Period: c19th

The Zilsel Thesis: A Review of Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps (2020): Review

The Zilsel Thesis: A Review of Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps (2020): Review

By Stan Allen

In a series of essays and lectures developed between 1939 and 1943, the philosopher of science Edgar Zilsel identified three distinct sources of knowledge in the Renaissance. In the late-medieval period, writes Zilsel, the traditional learning associated with the universities was still theological and scholastic in character. The texts preserved… Read More

14 Wine Street, Bristol

14 Wine Street, Bristol

By Lee Marable

Whilst leafing through the Drawing Matter collection, this drawing from 1885, by architect Henry Crisp, caught my eye. The drawing depicts a new shopfront and facade to be grafted on to the existing structure of 14 Wine Street, Bristol. Initially, the design struck me as remarkably contemporary and I came… Read More

The Beaux-Arts Tradition

The Beaux-Arts Tradition

By Basile Baudez and Maureen Cassidy-Geiger

The following text has been excerpted from Living with Architecture as Art, the recently published catalogue of Peter May’s collection of drawings, models and architectural artefacts. The catalogue is edited by Maureen Cassidy-Geiger and published in two generously illustrated volumes. The first volume includes essays by Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, Basile Baudez,… Read More

Shaping Landscape: Schinkel and Erratics

Shaping Landscape: Schinkel and Erratics

By Tom Cookson

It is the unique trait of the section drawing to fragment the singularity of built form, to allow the reading of a building as a series of individual pieces, and thereby delay our innate predilection – at least momentarily – for gestalt. Much like an erratic (in geology, an erratic is a material… Read More

Balzac architecte (1856)

Balzac architecte (1856)

By Leon Gozlan

No drawing, nor stone in the ground, remains of the dream house near Paris which the young novelist was never able to complete. By the time Balzac resold the whole property in 1840, with debts of 100,000 francs, it had collapsed back into the landscape, together with the terraced plantations… Read More

Adam Bede’s ‘Discourse on Building’ (1859)

Adam Bede’s ‘Discourse on Building’ (1859)

By George Eliot

This speech on building- and on architects- was made by Adam, to Mr Poyser, and comes in Chapter 49 of the novel. It was pointed out to us by the Eliot scholar, Dermot Coleman, who added that ‘it is generally a safe bet that views on such matters expressed by Adam… Read More

Sir John Soane’s Museum: Bound Legacy

Sir John Soane’s Museum: Bound Legacy

By Alexandra Politis

John Britton, a topographer and antiquarian by trade, began preparations to publish a guidebook to John Soane’s house-museum in 1825.  The earliest mention of such an endeavour appears in a letter to Soane dated 3 November, in which Britton outlines his desire to ‘produce a vol to surprise the public,… Read More

The Architect and the Matador

The Architect and the Matador

By Thomas Gould

On one sheet, a matador;on the other, a design,with measurements for a cathedral pier.  What unites these drawingsis provenance:both, apparently, executedby the architectEugène Viollet-le-Ducin meetings.  As Viollet-le-Duc’s mind wanderedfrom doodle to design,my attention,beholding the drawings,is drawn between the two sheets; drawn, by the insistently connective impulseof looking,into associations.  Between architect… Read More

Viollet-le-Duc: Ruins in Reverse

Viollet-le-Duc: Ruins in Reverse

By Thomas Gould

In 1844, architect Eugéne Viollet-le-Duc won a competition to supervise the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Blasted and defaced during the Revolution, the condition of the great church testified less to the promises of an infant republic than to the bloody throes of its birth. For its restoration, the Comité des… Read More

The Meaning of Lines

The Meaning of Lines

By Laura Bonell and Daniel López-Dòriga

A series of seemingly abstract lines occupy the whole space of the paper. Each of them is formed by a thin black line that defines the geometry, accompanied by a thicker, semi-transparent brown line, which highlights it. Written annotations are placed on top, sometimes following the drawing’s wavy shape like… Read More

Anna Atkins: Laying Out the Blueprints

Anna Atkins: Laying Out the Blueprints

By Nicholas Herrmann

They began to bloom on websites a couple of years or so ago – stretching out on social media, unfurling in the arts sections. Pale alien shapes suspended in deep blue: something like lightning flattened in a flower press; a sleeping creature emerging from a cloud of coral; a spectral… Read More

Soane’s Temple Stye

Soane’s Temple Stye

By Rosie Ellison-Balaam

A temple for pigs? for swine? for hogs? Not a temple to worship them in, nor a temple for them to be sacrificed in. A temple for them to live in. These are not the pigs which invented their own form of latin, or those powerful Orwellian pigs, but normal… Read More