, 3 ,, 8 

Vp, 4„0 

V c, 2 „ U 

ac, 2„0i 

d c, „ 3£ 


The shortness of the thicker ones at the angles is induced 
by the greater depth of the enlarged capitals : thus the 36th 
shaft is 10 ft. 44 in. in circumference at its base, and 10 „ 0£ * 
in circumference under the fillet of its capital ; but it is only 
6 „ If high, while the minor intermediate shafts, of which the 
thickest is 7 „ 8 round at the base, and 7 „ 4 under capital, 
are yet on the average 7 „ 7 high. The angle shaft towards 
the sea (the 18th) is nearly of the proportions of the 36th, and 
there are three others, the loth, 24th, and 26th, which are 
thicker than the rest, though not so thick as the angle ones. 
The 24th and 26th have both party walls to bear, and I 
imagine the 15th must in old time have carried another, 
reaching across what is now the Sala del Gran Consiglio. 

They measure respectively round at the base, 

The 15th, 8 „ 2 
24th, 9 „ 6£ 
26th, 8 „ 0| 

* I shall often have occasion to write measures in the current text^ 
therefore the reader will kindly understand that whenever they are thus 
written, 2 ,, 2, with double commas between, the first figures stand for 
English feet, the second for English inches. 


The other pillars towards the sea, and those to the 27th in- 
clusive of the Piazzetta, are all seven feet round at the base, 
and then there is a most curious and delicate crescendo of 
circumference to the 36th, thus . 

The 28th, 7 „ 3 The 33rd, 7 „ 6 

29th, 7 „ 4 34th, 7 „ 8 

30th, 7 „ G 35th, 7 „ 8 

31st, 7 „ 7 36th, 10 „ 4£ 
32nd 7 „ 5 

The shafts of the upper arcade, which are above these 
thicker columns, are also thicker than their companions, 
measuring on the average, 4 „ 8|- in circumference, while those 
of the sea facade, except the 29th, average 4 ,, 7J in circum- 
ference. The 29th, w T hich is of course above the 15th of 
the lower story, is 5 ,, 5 in circumference, which little piece 
of evidence will be of no small value to us by-and-by. The 
35th carries the angle of the palace, and is 6 „ round. The 
47th, which comes above the 24th and carries the party wall 
of the Sala del Gran Consiglio, is strengthened by a pilaster ; 
and the 51st, which comes over the 26th, is 5 ,, 4| round, 
or nearly the same as the 29th : it carries the party w T all of 
the Sala del Scrutinio ; a small room containing part of St. 
Mark's library, coming between the two saloons ; a room 
which, in remembrance of the help I have received in all my 
inquiries from the kindness and intelligence of its usual oc- 
cupant, I shall never easily distinguish otherwise than as " Mr. 

Lorenzi's." * 

I may as well connect with these notes respecting the ar- 
cades of the Ducal Palace, those which refer to Plate XIV. , 
which represents one of its spandrils. Every spandril of the 
lower arcade was intended to have been occupied by an orna- 
ment resembling the one given in that plate. The mass of the 
building being of Istrian stone, a depth of about two inches 
is left within the mouldings of the arches, rough hewn, to 

* I cannot suffer this volume to close without also thanking my kind 
friend, Mr. Rawdon Brown, for help given me in a thousand ways dur* 
ing my stay in Venice : but chiefly for his direction to passages elucicte 
tory of my subject in the MSS. of St. Mark's library. 


receive the slabs of fine marble composing the patterns. I 
cannot say whether the design was ever completed, or the mar- 
bles have been since removed, but there are now only two 
spandrils retaining their fillings, and vestiges of them in a 
third. The two complete spandrils are on the sea facade, 
above the 3rd and 10th capitals (vide method of numbering, 
Chap. I., j)age 44) ; that is to say, connecting the 2nd arch 
with the 3rd, and the 9th with the 10th. The latter is the 
one given in Plate XIV. The wmite portions of it are all 
white marble, the dentil band surrounding the circle is in 
coarse sugary marble, which I believe to be Greek, and never 
found in Venice to my recollection, except in work at least 
anterior to the fifteenth century. The shaded fields charged 
w T ith the three white triangles are of red Verona marble ; the 
inner disc is green serpentine, and the dark pieces of the ra- 
diating leaves are grey marble. The three triangles are equi- 
lateral. The two uppermost are 1 „ 5 each side, and the 
lower 1 ,, 2. 

The extreme diameter of the circle is 3 ,, 10^- ; its field is 
slightly raised above the red marbles, as shown in the section 
at A, on the left. A a is part of the red marble field ; a b the 
section of the dentil moulding let into it ; b c the entire 
breadth of the rayed zone, represented on the other side of 
the spanclril by the line G f ; c d is the white marble band 
let in, with the dog-tooth on the face of it ; b c is 7-f inches 
across ; c d 3f ; and at B are given two joints of the dentil 
(mentioned above, in the chapter on dentils, as unique in 
Venice) of their actual size. At C is given one of the inlaid 
leaves ; its measure being (in inches) C / 7 J ; C ft f ; / # f ; 
fe 4f, the base of the smaller leaves being of course fe — 
f g = 4. The pattern which occupies the other spandril is 
similar, except that the field b c, instead of the intersecting 
arcs, has only triangles of grey marble, arranged like rays, 
with their bases towards the centre. There being twenty 
round the circle, the reader can of course draw them for him- 
self ; they being isosceles, touching the dentil w T ith their 
points, and being in contact at their bases : it has lost its 
central boss. The marbles are, in both, covered with a rusty 


coating, through which it is excessively difficult to distinguish 
the colors (another proof of the age of the ornament). But 
the white marbles are certainly, in places (except only the 
sugary dentil), veined with purple, and the grey seem warmed 
with green. 

