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Title: The Art of Building a Home - A collection of lectures and illustrations
Author: Unwin, Reginald, Parker, Barry
Language: English
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THE ART OF BUILDING A HOME.



  MANCHESTER:
  Chorlton & Knowles, Mayfield Press.

  1901.



  THE ART OF
  BUILDING
  A HOME.

  A Collection of Lectures and
  Illustrations by Barry Parker
  and Raymond Unwin.

  Longmans, Green & Co.,
  39, Paternoster Row, London,
  New York, & Bombay,
  1901.



PREFACE.


Some time ago I published a reprint of two of my articles with
illustrations which had appeared in “The Building News.”

This little publication, though long out of print, being still
constantly asked for; and the need of something to take its place being
felt by us; the question of re-issuing it arose. Instead of doing this,
however, it seemed better, as being a later and fuller expression,
to collect two or three of the lectures which my partner and I had
from time to time written for various audiences; and to add by way of
illustration some of the sketches and photographs we had by us.

So came into existence this book in its present form.

  BARRY PARKER,
  The Quadrant, Buxton, 1901.



[Illustration]

        CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK.                                    Page.


        Introduction                                               I-VI

     I. Of the Smaller Middle Class House                             1
                                                  Barry Parker.

    II. Of the Dignity of All True Art                               21
                                                  Barry Parker.

   III. Of our Education in Art                                      37
                                                  Barry Parker.

    IV. Of Art and Simplicity                                        55
                                                 Raymond Unwin.

     V. Of Furniture                                                 69
                                Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin.

    VI. Of Building and Natural Beauty                               83
                                                 Raymond Unwin.

   VII. Of Co-operation in Building                                  91
                                                 Raymond Unwin.

  VIII. Of the Art of Designing Small Houses and Cottages           109
                                Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin.

        List of Plates and Plates at the end.                       136



INTRODUCTION.


The way we run in ruts is wonderful: our inability to find out the
right principles upon which to set to work to accomplish what we take
in hand, or to go to the bottom of things, is simply astonishing: while
the resignation with which we accept the Recognised and Usual as the
Right and Inevitable is really beautiful.

In nothing is this tendency more noticeable than in the art of
house-building. We begin by considering what, in the way of a house,
our neighbours have; what they would expect us to have; what is
customary in the rank of life to which we belong; anything, in fact,
but what are our actual needs. About the last thing we do is to make
our home take just that form which will, in the most straightforward
manner, meet our requirements.

It is too often evident that people, instead of being assisted, and
their lives added to, by the houses they occupy, are but living as well
as may be in spite of them. The house, planned largely to meet supposed
wants which never occur, and sacrificed to convention and custom,
neither satisfies the real needs of its occupants nor expresses in any
way their individuality.

The planning having been dictated by convention, all the details
are worked out under the same influence. To each house is applied a
certain amount of meaningless mechanical and superficial ornamentation
according to some recognised standard. No use whatever is made of
the decorative properties inherent in the construction and in the
details necessary to the building. These are put as far as possible out
of sight. For example, latches and locks are all let into the doors
leaving visible the knob only. The hinges are hidden in the rebate
of the door frame, while the real door frame, that which does the
work, is covered up with the strip of flimsy moulded board styled the
architrave. All constructional features, wherever possible, are smeared
over with a coat of plaster to bring them up to the same dead level of
flat monotony, leaving a clear field for the erection of the customary
abominations in the form of cornices, imitation beams where no beams
are wanted, & plaster brackets which could support, and do support,
nothing. Even with the fire the chief aim seems to be to acknowledge
as few of its properties and characteristics as possible; it is buried
as deep in the wall, and as far out of sight and out of the way as
may be; it is smothered up with as much uncongenial and inappropriate
“enrichment” as can be crowded round it; and, to add the final touch of
senseless incongruity, some form of that massive and _apparently_ very
constructional and essential thing we call a mantelpiece is erected,
in wood, stone, or marble, towering it may be even to the ceiling. If
we were not so accustomed to it, great would be our astonishment to
find that this most prominent feature has really no function whatever,
beyond giving cause for a lot of other things as useful and beautiful
as itself, which exist only that they may be put upon it, “to decorate
it.”

Could we but have the right thing put in the right place and left
alone, each object having some vital reason for being where it is, and
obviously revealing its function; could we but have that form given to
everything which would best enable it to answer the real purpose for
which it exists; our houses would become places of real interest.

The essence and life of design lies in finding that form for anything
which will, with the maximum of convenience and beauty, fit it for the
particular functions it has to perform, and adapt it to the special
circumstances in which it must be placed. Perhaps the most fruitful
source whence charm of design arises in anything, is the grace with
which it serves its purpose and conforms to its surroundings. How
many of the beautiful features of the work of past ages, which we now
arbitrarily reproduce and copy, arose out of the skilful and graceful
way in which some old artist-craftsman, or chief mason, got over a
difficulty! If, instead of copying these features when and where the
cause for them does not exist, we would rather emulate the spirit in
which they were produced, there would be more hope of again seeing life
and vigour in our architecture and design.

When the architect leaves the house, the subservience to convention is
not over. After him follow the decorator and the furnisher, who try
to overcome the lifelessness and vapidity by covering all surfaces
with fugitive decorations and incongruous patterns, and filling the
rooms with flimsy stereotyped furniture and nick-nacks. To these the
mistress of the house will be incessantly adding, from an instinctive
feeling of the incompleteness and unsatisfactoriness of the whole.
Incidentally we see here one reason why the influence of the architect
should not stop at the completion of the four walls, but should extend
to the last detail of the furnished house. When his responsibility
ceases with the erection of the shell, it is natural that he should
look very little beyond this. There is no inducement for him to work
out any definite scheme for a finished room, for he knows that if he
had any aim the decorator and furnisher would certainly miss it and
would fail to _complete_ his creation. If, when designing a house, the
architect were bearing in mind the effect each room would have when
finished and furnished, his conceptions would be influenced from the
very beginning, and his attitude towards the work would tend to undergo
an entire change. At present he but too readily accepts the popular
idea of art as a thing quite apart from life, a sort of trimming to be
added if funds allow.

It is this prevalent conception of beauty as a sweetmeat, something
rather nice which may be taken or left according to inclination after
the solid meal has been secured, which largely causes the lack of
comeliness we find in our houses. Before this idea can be dispelled &
we can appreciate either the place which art should hold in our lives
or the importance of rightly educating the appreciation of it, we must
realise that beauty is part of the necessary food of any life worth
the name; that art, which is the expression of beauty as conceived and
created by man, is primarily concerned with the making of the useful
garments of life beautiful, not with the trimming of them; and that,
moreover, in its higher branches art is the medium through which the
most subtle ideas are conveyed from man to man.

Understanding something of the true meaning of art, we may set about
realising it, at least in the homes which are so much within our
control. Let us have in our houses, rooms where there shall be space to
carry on the business of life freely and with pleasure, with furniture
made for use; rooms where a drop of water spilled is not fatal;
where the life of a child is not made a burden to it by unnecessary
restraint; plain, simple, and ungarnished if necessary, but honest. Let
us have such ornament as we do have really beautiful and wrought by
hand, carving, wrought metal, embroidery, painting, something which it
has given pleasure to the producer to create, and which shows this in
every line--the only possible work of art. Let us call in the artist,
bid him leave his easel pictures, and paint on our walls and over the
chimney corner landscapes and scenes which shall bring light and life
into the room; which shall speak of nature, purity, and truth; shall
become part of the room, of the walls on which they are painted, and
of the lives of us who live beside them; paintings which our children
shall grow up to love, and always connect with scenes of home with that
vividness of a memory from childhood which no time can efface. Then,
if necessary, let the rest of the walls go untouched in all the rich
variety of colour and tone, of light and shade, of the naked brickwork.
Let the floor go uncarpeted, and the wood unpainted, that we may have
time to think, and money with which to educate our children to think
also. Let us have rooms which once decorated are always decorated,
rooms fit to be homes in the fullest poetry of the name; in which no
artificiality need momentarily force us to feel shame for things of
which we know there is nothing to be ashamed: rooms which can form
backgrounds, fitting and dignified, at the time and in our memories,
for all those little scenes, those acts of kindness and small duties,
as well as the scenes of deep emotion and trial, which make up the
drama of our lives at home.

  B. P.
  R. U.



THE SMALLER MIDDLE CLASS HOUSE.

  A lecture delivered before an audience of architects in 1895.


In the class of house with which we are to deal to-night, there are
so many directions in which improvement is needed, that it will only
be possible for me, in the space of one lecture, to refer to a few of
them, and to those specially which will illustrate most suggestively
the main principles for which I contend: suggestively, in the hope that
some present will do me the honour of giving further thought to what I
shall touch upon, than is possible to them during the length of time
assigned to me this evening.

The influences which our common every-day surroundings have upon our
characters, our conceptions, our habits of thought and conduct, are
often very much underrated; we do not realise the power they have of
either aiding or hindering the development in us of the best or worst
of which we are capable.

Of the capacity the mere contour of a moulding has to bear the
impression of refinement or vulgarity, we, as architects, are fully
aware; but, I think, may not quite as fully realise the harmful
influence of imperfect and unspontaneous drawing, or ill-conception in
pattern design, or ill-assorted combinations of colour.

The thing of first consideration in designing a house is convenience,
workability. The plan is that which should be first thought of; so, in
our small middle class house, I will try to suggest one or two of the
improvements that seem to be most wanted in planning.

[Illustration: Diagrams 1, 2, 3]

First of all, for the sake of any who may be here who are not
architects, I will just point out what is the most comfortable form of
room for a sitting room with respect to the relative positions of the
door, windows, and fire. If your room must, of necessity, be square or
oblong (which should be the case as seldom as possible), the form most
conducive to comfort, is of course this: diagram 1. The second best
arrangement, (when this cannot be got) is to have the door and fire
both on the long wall, diagram 2. When the door is on the opposite wall
to the fire, you never feel to be able to get out of the draught of it;
and of course this kind of thing, diagram 3, is too palpably bad to
need that anything should be said regarding it.

One of the first defects we notice in the plans of houses of the class
we are speaking of, as usually laid down, is that there are too many
rooms & all therefore necessarily too small. In the larger middle class
house there are generally drawing room, dining room, library, kitchens,
and offices, all tolerably good rooms. Now, when a smaller house is
wanted, the general custom seems to be, to put exactly the same number
of rooms, only reducing all in size. Would it not be far better to
reduce the number of rooms, keeping such rooms as we do retain, large
enough to be healthy, comfortable, and habitable?

