« PreviousContinue »
of the current. Straight lines are sometimes indulged, in order to keep in view some interesting object at a distance.
Sensible of the influence of contrast, the Chinese artists deal in fudden transitions, and in opposing to each other, forms, colours, and shades. The eye is. conducted, from limited to extensive views, and from lakes and rivers to plains, hills, and woods : to dark and gloomy colours, are opposed the more brilliant : the different masses of light and shade are disposed in such a manner, as to render the composition distinct in its parts, and striking on the whole. In plantations, the trees are artfully mixed according to their shape and colour ; those of spreading branches with the pyramidal, and the light green with the deep green. They even introduce decayed trees, fome erect, and some half out of the ground. In order to heighten contrast, much bolder strokes are risked: they sometimes introduce rough rocks, dark caverns, trees ill formed, and seemingly rent by tempefts, or blasted by lightning ; a building in ruins, or half consumed by fire. But to relieve the mind from the harshness of such objects, the sweetest and most beautiful scenes always succeed.
The Chinese study to give play to the imagination: they hide the termination of their lakes ; and commonly interrupt the view of a cascade by trees, through which are seen obscurely the waters as they fall. The imagination once roused, is disposed to magnify every object.
Nothing is more studied in Chinese gardens than to raise wonder or surprise. In scenes calculated for that end, every thing appears like fairy-land ; a torrent, for example, conveyed under ground, puzzles
a stranger * Tafle has suggested to Kent the same artifice. A decayed tree placed properly, contributes to contrast ; and also in a penfive or ledare i ate of mind produces a sort of pity, grounded on an imaginary person. ification,
a stranger by its uncommon found to guess what it may be ; and to multiply such uncommon sounds, the rocks and buildings are contrived with cavlies and interstices. Sometimes one is led insensibly into a dark cavern, terminating unexpectedly in a landscape enriched with all that nature affords the most delicious. At other times, beautiful walks insensibly conduct to a rough uncultivated field, where bushes, briers, and stones interrupt the passage : looking about for an outlet, fome rich prospect unexpectedly opens to view. Another artifice is, to obscure fome capital part by trees, or other interposed objects : our curiosity is raised to know what lies beyond ; and after a few steps, we are greatly surprised with some scene totally different from what was expected.
These cursory obfervations upon gardening, shall be closed with some reflections that must touch every reader. Rough uncultivated ground, dismal to the eye, inspires peevishness and discontent : may not this be one cause of the harsh manners of savages ? A field richly ornamented, containing beautiful objects of various kinds, displays in full luftre the goodness of the Deity, and the ample provision he has made for our happiness. Ought not the spectator to be filled with gratitude to his Maker, and with benevolence to his fellow creatures ? Other fine arts may be perverted to excite irregular, and even vicious emotions : but gardening, which inspires the purest and most refined pleasures, cannot fail to promote every good affection. The gaiety and harmony of mind it produceth, inclining the spectator to communicate his satisfaction to others, and to make them happy as he is himself, tend naturally to estab* lith in him a habit of humanity and benevolence.*
It * The manufa&ures of filk, flax, and cotton, in their present advance toward perfection, may be held as inferior branches of the fine aris; because their productions in dress and in furniture inspire, like them, say and kindly emotions favourable to morality,
It is not easy to suppress a degree of enthusiasm, when we reflect on the advantages of gardening with respect to virtuous education. In the beginning of life the deepest impressions are made; and it is a fad truth, that the young itudent, familiarized to the dirtiness and disorder of many colleges pent within narrow bounds in populous cities, is rendered in a measure insensible to the elegant beauties of art and nature. Is there no man of fortune sufficiently patriotic to think of reforming this evil ? It seems to me far from an exaggeration, that good professors are not more effential to a college, than a spacious garden sweetly ornamented, but without any thing glaring or fantastic, fo as upon the whole to inípire our youth with a taste no less for fimplicity than for elegance. In that respect, the university of Oxford may justly be deemed a model.
Having finished what occurred on gardening, I proceed to rules and obfervations that more peculiarly concern architecture. Architecture, being an useful as well as a fine art, leads us to distinguish buildings and parts of buildings into three kinds, namely, what are intended for utility solely, what for ornament solely, and what for both. Buildings intended for utility solely, such as detached offices, ought in every part to correspond precisely to that intention ; the slightest deviation from the end in view, will by every person of taste, be thought a blemish. In general, it is the perfection of every work of art, that it fulfils the purpose for which it is intended ; and every other beauty, in opposition, is improper. But in things intended for ornament, such as pillars, obelisks, triumphal arches, beauty ought alone to be regarded. A Heathen temple muit be considered as merely ornamental ; for being dedicated to some deity, and not intended for habitation, it is susceptible of any figure and any embellishment that fancy can fuggest and beauty admit. The great difficulty of contrivance, respects buildings that are intended to be useful as well as ornamental. These ends, employing different and often opposite means, are seldom united in perfection ; and the only practicable method in such buildings is, to favour ornament less or more according to the character of the building : in palaces, and other edifices sufficiently extensive
to admit a variety of useful contrivance, regularity justly takes the lead; but in dwelling-houses that are too small for variety of contrivance, utility ought to prevail, neglecting regularity as far as it stands in opposition to convenience.*
Intrinsic and relative beauty being founded on different principles, must be handled separately. I begin with relative beauty, as of the greater importance.
The proportions of a door are determined by the use to which it is destined. The door of a dwellinghouse, which ought to correspond to the human size, is contined to seven or eight feet in height, and three. or four in breadth. The proportions proper for the door of a barn or coach-house, are widely different. Another consideration enters. To study intrinsic beauty in a coach-house or barn, intended merelv for ufe, is obviously improper. But a dwelling-house may admit ornaments ; and the principal door of a palace demands all the grandeur that is consistent with the foregoing proportions dictated by utility : it ought to be clevated, and approached by steps ; and
* A building must be large to produce any sensible emotion of recularity, proportion, or beauty ; which is an additional reason for minding convenience only in a dwelling-hople of imall tize.
it may be adorned with pillars supporting an architrave, or in any other beautiful manner. The door of a church ought to be wide, in order to afford an easy passage for a multitude : the width, at the same time, regulates the height, as will appear by and by. The size of windows ought to be proportioned to that of the room they illuminate ; for if the apertures be not fufficiently large to convey light to every corner, the room is unequally lighted, which is a great deformity. The steps of a stair ought to be accommodated to the human figure, without regarding any other proportion : they are accordingly the same in large and in small buildings, because both are inhabited by men of the same size.
I proceed to consider intrinsic beauty blended with that which is relative. Though a cube in itself is more agreeable than a parallelopipedon, yet a large parallelopipedon set on its smaller base, is by its ele. vation more agreeable ; and hence the beauty of a Gothic tower. But fuppofing this figure to be destined for a dwelling-house, to make way for relative beauty, we immediately perceive that utility ought chiefly to be regarded, and that the figure, inconvenient by its height, ought to be set upon its larger base : the loftiness is gone ; but that loss is more than compensated by additional convenience ; for which reason, a figure spread more upon the ground than raised in height, is always preferred for a dwelling-house, without excepting even the most superb palace.
As to the divisions within, utility requires that the rooms be rectangular; for otherwise void spaces will be left, which are of no use. A hexagonal figure leaves no void spaces; but it determines the rooms to be all of one fize, which is inconvenient. A room of a moderate fize may be a square ; but in very large