A trace of another of these ornaments may be seen over the 
21st capital ; but I doubt if the marbles have ever been in- 
serted in the other spandrils, and their want of ornament oc- 
casions the slight meagreness in the effect of the lower story, 
which is almost the only fault of the building. 

This decoration by discs, or shield-like ornaments, is a 
marked characteristic of Venetian architecture in its earlier 
ages, and is carried into later t'.mes by the Byzantine Kenais- 
sance, already distinguished from the more corrupt forms of 
Eenaissance, in Appendix 6. Of the disc decoration, so bor- 
rowed, we have already an example in Plate I. In Plate V3X 
we have an earlier condition of it, one of the discs being there 
sculptured, the others surrounded by sculptured bands : here 
we have, on the Ducal Palace, the most characteristic of all, 
because likest to the shield, which was probably the origin of 
the same ornament among the Arabs, and assuredly among 
the Greeks. In Mr. Donaldson's restoration of the gate of 
the treasury of Atreus, this ornament is conjecturally em- 
ployed, and it occurs constantly on the Arabian buildings of 


I have long been desirous of devoting some time to an en- 
quiry into the effect of natural scenery upon the pagan, and 
especially the Greek, mind, and knowing that my friend, Mr. 
C. Newton, had devoted much thought to the elucidation of 
the figurative and symbolic language of ancient art, I asked 
him to draw up for me a few notes of the facts which he con- 
sidered most interesting, as illustrative of its methods of rep- 
resenting nature. I suggested to him, for an initiative subject, 
the representation of water ; because this is one of the natural 
objects whose portraiture may most easily be made a test of 
treatment, for it is one of universal interest, and of more 


closely similar aspect in all parts of the world than any other. 
Waves, currents, and eddies are much liker each other, every- 
where, than either land or vegetation. Rivers and lakes, in- 
deed, differ widely from the sea, and the clear Pacific from 
the angry Northern ocean ; but the Nile is liker the Danube 
than a knot of Nubian palms is to a glade of the Black Forest ; 
and the Mediterranean is liker the Atlantic than the Campo 
Felice is like Solway moss. 

Mr. Newton has accordingly most kindly furnished me with 
the following data. One or two of the types which he describes 
have been already noticed in the main text ; but it is well that 
the reader should again contemplate them in the position which 
they here occupy in a general system. I recommend his spe- 
cial attention to Mr. Newton's definitions of the terms " fitm- 
rative "and " symbolic," as applied to art, in the beginning of 
the paper. 

In ancient art, that is to say, in the art of the Egyptian, 
Assyrian, Greek, and Roman races, water is, for the most part, 
represented conventionally rather than naturally. 

By natural representation is here meant as just and perfect 
an imitation of nature as the technical means of art will allow : 
on the other hand, representation is said to be conventional, 
either when a confessedly inadequate imitation is accepted in 
default of a better, or when imitation is not attempted at all, 
and it is agreed that other modes of representation, those by 
figures or by symbols, shall be its substitute and equivalent. 

In figurative representation there is always impersonation ; 
the sensible form, borrowed by the artist from organic life, is 
conceived to be actuated by a will, and invested with such 
mental attributes as constitute personalhw. 

The sensible symbol, whether borrowed from organic or 
from inorganic nature, is not a personification at all, but the 
conventional sign or equivalent of some object or notion, to 
which it may perhaps bear no visible resemblance, but with 
which the intellect or the imagination has in some way asso- 
ciated it. 

For instance, a city may be figuratively represented as a 


woman crowned with towers ; here the artist has selected for 
the expression of his idea a human form animated with a will 
and motives of action analogous to those of humanity gener- 
ally. Or, again, as in Greek art, a bull may be a figurative rep- 
resentation of a river, and, in the conception of the artist, this 
animal form may contain, and be ennobled by, a human mind 

This is still impersonation ; the form only in which person- 
ality is embodied is changed. 

Again, a dolphin may be used as a symbol of the sea ; a 
man ploughing with two oxen is a well-known symbol of a 
Roman colony. In neither of these instances is there imper- 
sonation. The dolphin is not invested, like the figure of 
Neptune, with any of the attributes of the human mind ; it 
has animal instincts, but no will ; it represents to us its native 
element, only as a part may be taken for a whole. 

Again, the man ploughing does not, like the turreted female 
figure, personify, but rather typifies the town, standing as the 
visible representation of a real event, its first foundation. To 
our mental perceptions, as to our bodily senses, this figure 
seems no more than man ; there is no blending of his personal 
nature with the impersonal nature of the colony, no transfer 
of attributes from the one to the other. 

Though the conventionally imitative, the figurative, and the 
symbolic, are three distinct kinds of representation, they are 
constantly combined in one composition, as we shall see in 
the following examples, cited from the art of successive races 
in chronological order. 