Are not many of the houses we know only too well, most distressing
in this respect, divided up, as they are, into a number of small
compartments, we cannot call them rooms, all far too small to be
healthy; too small to be really fit for human habitation. And what is
gained by this cramping? Only that there shall be one or more of these
compartments practically useless. In far the greater number of these
houses the third room is never used, or used merely because it happens
to be there, and its chief end seems to be to provide a place for the
women of the household to spend any spare time they may have, cleaning
down, dusting &c.

Now many people have a feeling that there is a certain cosiness in a
small room entirely unattainable in a large one; this is a mistake
altogether; quite the reverse has been my experience, which is that
such a sense of cosiness as can be got in the recesses of a large
room, can never be attained in a small one, be it no larger than a
sentry box. But if your big room is to be comfortable it _must_ have
recesses. There is a great charm in a room broken up in plan, where
that slight feeling of mystery is given to it which arises when you
cannot see the whole room from any one point in which you are likely to
sit; when there is always something _round the corner_.

And what is made of the hall? Generally one of two things; either it is
a passage with a kind of step-ladder for a staircase and a hat stand
in it, with not room enough for you to hold the door and let a friend
out; or it is a great bare cold comfortless waste space, in the centre
of the house: instead of being, as it might, the most comfortable and
homely room, the centre of the common life of the household.

Of course a hall of this kind needs some care in planning. In the first
place, the staircase must occupy exactly that position in which it can
be made an ornament and a pleasing feature in the room, all of which it
is quite capable of being, and a position in which it does not detract
from the cosiness, or give any unpleasant feeling of draughtiness, or
too great openness. In the second place, the doors necessarily opening
into a hall must be carefully so grouped that the parts of the room in
which anyone would sit, shall be out of the draught of them as far as
possible.

Any house is cold all through the winter months unless a fire of some
kind is kept burning in the hall; many people, therefore, find it
necessary to have a stove or heating apparatus; and, in most houses,
it is thought necessary to have two other fires burning, one in the
living room, and one in some other room that there may be somewhere
to show visitors. Now when the hall is also a sitting room, with a
fire in it, we get, for the trouble and expense of two fires, all the
advantages ordinarily attaching to three.

I must now pass on to Decoration and Furniture. The best test of the
artistic merits or demerits of a room _as a whole_, is the impression
it makes, on one’s entering for the first time. We can get accustomed
to anything, and it is from this fact, taken in conjunction with what
we have already noted, of the power as an influence for advancement
or degradation of beautiful or unbeautiful surroundings, that the
importance of our subject to-night is partly drawn. And what _should_
be our feeling, on entering a room? Simply this: How exquisitely
comfortable! For _the first essential in the form and design of any
decorative object_, (_and everything in a room should be a decorative
object_), _is reposefulness_. I feel herein to be guilty of giving
utterance to a truism, and I should hardly dare to state so obvious a
fact, were it not that I see this first principle so almost universally
violated; for, if this test of reposefulness is _the_ test, the average
farm house kitchen has an artistic value far beyond that of ninety-nine
out of every hundred drawing rooms in the kingdom; and I will endeavour
to show why.

The first fault in our rooms which contributes to this result is _over
decoration_. This is an almost universal failing. Everything has a
pattern on it and almost every pattern is mechanically produced, run
out by the yard, and cut off just where it happens to be when the
time comes for it to finish. No pattern bears any relation to any
other pattern, and the whole effect is fidgety, fussy, and painful
to a degree. Nothing is let alone, but every surface must needs be
worried and tortured into some unwholesome form of altogether soul-less
ornament. We cannot even find rest for our weary eyes on the ceiling,
for tortuous intricacies of design meet them there also.

The second fault I wish to refer to, is that all this ornament is
made to shout, everything is clamouring for notice. It would not
be in place for me to say much here about those rooms in which any
one element of decoration is in such flagrantly bad taste as to be
noticed, immediately on entering, with a sort of start and feeling of
“Oh! wall-paper,” or “Oh! carpet,” or whatever it may happen to be.
(A designer will often aim at this for the sake of the advertisement
and at the sacrifice of his artistic principles). But even when this
extreme is not reached, everything seems trying within certain limits
to assert itself, to attract attention.

Now any ornament you notice when you do not look for it, or perhaps
I might better say, when you do not wish to think of it, is
necessarily in bad taste. The degree of assertiveness admissible in
a decorative object depends upon the degree of its naturalisation or
conventionalisation, or, to put it another way, on the degree in which
it is fine or mechanical. And though we cannot pretend to regulate
by rules of this kind, pictures which are direct mirrors as far as
possible of real things, yet, in so far as they are mural decorations,
they come under this law.

Mr. Ruskin’s wall, painted to look like a vinery, would admit of
much more forcible treatment, being entirely painted by hand and as
true to nature as possible, than would a wall with a _printed_ vine
pattern on it in which there necessarily was repetition. And natural
flowers painted may fittingly be treated much more forcibly than
would be admissible in a purely conventional design, because natural
flowers, hills, & trees, cannot become assertive enough to influence
one disquietingly. Therefore the more nearly approaching to nature,
the more assertive may be our ornament, or rather the less assertive
it _will_ be from this very reason, and therefore may be the more
_forcible_ in treatment. So we can stand, in a conventional pattern
design, a degree of contrast in tones, which we could not tolerate in
flat masses of colour.

One of the chief underlying causes of this failing of fussiness we
have noted, is, that a room is scarcely ever designed _as a whole_,
never enough thought of as a whole. The designer of each individual
thing, knowing nothing of the form or character which anything else in
the room was going to take, thought only of his own design, & worked
enough interest into it to make it all-sufficient in itself; and the
consequence, when his design gets put into a room in conjunction with
a lot of other things, all designed in just the same spirit, is, that
restlessness we have been deploring.

A room is a place in which to think of other things besides those
relating exclusively to the room itself, and so much incident and
interest should not be worked into it as to distractingly affect the
pursuance of these thoughts & occupations. I say again, any ornament
which you notice when you do not wish to is necessarily in bad taste.

When choosing anything, a wall paper for instance, we forget that
we are, while so doing, devoting all our thought and attention to
the design we are considering; and that, though pleasing under these
circumstances, it may not be equally so to have by us when we wish to
think of other things, or in the position for which we intend it. Now
no flat mechanical ornament, designed to cover a large space, should
ever be so designed that you are able easily to trace the pattern at
the other side of the room. Please do not understand from this that it
should be _small_ in design; far from it; things small in design are,
almost necessarily, finikin and therefore unreposeful; but being quiet
and retiring in colour and contrast of tones, whether large or small,
let it reveal, when you come to have _leisure_ to examine it, vigorous
broad and direct treatment, good loving thoughtful drawing, real
artistic conception, and perception of beauty in form and line.

How seldom we get these qualities: how laboured and unspontaneous most
patterns are! Into what unwholesome forms the ornament is tortured, how
the one aim seems to be to make the design as restless and fussy as
possible! A sort of feeling pervades the whole, that the designer could
not let the thing alone.

I think we must not now go far into the faults in actual
draughtsmanship most common in our designs. But one thing is very
striking: our designers, almost without exception, seem to be out of
their depth directly anything in the way of foreshortening is required
of them; this cannot but lead us to the conclusion, that drawing from
Nature does not form a sufficiently important part of their training.
In fact I have myself known several men, engaged entirely in drawing
ornament, who never drew a bud or twig from Nature in their lives.
However this may be, the fact remains that very few of our designers
seem able to draw a leaf turning over with any truth and accuracy.

Another cause of failure in our rooms is _the dread of repeating
ourselves_. With my wish that a more wholesome feeling in this may
spring up among all engaged in artistic work, I am perhaps more anxious
to have your sympathy than with anything which has gone before. Let us
then _do nothing different from what we have done before, until we feel
it to be better than what we have done before_.

Now this fear of repetition is no imaginary evil, but a very real and
living one. How often do we all attempt something fresh, knowing it not
to be the best we can do, (best I mean more in kind than degree) simply
from a weak dislike that people should say of us, that we have only one
style. How often do we turn out a design for a certain purpose and
position, knowing it to be not so good as one we have before made for
a similar purpose and position, simply because we have not strength to
repeat what we believe to be best, lest people should think that is
_all_ we can do. In so doing we preclude all possibility of development.

Now observe, this never occurs during the progress of any living art
in the past. The man who had carved one Early English capital did
not, when next he had a capital to carve, say, “I know nothing more
_beautiful_, but I must at any rate do something different, I must not
put the same capital here again.” On the contrary, his aim was to carve
a similar capital again, only he would try to do a better one; for
probably he had noticed some little point in which he could improve on
the last he did; some way in which he could mass his light and shade so
as to give them a more pleasing form when seen at a distance; or some
more lovely feeling it was possible to introduce into the reveal of a
leaf or the curve of a stem.

You must forgive me if I dwell on this a little. For it is of vital
importance that all of us who have any hope or wish to see a living
art again existent among us, should realise the full significance
of this. There are many other changes which must take place in our
practice of the arts, and these very radical changes, before living art
is again possible to us; but if I can bring home to anyone, directly
or indirectly, the full significance of this, I shall have done
_something_ towards this great end.

In excuse it may be and is said, “This aiming at change, variety,
novelty, &c. is demanded of the designer by a capricious change-loving
public, broadly speaking, incapable of any true judgment or
appreciation of good and bad in art.” In reply to this, I think we
cannot do better than recall what Mr. Ruskin says on this head. “You
may like making money exceedingly; but if it come to a fair question,
whether you are to make five hundred pounds less by this business, or
to spoil your building, and you choose to spoil your building, there’s
an end of you. So you may be as thirsty for fame as a cricket is for
cream; but, if it come to a fair question, whether you are to please
the mob, or do the thing as you know it ought to be done; and you can’t
do both, and choose to please the mob,--its all over with you;--there’s
no hope for you; nothing that you can do will ever be worth a man’s
glance as he passes by.”

A further cause of failure in decorating and furnishing is virtually
the same as we noticed when speaking of planning. When a small middle
class house is wanted, what is usually done, we saw, is virtually
to take a plan suitable for a larger house and reduce it every way,
instead of designing a house suited to the new requirements. This same
mistake is generally made in the decoration and furniture; instead of
these being designed to suit the condition or circumstances in which
they are to be placed, each designed for its position and purpose,
and good and honest as far as it goes, what do we find? Cheapened
imitations of the sort of thing common in the larger house, cheapened
by being badly made, by veneer on pine instead of solid wood, by cast
metals and ornament made to look like wrought, by machine carved wood,
by marbled slate, &c. P. G. Hubert in his little book entitled “Liberty
and a Living,” says: “One of my critics, for whom I have great personal
deference, tells me that my theory of life tends to a relapse into
barbarism, and in illustration of the truth of his position, he pointed
one evening to a music stand near the piano with the remark: “With
your ideas, that stand would never be made of mahogany and elaborately
ornamented, but would be of pine, perhaps stained.”

