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that to make the eye as delicate with respect to proportion as the ear is with respect to concord, would not only be an useless quality, but be the source of continual pain and uneasiness. 1 need go no farther for a proof than the very room I possess at present; for every step I take, varies to me, in appearance, the proportion of the length and breadth: at that rate, I Ihould not be happy but in one precise spot, where the proportion appears agreeable. Let me further observe, that it would be singular indeed, to find in the nature of man, any two principles in perpetual opposition to each other; which would precisely be the case, if proportion were circumscribed like concord; for it would exclude all but one of those proportions that utility requires in different buildings, and in dilierent parts of the fame building.
It is ludicrous to observe writers acknowledging the necessity of accurate proportions, and yet differing widely about them. Laying aside reasoning and philosophy, one fact universally agreed on ought to have undeceived them, that the same proportions which please in a model are not agreeable in a large building: a room 48 feet in length and 24 in breadth and height, is well proportioned; but a room 12 feet wide and high and 24 long, approaches to a gallery.
Perrault, in his comparison of the ancients and moderns *, is the only author who runs to the
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opposite extreme; maintaining, that the different proportions assigned to each order of columns are arbitrary, and that the beauty of these proportions is entirely the effect of custom. This bewrays ignorance of human nature, which evidently delights in proportion, as well as in regularity, oruer, and propriety. But without any acquaintance with human nature, a single reflection might have convinced him of his error; that if these proportions had not originally been agreeable, they could not have been establiihed by custom: if a thing be universal, it must be natural.
To illustrate the present point, I shall add a few examples of the agreeableness of different proportions. In a sumptuous edifice, the capital rooms ought to be large, for otherwise they will not be proportioned to the size of the building: and for the same reason, a very large room is improper in a small house. But in things thus related, the mind requires not a precise or single proportion, rejecting all others; on the contrary, many different proportions are made equally Welcome. It is only when a proportion becomes loose and distant, that the agreeableness abates, and at last vanifheth. In all buildings accordingly, we find rooms of different proportions equally agreeable, even where the proportion is not influenced by utility. With respect to the height of a room, the proportion it ought to bear to the length and breadth, is extremely arbitrary; and it cannot be otherwise, considering the uncertainty of the eye as to the height of a room, when it exceeds 17 or 18 feet. In columns again, even architects must confess, that the proportion of height and thickness varies betwixt 8 diameters and 10, and that every proportion between these two extremes is agreeable. But this is not all. There must certainly be a further variation of proportion, depending on the size of the column: a row of columns 10 feet high, and a row twice that height, require different proportions: the intercolumniations must also differ in proportion according to the height of the row.
Proportion of parts is not only itself a beauty, but is inseparably connected with a beauty of the highest relisli, that of concord or harmony; which will be plain from what follows. A room of which the parts are all finely adjusted to each other, strikes us with the beauty of proportion. It strikes us at the fame time with a plealure far superior: the length, the breauth, the height, the windows, raise each of them separately an emotion: these emotions are similar; and though faint when felt separately, they produce in conjunction the emotion of concord or harmony, which is extremely pleasant *. On the other hand, where the length of a room far exceeds the breadth, the mind comparing together parts so intimately connected, immediately perceives a disagreement or disproportion which disgusts. But this is not all: viewing them separately, different emotions are produced, that of grandeur from the great length, and that of meanness or littleness from the small breadth, which in union are disagreeable by their discordance. Hence it is, that a long gallery, however convenient for exercise? is not an agreeable figure of a room: we consider it, like a stable, as destined for use, and expect not that in any other respect it should be agreeable *.
* Chap. 2. part 4.
Regularity and proportion are essential ist buildings destined chiefly or solely to please the eye, because they are the means to produce intrinsic beauty. But a skilful artist will not confine his view to regularity and proportion: he will also study congruity, which is perceived when the form and ornaments of a structure are suited to the purpose for which it is appointed. The fense of congruity dictates the following rule, That every building ought to have an expression corresponding to its destination. A palace ought to be sumptuous and grand; a private dwelling) neat and modest; a play-house, gay and splendid;
* A covered passage connecting a winter garden with the dwelling-house, would answer the purpose of walking in bad weathar much better than a galltry. A slight roof supported by pillars would be sufficient, and the spaces between the pillars filled with evergreens, so as to exclude wind.
and and a monument, gloomy and melancholy *. A Heathen temple has a double destination: it is considered chiefly as a house dedicated to some divinity ; and in that respect it ought to b; grand, elevated, and magnificent: it is considered also as a place of worship; and in that respect it ought to be somewhat dark or gloomy, because dimness produces that tone of mind which is suited to humility and devotion. A Christian church is not considered to be a house for the Deity, but merely a place of worship: it ought therefore to be decent and plain, • without much ornament: a situation ought to be chosen, humble and retired; because the congregation, during worship, ought to be humble, and disengaged from the world. Columns, beside their chief destination of being supports, contribute to that peculiar expression which the destination of a building requires: columns of different proportions, serve to express loftiness, lightness, 6-c. as well as strength. Si^ tuation also may contribute to expression: conveniency regulates the situation of a private dwelling-house j but, as I have had occasion to ob»
• A house for the poor ought to have an appearance suited to its destination. The new hospital in Parit for foundlings, errg against this rule -, for it has more the air of a palace than of a hospital. Propriety and convenience ought to be studied in lodging the indigent; but in such houses splendor and magnificence are out of all rule. For the same reason, a naked statue or picture, scarce decent any where, is in a church intolerable.