In Egyptian art the general representation of water is the 
conventionally imitative. In the British Museum are two fres- 
coes from tombs at Thebes, Nos. 177 and 170 : the subject of 
the first of these is an oblong pond, ground-plan and elevation 
being strangely confused in the design. In this pond water 
is represented by parallel zigzag lines, in which fish are swim- 
ming about. On the surface are birds and lotos flowers ; the 
herbage at the edge of the pond is represented by a border of 
symmetrical fan-shaped flowers ; the field beyond b} r rows of 
trees, arranged round the sides of the pond at right angles to 
each other, and in defiance of all laws of perspective. 


In the fresco, No. 170, we have the representation of a river 
with papyrus on its bank. Here the water is rendered by 
zigzag lines arranged vertically and in parallel lines, so as 
to resemble herring-bone masonry, thus. 
There are fish in this fresco as in the pre- 
ceding, and in both each fish is drawn very 
distinctly, not as it would appear to the 
eye viewed through water. The mode of 


representing this element in Egyptian 
painting is further abbreviated in their hieroglyphic writing, 
where the sign of water is a zigzag line ; this line is, so to 
speak, a picture of water written in short hand. In the Egyp- 
tian Pantheon there was but one aquatic deity, the god of the 
Nile ; his type is, therefore, the only figurative representation 
of water in Egyptian art. (Birch, " Gallery of British Museum 
Antiquities," PL 13.) In Assyrian sculpture we have very cu- 
rious conventionally imitative representations of water. On 
several of the friezes from Nimroud and Khorsabad, men are 
seen crossing a river in boats, or in skins, accompanied by 
horses swimming (see Layard, ii. p. 381). In these scenes water 
is represented by masses of wavy lines somewhat resembling 
tresses of hair, and terminating in curls or volutes ; these wavy 
lines express the general character of a deep and rapid current, 
like that of the Tigris. Fish are but sparingly introduced, the 
idea of surface being sufficiently expressed by the floating 
figures and boats. In the representation of these there is the 
same want of perspective as in the Egyptian fresco which we 
have just cited. 

In the Assyrian Pantheon one aquatic deity has been dis- 
covered, the god Dagon, whose human form terminates in a 
fish's tail. Of the character and attributes of this deitv we 
know but little. 

The more abbreviated mode of representing water, the zig- 
zag line, occurs on the large silver coins with the type of a 
city or a war galley (see Layard, ii. p. 386). These coins were 
probably struck in Assyria, not long after the conquest of it 
by the Persians. 

In Greek art the modes of representing water are far more 


varied. Two conventional imitations, the wave moulding* and 
the Mseander, are well known. Both are probably of the most 
remote antiquity ; both have been largely employed as an 
architectural ornament, and subordinately as a decoration of 
vases, costume, furniture and implements. In the wave mould- 
ing we have a conventional representation of the small crisp- 
ing waves which break upon the shore of the Mediterranean, 
the sea of the Greeks. 

Their regular succession, and equality of force and volume, 
are generalised in this moulding, while the minuter varieties 
which distinguish one wave from another are merged in the 
general type. The character of ocean waves is to be "for ever 
changing, yet the same for ever ; " it is this eternity of recur- 
rence which the early artist has expressed in this hiero- 

With this profile representation of water may be compared ' 
the sculptured waves out of which the head and arms of Hype- 
rion are rising in the pediment of the Parthenon (Elgin Room, 
No. (C5) 91, Museum Marbles, vi. pi. 1). Phidias has repre- 
sented these waves like a mass of overlapping tiles, thus gen- 
eralising their rippling movement. In the Mseander pattern 
the graceful curves of nature are represented by angles, as in 
the Egyptian hieroglyphic of water : so again the earliest rep- 
resentation of the labyrinth on the coins of the Cnossus is 
rectangular ; on later coins we find the curvilinear form intro- 

In the language of Greek mythography, the wave pattern 
and the Mseander are sometimes used singly for the idea of 
water, but more frequently combined with figurative represen- 
tation. The number of aquatic deities in the Greek Pantheon 
led to the invention of a great variety of beautiful types, 
Some of these are very well known. Everybody is familiar 
with the general form of Poseidon (Neptune), the Nereids, 
the Nymphs and River Gods ; but the modes in which these 
types were combined with conventional imitation and with 
accessory symbols deserve careful study, if we would appre- 
ciate the surpassing richness and beauty of the language of 
art formed out of these elements. 



This class of representations may be divided into two princi- 
pal groups, those relating to the sea, and those relating to fresh 

The power of the ocean and the great features of marine 
scenery are embodied in such types as Poseidon, Nereus and 
the Nereids, that is to say, in human forms moving through the 
liquid element in chariots, or on the back of dolphins, or who 
combine the human form with that of the fish-like Tritons. 
The sea-monsters who draw these chariots are called Hippo- 
camps, being composed of the tail of a fish and the fore-part 
of a horse, the legs terminating in web -feet : this union seems 
to express speed and power under perfect control, such as 
would characterise the movements of sea deities. A few ex- 
amples have been here selected to show how these types were 
combined with symbols and conventional imitation. 

