Archaeological Journal/Volume 1/Notices of New Publications: An Analysis of Gothic Architecture

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An Analysis of Gothic Architecture, illustrated by Drawings made from actual Measurement of Existing Examples throughout England, and carefully delineated to Scale. By R. & J. A. Brandon, Architects. Nos. I. and II. London, P. Richardson. 1844.

We cannot better explain the object of this publication than by reprinting the first paragraphs of the Prospectus:—

"The want of a work on this important subject has long been felt by the profession. The many beautiful pictorial works that are now being published are quite inadequate to the purpose, and seem designed rather for the amateur than for the architect: it is with the view of supplying this deficiency and with the earnest hope of contributing a work of real value and interest to the libraries of scientific, professional, and practical men, that the authors have been induced to place before the public the result of deep research and study, laying claim to nothing new or unattainable by others, but merely to a careful and patient investigation of the truly beautiful remains of Gothic architecture in this country and an accurate representation thereof.

"All the different examples will be classified according to their date, and when complete the work will take that arrangement, but it is not proposed to publish them in chronological order.

"Each subject will be accompanied with plans and ample sections of the mouldings, and whenever any particularly interesting constructive feature occurs, it will be carefully drawn out to a larger scale."

The publication being intended chiefly for architects, we must not expect the plates to be made intelligible to unprofessional eyes; they are accordingly executed in such a manner, that few besides architects can enter into the spirit of them, or take much delight in beholding them. They are drawn on stone with a pen, in outline only, without any attempt at shadows or effect, but fairly done in their way, with general accuracy and attention to details, sections of mouldings, &.c. So far as the work has yet gone, we cannot say that the selection of subjects appears very judicious: it would be easy to point out finer examples of the respective styles. The use of the term Semi-Norman on the first plate is unfortunate; this term has been always repudiated by our best-informed architectural antiquaries, and the Messrs. Brandon have not shewn much discretion by commencing their work with the use of it. In this example, (a doorway from Orpington, Kent,) if the mouldings are drawn with tolerable accuracy, the style is much more Early English than Norman. Our limits forbid any detailed criticism of each plate; we can only observe that several of the specimens are not pure specimens of the styles, but partake more or less of a transition character, and therefore should not have been selected as models of the style. For instance, the distinction between the Decorated windows at Chenies and Chesham, Bucks, and the Perpendicular window at Kingsworthy, Hants, is not apparent; the designs are nearly the same, and the variation in the mouldings very trifling; neither the one nor the other is a pure specimen of either style. Still, on the whole, the work deserves to be recommended as cheap and useful.

i. h. p.