Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/522

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watering-places owe their attractions to similar considerations, as we can see when we examine the igneous masses of the Scotch Highlands, which form the chief heights of the Grampians; or when we remember that the self-same Cambrian rocks recur in the loveliest part of North Wales and in the Westmoreland lake district. So too in Devonshire, the regular tourist tract from Ilfracombe to Lynton and Lynmouth lies through the wild Devonian strata, which, interspersed with granite, once more reappear on the other tourist coast-line from Torquay to Land's End. Those who admire Ramsgate and Margate, with their bare, treeless downs and white chalk-cliffs, may also content themselves with the similar scenery of Dover, Folkstone, Eastbourne, or Brighton; but a different type of mind will prefer the wooded vales of Hastings, where the Weald comes down with its pleasant broken country to the seashore.

One last word may be given to the influence of geology upon art. We can hardly deny that the whole æsthetic development of Egypt must have been largely affected by its alternation between solid granite and the mud of the Nile. So, too, the Parthenon and the Apollo must have owed much to the marble of Paros and Pentelicus. China has doubtless been greatly influenced by the presence of kaolin clay. In Assyria, brick necessarily formed the chief building material; and in Upper India the monasteries and stupas of the Buddhist Emperor Asoka are still recognized by their huge, sun-dried bricks. Chryselephantine art could never alone produce high results; marble and alabaster would naturally yield far more elevated works. In Britain we may look for similar effects of the geological environment.

As early as the age when Stonehenge was piled up, building-stone was selected for special purposes, since the outer circle of that prehistoric monument consists of the Sarcen bowlders of the neighboring plain; but the inner pillars are of diabase, and have been brought from some unknown distance. During the middle ages Caen stone was frequently imported for building churches or other important architectural works. Before the Norman Conquest, however, most English buildings were of wood, so that, "to timber a minster," not to build a church, is the good early English expression of the chronicle. In chalk districts, at a later date, broken flints were often employed, and they give a mean appearance to the abbey ruins and churches at Reading, as well as to most of the older edifices at Brighton. Oxford, however, on the Oölite, is happily built of good native or imported stone. In modern times, London, standing in the midst of the brick-earth, has fallen a victim to the miseries of stucco,[1] until the Queen Anne revivalists have endeavored to restore an honest red brick; whereas Edinburgh, surrounded by excellent building-stone, has been able to do justice to its magnificent natural situation, and

  1. Parker's cement, manufactured from the septaria of the London clay, is answerable for the outer coating of our West-end houses.