“Well, suppose it was, I am inclined to think that the greater use of
common material, stained pine and other cheap wood, in the houses of
people of taste is a distinct indication of a needed reform. Take the
little music stand in illustration. Its purpose is to hold a number of
music books and loose sheets of music. It has three or four shelves,
and is so made as to stand in a corner near the piano and take up but
little room. It is made of mahogany, highly polished, & is ornamented,
as most people would call it, with a sort of stucco-beading, which to
me is distasteful. But it cost money, and therefore has its reasons
for being in certain eyes. I have forgotten what it cost me--probably
from fifteen to twenty dollars. Thanks to the growth of good taste, I
can to-day pick out from half-a-dozen books I know of a little design
for a music stand, or sketch it myself, and the nearest carpenter will
make the thing in a day at a cost of two or three dollars for wood,
labor, and staining. The result will be something which is pleasanter
to my eye, and I will venture to say to the eyes of nine out of ten
persons of educated taste. The other fifteen or sixteen dollars saved
may be devoted to books, pictures, music--any of the things which
really add something to life. The music stand of stained pine will do
its work just as well as the one made of mahogany, inlaid with stucco
beading--in fact it will do it better, for it will not need a periodic
rubbing on the part of the parlour-maid to keep it bright and polished,
and it can be moved about when occasion demands, as it weighs but
little. It is as strong as the other, and it will last a hundred years.”

And now for the last cause of failure of which I shall speak, and this
is: the very marked feeling which everything has of not having been
designed for its place: the look everything has of being ready to move
at any moment. Most things to look right and happy in their places must
be designed _for_ their places. The advantages attaching to a room
furnished in this way, and largely by means of _fixtures_, I think the
accompanying sketches will do something to illustrate.

There is a unity, completeness, comfort, and repose about such a
room, which can never be got in a room in which the furniture &c. is
not designed for its position and looking at home there, but is just
temporarily stuck where it happens to stand, with a look of being on
the alert, and ready to move on at a moment’s notice.

But it is time to sum up our position and note the general conclusions
to which we are led. I have described some of the defects we most
commonly see in planning, and the arrangement of the hall; the entire
want of reposefulness, (that infallible criterion of good ornament),
that troubles the man of taste in nearly all domestic decorative work;
and the lack of fitness in the furniture that is generally crowded into
the rooms of smaller middle class houses, which adds the final touch
to the complete failure, from an artistic point of view, of the great
majority of such rooms.

I further mentioned as causes generally contributing to this
failure, over-decoration, the covering of all surfaces with a mass
of incongruous patterns, quite fatal, even where the designs are in
themselves good: the effortfulness of most ornament, by which every
pattern seems to clamour for notice, in which connexion I stated as a
guiding principle, that any ornament you notice before you look for
it, is likely to be in bad taste. Further I noticed the laboured and
unspontaneous character of so many of the designs themselves and the
lack of good drawing in them, and hinted that this arose partly from
the designer’s dread of repeating himself, and his eagerness to produce
something fresh without considering whether it was better. Finally I
drew attention to the way in which so many rooms are furnished with
cheap imitations of better or more esteemed materials, decorated with
cast, or otherwise mechanically produced imitations of hand-wrought
ornament, and the general unfitness, and ready-to-move look, which
results from there being no fixed furniture, but all having been
designed without any thought of the room, and the room planned without
any view to its furniture.

I have several times hinted that the entire lack of unity, which is the
inevitable result of all this, must continue, so long as our rooms and
our houses are never thought out as a whole, so long as one man plans
the building, another arranges the decorations, and a third picks up
the furniture of twenty designers, here and there and everywhere. It
is essential to any good result, that one man should design the house
as a whole. I do not mean necessarily that he should design everything
in it, or draw with his own hand every detail; but he must exercise a
controlling power, selecting where he does not design, and ensuring
that the work of all may be done in a spirit of co-operation towards
the complete whole which he planned.

You will all be wishing to ask me, I doubt not, how this is possible in
our days of speculative building, short leases & shorter tenancies. I
must at once admit that to a large part of this work such a system is
inapplicable, though even here much could be done if each department
made what improvements are possible irrespective of the others. The
lack of power to control the decorations does not excuse a badly
planned hall. But outside the purely speculative building there is yet
a large amount of work to which the system is applicable, in greater or
less degree, such degree mainly depending on our clients: and here we
have the real difficulty. We are powerless to compel our clients, nay,
to a large extent, the client has a right to have his own way.

I suppose a doctor is in a similar fix; he is called in to prescribe
for a patient and finds his prescription is useless because the
patient will continue to smoke; he does not, if he is worth anything,
accept the situation; but he explains that smoking is, in this case,
fatal, that it renders his skill unavailing; and, if all his advice is
neglected, he will finally refuse to act.

Architecture is rightly called a profession only when the architect
advises his client what is best, and brings the whole weight of his
knowledge and experience to persuade him from anything foolish, or
in bad taste. When he produces to order some plan of which he cannot
approve, he is merely a merchant of plans.

While speaking of this duty of the architect, I would not be thought
to make light of many conditions of modern life which will, so long
as they continue, and to the extent to which they spread, hinder all
attempts to produce beautiful and dignified homes. One such condition
is the instability of social position; everyone is seeking to get a
step further up the social ladder. The result is a demand for houses
which look as though they belonged to the social grade next above
that of the people who are to live in them. To such untrue aims art
refuses any countenance; and it is well. But there is an already great
and daily increasing number of those who are weary of this fruitless
struggle, of a life spent in work entirely without interest or beauty,
or the power of giving a vestige of real pleasure, that they may have
the means to _acquire_ things without interest, beauty, or the power
of giving any pleasure beyond the sordid satisfaction of letting Mr.
and Mrs. So-and-So see they can afford to have them. These are anxious
to find houses suited to their genuine wants, houses in which the work
will be reduced to a minimum, and the beauty increased to a maximum,
by the only true method of making all the useful and necessary things
beautiful; not by the false method of keeping all useful & necessary
things out of sight, trying to conceal their purpose or to appear
unconscious of their existence, and substituting for them things
recognised to be useless but regarded (so long as the fashion lasts at
any rate) as beautiful.

This polished mahogany life of ours, with stucco trimmings and jerry
joints presented for view to our visitors and acquaintances in the
front room, is not, I believe, what many of us really want; we are
tired also of the dismal and cramped, but at anyrate real, back office,
back room, and kitchen life; & many are looking for houses in which
they shall not spend their labour for that which is not bread, but
shall be able to live a life of less artificiality than our present
complex 19th century existence, a truer, healthier life altogether.

I have just said, that the true method of making a room beautiful is
to make all the necessary and useful things in it beautiful; so much
is this true that it becomes almost impossible to design a really
beautiful room that is to have no useful work done in it or natural
life lived in it. An architect called upon to design a room in which
nothing more earnest is to be done than to gossip over afternoon tea
has, indeed, a sad job.

For a room must always derive its dignity or meanness from, and reflect
somewhat, the character and kind of occupation which is carried on
in it. For instance, the studio of an artist, the study of a man of
letters, the workshop of a carpenter, or the kitchen of a farmhouse,
each in its position and degree, derives a dignity and interest from
the work done in it. And the things in the room bear some relation to
that work, and will be the furniture and surroundings natural to it; as
the bench and tools in the carpenter’s shop; the easels and canvasses
in the studio; the books and papers in the study; and the bright pans
and crockery in the kitchen. All these lend a sense of active, useful,
human life to the room, which redeems it from vulgarity, though it be
the simplest possible; and no amount of decoration or ornamentation
can give dignity or homeliness to a room which is used as a show room,
or in which no regular useful life is lived. For in the work room all
things _have a place_, by reason of their usefulness, which gives a
sense of fitness and repose entirely wanting in a room where a place
has obviously _had to be found_ for everything, as in a drawing room.

How far things _beautiful_ alone, are to be allowed place in our
rooms I am not prepared to say. Thoreau, you will remember, threw
away his fossil, the only ornament in his room, because it required
dusting. While not suggesting that we should follow his example to such
an extreme, I yet think that in retaining his spade and his axe he
retained more of true decoration. And I believe in the main that the
more adapted to its use anything is, the more graceful will it be in
shape. The bent handle of the axe, more comfortable to hold, is also
more beautiful than the straight, and in the degree the curve and form
of the handle is adapted to its uses as an axe, by just so much the
more beautiful it becomes.

The charm of the farmhouse kitchen, with everything in its place
because of its usefulness, can of course be increased to an unlimited
extent by making all the useful articles also beautiful in form, and
harmonious in color. This is the line on which alone, I contend, a
really beautiful room is to be got; and I would discourage all attempts
at adornment by finding places for useless things.

I am glad to think that, owing to the great increase of education and
employment among ladies, there will be less and less call for the
old-fashioned drawing room; ladies will want a room to work in, not to
dawdle in.

Pardon me if I seem to have dwelt over long on some of these
difficulties in the way of designing really beautiful rooms. I have
done so in the belief that they do not, as at first may appear, lie
outside our province. For I believe, as professional men, we have
just such power of influencing our clients by helping them towards
a more natural life as the doctor has in such matters as diet; and
particularly is this power evident in the domestic branch of the
profession, with which we are dealing.

In building a man’s shell for him we certainly can influence very
largely the life he will live within it; and while it is our duty to
make that shell fit the life as well as possible, it is surely also our
privilege to make it conduce to the realisation of the best of which he
is capable.

In so far as we do this, we shall rise above the mere planner of houses
and take our places in the work of planning and moulding the future
life of the people.

BARRY PARKER.



THE DIGNITY OF ALL TRUE ART.


The kinship between all the various branches of art is so very close,
that instead of speaking of them as different arts, it would really be
more accurate to describe them as only different media for expression
of the same truth. Our object in trying to express ourselves in some
one form of art, is to bring home to those to whom this _form_ most
appeals, truths which we see are passed over by them unheeded and
uncomprehended when expressed in another. Many of the principles and
truths I hope to bring before you are so much more easily set forth
in other arts than that of language, that the attempt to use this
form would seem unnecessary and undesirable were it not for the truth
of what I have just said, that each of the arts appeals & clearly
expresses its meanings and teachings only to a part of those to whom it
is addressed. All feel something of the meanings expressed through art,
no matter what _form_ of expression may have been chosen, but every
one will be more directly appealed to and will more clearly understand
the message expressed in one art than they would that, or some other
message, expressed in another.

It cannot be denied that many get from music what they see not in
poetry, while others learn from poetry what they miss in music,
painting, sculpture, or architecture; that some can feel and know truth
in architecture they find not in the drama, and many learn from the
drama what no other art can teach them.

