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gentleman had fallen, and proved that he had mistaken subse. quent alterations for parts of the original buildings.*
The writers who contend for the English origin of pointed ar: chitecture, and ascribe ils invention to incidental causes, spring. ing from the natural procedure of the arts, are equally numerous and respectable with those who are described above as maintaining a contrary opinion.
Mr. Bentham, intent only on the acquisition of truth, and pursuing his object with correspondent simplicity and plain sense, admits" that he has not met with any satisfactory account of the origin of pointed arches; when invented or where first taken notice of;" but adıls, that "sonie have imagined they might possibly have taken their rise from those arcades we see in the early Norman, or Saxon buildings, on walls, where the wide semi-circular arches cross and intersect each other, and form, thereby, at their intersection, exactly a narrow and sharp-pointed arch.”+
This opinion has been adopted by Dr. Milner, who has greatly enlarged upon the hiut thus afforded, and has worked it into a regular theory, which is deserving of careful attention, equally from the public notice which it has obtained, and from its intrinsic merits.
The system of Dr. Milner has appeared in various forms of publication, but is most copiously presented in the second volume of the History of Winchester, and in the work intituled A Treatise on the Ecclesiastical Architecture of England during the Middle ages.
The positions maintained by this author are as follow:
Archæol. Vol. XV. + History of Ely Cathedral.-It is observable that Sir James Hall (Essay on Gothic architecture, p. 91,) mentions Mr. Bentham as having inforined bim (Sir James) that he received this suggestion concerning the origin of pointed arches, from "Mr. Gray, the poet.”
its members and embellishments, grew, by degrees, out of the simple pointed arch, between the latter end of the 12th and the early part of the 14th centuries.
Secondly, that the pointed arch, itself, was discovered by observing the happy effect of those intersecting semi-circular arches with which the architects of the latter end of the 11th, and the beginning of the 12th centuries, were accustomed to ornament all their principal ecclesiastical edifices.
Thirdly, that we are indebted, both for the rise and the progress of pointed architecture, to our own ancestors.
Such is, in abridged terms, Dr. Miluer's own analysis of his system; but an examination of it will, perhaps, most desirably commence with a notice of his second position. He observes that one of the architectural ornaments most commonly used by the Anglo-Normans, was the arcade, or series of arches, with which some of their buildings were plentifully enriched. These arcades were diversified many ways; and one of the varieties consisted in making the semi-circular arches intersect each other in the middle. “ The part thus intersected, formed a new kind of arch, of more graceful appearance, and far better calculated to give an idea of height than the semi-circular arch: for every one must be couvinced that a pyramid, or obelisk, from its aspiring form, appears to be taller than the diameter of a semicircle, when both are of the same measure.
“The pointed arch, thus formed, appeared, at first, a mere ornament in basso relievo, but was soon to be seen in alto relievo over niches and recesses, in the inside of churches; as in the remains of the cathedral of Canterbury, and in the abbey-churches of Glastonbury and Romsey.” It is probable, as this writer believes, that the first open pointed arches, in Europe, “ were the twenty windows constructed by that great patron of architecture, Henry de Blois, in the choir of the church of St. Cross, wear Winchester ; which structure he certainly raised between the years 1132 and 1136." These consist of openings, made in the intersected parts of semi-circular arches which cross each other.
The ocular evidence of this, " taken along with the ascertained date of the work,” is (in the opinion of Dr. Milner) " a sufficient proof that to the accidental Norman ornament of intersecting arcades, we are indebted for the invention of pointed arches and pointed architecture. --As the above mentioned prelate proceeded in his building from the east, or choir, end (which, on ull such occasions, was first erected, and rendered fit for divine service) to the trausept, the tower, and the nave of the church, he made many other pointed arches, some of them obtusely, others acutely pointed.”
In the above extract is seen the opinion of Dr. Milner, as to the period at which the pointed arch was introduced to the architecture of this country. The claim which he has preferred in regard to Henry de Blois, has been disputed by several writers; but this is a subject of minor interest, and only in a slight degree implicated in that system respecting the rise of the pointed order, which is involved in a notice of his first position.
