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Title: The Brochure Series of Architectural Illustration, Volume 01, No. 04, April 1895 - Byzantine-Romanesque Windows in Southern Italy
Author: Various
Language: English
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THE BROCHURE SERIES

OF ARCHITECTURAL ILLUSTRATION.


VOL. I. APRIL, 1895. No. 4.


BYZANTINE-ROMANESQUE WINDOWS IN
SOUTHERN ITALY.


The collection of photographs from which the plates in this and the
February number were selected was only recently made under the direction
of Signor Boni, an official of the Italian government, charged with the
care and restoration of historic monuments.

The province of Apulia has been so little invaded by the march of modern
improvement, and its present inhabitants are, as a rule, so poor, that
it is difficult to travel here except on the line of a few main
thoroughfares, and strangers seldom visit more than one or two of the
principal towns on the coast. Bari and Brindisi are known to tourists,
as they are in the line of travel to and from Greece, but the inland
towns are isolated in a barren priest-ridden country in which strangers
are not welcome. The hardships which it is necessary to face deter all
but the most adventurous even of the Italians, familiar with the
language and manners of the people. Architects seldom visit this
neighborhood, and little is known of its rich treasure of mediæval
buildings, except through the few published works treating of it. Signor
Boni expressed himself as surprised at the great amount of beautiful
work scattered through this region, of which he previously had no
knowledge. The opinion of Fergusson has already been quoted in the
preceding article.

The mixture in the work here illustrated of Byzantine and Romanesque
elements has also been referred to in the preceding article, but the
special characteristics of each style were not particularly pointed out.
In the present consideration the peculiarities of detail and ornament
are all that need be taken up, as the views given furnish no opportunity
for the study of plan or general design. The derivation of the Byzantine
style was indicated in the March number of THE BROCHURE SERIES in
describing the Ravenna capitals there illustrated.

Byzantine conventional ornament appears to be of two types,--the one
usually used in mosaics, of thin scrolls, terminating in flowers or
symbols, displayed upon a ground which is much greater in quantity than
is the ornament; the other, usually confined to sculpture, an intricate
interlace of ribbon lines with spaces filled with Byzantine acanthus,
the ornament much greater in proportion than the ground, which only
shows in small separate pieces. Apart from these are the borders,
occasionally of overlapping leaves, often of small repeated units, such
as Greek crosses and squares and diamonds, or else meanders or
guilloches. The guilloche takes a new form in Byzantine design, and
instead of being a continuous succession of small circles enclosed in an
interlacing ribbon, it assumes the form of alternating small and large
circles, or of small circles alternating with large squares, and often
progressing in both directions at once, horizontally and
perpendicularly, and thus forming an all-over pattern. The roses of
ornament are often incorporated into this form of guilloche. Sculpture
of the human form becomes more and more feeble and crude. The acanthus,
however, went steadily through successive variation until it attained
the virile form seen in the best Byzantine work. It is no longer the
olive type of the Romans, or the heavy, stupid leaf of the earlier
centuries of the Christian era, but has again turned towards the
sharp-pointed, vigorous leaf of the Greeks. Its lobes are divided into
three or five tines, each sharp at the tip; its centre lines, radiating
from a central stem, bend like flames; its surfaces are concave, with
deep V cutting, and it has one very marked peculiarity, that is, that as
far as possible no tine is left displayed alone on the ground, but the
tip of each is made to touch either the tip of a neighboring tine or the
ribbon or moulding bounding the space in which the ornament occurs. The
tines are of nearly equal size throughout, and the spaces of ground left
by the ornament are also of comparatively equal size, and if possible
symmetrically grouped. The one almost universal moulding is decorated
with acanthus units, and the capitals have acanthus leaves around their
bells. These caps are of two types. One, that is manifestly an
adaptation of a classic cap, is a union of an Ionic and a Corinthian, or
at other times of a Roman Doric and a Corinthian capital. The other is
peculiar to Byzantine work, and is that shown in Plates XXI. to XXIV. in
the last number. This cap, as at S. Vitale, is often supplemented by
another plainer cap above. The lower cap has its faces decorated with
scrolls, acanthus wreaths, etc., and usually the corners are
strengthened with a decorative unit, leaf or other motive.

The difference between the Byzantine and the Romanesque arises from the
differences of the races and their environments. The art of seaport
towns, when Commerce was most largely carried on by sea, much more
nearly resembled the art of some great commercial centre on the
seaboard than it did that of its own neighbors inland.