In the British Museum is a vase, No. 1257, engraved (Lenor- 
mant et De Witte, Mom Ceram., i. pi. 27), of which the sub- 
ject is, Europa crossing the sea on the back of the bull In this 
design the sea is represented by a variety of expedients. 
First, the swimming action of the bull suggests the idea of 
the liquid medium through which he moves. Behind him 
stands Nereus, his staff held perpendicularly in his hand ; the 
top of his staff comes nearly to the level of the bull's back, and 
is probably meant as the measure of the whole depth of the 
sea. Towards the surface line thus indicated a dolphin is ris- 
ing ; in the middle depth is another dolphin ; below a shrimp 
and a cuttle-fish, and the bottom is indicated by a jagged line 
of rocks, on which are two echini. 

On a mosaic found at Oudnah in Algeria (Kevue Archeol., 
iii. pi. 50), we have a representation of the sea, remarkable for 
the fulness of details with which it is made out. 

This, though of the Roman period, is so thoroughly Greek 
in feeling, that it may be cited as an example of the class of 
mythography now under consideration. The mosaic lines the 
floor and sides of a bath, and, as was commonly the case in 
the baths of the ancients, serves as a figurative representation 
of the water it contained. 

On the sides are hippocamps, figures riding on dolphins, 
Vol. I.-27 


and islands on which fishermen stand ; on the floor are fish, 
crabs, and shrimps. 

These, as in the vase with Europa, indicate the bottom of 
the sea : the same symbols of the submarine world appear on 
many other ancient designs. Thus in vase pictures, when 
Poseidon upheaves the island of Cos to overwhelm the Giant 
Polydotes, the island is represented as an immense mass of 
rock ; the parts which have been under water are indicated by 
a dolphin, a shrimp, and a sepia, the parts above the water by 
a goat and a serpent (Lenormant et De Witte, i., tav. 5). 

Sometimes these symbols occur singly in Greek art, as the 
types, for instance, of coins. In such cases they cannot be in- 
terpreted without being viewed in relation to the whole con- 
text of mythography to which they belong. If we find, for 
example, on one coin of Tarentum a shell, on another a dol- 
phin, on a third a figure of Tarus, the mythic founder of the 
town, riding on a dolphin in the midst of the waves, and this 
latter group expresses the idea of the town itself and its posi- 
tion on the coast, then we know the two former types to b 
but portions of the greater design, having been detached from 
it, as we may detach words from sentences. 

The study of the fuller and clearer examples, such as we 
have cited above, enables us to explain many more compendi- 
ous forms of expression. We have, for instance, on coins 
several representations of ancient harbors. 

Of these, the earliest occurs on the coins of Zancle, the 
modern Messina in Sicily. The ancients likened the form of 
this harbor to a sickle, and on the coins of the town we find 
a curved object, within the area of which is a dolphin. On 
this curve are four square elevations placed at equal distances. 
It has been conjectured that these projections are either towers 
or the large stones to which galleys were moored still to be 
seen in ancient harbors (see Burgon, Numisinatic Chronicle, 
iii. p. 40). With this archaic representation of a harbor may 
be compared some examples of the Roman period. On a coin 
of Sept. Severus struck at Corinth (Millingen, S} T lloge of 
Uned. Coins, 1837, p. 57, PI. IL No. 30) we have a female fig- 
ure standing on a rock between two recumbent male figure? 


holding rudders. From an arch at the foot of the rock a 
stream is flowing : this is a representation of the rock of the 
Acropolis of Corinth ; the female figure is a statue of Aphro- 
dite, whose temple surmounted the rock. The stream is the 
fountain Pirene. The two recumbent figures are impersona- 
tions of the two harbors, Lechreum and Cenchreia, between 
which Corinth was situated. Philostratus (Icon, ii., c. 16) de- 
scribes a similar picture of the Isthmus between the two harbors, 
one of which was in the form of a youth, the other of a nymph. 

On another coin of Corinth we have one of the harbors in a 
semicircular form, the whole arc being marked with small 
equal divisions, to denote the archways under which the an- 
cient galleys were drawn, subductce ; at the either horn or ex- 
tremity of the harbor is a temple ; in the centre of the mouth, 
a statue of Neptune. (Millingen, Medailles Ined., PL II., No. 
19. Compare also Millingen, Ancient Coins of Cities and 
Kings, 1831, pp. 50—61, PL IV., No. 15 ; Mionnet, Suppl. 
vii. p. 79, No. 246 ; and the harbor of Ostium, on the large 
brass coins of Nero, in which there is a representation of the 
Roman fleet and a reclining figure of Neptune.) 

In vase pictures we have occasionally an attempt to represent 
water naturally. On a vase in the British Museum (No. 785), 
of which the subject is Ulysses and the Sirens, the Sea is ren- 
dered by wavy lines drawn in black on a red ground, and 
something like the effect of light playing on the surface of the 
water is given. On each side of the ship are shapeless masses 
of rock on which the Sirens stand. 

One of the most beautiful of the figurative representations 
of the sea is the well-known type of Scylla. She has a beau- 
tiful body, terminating in two barking dogs and two serpent 
tails. Sometimes drowning men, the rari nantes in gurgite 
vado, appear caught up in the coils of these tails. Below are 
dolphins. Scylla generally brandishes a rudder to show the 
manner in which she twists the course of ships. For varieties 
of her type see Monum. dell' Inst. Archeol. Rom., iii. Taw. 

