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svas the great object of the architect's study; and his best meed is our admission of being susceptible to them.
This influence over the imagination is the peculiar attribute of the style in question, and must have proved an agent of inconceivable strength in the hands of the ecclesiastics of anlettered ages. The mind can scarcely picture a more august spectacle than an edifice of this class, when the interior (on which the great efforts of the architect and sculptor were bestowed) was arranged in its full splendour by superstitious wealth :-its statues erect in canopied niches; its altars perfect; its sumptuous obrines preserved as objects of reverence and pilgrimage.
But that bright revolution in the human mind, which has wrested from these vast and intricate piles the adventitious in. fuence which they gained through the reveries of superstition, has left them in possession of a power over the fancy, only less arbitrary than that attained by such a pernicious medium. They are, indeed, calculated for religion, under all forms; and difference of opinion becomes trivial, for a time, amidst the sublimity of temples so well suited to the adoration of Omnipotence.
It is otherwise with Grecian architecture. While we admire its application to civil purposes, the heart gainsays all classical prepossession, and owns that it wants power to fix the mind in hushed solemnity, and raise the imagination for devotional purposes. Lord Orford appears to have been merely intent on producing an elegant sentence, and neglected the religious intention of such structures, when he said that “A Gothic cathedral strikes one like the enthusiasm of poetry; St. Paul's like the good sense of prose."*_Exaltation of fancy is ennobled by the sanction of correct judgment, when we yield ourselves to the dominion of the place, and forget the world in the pleasing awe inspired by the former sacred pile. For the superior effect of English architecture on the imagination, and its consequent tendency to produce elevated religious sentiments, a safe appeal
• Works of the Earl of Orford, Vol. IV, Article, Detached Thoughts.
may be made to the great and definitive criteria of merit ia such works of art; the feelings of those who enter as casual specta tors only, and depend for a frame of mind on the character of the scene which they contemplate.
Some ingenious theoretical calculations have been made, to explain the principles on which the above effects are produced, to so eminent a degree, in churches of this description. The most interesting remarks are presented by Dr. Milner.* This author reminds his reader, on the authority of Mr. Burke, that height and length are amongst the primary sources of the sub-, line; and it is well known that these are the proportions chiefly affected by the architects of ancient English structures appropriated to a religious purpose. An artificial height and leagth, are, also, produced by the peculiarities of this style; “ for the aspiring form of the pointed arches, the lofty pediments, and the tapering pinnacles with which our cathedrals are adorned, contribute, perhaps, still more to give an idea of height than their real elevation. In like manner, the perspective of uniform columns, ribs, and arches, repeated at equal distances, as they are seen in the aisles of those fabrics, produces an artificial infinite in the mind of the spectator," Ou the same principle, Dr. Milner believes the effect of cathedral buildings in this style to be greatly augmented by the variety of their constituent parts, and the progressive mauner in which these are revealed to the spectator; while all subordinate divisions converge to the choir and sanctuary, as to their centre.
* Letter from the Rev. John Milner, M. A. F. S. A. to Mr. Taylor, prefixed to Essays on Gothic Architecture, published by the latter gentleman.
+ The following observations of Sir James Hall, concerning the different degrees of distance at which structures in the Grecian and English styles may be viewed to the greatest advantage, are worthy of the reader's attention :“ In order to do justice to a building of the Grecian stylc, it is necessary to
louk at it from a moderate distance; so far off, that the whole may be taken • in at one view, and so near, as to allow all the parts to be distinctly seen.
In some hasty, but valuable, hints towards the plan of a regu-
served by the Gothic architects for what they did.” -
Such a view is the most trying for the Gothic, as in that manner the but-
rity. Ainong the manuscripts which perished on this barbarous consummation of a rational triumph, we cannot doubt but that many were on the subject of architecture, when we remember the zeal with which the art was cultivated by numerous erudite-ec clesiastics. These causes, perlaaps, sufficiently account for the loss of such documents in England. But the conventual libraries of France experienced no destructive visitation, for several ages after the history of pointed architecture attracted some euriosity. Respecting these we are told, that "in France there were accurate details of ecclesiastical architecture, in MSS. collected from conventual arebives, which have been either printed by their antiquaries, or were carefully preserved before the revolution."* No important information, however, concerning the principles of pointed architecture, is obtained from such writings as have been published by the antiquaries of that country.
Mystery, like the Gordian knot, may be severed by a bold hand when it cannot be disentangled. Unable to discover any written principles, Mr. Knight,t therefore, suggests that the architects who used the pointed style, were, in fact, not governed by any rules, or principles of ordination, but attended “ to effect only." The improbability of this conjecture, if extended to its utmost import, must be denied by all who reflect on the constituent uniformity preserved in this style, although it passed, to use the words of Sir James Hall, “ through a multitude of hands, eager to outdo their predecessors and their rivals, by the povelty, as well as by the elegance, of their compositions."!!
Even architects, while, doubtless, perplexed to meet with unfathornable obscurity, have not attempted to deny the existence of a ruling system, because it eluded their detection.—" From the observations which I have made, at various limes, on these
• Dallaway's Observations on English Architecture, p. 44.
+ Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste.
Sir James Hall on Gothic architecture, p. 107.
churches," writes Mr. Murphy, “ I am led to suppose that the general configuration, internally, was usually designed agreeable to some definite rules, or proportions, notwithstanding the component quantities were uot invariably distributed, in every edi. fice, in the same comparative degree of relation, but were modi: fied according to local circunstances, or the architect's conception of optical effects.”* .
The above remarks of Mr. Marphy may be thought to convey a fait notion of the degree of scientific restraint to which ancient architects were subject, in the use of this order. It is possible that some elucidative manuscript may yet be discovered in a foreign library; and it is imperative on the architects of the present day, since imitations of the pointed style are now so greatly encouraged, to apply themselves to an investigation of the purest models, with a view of retrieving the rules on which such buildings were constructed, and by an attention to which, alone, they can become respectable, except as mere copyists. · Some carious observations on this subject have lately been communicated to the public by Mr. Hawkins, in his “ History of the Origin of Gothic Architecture.” This writer brings forward certain particulars of information conveyed by an architect named Cæsar Cæsariamus, in notes appended to a translation of Vitruvius, printed in the year 1521. The annotator, in an endeavour to explain more fully some passages of Vitruvius, says, " that when a building is to be erected, a design or drawing of the intended edifice is to be made by measure, which is called a sketch; and that afterwards a model should be constructed, by which the principal parts of the edifice are to be regulated.” After mentioning other circumstances connected with the process, he adds "that the Germant architects pursued this method in the church of Milan, the symmetry of which is regulated by the length.”
2 I 2
• Plans, elevations, &c. of the church of Batalba, p. 17. † Pointed architecture was frequently termed German iu the 16th century