The art of the seaboard cities in Europe was, then, for many years a
borrowed art from the East, as their people were to great extent Eastern
colonists. It was carried on with a full knowledge of constructive
methods, and a facility in obtaining materials that the inland towns did
not possess; and in consequence it is along the seaboard that is to be
found the persistence of the Byzantine influence. On the other hand, the
interior was peopled by descendants of Ostrogothic tribes mingling with
numberless local peoples. Whatever they touch is necessarily crude at
first, but constantly gaining as they gain facility in working. A
precedent of some kind they must have, and they find it close at hand in
the Roman basilicas. Uncertain, from the result of woful experiments, of
arches of great span, they pack their columns close together and
surmount them with sturdy little arches that have scarcely any thrust.
This arcade of heavy columns carrying absurdly disproportionate arches
is their only motive, and applied inside between aisles and nave, and
outside in successive stories rising one above another. As the masons
begin better to understand their art, the span of the arch increases,
though a large arch for some time does duty merely as a discharging
arch, and has smaller arches beneath and within it. The capitals, at
first crude imitations of classic prototypes, soon become the field for
the grotesque imagination of the workmen, and each differs from the
other and is a mass of light and shade shot with all sorts of uncouth
fancies. Wherever, for some constructive reason, a column is omitted
against a wall, the capital becomes a corbel, carrying the arches. In
many cases the corbels alone are used, and an arcaded corbel course
becomes the favorite termination of a wall in the place of a classic
entablature. Finally the arches are omitted, and the corbels alone
support the eaves.

It will be noticed that while the Byzantine decorated the interior of
the churches, the Romanesque builder merely constructed the interior and
wrought out the most of his design upon the facade. As a large arch was
to him for a long time a _tour de force_, he naturally beautified the
necessarily large entrance, and the beginning of the development of the
beautiful Gothic portals is seen in the early Romanesque churches.

The Romanesque is an architecture of inertia, with arches heavily
weighted by great masses of wall, and with broadly contrasting masses of
light and shade. It does not depend for its effect upon intellectual
quality beyond a rigorous sense of simplicity, or upon refinement of
conception or detail, but rather upon size, picturesque mass, and
staccato light and shade. The proportion of capital to column in
quantity of surface was very slight. The proportion of voussoirs to
arches naturally depended upon the size of the arch,--large voussoirs to
large arches, small voussoirs to small arches. Columns were only grouped
around piers and on either side of openings; and lastly, the natural
development of the column in Romanesque work was toward
attenuation,--the later and the better the work, the more slender became
the columns, until at last they were merged into the Gothic
multiple-columned piers. The carving upon the arch-mouldings is, to a
great extent, geometric, consisting of numerous facets cut in the stone,
lozenges, etc.; the so-called dogtooth moulding is a very favorite form
of decoration. All these carved mouldings were picked out in color,
usually in red and green. The acanthus in the Romanesque has lost much
of its vigor, is flat, heavy-tipped, round-edged, and scratched with
V-cuts, and the vine is the leaf preferred by designers. Frequently
masses of wall are cut in geometric diaper patterns, also touched with
color. Borders are not broad; and circular forms, except in the arches,
are seldom used. Romanesque was a barbaric art at the best, and has the
usual virtue of the barbarian,--a directness of attack at the problem in
hand and a simplicity in treating it which is invigorating to see.



[Illustration: XXV. Window in the Church of S. Teresia, Trani, Italy.]

[Illustration: XXVI. Window in the Church of S. Teresia, Trani, Italy.]


XXV. and XXVI.

WINDOWS IN THE CHURCH OF S. TERESIA, TRANI, ITALY.

These two windows have very little to suggest Byzantine influence in
their design. The form and detail are essentially Romanesque, although
there is a certain crispness and piquancy of treatment in the first
(Plate XXV.) which belongs to the Byzantine work.



[Illustration: XXVII. Window in the Façade of the Basilica at Altamura,
Italy.]


XXVII.

WINDOW IN THE FACADE OF THE BASILICA AT ALTAMURA, ITALY.

The employment of grotesque beasts supporting the columns at each side
of this window is a very common device in the Italian Romanesque work.
The use of a reversed capital in place of a base for the centre column
is also a peculiar treatment frequently found in Romanesque work.



[Illustration: XXVIII. Windows in the Façade of S. Gregorio, Bari,
Italy.]


XXVIII.

WINDOWS IN THE FACADE OF S. GREGORIO, BARI, ITALY.



[Illustration: XXIX. Triforium Window in the Church of S. Gregorio,
Bari, Italy.]


XXIX.

TRIFORIUM WINDOW IN THE CHURCH OF S. GREGORIO, BARI, ITALY.