The representations of fresh water may be arranged under 
the following heads — rivers, lakes, fountains. 


There are several figurative modes of representing rivers 
very frequently employed in ancient mythograpky. 

In the type which occurs earliest we have the human form 
combined with that of the bull in several ways. On an archaia 
coin of Metapontum in Lucania, (see frontispiece to Millingen, 
Ancient Coins of Greek Cities and Kings,) the river Achelous 
is represented with the figure of a man with a shaggy beard 
and bull's horns and ears. On a vase of the best period of 
Greek art (Brit. Mus. No. 789 ; Birch, Trans. Bo} r . Soc. of 
Lit,, New Series, Lond. 1843, i. p. 100) the same river is rep- 
resented with a satyr's head and long bull's horns on the fore- 
head ; his form, human to the waist, terminates in a fish's tail ; 
his hair falls down his back ; his beard is long and shaggy. 
In this type we see a combination of the three forms sepa- 
rately enumerated by Sophocles, in the commencement of the 

A^eXwov Xiyoi, 
os jx iv Tptaiv /JLopcpaxcnv k^rjTU 7rarp6s, 
tfiOLTuiV ivapyrjs avpos aAAor' aioAos, 
opa.K0)V eAiKTos, oAAot avopeao kvtgl 
(SovTrpwpos, ii< 8c SacrKLOv y€vetdSo<s 
Kpovvol SitppalvovTO Kprjvaiov ttotov. 

In a third variety of this type the human- headed body is 
united at the waist with the shoulders of a bull's body, in 
which it terminates. This occurs on an early vase. (Brit. 
Mus., No. 452.) On the coins of CEniadse in Acarnia, and on 
those of Ambracia, all of the period after Alexander the Great, 
the Achelous has a bull's body, and head with a human face. 
In this variety of the type the human element is almost ab« 
sorbed, as in the first variety cited above, the coin of Meta 
pontum, the bull portion of the type is only indicated by the 
addition of the horns and ears to the human head. On the 
analogy between these varieties in the type of the Achelous and 
those under which the metamorphoses of the marine goddess 
Thetis are represented, see Gerhard, Auserl Vasenb. ii. pp, 
106 — 113. . It is probable that, in the type of Thetis, of Pro- 
teus, and also of the Achelous, the singular combinations and 


transformations are intended to express the changeful nat- 
ure of the element water. 

Numerous other examples may be cited, where rivers are 
represented by this combination of the bull and human form, 
which may be called, for convenience, the Androtauric type. 
On the coins of Sicily, of the archaic and also of the finest 
period of art, rivers are most usually represented by a youth- 
ful male figure, with small budding horns ; the hair has the 
lank and matted form which characterises aquatic deities in 
Greek mythography. The name of the river is often inscribed 
round the head. When the whole figure occurs on the coin, 
it is always represented standing, never reclining. 

The type of the bull on the coins of Sybaris and Thurium, 
in Magna Grsecia, has been considered, with great probability, 
a representation of this kind. On the coins of Sybaris, which 
are of a very early period, the head of the bull is turned 
round ; on those of Thurium, he stoops his head, butting : 
the first of these actions has been thought to symbolise the 
winding course of the river, the second, its headlong current. 
On the coins of Thurium, the idea of water is further sug- 
gested by the adj unct of dolphins and other fish in the ex- 
emue of the coin. The ground on which the bull stands is 
indicated by herbage or pebbles. This probably represents 
the river bank. Two bulls' head occur on the coins of Sardis, 
and it has been ingeniously conjectured by Mr. Burgon that 
the two rivers of the place are expressed under this type. 

The representation of river-gods as human figures in a re^ 
dining position, though probably not so much employed in 
earlier Greek art as the Androtauric type, is very much more 
.familiar to us, from its subsequent adoption in Eoman my- 
thography. The earliest example we have of a reclining river- 
god is in the figure in the Elgin Koom commonly called the 
Ilissus, but more probably the Cephissus. This occupied one 
angle in the western pediment of the Parthenon ; the other 
Athenian river, the Ilissus, and the fountain Callirrhoe being 
represented by a male and female figure in the opposite angle ; 
this group, now destroyed, is visible in the drawing made by 
Carrey in 1678. 


It is probable that the necessities of pedimental composi 
tion first led the artist to place the river-god in a reclining 
position. The head of the Ilissus being broken off, we are 
not sure whether he had bull's horns, like the Sicilian figures, 
already described. His form is youthful, in the folds of the 
drapery behind him there is a flow like that of waves, but the 
idea of water is not suggested by any other symbol. When 
we compare this figure with that of the Nile (Visconti, Mus. 
Pio Clem., i., PL 38), and the figure of the Tiber in the 
Louvre, both of which are of the Roman period, we see how 
in these later types the artist multiplied symbols and acces- 
sories, ingrafting them on the original simple type of the 
river-god, as it was conceived by Phidias in the figure of the 
Ilissus. The Nile is represented as a colossal bearded figure 
reclining. At his side is a cornucopia, full of the vegetable 
produce of the Egyptian soil. Round his body are sixteen 
naked boys, who represent the sixteen cubits, the height to 
which the river rose in a favorable year. The statue is placed 
on a basement divided into three compartments, one above 
another. In the uppermost of these, waves are flowing over 
in one great sheet from the side of the river-god. In the 
other two compartments are the animals and plants of the 
river ; the bas-reliefs on this basement are, in fact, a kind of 
abbreviated symbolic panorama of the Nile. 

