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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

Freehof, M. E.
Old architectural details which inspire modern architectural beauty,   pp. 259-266 PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 262


  OLD ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL AND
those delights by which Nature recommends herself
to man at all times, cannot be conveyed by him into
his imitative work. He cannot make his grass green
and cool and good to rest upon, which in nature is
its chief use to man; nor can he make his flowers
tender and full of color and of scent, which in nature
are their chief powers of giving joy. Those qualities
which alone he can secure are certain severe charac-
ters of form, such as men only see in nature on de-
liberate examination, and by the full and set ap-
pliance of sight and thought: a man must lie down
on the bank of grass on his breast and set himself
   LU V4 AA 411-    4.IL~I 4-1, ,LLS~ + +- - 1. ..
An archway from
Granada that
shows its value
as a frame to
enhance the in-
terest of garden
pictures.
                he finds that which is good to be gathered by the
architect. So then while Nature is at all times pleasant to us, and
while the sight and sense of her work may mingle happily with all our
thoughts, and labors, and times of existence, that image of her which
the architect carries away represents what we can only perceive in
her by direct intellectual exertion, and demands from us, wherever it
appears, an intellectual exertion of a similar kind in order to under-
stand and feel it. It is the written or sealed impression of a thing
sought out, it is the shaped result of inquiry and bodily expression of
thought.
    "Remember that the eye is at your mercy more than the ear. 'The
eye, it cannot choose but see.' Its nerve is not so easily numbed as
that of the ear, and it is often busied in tracing and watching forms
when the ear is at rest. Now if you present lovely forms to it when
it cannot call the mind to help it in its work, and among objects of
vulgar use and unhappy position, you will neither please the eye nor
elevate the vulgar object. But you will fill and weary the eye with
the beautiful form, and you will infect that form itself with the vul-
garity of the thing to which you have violently attached it. It will
never be of much use to you any more; you have killed or defiled it; its
freshness and purity are gone. You will have to pass it through the
fire of much thought before you will cleanse it, and warm it with much
love before it will revive ....
"tT ENCE, then, a general law, of singular importance in the
  "H1    present day, a law of simple common sense-not to decorate
         things belonging to purposes of active and occupied life.
 Wherever you can rest, there decorate; where rest is forbidden, so is
 beauty. You must not mix ornament with business, any more than
 you may mix play. Work first, and then rest. Work first, and then
 2&2


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