The Byzantine architects used pierced stonework with great effect both
in exterior and interior detail. The examples here shown are rather
crude, but effective in the relative scale of parts.



[Illustration: XXX. Window in the Apse of the Cathedral, Bari, Italy.]


XXX.

WINDOW IN THE APSE OF THE CATHEDRAL, BARI, ITALY.

The ornament about this window, especially that in the long panel below
it and upon the cyma of the soffit above, is Byzantine in character,
while the columns, with the exception of the capital of the one at the
left, are much more Romanesque.



[Illustration: XXXI. A Window in Bittonto, Italy.]


XXXI.

A WINDOW IN BITTONTO, ITALY.

This is not an especially beautiful example, but is an illustration of
the direct and vigorous treatment of the early barbarian Romanesque
builders.



[Illustration: XXXII. Window in the Apse of the Cathedral, Bittonto,
Italy.]


XXXII.

WINDOW IN THE APSE OF THE CATHEDRAL, BITTONTO, ITALY.

In this case the beautiful and delicate Byzantine leafage can be seen on
the mouldings of the arch above the window. As in several of the
preceding examples, there is a curious mixture of the two styles.



The Brochure Series

of Architectural Illustration.

PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY

BATES & GUILD,

6 BEACON STREET, BOSTON, MASS.


Subscription Rates per year. 50 cents, in advance. Special Club Rate for
five subscriptions.. $2.00.

Entered at the Boston Post Office as Second-class Matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

Several weeks ago the stock of back numbers of THE BROCHURE SERIES held
to fill subscription orders was exhausted, and in future all
subscriptions will have to be dated from the number current at the time
the subscription is placed. All who wish to have the remaining numbers
of this year should subscribe at once, as no back numbers will be kept
in stock. The edition has been increased to 7,000 copies, and if the
present rate of growth in the subscription department holds will shortly
have to be doubled.

       *       *       *       *       *

The judges in the recent competition for the Rotch Travelling
Scholarship, Messrs. Cass Gilbert, George B. Post, and Frank Miles Day,
have awarded the scholarship to William S. Aldrich. Mr. Aldrich has
taken the examinations this year for the first time, although several of
his unsuccessful rivals for the honor have entered before in years past.
He has been for some time in the office of Mr. C. H. Blackall, and has
been engaged upon important work, such as the new Tremont Temple, which
is now approaching completion.

In 1884 he entered the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and completed the two years' special course in
1887, and then went to the office of Mr. John Calvin Stevens in
Portland, Me. He afterwards worked in the Boston office of McKim, Mead &
White, and in the office of Peabody & Stearns, where he was engaged upon
the drawings for the buildings at the World's Fair. As will be seen, he
has had a varied experience and is well equipped to make the best use of
his opportunities for the next two years.

It has been the custom in recent years with the winners of the
scholarship to delay their departure until midsummer or early fall, but
Mr. Aldrich proposes to start in June. His plan of work has not yet been
entirely fixed, but he will probably spend a large part of his time in
Italy, working in conjunction with the American atelier at Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

The three other scholarships in which the same problem in design was
employed have also been awarded. For the McKim Fellowship of Columbia
College ten designs were submitted. The award was made to Mr. John
Russell Pope of New York, a graduate from the school in the class of
1894. The Roman Scholarship was also awarded to Mr. Pope. In the
competition for the latter twenty-three designs were entered, and
besides the first award honorable mention was given to Mr. Henry E.
Emery of Nyack, N. Y., Mr. Fellows of Chicago, and Mr. Bossange and Mr.
Ayres of New York, graduates of Columbia College, and to Mr. Percy Ash
of Philadelphia.

In the University of Pennsylvania Scholarship in Architecture there were
six competitors, and the award was made to Mr. Percy Ash, a graduate of
the University. Mr. Ash has also had several years' practical experience
in the best offices of Philadelphia, such as those of Cope & Stewardson
and Frank Miles Day & Bro.

Mr. H. L. Duhring, Jr., of the Senior class in the University, was given
second place.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _American Architect_, in an interesting notice of the recent
exhibition of the Boston Society of Architects and Boston Architectural
Club, takes the occasion to comment unfavorably upon the disfigurement
of the catalogue by advertisements, which it says are "most excellent
things in their proper place, but wholly out of place in an exhibition
catalogue." Why this is so it is hard to see, unless the _Architect_
believes that there is not advertising enough to go round, and that it
should all be reserved for the trade and professional papers. At all
events this is "kicking against the pricks," for it is well known that
the expenses of such exhibitions cannot be met without some outside
assistance, and the most feasible plan that has been found for making
both ends meet is to interest the dealers in materials used in the
buildings represented in the exhibitions. As these dealers are seldom
named on the drawings exhibited, it seems proper that some return should
be made for their most valuable assistance, without which the exhibition
would not be possible.