The Tiber is represented in a very similar manner. On the 
base are, in two compartments, scenes taken from the early 
Roman myths ; flocks, herds, and other objects on the banks 
of the river. (Visconti, Mus. P. CI. i., PL 39 ; Millin, Galerie 
MythoL, i. p. 77, PL 74, Nos. 304, 308.) 

In the types of the Greek coins of Camarina, we find two 
interesting representations of Lakes. On the obverse of one 
of these we have, within a circle of the wave pattern, a male 
head, full face, with dishevelled hair, and with a dolphin on 
either side ; on the reverse a female figure sailing on a swan, 
below which a wave moulding, and above, a dolphin. 

On another coin the swan type of the reverse is associated 
with the youthful head of a river-god, inscribed "Hipparis" 
on the obverse. On some smaller coins we have the swar 


flying over the rippling waves, which are represented by the 
wave moulding. When we examine the chart of Sicily, made 
by the Admiralty survey, we find marked down at Camarina, 
a lake through which the river Hipparis flows. 

We can hardly doubt that the inhabitants of Camarina rep- 
resented both their river and their lakes on their coins. The 
swan flying over the waves would represent a lake ; the figure 
associated with it being no doubt the Aphrodite worshipped 
at that place : the head, in a circle of wave pattern, may ex- 
press that part of the river which flows through the lake. 

Fountains are usually represented by a stream of water issu- 
ing from a lion's head in the rock : see a vase (Gerhard, Auserl. 
Vasenb., taf. cxxxiv.), Avhere Hercules stands, receiving a 
shower-bath from a hot spring at Thermse in Sicily. On the 
coins of Syracuse the fountain Arethusa is represented by a 
female head seen to the front ; the flowing lines of her dishev- 
elled hair suggest, though they do not directly imitate, the 
bubbling action of the fresh-water spring ; the sea in which 
it rises is symbolized by the dolphins round the head. This 
type presents a striking analogy with that of the Camarina head 
in the circle of wave pattern described above. 

These are the principal modes of representing water in Greek 
mythography. In the art of the Roman period, the same kind 
of figurative and symbolic language is employed, but there is 
a constant tendency to multiply accessories and details, as we 
have shown in the later representations of harbors and river- 
gods cited above. In these crowded compositions the eye is 
fatigued and distracted by the quantity it has to examine ; the 
language of art becomes more copious but less terse and em- 
phatic, and addresses itself to minds far less intelligent than 
the refined critics who were the contemporaries of Phidias. 

Rivers in Roman art are usually represented by reclining 
male figures, generally bearded, holding reeds or other plants 
in their hands, and leaning on urns from which water is flow- 
ing. On the coins of many Syrian cities, struck in imperial 
times, the city is represented by a turreted female figure seated 
on rocks, and resting her feet on the shoulder of a youthful 
male figure, who looks up in her face, stretching out his arms, 


and who is sunk in the ground as high as the waist. See 
Muller (Denkmaler d. A. Kunst, i., taf. 49, No 220) for a group 
of this kind in the Vatican, and several similar designs on 

On the column of Trajan there occur many rude representa- 
tions of the Danube, and other rivers crossed by the Romans 
in their military expeditions. The water is imitated by sculpt- 
ured wavy lines, in which boats are placed. In one scene 
(Bartoli, Colonna Trajana, Tav. 4) this rude conventional imi- 
tation is combined with a figure. In a recess in the river 
bank is a reclining river- god, terminating at the w T aist. This 
is either meant for a statue which was really placed on the 
bank of the river, and which therefore marks some particular 
locality, or we have here figurative representation blended 
with conventional imitation. 

On the column of Antoninus (Bartoli, Colon. Anton., Tav. 
15) a storm of rain is represented by the head of Jupiter Plu- 
vius, who has a vast outspread beard flowing in long tresses. 
In the Townley collection, in the British Museum, is a Roman 
helmet found at Ribchester in Lancashire, with a mask or vizor 
attached. The helmet is richly embossed with figures in a 
battle scene ; round the brow is a row of turrets ; the hair on 
the forehead is so treated as to give the idea of waves washing 
the base of the turrets. This head is perhaps a figurative rep- 
resentation of a town girt with fortifications and a moat, near 
which some great battle was fought. It is engraved (Vetusta 
Monum. of Soc. Ant. London, iv., PI. 1-4). 

In the Galeria at Florence is a group in alto relievo (Gori, 
Inscript. Ant. Flor. 1727, p. 76. Tab. 14) of three female 
figures, one of whom is certainly Demeter Kourotrophos, or 
the earth ; another, Thetis, or the sea ; the centre of the three 
seems to represent Aphrodite associated, as on the coins of 
Camarina, with the element of fresh water. 

This figure is seated on a swan, and holds over her head an 
arched veil. Her hair is bound with reeds ; above her veil 
grows a tall water plant, and below the swan other watei' 
plants, and a stork seated on a hydria, or pitcher, from which 
water is flowing. The swan, the stork, the water plants, ana 

APPENDIX. 425 , 

the hydria must all be regarded as symbols of fresh water, the 
latter emblem being introduced to show that the element is 

fit for the use of man. 