For though it is true that many of our greatest artists could have
expressed themselves, as some have expressed themselves, with equal
power through several media; many of our greatest poets might have
made equally great painters, and our painters, poets; still few could
possibly find time to acquire equal knowledge of several arts. And
though most men, being masters of one art, will have abundant sympathy
and love for the others, yet life will prove too short for them to
come to feel and know the messages or truths of any other with equal
clearness. But, having them in the depths of their natures, they will
feel, though dimly perhaps, that they are all one, and that their vital
truths belong to all alike, and are essentially the same in all, and
are of the very life of all that is worthy, all that is beautiful,
true, or noble.

Now all the greatest truths are so broad and universal in their very
elements, that they are incapable of clear definition and _must_ depend
on the subtleties of true art for expression. And in this lies the
dignity of all true art, in that by it and through it only can the
highest truths be taught, or true education reached.

Music is the most perfect means of saying what cannot be expressed
in words. None of us can translate into words what has been revealed
to us through music, it is a means of expression above and beyond
words; painting, poetry, sculpture, architecture, even a mere colour
scheme, can all tell us much which is beyond the power of any direct
expression. The deeper the truth the more dependent it is upon one or
other of these arts for its expression. None of us can say what music
has brought home to us, none of us can tell what a beautiful building
has said to us. If we try to give all these things in words, “beauty,”
“truth,” or that hopelessly feeble phrase “elevating influence,” and
kindred terms, are all that come to our aid with which to tell of them.
Into these weak inadequate words we have to read all that which we have
learned from other arts, & so give them a meaning they are incapable of
conveying, unless we have felt it through influences above and beyond
them. Music, the most perfect of the arts, is the most subtle, the
most inexplicable. It seems to be, (if I may use the expression), the
most direct gift of God to man, excepting of course that revelation of
Himself which we call Nature, and which is above all arts or anything
needing man’s instrumentality.

Why has music this power of calling forth all that is best in us, of
making us feel the great things beyond expression? We cannot say.

We feel, and so we know and realise, that music never deceives, and is
the only art which is never misunderstood. Her revelation is either
taken or left, it is either comprehended or passed by unheeded, but
it is never misconstrued. It may be understood and felt in a degree
only. It may give more of its message to one than to another, but in
so far as it is understood at all, it is _truly_ understood and never
misleads, and herein lies its greatness.

Some there are who say they can express by language or other arts
what the musician is speaking of in his music; this only shows that
all in which music transcends other arts is beyond their conception.
The messages music has for us are above and beyond such things as can
be put into words, and to have it merely telling a story which could
equally well, or perhaps even better, have been told in words, or even
to have it imitating the sounds of the sea, the voices of the storm,
the whisper of the trees, or the sorrow of the wind, is to miss much of
its greatness.

The messages of music may have been at some times the same as those of
Nature, in the sea, the stream, or the trees, but to make it merely
a less comprehensible language, telling us what written or spoken
language can tell us, is to take from it much of its nobility and to
deprive it of some of its most sacred prerogatives.

So if we follow this through we see its truth in all the arts. Poetry,
partaking of the character of music, can bring home to us things too
subtle, too high, to be told to us in prose, but may be misunderstood
as music cannot be. In its highest influences, in those elements which
it has in common with music, it is, like music, either taken rightly or
not comprehended at all, but in many of its lesser and more definable
messages it may be misunderstood.

A very little thought will show how absolutely true in literature
is what I have said, as to the position _art_ must hold as the only
means of expressing the greatest truths, and will show too, that
just as our theme advances in dignity, will it increasingly need the
aid of art to give it expression. The meanest things of life are most
easily expressed. We can give our financial position with clearness in
figures. We can express the composition of a gas with absolute accuracy
in a formula. We can give almost any mere scientific fact in words. We
can even state the properties of a triangle with some definiteness. But
beyond this we cannot go without calling Art to our aid; and the higher
we attempt to soar the more dependent upon her do we become.

Our laws and legal documents are a constant comment upon and
illustration of the utter failure inevitably resulting from any attempt
to express with absolute accuracy, without the aid of art, any of those
things which involve questions of morality, love, truth, justice, or
any of the higher qualities of our nature; for they have always been
and must always be the most obscure, involved, and incomprehensible
attempts at expression in any language.

So we go upwards from the scientific formula and the laws of geometry,
past the legal document to the newspaper article, and everyday prose,
until we come to the more matter-of-fact forms of philosophy, thence
on to parable, fiction and fairy tale, & from these to sculpture,
architecture, painting, and poetry, calling in at every stage more and
more of the aid of art, until we arrive at last at that most perfect
art, and most complete expression, _music_. And observe, all the way
through the series we have moved less and less within the regions of
definitely statable facts, and more and more in the regions of those
truths which can be felt & known, but not definitely expressed.

Great truths, which are for all time and all peoples, must be expressed
in an art at any rate as high in dignity as parable in one of its many
forms. The greatest teachers have recognised this. All great truths
must be presented in a form in which those who are capable of realising
them can find them, while others miss, & each can take away what he can
comprehend. This is only another way of saying again, great truths can
only be expressed through the medium of art, for it is an essential
property of all true art that it shall suggest and imply more than it
actually says.

I have said art is the only true educator between man and man, and a
knowledge and appreciation of those things which through art alone we
can learn, is the only true education. But I would not for one moment
be thought to lose sight of the fact that _Nature_ can and does teach
us more than any work of man. She has influences over us tending to
the highest education; with these I was not concerning myself in the
above, for I was speaking of man’s influence upon his fellow man. I am
to try and give some idea of wherein lies the life and vitality of some
of the humbler branches of art. I say humbler, for I will have none of
the shallow hypocrisy of those who, not being able to paint a great
realistic picture, pretend that their little conventional decorations
are a higher and nobler branch of art, and who, because the great
picture may be still greater by being _also_ decorative, and can only
attain to its greatest when it _is also_ decorative, argue that all
decorative art is greater than pictorial.

It is my aim to show that to these applied arts also belongs much of
that power to express those higher things which are felt and known only
through art.

We all know that the mere form of a chair, the contour of a mould, the
shape of a bracket, a scheme of colour, have power to affect us, in a
degree, in just the same way music does, and, with awe let us realise
it, even as Nature herself does. And I would have every craftsman and
every practiser of the arts as deeply impressed with the dignity this
places upon him, and the responsibilities it brings with it, as he can
possibly be. I would have him feel this truth, that in his degree he
is instrumental in either forwarding or retarding his fellow men in
their highest and truest education; that in just so far as his art is
true or false, real and vital, or feeble and insincere, he is advancing
or hindering this great work; that true art is the grandest work of
which humanity is capable, and that through it alone can man advance to
higher things than those of which he is now capable.

We can none of us know, and certainly none of us are in any danger
of over-estimating, the good influence of a beautiful building upon
all those who pass and repass it daily; and the smallest and most
insignificant article in our daily use has, in its own degree, like
power to help or hinder our development.

Wherein truth in art consists, none but the artist can know, and he
cannot tell to another what he knows of it himself; he has learned it,
first from an inborn instinct and gift, and second, by that education
which true art only can promote, and others can only come to a
knowledge of it in the same way.

The whole spirit and trend, all the outside circumstances, influences,
and conditions of modern life, are against the artist and true art.
The present individualistic and competitive basis of society makes
a _living_ art almost an impossibility, but I do not propose we
should concern ourselves now with questions which are not within the
designer’s power, but only with those things which he can and must see
that he personally rightly understands and practises.

No good work in any field of art was ever yet done in a hurry; it maybe
done quickly, with the utmost energy, this will probably only give it
vitality, but all outside pressure means death to art.

All true art work must always be done under the very keenest stress of
mental effort; it cannot be slovenly, careless, or interestless in its
smallest detail, but must be wrought with every faculty alert with an
absorption and concentration amounting to abandon, and it must be done,
_can_ only be done for the love of it. Other motives there may be, and
in greater or less degree there _will_ be, but this must be first and
paramount, or true art is impossible.

A very fruitful cause of failure is the effort to be original. In
the loathsome distortions of fashion we see daily the result of this
attempt to originate new forms, simply for the sake of novelty,
without the slightest reference to any feeling for beauty or fitness.
Originality has no value other than a purely commercial one, unless the
original thing has advantages over the commonplace. Most of the things
which we have about us show unmistakably that their designers went to
work in the wrong spirit from the very first. We see at a glance that
the position taken up was this. The designer has said to himself “This
is generally done so and so, in such and such a manner; now how can I
modify this to make it in some degree original: where can I introduce a
little novelty?”

No good result was ever yet arrived at by any one who took up this
position. No: the way to go to work is, to get clearly into your mind
the functions, duties, requirements and limitations of the thing to
be designed, then choose the material or materials which will enable
it best to fulfil its functions, duties, and requirements, and keep
within its limitations. Afterwards, with a full knowledge and candid
recognition of the properties and characteristics of your materials and
the best way of using them, set to work to evolve the form which will,
in the simplest and most direct & at the same time most beautiful and
decorative manner, fulfil the requirements, and the result will bear
the impress of your own personality, it will have your own feeling,
and will probably also have something of true originality.

You may if you like, with all this clearly in your mind, pass in review
the customary forms employed to fulfil the conditions, retaining such
characteristics as you see are valuable either because they advance the
objects, or add to the comeliness, but this must come second not first.

I would like you to notice in passing that this right and true method
of going to work in design is entirely inapplicable to all things
having no functions to fulfil, by such a throng of which we are now
surrounded.

The whole trend of modern civilisation would make the outlook for the
artist one of blank hopelessness, were it not that there are signs of a
reaction, due to the efforts of great men who have fought hard that art
may not die.

We call the present the “Machine Age.” Now the influence of machinery
on art is one of the most degrading we have to contend with, for every
advance made by machinery must mean a corresponding retreat on the part
of art.

When I have expressed the keen sense of pleasure given me by the
beautiful variety of surface, the light and shade, the crisp, clean
adze cuts, the vital human interest, of some old beam, the commercial
mind has said to me “If the workman who wrought it had possessed the
tools with which to get it up to a _better surface_, he would not
have left it as it is.” This is probably true, but it does not affect
the question of the relative beauty of the two beams, the absolutely
square, smooth, machine planed one, and the irregular rough hewn one
so full of character and interest. The artistic value of each is a
question quite apart from such considerations. To-day, if we require a
beam in our building, we take every bit of natural character out of it,
and bring it, by mechanical processes, to as dead and flat, as lifeless
and monotonous a state as possible, then we stupidly try to replace
some of the natural and characteristic beauty we have been at so much
trouble to get rid of, by some form of applied ornament, moulding, or
what not, which probably has only this one result, that it obscures the
one trace of natural beauty which has been able to survive the previous
processes, that is the grain and figure of the wood. Afterwards we
stand and look at it, with a sort of feeling that there is something
wrong, and wonder why it was so much more beautiful before.

