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1028

PRACTICE
OF
ARCHITECTURE.
Book III.
^^^^^^:?^^WB^^^|^
Westminster Alley,
commenced
in the
year 1245, Is in that style which for many years
prcvailci in Fiance t the fine
church nt St. Dcnys, near Pans, is exactly similar m all its
detail. The
windows are wide,
divided by
miilhons,
and have their heads filled in with plain
circles, the
orij^in of the cusp, or that kind of decoration
which
every pointed arch afterwards
received.
This style,
which succeeded the Lancet,
is found
throughout
England, and many oi the
parish churches
exhibit
fine' exami)les
of it.
Stone
Church, in Kent, of
which the writer has
published an account,
may he
cited as one of the best ; its
ornament
shows the
skill and taste that
prevailed
amodig the free-
masons at that period.
Salisbury,
Wells, and York
Cathedrals abound
with rich foliage and
sculptures
of the highest merit executed at the same time, and
it is wonderful to observe to what a state of perfec-
tion the artists of this country had
arrived. The
eflects of the chisel of the Pisan school were dis-
played upon marble, but our sculptors
worked upon
an inferior
material; yet the draperies of their
figures, as seen in the front at Wells, and else-
wfiere, are quite equal to those wrought by
the pupils of Italian masters at the same time.
The circle and its intersections at this period were
alone employed for the plans of piers, sections of
mouldings, and the filling in of windows and
doorways: from them we trace the origin of the
stvlo which immediately succeeded.
The cathedrals of Cologne, Amiens, Beauvais, the
Sainte Chapelle at Paris, and numerous other ex-
amples on the continent, exhibit the same propor-
tions and style with that of Westminster
;
the lofty
pointed arches, which rest upon the main cluster, are
decorated with numerous small mouldings
;
the tri-
formm, in some instances glazed, have their pointed
arches filled in with trefoils, cinquefoils, or sexfoils,
and the clerestory, carried up to the very apex of
the vaulting, is similarly adorned. Westminster
Abbey is one of the finest examples of building
executed in the thirteenth century.
Tr.ictri/ anil Gcumtfric Forms To comprehend
thoroughly the principles which directed the free-
masons of the middle ages in the execution of
all tiieir works would require far greater illustra-
tion than can be bestowed upon the subject ia
the present volume : it must be sufficient if we
point out a few which influenced the design of
some of their l)est exam])les, and show that it is a
perfectly erroneous opinion to suppose they were
executed without a thorough knowledge of certain
rules, originating with themselves, and perfected by
a constant study of what was not only useful, but
productive of the best eflfect. Those who inquire
into this subject must collect the data upon wliich
an opinion can be formed, for it is scarcely possible,
without positive measurement, to arrive at any con-
clusion upon the matter: the admirer of the Greek,
or the commentator upon Vitruvius, alone can
scarcely hope to be successful : it is true that in
one of the early printed Italian editions of the
v,dual)le author quoted, there are several dia-
grams which seem to point to the subject, but
the student will find only the nucleus around
which thrt lovers of geometry in the middle ages
arran.i^ed their varying and beautiful forms
;
this
Fig. t278,
WESTMINSTEn
ABBEY.
is the equilateral triangle, and by
inclosing the plan, section, or elevation of a building within '.t, the several proportions
can be accurately measured, and if sub -divided into a number, either of the
triangles
would sliow the proportion it bore to the whole area.