The _Architect_ further says: "The position taken by the St. Louis
Chapter A. I. A. was the proper and dignified one, and it ought to be
followed elsewhere. The catalogue of their recent exhibition, although a
much more costly one than either the Boston or the League catalogue,
contains not a line of advertising matter." This is certainly an amusing
misstatement. Instead of "not a line," this catalogue has more space
devoted to advertising than any of the others mentioned. What it would
have been without its sixty-four pages of advertising, yielding an
income of at least $50 a page, we leave others to figure out. Some of
these pages we should prefer to see treated differently, as they do
detract from the illustrations which they face, and they are sprinkled
full of water-closets, radiators, bath-tubs, and various other building
appliances not especially artistic in their suggestiveness. Still there
is considerable taste and care evinced in the arrangement of many of the
pages, and they are well printed on good paper. Possibly this accounts
for the failure of the _Architect_ to recognize them as advertisements.

The dignified course, it seems to us, is that followed by the committee
of the Boston exhibition. In this case a certain number of pages was
reserved in the catalogue to be devoted to advertising, and the houses
to be represented were given to understand that all would be treated
alike. No cuts would be used, and the pages would all be set in type of
uniform style, thus insuring a desirable ensemble. We think that the
advertising when well presented adds to, rather than detracts from, the
interest of a catalogue. Our only desire is to see it done in good
taste. The display of plumbing apparatus and all manner of building
appliances we do not consider in good taste in this place.

The secretaries of a number of the architectural clubs have very kindly
responded to our request for notices and reports of their meetings and
proceedings, and we are pleased to be able to give short reports of such
occurrences as are of general interest. There are some clubs, however,
from whom we have not yet heard, and we would suggest that it will be a
help to all concerned if the secretaries of all the architectural clubs
will furnish us with short accounts of their regular meetings and of any
other occasions of importance. We shall be pleased also to publish any
correspondence which will in any way further the interests of these
organizations. We shall be glad to have THE BROCHURE SERIES considered
as the organ of communication between the various clubs, and will place
our services at their command.



Books.


_Examples of Colonial Architecture in Charleston, S. C., and Savannah,
Ga._ Compiled, photographed, and published by Edward A. Crane and E. E.
Soderholtz, Boston Architectural Club, Boston. 50 plates, 11 x 14.
$12.50.

How much the revival of the classic influence of the early colonial and
the immediately succeeding period is going to prevail in the
establishment of a distinctive American style of architecture it is now
difficult or indeed impossible to determine; but at all events the
reaction from the Queen Anne vagaries of ten years ago to the more
severe mass and chaste detail of the recent so-called colonial houses is
a step in the right direction, and we have much to be thankful for in
the improvement which this tendency has wrought in our recent domestic
architecture. Beautiful and admirable as some of the recent examples of
this work are, very few show the subtle appreciation of design to be
found in many of the older buildings which until the last year or two
have been looked upon as merely the outgrown and cast-off work of an age
much less refined than our own.

With the very general adoption of this style there has been an
increased interest in the few remaining fine old examples which are
scattered over the Eastern and Middle States, and the best of these are
now familiar to architects.

Few, however, know anything of the development of this style in the
Southern States, and the work now before us will be a revelation to
those who have not visited the neighborhood of Charleston and Savannah.

A large proportion of the plates is devoted to Charleston, which owes
its wealth and in fact the greater part of its existence to the
prosperous planters of former days, who made the city a winter resort.

The most notable house illustrated in the work is the William Bull
Pringle house, built by Miles Brewton in 1760. It has long been famous
as one of the finest houses in the country. Josiah Quincy, who was
entertained by its first owner, speaks in enthusiastic terms of its
beauty and the charm of its surroundings. Fourteen plates are devoted to
illustrating its various features. The two-story portico with a Doric
order below and Ionic above, relieved against the brick front laid in
Flemish bond, the simple but well-designed iron fence, flanked on either
side by a wall with massive brick posts covered with plaster, and all
overgrown with a tangle of foliage, make up a fascinating picture. The
view of the side gateway and a group of darky boys is wonderfully
picturesque, besides being very suggestive as an architectural fragment.

The detail is delicate and refined, but as a rule lacks the force and
vitality of the Northern work of the same period. The interior detail
shows a marked French influence, especially in the ceilings, mantels,
and stairway. The drawing-room, of which a double plate is given, is
probably without doubt the finest colonial room in the country, and is
certainly a fine piece of design all through.