This is only one illustration, it would be easy to give hundreds. For
beauty of texture and surface are nothing to the machine producer or
the commercial spirit of to-day.

When I say I want a piece of copper just hammered out to the size and
shape I require without that grinding and polishing by which all trace
of the hammer & human hand is lost in mere smoothness and mechanical
finish, the workman tells me it will be injurious to his credit, people
will see nothing in it but bad workmanship and inability to finish. He
would prefer to efface the sympathetic surface and natural beauties of
the beaten metal as completely as possible, then he would put it in a
press and stamp some meaningless pattern on it, but the result would be
entirely uninteresting to him, and he would have no satisfaction in it,
unless sheer commercialism had utterly killed every grain of everything
higher than itself in his nature.

Think of the beauty of leaded glass compared with the lifeless hard
mechanical perfection of polished plate. This beauty has nothing to do
with its old-fashioned look, with romantic associations, or quaintness
of effect; it is simply an inherent property of all leaded glazing,
due to the wonderful and never ending charm of the play of light and
shade on the different panes, each one catching the light slightly
differently from any other, some glistening brightly, others dead and
sombre, and the rest occupying every tone between the two. One sheet of
glass with the leading laid upon it would be more ugly and meaningless
than the plate glass. Many would-be artistic people think that it
is an essential characteristic of the artistic that it should be in
some degree eccentric or unusual. This is as great a delusion as any
one could well labour under. That it is the case at the present time
cannot be denied; but it is because we have sunk to such depths of
degradation, that the artistic has become the eccentric and unusual,
not that to be different from the ordinary is the property of the
artistic. There was a time when the exact reverse was the case, when
simple natural beauty was the rule in all things and ugliness the
exception, and the unusual and eccentric was then the inartistic.

So also many would-be artistic people think that things derive an
artistic value simply from being old or old-fashioned. This again is
entirely untrue except of such things as undergo a modification and
change for the better in themselves at the hands of old Father Time.
But this too is an error easily accounted for, as at the present time,
as regards the common things of daily life, the standard of design is
so debased that it would be almost impossible to bring out of the past
(at any rate of centuries before the last), forms for these which would
not surpass in beauty those now current among us. If art in our homes
were living and progressive the old and old-fashioned would be the ugly
and inartistic.

A perfectly frank recognition of construction and an honest compliance
with its demands is an absolute essential of all good designs; any
attempt to disguise or thwart, or failure to acknowledge, the necessary
characteristics and features of construction, must result in artistic
disaster and is indeed a very fruitful cause of it. So also is that
kindred error, the adoption of a less perfect construction to get the
form wanted. It is not necessary I should dwell upon this now, for it
is recognised by all art teachers, though by very few of those who
practise the applied arts, and illustrations of the truth of it meet us
in abundance on every hand and will occur to all.

Neither is it necessary (and for the same reasons) that I should say
much about imitations & shams; wood made to simulate stone or marble;
iron cast in forms suited only to wood; wood worked into forms suited
only to stone, or in imitation of stone, as in tracery and groining.
The evil of all this is too well known, and I have had to pass over it
for the sake of what is less recognised and not so often brought before
us. To put the right thing in the right place; to give it its most
appropriate form, and above all things the form which will best enable
it to fulfil its functions and uses, and withal the simplest, most
direct, and the most perfect in construction; this is the first duty of
every designer, and in doing this he will generally find he gets the
maximum of beauty.

The conscious effort to be original will always produce abortions and
painful results; the only originality worth anything is arrived at in
trying to do something _better_ not something new; and the true artist
shows himself in giving beauty of form, of colour, and design to the
necessary and useful, and adding that higher usefulness belonging to
a work of art. But may we not have ornament, pure ornament which has
no other definite use? Certainly we may, but let us at the very outset
apply this test to it. It does not, we say, fulfil any useful purpose
on the physical plane, does it fulfil any purpose on that higher
plane of which I have spoken? Is its educational influence good? If
so we will welcome it. If not let it go. And I fear, when this test
is applied, it will be found that there is but little of the enormous
profusion of the (so-called) ornament spread over everything about us,
which would not have to go.

Most of us would do well to change it all for one or two good pictures,
a bit of really beautiful metal work, carving, or embroidery, done by
an artist with his own hand, and possessing something of that dignity
of true art I have tried to show.

BARRY PARKER.



OUR EDUCATION IN ART.


My subject is “Our Education in Art,” & I approach it with a sense of
trepidation, feeling that the task I have set myself is one of very
great difficulty, and being, as I am, so fully alive to the tremendous
issues involved in our holding right or wrong views upon art education.

The place in our lives which Art must fill is so exalted that it is
with reverence I would consider the way in which we should teach or be
taught to express ourselves in art, or learn to read the meaning of
others expressed through that medium. Those who have come to realize
that only by the employment of Art can the highest truths which we
are capable of receiving be conveyed from one man to another, must
feel that the method of preparing ourselves to wield so great a power,
or render ourselves receptive of such an influence, should be most
earnestly considered. I have taken “Our Education in Art” as my title,
instead of “The Education of an Artist” or any other title which would
have fixed more definitely the limitations within which I should
confine myself, because I want what I am about to say to have a much
wider application than it would if simply taken as addressed to those
who propose to practise an art. For, to train all to an appreciation
of what is good, true, and beautiful, in Art, is hardly less important
than to train artists capable of expressing what is good, true, and
beautiful.

All have not vouchsafed to them the power to express themselves in an
art, but all are in some degree influenced by the artistic qualities of
the things by which they are surrounded, and I wish to suggest a way of
learning to _appreciate_ what is good and true and beautiful in art,
even more than a way of learning to _create_ such art. That there shall
be those who can _appreciate_ good art is necessary to its life. That
we should have those who can create it is not enough; this is the work
of the few; the work of the many is to make an atmosphere in which it
can live. I would impress as gravely as possible upon those who aspire
to the practice of an art, not only the dignity belonging to what they
would undertake, but the tremendous responsibility attaching to it.

The first thing that must go to the making of an artist is that he
should have that within him which craves for expression, and which can
only be expressed through the medium of an art. This first essential is
given to many to whom the power to express it is not given, but without
it the facility to express will be a power for harm not for good: it is
the presence of great qualities, not the absence of bad, which makes a
work of art.

The artist’s great responsibility lies in this: every time he creates
anything capable of bearing the impress of the true art instinct, he
brings into existence that which will have an influence upon all who
see it, and will quicken or deaden in them this high instinct. The
thought that, if he create not something better than would have been
created by others, had he left it to them, he is doing harm in the
world, not good, is one that should come home to him very solemnly.
To the art worker belongs this privilege--that his art can be a great
power for good; and this responsibility--that he must of necessity
have done either harm or good by his work, and that unless he has done
something which is beyond and above the conception of the general run
(nay, of the great majority) of his fellow-creatures, something they
feel to have a little more in it, and to be a little more than they
can grasp, he is not merely harmless, he is a failure. For as in life
generally, so in the artistic life, he who merely does what no one can
attach blame to, and has not done better than others would have done in
his stead, has lived to no purpose. Virtue is not a negative quality in
art or in life; it does not consist in keeping the Ten Commandments.
“All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” This
man 1900 years ago had grasped the truth of what I have said above
better than most of us have to-day.

I will herein confine myself to speaking of those arts which depend
upon our eyes for their means of appealing to us; and as I wish that
these suggestions may be of real practical value, to all who desire to
appreciate what is artistically good and true, I must leave out of our
consideration, for the moment, all the greater qualities which belong
to art; and confine myself to showing how we must first learn to _see_,
and to what I may call the purely technical side of learning to _see_
and represent. For simplicity I will take the art of portraying Nature,
as seen in her landscapes, as my example of how to learn both to see
and to draw; for the process is the same in either case.

Now when first one attempts to paint a landscape, one is over-whelmed
by the tremendous number of different things one sees in it and has
to take into consideration at the same time. There is the form and
drawing, the light and shade, the atmosphere and its effect upon
the local tints or real colours of each individual object in the
landscape, the overpowering profusion of detail, the reflected lights
and reflected colours, the relative value of objects, the texture, and
character of surfaces, the composition, what we call the accidental
effects; and last but not least, the teaching and meaning, the
particular message Nature has to convey in the whole scene. And only by
long and patient study of each of these _separately_, can we acquire
the power to grasp them all together in the way which is necessary when
painting.

Were I to teach, I should make my pupils go through a long and patient
study of each of these _separately_, devoting much thought to each in
turn, quite apart from the use of pencil or brush; for it is impossible
to _represent_ one without the others, but not impossible to _study_
one without the others. And that we should be able to first dissociate
one from another in our minds, and then see the influence of one upon
another, is absolutely necessary to a true portraiture of Nature in
landscape. I would then begin with the simplest of the things in my
category, and impart to my pupils a knowledge of form (probably best
done by some simple process of modelling), and I would go on to the
drawing of form without reference to light and shade. Next I would
teach them to see form in masses of light and shade only, leaving
out of consideration at the first (as far as possible) the influence
of reflected light, but eventually giving much time and thought to
enabling them to see the reflected light truly, and to measure its
gradations and degrees accurately. From this they should go on to
represent textures and character of surfaces, and not until all this
had been done would I bring in the use of colour. This should begin
by the accurate matching of local tints, before the representation of
the colour effects produced by atmosphere with its varying degrees
of moisture, of density and transparency or opacity, its power of
diffusing light, and its effect on distance, was attempted. Next I
would allow sketching with reference to composition, grouping, and much
study of the relative values of one object to another in the landscape,
affected as it is by all the foregoing, and difficult of explanation as
it always is, even in view of and with a perfect knowledge of all the
foregoing. Finally, being first able to see and feel, then we would go
on to try to catch & portray the moods and messages of Nature, and the
poetry of the whole.

