Donaldson, Thomas Leverton, 1795-1885 / A collection of the most approved examples of doorways : from ancient buildings in Greece and Italy, expressly measured and delineated for this work, preceded by an essay on the usages of the ancients respecting doorways; a new translation of the chapter of Vitruvius on the subject, with the original text taken from an ancient and valuable m.s. in the British museum; and copious descriptions of the plates
[Introduction] To the reader, pp. [v]-viii
vi codex followed in the present work, illustrated by a selection from the profoundly critical notes of Schneider as a groundwork, and enriched by the researches of subsequent authors. The indulgence of the reader is claimed for the English version, in which the translator has sought to adhere with scrupulous fidelity to the style of the original, without seeking the graces of language. Should he not have succeeded in satisfactorily accomplishing the task which he had prescribed himself, the mortification of a failure is somewhat lessened by the expressions of the most accredited translators of Vitruvius respecting this chapter; the frank confessions of Scholars, whose learning, ingenuity and ability are beyond question. Barbaro says " Non audem affirmare me verum attigisse, ita non fatebor me a ratione alienum esse, quare dicam quid sentio." Galliani exclaims note 3; p. 88: " Lungo sarebbe il volere minutamente dar conto, specialmente in tutto questo che riguarda la struttura delle porte di legno, perch6 non mi sono uniformato con gli altri interpreti. Chi non 6 contento di questa mia fatica pu6 confrontarla con quegli degli altri e scegliere pure a sua posta quella interpretazione, che piih gli aggrada; basta che sia sicuro che non ho avuto altra mira, che quella di cercare il piii vero e ingenuo senso dell' autore." Newton in a similar strain observes I After all I am so far from being satisfied that the design given by other translators or myself (though most correspondent to the text I could imagine) is to be depended on as the true formation of the ancient doors. I rather believe (founding my opinion upon the circumstances of the description) that they were framed in a manner of which we at present have no idea." The author therefore would hope, that he may stand free from the charge of presumption in his endeavour to offer this chapter to the English reader under a new aspect, both as regards the original text and the accompanying version. He is aware that for a complete elucidation of the entire work of Vitruvius, there are difficulties to be overcome almost insuperable even to learning the most profound, an intellect the most commanding, study the most unremitting, patience the most unwearied, experience the most extensive, or felicity the most uncommon. But he will be satisfied if he succeed in drawing the attention of his professional brethren to the valuable originals,* which exist in our national library, and to the study of that classical author, in whose treatise alone are to be found the ancient canons of architecture, shrouded nevertheless in almost hieroglyphic mystery. Free use has been made of every essential note in the commentaries of the most approved critics, such only, as are merely controversial without leading to any result, being omitted. After bestowing the most unwearied attention upon every point and comparing the text with * As these pages were going through the press, the author found that an additional manuscript had just come into the possession of the Trustees of the British Museum. This new acquisition formed part of the Arundel Collection, presented to the Royal Society by the Duke of Norfolk in 1678, and formed one of the books lately exchanged for duplicate copies of works in the Library of the British Museum. It is mentioned in Evelyn's Diary 1678, August 29, as " a noble M.S. of Vitruvius;" and is the one enumerated in James' Catalogue, the number in the Arundel Catalogue being 122 Plut.-The first page is highly and elegantly illuminated on the margin, as are also the capital letters at the beginning of each book. The ten books of Vitruvius form the sole subject of the volume, which is 4to, written in single columns on vellum in fine bold characters. There is no omission whatever in the chapter on doorways. The abbreviations are rare. The dipthongs ie and W are invariably written with a single e, and the i has neither hair stroke nor dot over it. The following are the peculiar readings in this M.S. of the principal disputed points in the chapter. The pages refer to those of our text p. 18. Collocandum est hypertirum. Sin antem Ionico genere futura erit. p. 19, ejusque partis unius si malum in his fiat latitudo - Hypetra autem ad eundem modum componantur quemadmodum in doricis ptis pedibus ancones sive protides vocantur. p. 20. Inter duos scapos timpana et ex xxxx partibus p. 21. Altitudo impagis fiat timpani tertia s parte. p. 22. Uti antepagmenta preter cymatium ex partibus vii habeant duas partes, ipsaque non fiunt celostrata. The antepenultimate word in of this chapter does not exist in this codex.
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