One feature in planning which seems to be peculiar to this region, as it
is not found in the houses at the North, is the location of the
drawing-room, which is here on the second floor, usually extending
entirely across the front of the house. There is seldom, however, any
indication of this in the facade by a distinctive treatment of the
second story. But the effect is seen in the interior by the greater
importance naturally given to the staircase hall.

The Gibbs house, built in 1752, which is shown by several plates, is
also very attractive. The two interior doorways shown on one plate are
among the most refined that we can remember.

The entrance and staircase hall of the Gov. Bennett house will bear
comparison with anything of its class to be found, and the plates
showing it will be of especial value for interior work.

The Bull house is of a type apparently common in the older work of this
region. It is square and covered with a hip roof. The front is divided
into three bays, the centre and wider one crowned with a low gable or
pediment. The main floor is high, leaving a basement below and no
cellar; and the front door, an illustration of which we give herewith,
is reached by a double flight of steps protected by an iron railing.
Many of the houses are provided with high fences and massive gateposts.
A number of the plates give fine examples of these and several very
interesting pieces of iron work.

[Illustration: Doorway to the Bull House, Charleston.]

Of the churches, St. Michael's and St. Philip's in Charleston are
selected. The former was built in 1760, and is attributed to the English
architect, Gibbs, who is also credited with the old Archdale house, with
how good authority we do not know.

On the whole, the choice of material is excellent. There is a large
number of plates of detail which for architects' use are always the most
valuable, and the work of the photographer and printer has been done
unusually well.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Catalogue of the Joint Exhibition of the Boston Society of Architects
and the Boston Architectural Club, April 15 to 21, 1895._ Boston:
Published for the exhibition by Bates & Guild. 96 pp., 36 illustrations.
35 cents.

A continuation of the general subject of exhibition catalogues touched
upon in our last issue as far as it relates to the catalogue of the
Boston Architectural Exhibition. The exhibition itself is quite small
comparatively speaking, including only three hundred and twenty-five
numbers, but, as the illustrations in the catalogue show, is widely
representative and of a high grade of excellence. The contributions are
very largely confined to members of the two societies under whose
management the exhibition is held. This tends to give a somewhat local
character to the exhibition as a whole. Still there is a sufficient
number of important contributions from outside to make a quite
respectable showing.

The selection of illustrations, the only ground upon which there is
excuse for reviewing the publication, is unquestionably good. There are
thirty-six in all, covering a wide range of subjects treated in a
variety of ways. The reproductions are unusually good, and the book is
neatly and well printed on good paper. The cover, designed by Mr. George
G. Will, is especially attractive and good in design.



Club Notes.


Recruits in the already very considerable list of architectural clubs
are still coming to the front. The latest to be heard from is the
Architectural Club of San Francisco, which was organized on Feb. 26 with
fourteen members, some of whom were members of the old Sketch Club of
San Francisco. It is growing in membership, and gives promise of a
bright future. Rooms have been secured in the Menisini Building, 231
Post Street. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, and a
paper is read and the designs submitted in the monthly competitions are
criticised and the awards announced. The first club exhibition will be
held April 26. Mr. Loring P. Rixford, Room 24, Menisini Building, 231
Post Street, San Francisco, is secretary.



Brochure Series Competitions.


From time to time, as opportunity offers, competitions in design will be
conducted by THE BROCHURE SERIES. An upright or cabinet piano case, the
subject of the first one, badly needs the attention of good designers.

The Henry F. Miller & Sons Piano Company of Boston have, for several
years, made steady advancement in the artistic qualities of their piano
cases. They have equipped their factory with a view to special work, and
have unusually good facilities for getting out pianos to order, carrying
out, architects' sketches or those of their own designers to harmonize
with different styles of interior decoration.

It is their idea to encourage the special designing of piano cases, and
to this end they have placed with the publishers fifty dollars to be
divided into prizes for such designs. Only sketches will be required,
their object being not to use the designs further than to publish the
best, but to get designers to give a little attention to this particular
problem, and so do a little towards creating an interest in the better
design of piano cases. Full particulars, including a structural diagram
and a statement of the technical requirements and limitations, will be
announced in our next issue.



Personal.


As usual at this season, a number of architects and draughtsmen are
planning to go abroad; some for only a few months, and others for a
longer time. Among these are Messrs. H. T. Pratt, Matthew Sullivan,
C. D. Maginnis, and H. C. Dunham, of Boston, and E. K. Taylor and H. L.
Jones of New York.





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