« הקודםהמשך »
these two incompatibles: how otherwise should it happen, that of the endless variety of private dwelling-houses, there is not one to be found, that is generally agreed upon as a good pattern? The unwearied propensity to make a house regular as well as convenient, forces the architect, in some articles, to sacrifice convenience to regularity, and in others, regularity to convenience; and accordingly the house, which turns out neither regular nor convenient, never fails to displease: the faults are obvious, and the difficulty of doing better is known to the artilt only *.
Nothing can be more evident, than that the form of a dwelling-house ought to be suited to the climate; and yet no error is more common, than to copy in Britain the form of Italian houses; not forgetting even those parts that are purposely contrived for air, and for excluding the sun. I shall give one or two instances. A colonnade along the front of a building, hath a fine eflect in Greece and Italy', by producing coolness and obscurity, agreeable properties in warm and luminous climates: but the cold climate of Britain is altogether averse to this ornament; and, therefore, a colonnade can never be proper in this country, unless for/a portico, or to communicate with a detached building. Again, a logio ,
* "Jlouses are built to live in, and not to look on. Thews' foce let use be preferred before uniformity, except where bod) t( rnay be had," Lo. Vcrulam, ejsay 4$.
opening the house to the north, contrived in Italy for gathering cool air, is, if possible, still more improper for this climate: scarce endurable in summer, it, in winter, exposes the house to the bitter blasts of the north, and to every Ihower of snow and rairt.
Having said what appeared neceflary upon relative beauty, the next step is, to view architecture as one of the fine arts; which will lead us to the examination of such buildings, and parts of buildings, as are calculated solely to please the eye. In the works of Natufe, rich arid magnificent, variety prevails: the timid hand of Art is guided by rule and compass. Hence it is, that in such works of Art as imitate Nature, the great art is, to hide every appearance of art; which is done by avoiding regularity, and indulging variety : but in works of art that are original, and not imitative, such as architecture, strict regularity and uniformity ought to be studied so far as consistent with utility.
Proportion is not less agreeable than regularity and uniformity; and therefore in buildings intended to please the eye, they are all equally essential. By many writers it is taken for granted, that in all the parts of a building,, there are certain strict proportions which please the eye ; precisely as in found there are certain strict proportions which please the ear; and that in both the. ilightest deviation is equally disagreeable. Others again seem to relish more a comparison be
F f 3. tween tween proportion in numbers and proportion in quantity; and hold that the fame proportions are agreeable in both. The proportions, for example, of the numbers 16, 24, and 36, are agreeable; and so, say they, are the proportions of a room, the height of which is 16 feet, the breadth 24, and the length 36. This point, being both curious and useful, will be examined by the reader with attention and impartiality. To refute the notion of a resemblance between musical proportions and those of architecture, it might be sufficient to observe in general, that the one is addressed to the ear, the other to the eye; and that objects of different fenses have no resemblance, nor indeed any relation to each other. But more particularly, what pleases the ear in harmony, is not the proportion of the strings of the instrument, but of the sounds that these strings produce: in architecture, on the contrary, it is the proportion of different quantities that pleases the eye, without the least relation to found. Beside, were quantity here to be the sole ground of comparison, we have no reason to presume, that there is any natural analogy between the proportions that please in a building, and the proportions of strings that produce concordant sounds. Let us take for example an octave, the most complete of all concords: this concord is produced by two strings of the fame tension and diameter, and as to length in the proportion of one to two; and I know not that this
proportion will be agreeable in any two parts of a building. I add, that concordant notes are produced by wind-instruments, which, as to proportion, appear not to have even the slightest resemblance to a building.
With respect to the other notion, instituting a comparison between proportion in numbers and proportion in quantity, I urge, that number and quantity are so distinct from each other, as to afford no probability of any natural relation between them. Quantity is a real quality of every body; number is not a real quality, but merely an idea that arises upon viewing a plurality of things in succession. An arithmetical proportion is agreeable in numbers; but have we from this any reason to conclude that it must also be agreeable in quantity I At this rate, a geometrical proportion, and many others, ought also to be agreeable in both. A certain proportion may coincide in both; and among an endlels variety of proportions, it would be wonderful, if there never should be a coincidence; one example is given of this coincidence, in the numbers 16, 24, and 36; but to be convinced that it is merely accidental, we need but reflect, that the fame proportions are not applicable to the external figure of a house, and far less to a column.
That we are framed by nature to relish propor*
tionas well as regularity, is indisputable; but
that agreeable proportion, like concord in sounds, is confined to certain precise measures, is not warranted by experience: on the contrary, we learn from experience, that various proportions are equally agreeable; that proportion admits more and less; and that we are not sensible of dispropoi tion till the difference between the quantities comprred become the most striking circumstance. Columns evidently admit different proportions, equally agreeable ; and so do houses, rooms, and other parts of a building. This opens an interesting reflection; which is, That the foregoing difference between concord and proportion, is an additional instance of that admirable harmony which subsists among the several branches of the human frame: the ear is an accurate judge of sounds, and of their smallest differences; and that concord in sounds should be regulated by accurate measures, is perfectly well suited to this accuracy of perception: the eye is more uncertain about the size^ of a large object, than of one that is small; and in different situations the fame object appears of diflerent sizes. Delicacy of feeling therefore with respect to proportion in quantities, would be an useless qualify; and it is much better ordered, that there ihould be such a latitude with respect to agreeable proportions, as to correspond to the uncertainty of the eye with respect to quantity.