Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Britton, John
The architectural antiquities of Great Britain: represented and illustrated in a series of views, elevations, plans, sections, and details, of ancient English edifices ; with historical and descriptive accounts of each (Band 5) — 1835

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tions," already referred to, censures the late writers of ' Essays and Dissertations
on the Pointed Style,' for attempting to point out the origin and invention of that
mode of architecture, without waiting for sufficient evidence on the subject; as he
thinks that the information which has been recently obtained concerning the
churches, &c. of Germany, France, and Flanders, proves that they are " at least
as magnificent as those of England." "The Gothic style," he adds, "is not of
English invention. The Pointed arch may have been brought from the East, or it
may have resulted from the intersection of two semicircular arches in some building
of Europe; both which suppositions have been supported by many arguments,
and both are involved in many difficulties : but we must now confess that speci-
mens of Pointed arches and Gothic architecture are found on the continent of as
early dates, and in as high perfection, as any we can show at home."

In some observations on the application and intent of the various styles of ar-
chitecture, made in a critique on Cottingham's " Plans, Sections, &c. of Henry
the Seventh's Chapel," in the "Quarterly Review," vol. xxvii. p. 318—336, are
the following remarks on the Pointed style. " Gothic architecture is an organic
whole bearing within it a living vegetating germ. Its parts and lines are linked
and united; they spring and grow out of each other. Its essence is the curve,
which in the physical world is the token of life, or organized matter; just as the
straight line indicates death, or inorganized matter."—"The parts of Gothic
buildings are adapted to each other, as well as to the general design. The arched
doors, and mullioned windows are essential parts ; and the spires, pinnacles, and
buttresses, serve by their weight to bind together the whole edifice."—" The history
of the style accounts for its propriety, its chiefest merit. The Gothic architecture,
whatever its primitive elements may have been, was created in the northern parts
of Europe ; it was there adapted to the wants of a more inclement sky."

Buckler, in his " Views of the Cathedral Churches of England and Wales,"
makes some remarks on Pointed architecture, but he considers the question of its
origin as involved in impenetrable obscurity. He says, " Whether England,
France, or Italy is entitled to the honour of its invention, it is not easy to deter-
mine. Our own country contains specimens, the grandeur of which are not
excelled, and very rarely indeed equalled, by any others in the world."34

34 " Buckler's "Views," &c. 1822, 4to. preface.