The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment I. On Rural Architecture.

Styles for rural architecture

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NOTWITHSTANDING the numerous volumes on Grecian architecture, from the days of Vitruvius to the present time, to which may be added all that have appeared within the last century on the subject of Gothic antiquities, little or no notice has been taken of the relative effects of the two styles, compared with each other; nor even of those leading principles by which they are to be distinguished, characterized, and appropriated to the scenery of nature. It would seem as if the whole science of Grecian architecture consisted in the five orders of columns, and that of Gothic, in pointed arches and notched battlements. To explain this subject more clearly, and bring it before the eye more distinctly, I will refer to the following plates [figs. 153 and 154], containing three different characters of elevations, supposing each made applicable to a house of moderate size, not exceeding a front of sixty feet, consisting of three stories, with five windows in a line. This is first represented quite plain, as at A; and afterwards with the surface broken by horizontal lines, as at B; and by vertical or perpendicular lines, as at c. We may observe, that, without introducing any order of columns, or any pointed arches, the eye seems at once to class the former with the Grecian, and the latter with the Gothic character; and this is the consequence merely of the contrasted horizontal and perpendicular lines. Let us now proceed one step farther: we must suppose the same building to be taken from the hands of the mere joiner and house carpenter, and committed to the architect to be finished, either in the Grecian, or the Gothic style. For the former, recourse is had to the best specimens and proportions of columns, pilasters, entablatures, pediments, &c., represented in books of architecture, or copied from remains of ancient fragments in Greece, or Italy: but, unfortunately, these all relate to temples or public edifices, and, consequently, to make the dwelling habitable in this climate, modern sash-windows must be added to these sacred forms of remote antiquity. Thus, some Grecian or Roman temple is surprised to find itself transported from the banks of the Ilissus, or the Tiber, to the shores of the Thames, or to the tame margin of a modern stagnant sheet of water.