I would then point out to the accomplished craftsman, that he, upon
sitting down to paint from Nature, must first ask himself what it
is which makes a picture (in the true sense of the word) in what
is before him, and why he has chosen this particular subject: and
he must never for a moment allow himself to lose sight of this.
Much there is he must of necessity leave out, but he must grasp the
essentials and retain these. His study has taught him to see things
as they present themselves to his eye, rather than as he knows them
to be. In a sentence, he has learned to know what he sees, not to see
what he knows: he is aware that yonder hill in the distance, were he
there, would be green, but that seeing it as he does, affected by
the intervening atmosphere & light, it is blue. The painter must by
training, and power of analysing causes of effects, be able to see his
subject somewhat as he would were he suddenly dropped into his seat
from another planet, without any knowledge of the appearance on closer
inspection of the component parts of his subject. May I explain some
of what I have said, with the aid of a simple example, a stone wall
bounding a green field, the wall casting a shadow on the grass. Of
drawing pure and simple there is not much; there is the form of the
stones in the wall, the irregularities of the contour of the field, the
shadow of the wall & the modifications which the rise and fall of the
surface of the field effect in it, presenting it to the eye now more
foreshortened and now less as the angle between the wall and the ground
changes. In the reflected light there is much to note and dissociate
in our minds from the direct lighting. In this we should see that the
shadow on the shade side of the wall is much lighter than the shadow
cast by the wall upon the grass. This results from the fact that the
grass from its horizontal position receives far more diffused light
from the atmosphere and the sky than does the vertical surface of the
wall; therefore it reflects more light upon the wall than the wall can
in its turn reflect on to it. But though the shadow on the shade side
of the wall is lighter than the shadow on the grass, the shade side of
the wall will be darker than the grass within the shadow of the wall;
and this is not due to the local tint, the grey of the stone and the
green of the grass, for probably the horizontal surfaces of the stones
on the top of the wall, show as light as the part of the grass which is
also in the full blaze of the sun; it is due to the different character
of surface or texture of the grass field and the stone wall, and the
different effect upon each of varying degrees of lighting. So observe,
all these, the light and shade, the diffused and the reflected light,
the character of the surfaces, the local tints and the atmosphere &
distance from the observer, all affect the relative value of the tone
of the grass and wall, which value must be _seen_ truly before it can
be painted truly.

As I said, for simplicity, I have herein so far followed out the course
of study as applied in landscape only, but at the right stages I would
have the student, in exactly the same way, study the seeing rightly,
and then drawing rightly, first plants, then animals, then the human
figure; then finally I would let him apply his knowledge and artistic
feeling to design.

Art is at its greatest when applied. If the great picture, while
retaining all its merits as a picture, can at the same time also hold
its own as an element of decoration and lend its aid to producing the
general effect to be made upon us by the whole building, it is by so
much the greater. I would not, until the final stage, encourage the
study of any form of applied art. None of the figures drawn or studied
should be those applied to the decoration of a building, used in flat
design, or in any way conventionally treated or grouped. I would
encourage no study of ornament of any style, period, or nation. Our
need is for a system of education which will strengthen our inborn
perception for what _constitutes_ real beauty. It is comparatively easy
to learn to distinguish a beautiful thing from an ugly thing, but to
know wherein the difference lies is quite another matter. It is our
education in art that must strengthen our power to see what are the
essentially beautiful properties which the one possesses and the other
does not. We, whose work it is to design, frequently find the client
who has best been able to appreciate the difference between the good
and bad design in the finished result, will, when a design is being
worked out for him, be most emphatic in his instructions that one
by one every feature which has contributed to that difference shall
be eliminated: and the bearing upon this of what I have said, about
educating those who are not to practise the arts, but to appreciate,
will be easily seen.

He who has studied landscape earnestly and lovingly, and learnt to
see wherein its beauty lies, when he comes to apply that landscape
to an architectural or decorative purpose, such for instance as the
decoration of wall surfaces, stained glass, or what not, will find his
own characteristic way of conventionalising it. His conventionalisation
will be such as is dictated to him clearly by the limitations of the
material in which his design is to be produced, and by questions of
fitness and suitability. And his feeling for true beauty will enable
him to retain the _essentials_ of the beauty in the landscape he is
applying, & to discard what is less necessary. He will suggest the mood
of Nature and convey her influence upon the beholder. He will also, in
his freedom from the influence of long established conventions, be able
unconsciously to impart his own personality and feeling, and so give
real originality to his handiwork.

For him who would practise the art of the architect, a course of
study directed primarily to the strengthening of the power to see
wherein lies the secret of the beauty of one form over another, and
not merely that one form _is_ more beautiful than another, is perhaps
more important than to him who follows any other art appealing to the
eye: for this art is further removed from the influence of Nature’s own
teaching.

I have been obliged to dismiss in a single sentence the training by
means of drawing and studying plants, animals, & the human form, which
I would advocate; and fear I may so have given a very wrong impression
as to the importance I attach to this study. I must ask that this be
not measured by the time I have devoted to it; for I hold it to be
all-important, and the work at it should be long and thorough. In this
work the student could be carried much further in many of the separate
branches of his study I have indicated, than he could be in landscape.
The plants & animals would demand of him a far greater perception
of the subtleties of form than did the landscape, and of course his
drawing would be carried very much further. He would have to apply all
he had learnt of light & shade and reflected light under very much more
complex conditions. Much more subtle distinction of the character of
surfaces and textures would be required of him; and also greater nicety
of perception in local tints. But composition or grouping should not
enter yet into his consideration. Before he thought of these I should
want him to specialise, and decide in what field of artistic labour
his feeling & knowledge were to find expression. I should then require
that he get a complete mastery of the technicalities of this, and of
its methods, restrictions, and capabilities. If he elected to be an
architect, I would have him acquire a comprehensive knowledge of pure
building construction, but no architecture--in so far as it can be
separated from building construction. If possible, I would have him
learn one of the handicrafts for which he is eventually to design,
that he might show forth his feeling for beauty of form modified by,
and in due and proper relation to, complete mastery over methods of
construction. If he were to be a sculptor I would have him next master
the technical side of the art. If a glass painter he should be able to
make a window before he attempted to design one. The embryo painter
should master all the details of the painter’s art; the would-be
textile designer should work at a loom; and the ceramic designer with
wheel, mould, glazes, & kiln. Then at length, each should in his own
line attempt to give expression to his own ideas, his own feeling, and
his own love of beauty, in something really to be used, and for which
there was a definite requirement and a place in the world already
assigned.

And this brings us to what I consider perhaps the most vital point in
the whole system I am advocating. The student is now in a position
to solve the difficulties which will beset him on every hand. In
his own way he sets himself to create that which will best fulfil
certain definite conditions and requirements, and to give it what he
conceives to be the best and most beautiful form in which it can do
this. At this stage, _having first encountered the difficulties_, he
may, with advantage to himself and his work, look round and see how
others before him have met and overcome similar difficulties; and how,
out of the way they have done this, certain historic styles, accepted
forms, and recognised conventions have resulted. As each difficulty
presents itself it will help and stimulate him to study how it has been
overcome in old work, but if he is saturated with knowledge of the
forms and finished result of old work, without first having met the
problems which brought them into existence, he will simply have his own
instincts swamped by them, and will blindly reproduce them without any
feeling for the spirit which prompted them. Really vital design will be
well-nigh impossible to him.

That we substitute suggestion for development is one great defect
in our educational system to-day in all things, but especially in
those things appertaining to the arts. Our schools of art begin their
training in design with an exhaustive study of historic styles of
ornament and applied form of every kind. The course of study laid down
by the Institute of British Architects for its pupils, commences with
“Evidences of Study” of old Greek and Gothic buildings; in all cases
suggestion is substituted for development, and in consequence we have
turned out by the thousand men capable of reproducing works in all
styles, but with no vital appreciation of the spirit and causes which
lead to the existence of any one of them, and not one who can evolve a
really vital work of art among them.

If we look round among those who are the leading spirits in the really
great forward movement in art which is going on among us, how many of
them shall we find to be the product of our recognised educational
authorities in art? How many have got their art training on the lines
laid down by our schools of art, for instance? If they come out of
government schools at all, we shall generally find they have acquired
their grasp & mastery _in spite_ of that system, and owe it to
influences arising in some by-path, there, or outside its curriculum
altogether; or to the fact that their own individuality has been too
big to be drowned or stamped out by it. Still we cannot fail to be
struck by the very small percentage of these leading spirits which it
can be claimed are the outcome of any system of training at present
recognised.

The embryo architect is in a somewhat better position than those
intending to follow other arts, for the old apprenticeship system
still obtains in this profession; and in his master’s office he is at
anyrate engaged upon work for a definite purpose and designed to fulfil
definite conditions. He has opportunities to go some depth into the why
and wherefore of things, and must of necessity do so. Very differently
is he situated from one who is patiently acquiring a knowledge of the
outward forms of things in a large technical school. The advocates of
this “Study from the beginning of the best examples,” talk of getting
imbued with the spirit of the old work. It is not for me to go now into
the many reasons why it is not possible for us in these later times to
enter fully into the spirit which prompted the beautiful work of the
past: this one reason, that we have not first met with the difficulties
the overcoming of which brought it into existence, is all that is
within my province at the moment. Get yourself saturated with knowledge
of form, of beautiful form, presented for your study by Nature on
every hand, and apply this in your own way to meeting requirements
and overcoming difficulties which you fully comprehend, which present
themselves to you in the work which _you_ have to do. Be not swamped
with anothers’ ways of fulfilling other (though perhaps similar)
conditions, meeting the requirements of another age, or overcoming
other difficulties which you at best understand very imperfectly.

It would be very easy to give numberless illustrations of the harm
resulting from this very wide-spread and far-reaching error in our
conception and teaching of the duties of the designer, of the way he
should go to work, and the methods he should follow.

We do not now require to be told that to fasten thin strips of wood
to the face of a brick or stone wall in imitation of half-timber work
is bad; but I may just in passing point out, that it was this same
fault in our training and in our conception of the whole question,
which ever made this possible, and rendered us able to tolerate it. We
saw the beauty of old timber and plaster construction, and not seeing
also that that beauty resulted from straightforwardly & honestly using
the best form of construction known for these materials, we thought
of the finished effect only, and imagined we got it by imitating it
in other construction, where the conditions and requirements and the
difficulties to be met and overcome were different. Nor do we need to
think about these things much before we can see that it is wrong to
erect gable, projection, cove, parapet, continuation of a bay window,
or what not, for no useful purpose but solely for the display of even
constructionally genuine half-timber work, that it may, by its echo of
the beauties we have felt to exist in some true art work in the past,
lead us to suppose that it too is beautiful.

