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Adam, Robert, 1728-1792 / The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam, Esquires
Volume I (1900)

Preface [V. Designs for the King and Queen, and the Princess Dowager of Wales, &c.]


PREFACE.
W HOEVER attempts to trace the progrefs of nations
in fcience or in tafre, will meet with fingular appea-
rances, of which it is not eafy to give any account. In Italy,
national genius awakened at once, and exerted itfelf with
vigour, in every direction. The fixteenth century is the
fplendid age of that country; and during   the courfe
of it, flourithed the great poets, hiflorians, painters, fculp-
tors, architeds, and muficians, whom the Italians fill con-
fider as the models of perfed compofition, and follow
as their maflers and guides. In England, the firft efforts
of national genius, though more circumfcribed, were not
lefs vigorous. This country can boaft of poffeffing a great
dramatic poet, long before any nation on the north fide
of the Alps had produced an author worthy of that name.
The exertions of England in the culture of fcience have
been ftill greater, and more meritorious. Bacon early
pointed out the path by which genuine philofophy fhould
advance to the difcovery of truth. By adhering to it, New-
ton penetrated into the fecrets of nature, and explained
its laws. Locke traced and developed the operations of
the human mind.
But whilft England led the way in thofe important
inveftigations, Ihe could not boaft of the fame pre-emi-
nence in the fine arts. In painting, fculpture, architedure,
and mufic, her progrefs was extremely flow; and in all of
them fhe has been far excelled by other nations of modern
Europe.
If, however, we were to diftinguith any one of thefe
arts as more cultivated and more fuccefsful in England,
we thould not hefitate to fay it was Architedure. Inigo
Jones, who had long fludied in Italy, rescued this art in a
confiderable degree from the Gothicifm of former times,
and began to introduce into his country a love of that ele-
gance and refinement which charaderife the productions
of Greece and Rome.
Inftruded and encouraged by his example, Sir Chrifto-
pher Wren became more chafte; and having the felicity to
be employed in executing the moft magnificent work of
Englifh architedure, he was enabled to difplay greater
extent of genius.
Vanburgh underflood better than   either the art of
living among the great. A commodious arrangement of
apartments was therefore his peculiar merit. But his
lively imagination fcorned the refiraint of any rule in com-
pofition; and his paffion for what was fancifully magni-
ficent, prevented him  from  difcerning what was truly
fimple, elegant, and fublime.
Campbell,
PREFACE.
Q UICONQUE effye de tracer les progr~s des na-
tions en matieres de fcience ou de gout, trouvera des
apparences fingulieres, dont il n'eft pas aif6 d'expliquer les
caufes.  En Italic, le genie national s'eft reveille tout d'un
coup, et s'eft repandu vigoureusement de tous c6tes. Le
feizieme fi~cle eft l'age brillant de cc paYs. Ce fut pendant
fon cours qu'y fleurirent les grands potes, hifloriens,
peintres, fculpteurs, architedes, et muficiens, que les Italiens
regardent comme les modeles de parfaite compofition, et
qu'ils fuivent encore comme leurs maitres et guides.  En
Angleterre, les premiers efforts de genie national, quoique
plus circonfcrits, n'en furent pas moins vigoureux.  Elle
peut fe vanter d'avoir poffede un grand pote dramatique,
long-tems avant qu'aucune autre nation au nord des Alpes
cut produit un feul auteur digne de cc nom.   Les opera-
tions de l'Angleterre dans la culture des fciences ont dtd
encore plus grandes et plus meritoires.  Bacon indiqua de
bonne heure le fentier par lequel la vraie philofophie doit
avancer vers la ddcouverte de la verit6.  En y adherent,
Newton pdnetra dans les fecrets de la nature, et expliqua
fes loix.  Locke traca et developa les operations de l'efprit
humain.
Mais pendant que l'Angleterre prenoit le devant dans
ces importantes recherches, elle ne pouvoit pas fe vanter
d'une pareille preeminence dans les beaux-arts.  Dans la
peinture, la fculpture, l'architedure, et la mufique, fes pro-
gras furent extrmement lents; et elle y a &t6 beaucoup fur-
paff6 par d'autres nations de l'Europe moderne.
Si, cependant, nous voulions diftinguer quelqu'un de
ces arts comme etant le plus cultive et le plus Hloriffant en
Angleterre, nous n'h'fiterions pas de dire que c'etoit l'ar-
chitedture. Inigo Jones, qui avoit 6tudi' long-tens en
Italie, fit de grandes .avances pour la d(livrer du Goth-
cifme des terns ant'rieurs, et commenca d'introduire dans
cc pafs un amour pour cette elegance et cc raffinement qui
caracdrifent les producions de la Grece et de Rome.
Inflruit et encourage par fon example, le Chevalier
Chriflopher Wren devint plus chafte; et ayant le bonheur
d'etre employ6 dans l'execution du plus magnifique ouvrage
d'architedure Angloife, il s'eft trouv6 en ctat de deployer
une plus grande dtendue de genie.
Vanburgh entendoit mieux qu'aucun d'eux l'art de
vivre parmi les grands.  Un arrangement commode d'ap-
partments devint, par cette raifon, fon m'rite particulier.
Mais la vivacitd de fon imagination dddaigna la contrainte
d'aucune regle en compofition; et fa paflion pour cc qui
6toit ingdnieufement magnifique, l'empdcha de fuivre le
vrai fimple, 1l&gant, et fublime.
C amnpbecli,
ART
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