Fountains in Koman art are generally personified as figures 
of nymphs reclining with urns, or standing holding before 

them a large shell. 

One of the latest representations of water in ancient art is 
the mosaic of Palestrina (Barthelemy, in Bartoli, Peint. An- 
tiques) which may be described as a kind of rude panorama 
of some district of Upper Egypt, a bird's-eye view, half man, 
half picture, in which the details are neither adjusted to a 
scale, nor drawn according to perspective, but crowded to- 
gether, as they would be in an ancient bas-relief. 


I do not mean what I have here said of the Inventive power 
of the Arab to be understood as in the least applying to the 
detestable ornamentation of the Alhambra.* The Alhambra 
is no more characteristic of Arab work, than Milan Cathedral 
is of Gothic : it is a late building, a work of the Spanish dy- 
nasty in its last decline, and its ornamentation is fit for noth- 
ing kit to be transferred to patterns of carpets or bindings ot 
bo°oks, together with their marbling, and mottling, and other 
mechanical recommendations. The Alhambra ornament has 
of late been largely used in shop-fronts, to the no small detri- 
ment of Regent Street and Oxford Street. 


Let B A C, Fig. LXXH, be the original angle of the wall. 
Inscribe within it a circle, p Q Np, of the size of the bead 
required, touching A B, A C, in p, p ; join p, p, and draw B C 
parallel to it, touching the circle. 

Then the lines B C, p p are the limits of the possible cham- 
fers constructed with curves struck either from centre A, as 

* I have not seen the building itself, but Mr. Owen Jones's work may 
I suppose, be considered as sufficiently representing it for all purposes 
of criticism. 



the line Q q, N d, r u, g c, &c, or from any other point chosen 
as a centre in the direction Q A produced : and also of all 
chamfers in straight lines, a b, ef. There are, of course, an 
infinite number of chamfers to be struck between B C andpp, 
from every point in Q A produced to infinity ; thus we have 
infinity multiplied into infinity to express the number of pos- 
sible chamfers of this species, which are peculiarly Italian 
chamfers ; together with another singly infinite group of the 
straight chamfers, a b, ef &c, of which the one formed by 

the line a b, passing through the centre of the circle, is the 
universal early Gothic chamfer of Venice. 

Again. Either on the line A C, or on any other lines A I or 
A m, radiating from A, any number of centres may be taken, 
from which, with any radii not greater than the distance be- 
tween such points and Q, an infinite number of curves may be 
struck, such as t u, r s, N n (all which are here struck from 
centres on the line A C). These lines represent the greai 


class of the northern chamfers, of which the number is infinity 
raised to its fourth power, but of which the curve N n (for 
northern) represents the average condition ; the shallower 
chamfers of the same group, r s, t u, &c, occurring often in 
Italy. The lines r u, t u, and a b may be taken approximat- 
ing to the most frequent conditions of the southern chamfer. 
It is evident that the chords of any of these curves will give 
a relative group of rectilinear chamfers, occurring both in the 
North and South ; but the rectilinear chamfers, I think, invari- 
ably fall within the line Q C, and are either parallel with it, 
or inclined to A C at an angle greater than ACQ, and often 
perpendicular to it ; but never inclined to it at an angle less 
than ACQ. 


The following extract from my note-book refers also to some 
features of late decoration .of shafts. 

" The Scuola di San Kocco is one of the most interesting- 
examples of Renaissance work in Venice. Its fluted pillars 
are surrounded each by a wreath, one of vine, another of lau- 
rel, another of oak, not indeed arranged with the fantasticism 
of early Gothic ; but, especially the laurel, reminding one 
strongly of the laurel sprays, powerful as well as beautiful, of 
Veronese and Tintoret. Their stems are curiously and richly 
interlaced— the last vestige of the Byzantine wreathed work 
— and the vine-leaves are ribbed on the surfaces, I think, 
nearly as finely as those of the Noah,* though more injured 
by time. The capitals are far the richest Renaissance in Ven« 
ice, less corrupt and more masculine in plan, than any other, 
and truly suggestive of support, though of course showing the 
tendency to error in this respect ; and finally, at the angles 
of the pure Attic bases, on the square plinth, are set couch- 
ant animals ; one, an elephant four inches high, very curiously 
and cleverly cut, and all these details worked with a spirit, 
finish, fancy, and affection quite worthy of the middle ages. 

* The sculpture of the Drunkenness of Noah on the Ducal Palace, of 
which we shall have much to say hereafter. 


But they have all the marked fault of being utterly detached 
from the architecture. The wreaths round the columns look as 
if they would drop off the next moment, and the animals at 
the bases produce exactly the effect of mice who had got there 
by accident : one feels them ridiculously diminutive, and 
utterly useless." 

The effect of diminutiveness is, I think, chiefly owing to 
there being no other groups of figures near them, to accustom 
the eye to the proportion, and to the needless choice of the 
largest animals, elephants, bears, and lions, to occupy a posi- 
tion so completely insignificant, and to be expressed on so 
contemptible a scale, — not in a bas-relief or pictorial piece of 
sculpture, but as independent figures. The whole building 
is a most curious illustration of the appointed fate of the Ke- 
naissance architects, — to caricature whatever they imitated, 
and misapply whatever they learned. 