But to avoid all possibility of becoming in the least personal, I
will not take my illustrations from recent times, for it is easy to
find them in abundance without. The abominations of the Renaissance
are in themselves enough. These abominations were simply the outcome
of giving the study of the finished result in the beautiful work of
the past undue prominence in men’s minds, and allowing this study to
smother the feeling for what had _constituted_ the beauty in that work.
As all know, the Renaissance came from the revival of the study of
old Greek and Roman work in the 14th, 15th & 16th centuries. Men then
began again to see the beauty that was in a Greek capital, shaft and
base, but had not first learned to see that that beauty was the result
primarily of the simple and direct way in which the pillar fulfilled
its functions, in the form of construction in which it was used; and
they began to use it again, and tried to work it in just as it was, and
at the stage it had reached in the process of its evolution. They began
to introduce it in buildings of a different construction, and in places
where the conditions were very different from those under which it was
so great. It had been beautiful where it supported a roof and cornice,
and stood strong and adequate under their dead crushing weight: but
it was now introduced in conjunction with the dome, the thrust of
which it was entirely unsuited to sustain, therefore chains hidden
in the masonry (like those in our own St. Paul’s Cathedral), were
requisitioned, and we got an apparently stone building so constructed
that it would not stand up in stone, just as we have to-day on every
hand imitation half-timber buildings which would not stand up if of
timber construction. It had been beautiful in the sunny climes of
Greece and Italy, where the shade of the entablature it supported was
needed, and an attribute of beauty: but it was now placed where the
wall could not be set back from it, but must be brought out to it, and
must have windows unshaded by cornice, frieze, & architrave. Therefore
the pillar stood in front of it, carrying nothing, doing nothing, and a
melancholy, painful thing to all who beheld it rightly.

They studied the ornament of the Greeks, but failed to notice how
it was in all cases subordinated to, and explained and enhanced the
general forms and contours and emphasized the construction; and the
result was the meaningless inanity and vapid gracefulness of their
compiled arabesques and ornament on pilasters, their festoons, and all
the rest of the imitative and uninspired artificialities of the style.

The work became lifeless & compiled. In a Gothic cathedral, of the
times before the Renaissance tainted our northern work, one feels the
mason honestly developing the resources of his material, age by age.
Behind one of Wren’s spires one always sees the man with paper and
drawing instruments, hard mechanical lines laboriously measured off on
a drawing board, with mathematical calculations of proportion figured
all round the margin.

And apropos of all this, may I be allowed parenthetically to say, that
there is a movement on foot to make architecture a close profession. I
do not propose to enter here into this, or into the question whether
any true standard of qualification in architecture, or any other art,
can possibly be secured by examination; but all I have been saying has
a very distinct bearing on the policy of those who advocate that all
who would enter the profession of an architect, should go through the
same course of study as definitely laid down by them; a course which
begins with the study of ancient work, and, in so far as it includes
at all those things which constitute the true training, brings them
forward in the reverse order from the one indicated above. But this
is not the point I wish to show; I wish emphatically to say that to
train all would-be architects in such a way that they can pass the same
examinations is bad enough; but for all to go through the same mill in
preparation for these examinations, not allowing those who have other
ideas of what an architect’s training should be a free hand to act
upon their own convictions, can only have most disastrous results to
architecture, as it would to any other art.

It is well to think earnestly of our education in art, and to fit
ourselves for true appreciation; but when we have done this, if we come
to actively practise an art, to keep a watch upon our motives is our
only true guide. Everything depends on this. If the motive is unworthy
the art will be unworthy. Unless we create any work of art, unless we
write, paint, design, or whatever it may be, first with a desire to
create an influence for good, to bring home to others something of the
true & beautiful which might otherwise escape them, our art will be
unworthy.

The first thing that must go to the making of an artist is not that he
shall have the power to express himself, but that he shall have that
within him which needs expression. The artist’s duty is a very grave
and solemn one; it is for him to rouse in others the power of seeing
truth and beauty, “The best impart the gift of seeing to the rest.”

BARRY PARKER.



ART AND SIMPLICITY.

  “Ability to live without furniture, without impedimenta, with
  the least possible amount of neat clothing, shows more than the
  advantage held by this Japanese race in the struggle of life;
  it shows also the real character of some weaknesses in our
  civilization. It forces reflection upon the useless multiplicity of
  our daily wants.” _Kokoro, Lafcadio Hearn._


Looking over some colour prints from Japan, I have been much impressed
by the extreme simplicity which characterizes the interiors of Japanese
houses as depicted in them. Print after print shows us a room almost
bare, the walls in some delicate brown or grey tint, with the wood
framing exposed: this latter consists of bamboo cane or simple squared
posts and beams, with now and then a door head slightly arched.
For the elaborately ornamented screens and bric-à-brac which are
associated with Japan one searches these prints in vain: the rooms are
characterized by an almost complete absence of mere ornament. There is
in one a single panel of the wall or screen adorned with a landscape
very slightly suggested; in another a blind or hanging of some sort
bears a text or painted floral decoration; or a vase standing on a
slightly raised dais, holds a carefully arranged spray of flowers; or
ajar on the centre of a wall displays a single peony or chrysanthemum
exquisitely poised; but beyond this there is no ornamentation.

There is considerable variety in the shape of the rooms shown, none
seemingly being just four-square. A complete absence of furniture
characterizes them, and only such things as are actually being used
find a place there. Yet the whole suggestion conveyed is one of refined
and elegant life: the lady arranging flowers does not have the sprays
from which she is to select on the floor by her, but on a beautifully
lacquered tray; while all the utensils one sees represented, such as
boxes, candle-sticks, tea-cups, or platters, are elegant in shape and
colour and often much ornamented. They are quite obviously in the room
for use however, not for ornament.

Judging from these prints, the refinement of Japan seems to result in
no desire for beautiful ornaments or elaborate decorations, but rather
in the demand that everything that is required for use shall be elegant
or even highly ornamental. Their æstheticism evidently does not bring a
craving to be always surrounded by innumerable articles of _vertu_, but
rather a demand that such things as must come to their hands justified
by their use, shall come also graced by beauty.

In contrast with the extreme simplicity of the rooms is a lavish
display of bright colour and ornament on the dresses of the ladies, as
they are represented chatting or working; this tells with wonderful
effect against the soft grey or brown, or the pale green of the dried
rush matting, which are the prevailing colours shown on the walls and
floors.

Such rooms as these are obviously thought of mainly as the back-ground
to the people and their life. There is evidently in the Japanese no
lack of love for the beauty of Nature and of ornament; only there is
a dignity which makes them demand a suitable setting for their lives;
and a very rare refinement which teaches them to prefer the complete
realization and enjoyment of the beauty of a few simple things, to
the superficial appreciation of many elaborately beautiful ones;
which leads them to spend their thought rather in showing to the best
advantage the utmost beauty of one spray, than in finding places for a
basketful of rare flowers.

How different is the common estimate of art and refinement here in
the west. When we think of the elaborately upholstered houses of our
‘artistic circles,’ the people of taste--crowded as they are with
costly decorations and ornaments; when we find that one of the most
refined of our modern painters is in danger of being remembered as much
for the gorgeous palace in which he lived as for the works of art he
painted; what wonder if philosophers and moralists tell us that art is
the enemy of simplicity, the fosterer of luxury!

If the love of art did really result in making more and more elaborate
collections of beautiful things necessary to us, then indeed it would
be the enemy not alone of simplicity but of liberty also. Then would
it be but an added burden, still more terribly dividing those who work
from those who enjoy, and further enslaving the one to the other; but
another millstone hung about the neck of miserable man to keep him
from rising above the slough of mere material wants and entanglements,
in which he is already well-nigh engulfed. But the accumulation of
beautiful things from all the ends of the earth is no sign that a deep
love for art exists, and the admiration of them in itself is no sign of
much refinement. Rather does this result from our utter lack of true
art, from our complete inability to make the things we need beautiful.
It is a sign too of our entire want of refinement that we are content
to use such ugly things as we do make, if only we may have a few of the
beautiful things that other people have made, to look at. Fancy a Greek
carrying water in a galvanized iron pail, and thinking it artistic
to put his pitcher on a bracket in his hall! The Greek required his
pitchers for water carrying, and made them for that purpose, made them
as comfortable and easy to carry as possible; and that his work in the
making of them might be to him somewhat of an interest, he made them
as beautiful as he could in form, and decorated them with suggestions
of the things his mind loved to dwell upon. And so was art to him both
a solace to labour and an expression of his interest in his work. And
to the one who used the things made, what was it but a pure added
joy in his life; suggesting to him the pleasure of that worker, and
starting in his mind thoughts of gods or heroes on which he also liked
to dwell. This is the origin of all true art, springing from some joy
in the maker and giving to all who use the thing made some suggestion
of this joy. Or it may be, in the higher branches, springing from
some great thought demanding expression or great emotion yearning for
sympathy, & in the beholder ever after stimulating something of that
thought or emotion. Instead of being an added burden to men it may be
an added joy; may gladden the hours of toil to the maker; and for the
user may lift the every-day affairs of life out of the commonplace,
satisfying his taste with the comeliness of all the implements he uses
and cheering him with the beautiful suggestions of their ornament.

Art such as this must be in close touch with simplicity; for, under its
influence, ornament that has no message of suggestion, that conveys
no memento of a maker’s pleasure, would not exist; and if you come to
think of it, why should it? There is no virtue in mere ornament: far
otherwise. It is not easy to create a decoration more beautiful than
the play of sunlight or firelight on a whitewashed wall; and unless
some one has joy in doing it, or can give us something more constantly
pleasing or suggestively helpful, why should it be attempted? Certainly
refinement does not demand it; for it is refinement that teaches us to
appreciate the subtle colouring of the varying light and to be content
with it.

In other ways also the growth of the æsthetic faculty will lead to
simplicity, & will help to produce those changes in the conditions of
life and work, without which there is no hope for any great revival of
art on the lines just sketched. Until recently the beautiful feathers
of the heron, the so-called ospreys or egrets, were a favourite
decoration for the head dress; but since the cruelty attendant on the
obtaining of them has been generally known, they have vanished alike
from the plume of the soldier and the bonnet of the gentle lady. Their
beauty brings no more pleasure; it is marred by the mental picture of
the bleeding heron and its starving young: none but the ignorant or
vain can wear them now. As our appreciation of beauty becomes, if I may
so use the term, intensive as well as extensive, many similar changes
will be brought about. For one must not forget that the appeal of
beauty, of art, to us is not solely a matter of the senses. A work of
art does not cease to touch us the moment it is out of our sight; nay,
we may even get more pleasure and help from it after than when actually
gazing at it. But if it is to continue to please us, beauty must bear
to be thought about. If we cannot dwell with satisfaction on the origin
or production of the beautiful object, its beauty ceases to please, we
feel it to be superficial.

This desire for such a harmony in our life and surroundings as will
not alone delight the eye, but will also satisfy and please the mind
and heart, springing as it does from a deeper appreciation of beauty,
will have far-reaching results in the direction of wedding art and
simplicity together. There are many who can no longer enjoy an artistic
life above stairs, undisturbed by the lack of what art could add, in
the life below stairs on which it rests; for they feel that no beauty
in the drawing room can make up for the want of beauty in the lives of
those in the kitchen; no refinement in the study compensate for the
utter lack of it in the workshop. In fact we are coming to realize that
although we may have the right and the power to create for ourselves a
costly palace to dwell in, and to gather around us all the luxuries and
refinements we can think of, and may moreover have plenty of servants
to wait on us and plenty of labourers to help us to support our costly
life; yet art will not make such a life beautiful, simply because of
that want of harmony between the life and all that goes to support it.
However right and just such a life may be thought to be, it cannot be
beautiful.

