The Seven Lamps of Architecture
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Classic work by the great Victorian expresses his deepest convictions about the nature and role of architecture and its aesthetics.
deceptive concealments of structure are to be classed, though still more blameable, deceptive assumptions of it, — the introduction of members which should have, or profess to have, a duty, and have none. One of the most general instances of this will be found in the form of the flying buttress in late Gothic. The use of that member is, of course, to convey support from one pier to another when the plan of the building renders it necessary or desirable that the supporting masses should be divided
received its last possible expansion, and when the stone-work became an arrangement of graceful and parallel lines, that arrangement, like some form in a picture, unseen and accidentally developed, struck 13 So completely was this the case, that M. Violet le Due, in his article on tracery in the “ Dictionnaire d’Architecture,” has confined his attention exclusively to the modifications of the tracery bar. The subject is examined exhaustively in my sixth lecture in “ Val d’Arno.” 78 the seven
in mechanical resource, besides interfering in many cases with the lines of the design, and delicacy of the workmanship. A very unhappy instance of such interference exists in the facade of the church of St. Madeleine at Paris, where the columns, being built of very small stones of nearly equal size with visible joints, look as if they were covered with a close trellis. So, then, that masonry will be generally the most magnificent which, without the use of materials systematically small or large,
previously formed by Lord Lindsay — and, I think, by him only; — and it remains, though entirely true, his and mine only, in written statement, though shared with us by all persons who have an eye for colour, and sympathy enough with Christianity to care for its fullest interpretation by Art only: in this sentence of mine, the bit about self-contented Greeks must be omitted. A noble Greek or St. Francis was as little content without God, as George Herbert; and a Byzantine was nothing else than a
carpet and gilded ceiling, beside a steel grate and polished fender. I do not say that such things have not their place and propriety; but I say this, 15 the lamp of sacrifice emphatically, that the tenth part of the expense which is sacrificed in domestic vanities, if not absolutely and meaninglessly lost in domestic discomforts and incumbrances, would, if collectively offered and wisely employed, build a marble church for every town in England; such a church as it should be a joy and a