I have spoken above (Appendix 12) of the way in which the 
Roman Catholic priests everywhere suffer their churches to be 
desecrated. But the worst instances I ever saw of sacrilege 
and brutality, daily permitted in the face of all men, were the 
uses to which the noble base of St. Mark's was put, when I 
was last in Venice. Portions of nearly all cathedrals may be 
found abandoned to neglect ; but this base of St. Mark's is in 
no obscure position. Full fronting the western sun — crossing 
the whole breadth of St. Mark's Place— the termination of the 
most noble square in the world — the centre of the most noble 
city — its purple marbles were, in the winter of 1849, the cus- 
tomary gambling tables of the idle children of Venice ; and 
the parts which flank the Great Entrance, that very entrance 
where " Barbarossa flung his mantle off," were the counters 
of a common bazaar for children's toys, carts, dolls, and small 
pewter spoons and dishes, German caricatures and books of 
the Opera, mixed with those of the offices of religion ; the 
caricatures being fastened with twine round the porphyry 
shafts of the church. One Sunday, the 24th of February, 


1850, the book-stall being somewhat more richly laid out than 
usual, I noted down the titles of a few of the books in the 
order in which they lay, and I give them below. The irony 
conveyed by the juxtaposition of the three in Italics appears 
too shrewd to be accidental ; but the fact w T as actually so. 

Along the edge of the white plinth were a row of two kinds 
Df books, 

Officium Beatse Virg. M. ; and Officium Hebdomads 
sanctse, juxta Formam Missalis et Breviarii Eomani 
sub Urbano VIII. correcti. 
Behind these lay, side by side, the following : 

Don Desiderio. Dramma Giocoso per Musica. 
Breve Esposizione della Carattere di vera Religione. 
On the top of this latter, keeping its leaves open, 

La Figlia del Reggimento. Melodramma comica. 
Carteggio di Madama la Marclxem di Pompadour, ossia 

raccolta di Lettere scritte della 31edesima. 
htruzioni di morale Condotta per le Figlie. 
Francesca di Rimini. Dramma per Musica. 
Then, a little farther on, after a mass of plays : — 

Orazioni a Gesu Nazareno e a Maria addolorata. 
Semiramide ; Melodramma tragico da rappresen tarsi 

nel Gran Teatro il Fenice. 
Modo di orare per l'Acquisto del S. Giubileo, conce- 
duto a tutto il Mondo Cattolico da S. S. Gregorio 
Le due illustre Rivali, Melodramma in Tre Atti, da 

rappresent arsi nel nuovo Gran Teatro il Fenice. 
II Cristiano secondo il Cuore di Gesu, per la Pratica 

delle sue Virtu. 
Traduzione del' Idioma Italiana. 
La chiava Chinese ; Commedia del Sig. Abate Pietro 

La Pelarina ; Intermezzo de Tre Parti per Musica. 
II Cavaliero e la Dama ; Commedia in Tre Atti in 
I leave these facts without comment. But this being the 
last piece of Appendix I have to add to the present volume, I 


would desire to close its pages with a question to my readers 
— a statistical question, which, I doubt not, is being accurately 
determined for us all elsewhere, and which, therefore, it seems 
to me, our time would not be wasted in determining for our- 

There has now been peace between England and the conti 
nental powers about thirty-five years, and during that period 
the English have visited the continent at the rate of many 
thousands a year, staying there, I suppose, on the average, 
each two or three months ; nor these an inferior kind of En""- 
lish, but the kind which ought to be the best — the noblest 
born, the best taught, the richest in time and monev, having 
more leisure, knowledge, and power than any other portion of 
the nation. These, we might suppose, beholding, as they 
travelled, the condition of the states in which the Papal relig- 
ion is professed, and being, at the same time, the most en- 
lightened section of a great Protestant nation, would have 
been animated with some desire to dissipate the Komanisfc 
errors, and to communicate to others the better knowledge 
which they possessed themselves. I doubt not but that He 
who gave peace upon the earth, and gave it by the hand of 
England, expected this much of her, and has watched every- 
one of the millions of her travellers as they crossed the sea, 
and kept count for him of his travelling expenses, and of their 
distribution, in a manner of which neither the traveller nor his 
courier were at all informed. I doubt not, I say, but that 
such accounts have been literally kept for all of us, and that a 
day will come when they will be made clearly legible to us, 
and when we shall see added together, on one side of the ac- 
count book, a great sum, the certain portion, whatever it may 
be, of this thirty-five years' spendings of the rich English, ac- 
counted for in this manner : — 

To wooden spoons, nut-crackers, and jewellery, bought at 
Geneva, and elsewhere among the Alps, so much ; to shell 
cameos and bits of mosaic bought at Rome, so much ; to coral 
horns and lava brooches bought at Naples, so much ; to glass 
beads at Venice, and gold filigree at Genoa, so much ; to pict- 
ures, and statues, and ornaments, everywhere, so much ; to 


avant-couriers and extra post-horses, for show and magnifi- 
cence, so much ; to great entertainments and good places for 
seeing sights, so much ; to ball-dresses and general vanities, 
so much. This, I say, will be the sum on one side of the 
book ; and on the other will be written, 

To the struggling Protestant Churches of France, Switzer- 
land, and Piedmont, so much. 

Had we not better do this piece of statistics for ourselves 
m time ? 




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