After several perusals of Dr. Milner's writings on this subject, it appears that the following condensed passages present a summary of what he advances, in support of an opinion that the whole style of pointed architecture grew by degrees out of its characteristical arch.
" It is matter of evidence that the pointed arch was used in England, a considerable time before any other member which is now considered as belonging to the pointed style."
When the Normans first used intersecting arcades, they were, probably, not aware of the happy effect produced by such an intersection, in forming the pointed arch, until De Bluis, having resolved to ornament the whole sanctuary of his church with these intersecting semicircles, after richly embellishing them with mouldings and pellet oruaments, conceived the idea of opening them, by way of windows; which at once produced a series of highly-pointed arches. “ Pleased with the effect of this first essay at the east end, we may suppose that he tried the effect of that form in various other windows and arches, which we fiud, amongst many of a sirailar date that are circular, in various parts of the same church aod tower. However that may be, and whereever the pointed arch was first produced, its gradual ascent natorally led to a long and narrow form of window and arch, instead of the broad circular ones which had hitherto obtained ; and these required that the pillars on which they rested, or which were placed at their sides, by way of ornament, should be proportionably tall and slender."
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The arches and windows being in general very varrow, at this early period of using the pointed arch, “as we see in the ruins of Hyde Abbey, built within thirty years after St, Cross; in the refeclory of Beaulieu, raised by King John; and in the inside of the lower of St. Cross; it became necessary, sometimes, to place two of these windows close to each other, which, not unfrequeutly, stood under one common arch, as may be discovered in different parts of De Lucy's work in Winchester cathedral, executed in the reign of King Jolin, and in the lower tire of the windows is the church of Netley Abbey.- This disposition of two lights, occasioning a dead space between their breads, a trefoil, or quatrefoil, one of the simplest and most ancient kind of ornainents, was introduced between them. The happy effect of this simple ornament caused the upper part of it to be introduced into the heads of the arches themselves; so that there is hardly a small arch, or the resemblance of an arch of any kind, from the days of Edward the Second, down to those of Henry the Eighth, which is not ornamented in this manner.
“ The trefoil, by an easy addition, became a ciaquefoil; and being made use of in circles and squares, produced fans and Catherine's wheels. In like manner, large east and west windows beginning to obtain about the reign of Edward the First, required that they should have numerous divisions or mullions, which, as well as the ribs and transoms of the vaulting, began to ramify into a great variety of tracery, according to the archi. tect's taste; being all of them uniformly ornamented with the trefoil, or cinquefoil, head."
From the same presumed compulsory propriety of adoption, in consequence of the use of the pointed arch, Dr. Milner accounts for the canopies which surmount exterior arches; for pinnacles; and for spires, the growth of those ornamental finishings of but. tresses.*
The opinion noticed by Bentham, and thus enlarged by Dr. Milner, is supported by Mr. Carter, as far as regards the derivation of the pointed mode from intersecting arcbes, and its English origin and growth.t
Sir Richard Hoare, also, contends for the probable truth of the same theory. In liis Essay on the Progress of Architecture, appended to the second volume of his edition of Giraldns, this writer presents engravings of subjects, calculated, as he thinks, “to confirm and elucidate the system, which, indeed, now gains ground in general belief, that the poiuted arch mode of architecture most assuredly had its first formation in our island, and from so fortunate a circumstance as the intersection of two semicircular arches.” The subjects which Sir Richard Haare has inserted in his work, are selected from St. David's cathedral.In a succeeding page be more explicitly unfolds his opinions, by laying it down as a position, “ that the pointed order had no other source than that of a regular and progressive course from one mode of design to that of another.”
Amongst those who advocate the European origin of this style may be noticed Mr. Saunders, who derives the pointed mode of building from the prior practice of vaulting; which, as he believes, in its gradual progress towards strength and beauty, innplicated the formation of pointed arches on the sides of the groined vaulting, and thereby established the principles of pointed architecture. 2 H 3
• The above is a brief compendium of the system formed by Dr. Milner; and, although it faithfully conveys liis meaning, is, from its compressed form, injurious to his elegance of diction. For intelligence more completely satisfactory, the reader is referred to the works noticed in the text.
* Ancient Architecture of England, Part I. Archaul. Vol. XVII.