And so those to whom beauty really appeals are seeking a simpler form
of life, one which need not cost so much of the labour of others to
maintain, or so much of their own to procure. And the more they come to
love & enjoy beauty, the greater must this tendency to simplicity of
life become, not from any virtue or asceticism, but simply as a matter
of choice. Why should one having such tastes encumber himself with
an elaborate household, which but offends his inner love of harmony,
and takes his time and energy from the enjoyment of so much greater
pleasure? He knows that the art in a picture belongs to all who can
appreciate it, not solely to the purchaser of it, who buys not the
art but the right to shut it up; and he realizes that the beauty of a
landscape is a pleasure open to all who can see it, and that it cannot
be conveyed in the title deed. Such an one does not barter away his
time and his freedom to enjoy these solid pleasures, for the sake of
a fine house, fine society, or any other fictitious refinements. He
minds not how simple his surroundings, if only he may be able to dwell
in thought on everything he handles or sees about him without any
painful suggestion of drudgery in the making of them, or squalor in the
maintaining of them, marring his pleasure in their simple elegance. The
most humble house will content him, so only he may have time and quiet
to appreciate the beauties of nature and art, and opportunity for the
sharing with others of like taste the enjoyment of these things. For
the love of beauty is not selfish, it grows by sharing: we all love to
make others see the beauty that we enjoy.

It is true that such a man may be fastidious, that he may hate all ugly
or sordid things, and may demand that everything he has shall be the
best of its kind. But this must not be confounded with a desire for
many things, or a dislike of simple ones. The musician too, is hurt by
harsh sounds and requires his music to be of the best, but he does not
ask that an orchestral concert shall be for ever going on.

This general dependence of beauty on simplicity, at any rate in the
private dwelling house, is of special interest to those whose function
it is to give an artistic setting to the lives of clients by so
designing their homes that they shall be comfortable for those who are
to occupy them and comely for all who shall behold them. The architect
is astonished to find how very conventional generally are the reasons
which dictate the size and arrangement of the house. He is impressed
by the great difference that exists between what are considered to
be suitable houses for different classes of people: and he begins to
wonder whether there are not discoverable some factors determining what
is a suitable size for a man’s shell having more intimate relation to
his life than the depth of his pocket, or some reason for its form and
adornment less conventional than those usually accepted.

For example, an architect receives a commission to design some
labourers’ cottages. The cost is the first stipulation: this must be
low enough for the cottages to yield a fair return on the outlay when
let at such rents as the labourers can afford to pay out of their
present wages. Probably the next stipulation is that each house must
have a parlour, kitchen, and three bedrooms. The usual result of
such instructions is a design for a row of cottages, all alike, each
having a small parlour in front with a front door into it, a kitchen
behind--it is well if this is not smaller still--with the stairs going
up between the two and a little larder under: the kitchen has a back
door leading into the yard, a sink under the only window, and a copper
between that and the fire. Here we have as the living-room for a family
a place twelve to fifteen feet square, containing three doors, a sink,
and a copper. True there is a sitting-room; but that is of little use.
The occupants will have neither money to find coal for a second fire,
nor energy to keep the fire going and the room tidy for use, nor will
there be any inclination for the family to divide for the little
time they are all at home. But a false convention of respectability
demands this sitting-room; and the stern limits of cost preclude the
possibility of having a scullery or washhouse in addition.

How an architect must wish he could attack this commission from another
standpoint. How he must long to design a house to fit the habits
of life of those who are to occupy it. Then he would work on quite
different lines. Knowing that the family will practically live in the
kitchen, he would think out the space needed to give room for doing
work, taking meals, and resting. He would consider what of the work
which must be done most tends to make the living-room uncomfortable
and dirty; and he would banish that to a scullery or wash-house. In
the living-room he would plan so that there might be warm seats round
the fire in winter, free from draughts, and seats for summer near
the window; a good dresser for work, well lighted and supplied with
cupboards, plate-rack, and perhaps a small washing-up sink for the
crockery. Then he would allow space for a table for meals, and a few
shelves for books; perhaps he might even find a corner for a piano or
desk, in case either should be wanted. Instead of the sitting-room,
he would either build a little den for quiet reading or writing, if
any member of the family desired to study, or more probably so plan
one of the bedrooms that a portion of it could be made cosy for such a
purpose, about the only one for which a sitting-room would be at all
likely to be wanted. Remembering too that cleanliness has been placed
only second among virtues, and that probably most of the labourers
would have dirty and arduous work, he would contrive to give a bath;
and if nothing better could be done might put it in the scullery. In
this way he would have obtained a cottage as nearly as possible fitted
to the lives of the people. It would take no more daily labour and
expense to keep up than the conventional one, and would not cost such
a great deal more to build--in fact, omitting the bath, and keeping
within the total size, need cost no more.

Perhaps the next commission is for a country house. It is stipulated
that there shall be dining-room, drawing-room, and library, a good
entrance hall and six bedrooms, together with kitchen, scullery, two
servants’ bedrooms, butler’s pantry, china pantry, larder, laundry,
a lavatory and cloak-room on the ground floor, and a bathroom on
each bedroom floor. Such requirements have probably as little real
connection with the lives of the people who are to live in the house,
as the conventions which dictated the two roomed cottage. The size of
the house has more to do with the social position assumed by its owner,
than with the number of his household; and the library quite as likely
is due to the length of his purse, as to the number of his books or his
literary pursuits.

Somewhere between these two extremes must lie the sort of house which
the lover of art and beauty would desire for himself. Somewhere, in
each case, must the two opposing tendencies of comfort and simplicity
meet. Up to a certain point it will add to a man’s real pleasure in
life to enlarge upon the bare shelter of the labourer’s cottage; but
beyond that point any gain there may be will be too dearly bought. This
point is fixed for any individual, but must of course vary widely with
the temperament and circumstances of each. It is sufficient for our
purpose to realize that there is such a point, and that the development
of a man’s love of beauty and art will in the long run give more and
more force to the tendencies which make for simplicity. Those whose
main desire is for beauty in their lives, are coming to see that to
the rational cottage as sketched above, with its ample living-room and
the other absolute necessaries of a decently comfortable life, they
must add with great caution and reluctance, and only as dictated by
really pressing needs. Every extra room is an added care, means further
demands on time and energy, and makes it harder to maintain the home
without introducing additional inharmonious elements in the way of
service. It is possible, though not easy, to introduce one helper into
the home life on equal terms, but very difficult indeed to do this with
two. The increase of the house must be zealously resisted, if it is to
be kept within the limits of one helper doing a fair share of work.
And not only must the size be watched: the furnishing and decorating
likewise need to be kept simple. It is a good rule in such a house
to add nothing until actually needed, and to think well whether the
pleasure and comfort it can give will repay the care and dusting it
will require.

Working on these lines there will be a good chance that our homes will
grow beautiful, that they will fit our lives and be really filled with
life. When we try how few things we can do with, we also begin to try
how beautiful those few may be made. When we value our time, and the
time of our helpers, by the pleasure which may be had from a wise use
of it, we shall take care that any adornment we have, shall at least
give pleasure equal to any other use we might have made of the time
required to obtain it. Therefore none but good decoration will tempt
us. We shall be content with our bare coloured walls, until perhaps
some artist friend comes along and adorns them for us with some true
ornament, which will be an abiding satisfaction, not only in the direct
suggestion which it conveys, but also in the memories it revives of a
pleasant visit and a guest happy in a congenial task.

RAYMOND UNWIN.



OF FURNITURE. Part 1.

A lecture given before a gathering of art workers.


Our instructions for to-night are that we show you examples of some of
our work. But we have found ourselves unable to comply with the letter
of the instructions, to confine the examples that we show you to-night
to furniture; for, of furniture which can be considered apart from
the building it furnishes, we have scarcely any to show. Complying as
nearly as we can, we will as far as possible keep within what may be
considered furnishing.

Before proceeding to the illustrations of our work, I would like
to point out what we claim you shall find to be its leading
characteristics: and among these I will name first, absolute
simplicity, directness, and straightforwardness. I feel that we are
to-day so completely smothered in lifeless and meaningless fuss of
pattern, moulding, knick-knack, flourish and convention, and the
machine-made & mechanically produced substitute for ornament, that it
is well-nigh impossible for our artistic sensibilities to exist at all
unless liberated from them. I would mention secondly complete unity and
absolute harmony between all the parts, such as can only be obtained
when a house, its decorations and furniture, are all designed by one
man--or at least under the entire supervision of one man. Now when I
claim that if the result is to be artistically satisfactory, nay also
if it is to be satisfactory from the point of view of comfort and
practical utility, the house and everything in the house must from
the first be thought of and designed as a whole, the objection most
commonly made is that a house should reflect somewhat the character,
habits, and taste of those who live in it; and that if the architect
is to make his influence felt in every detail of its furnishing and
decoration, it will show _his_ feeling, taste, and character, not his
client’s.

There seems at first glance to be some truth in this; but a very
little thought will show, that instead of the power of the members of
a household to impress their own individuality upon their home being
lessened by this extension of the architect’s influence, it would be
greatly increased.

The architect who is worth anything will always design a house which
will fit any particular client much better than would any house he
could possibly find not designed for him: and of furniture, fittings
and decoration, and all else belonging to a house, this is also true.
The client wanting a piece of furniture, can otherwise only select,
from those offered for sale in the shops, that which will most
nearly fill the place of something designed specially to meet his
requirements. His own taste and individuality can have no influence
upon it whatever; no say in the form it shall take; this has been
decided for him by a designer to whom he probably never gives a
thought. But if his architect designs something to fit him & his house,
the client can make his own taste felt from the beginning; he can make
known to his architect his own personality, habits, and feeling; and
have some chance of getting what will accord with these and moreover
be in proper relation with the whole. It is not a question whether he
shall have things to his own design or to that of another: this would
be a different matter altogether: the question is: Shall he have things
designed to fit in with him and his requirements, or do the best he can
with what chance may offer him?

It has struck me as very wonderful how good a result has in rare
instances been attained by one of true artistic feeling through long
years of careful watchfulness making the most of such opportunities as
came in his way of picking up & gathering round him--often in a house
which has not a redeeming characteristic--furniture and decoration
which his own taste has told him are good and reasonably congruous. But
I have always felt: What would not this man have made of it if he had
been able to have some influence upon the design for the house and the
things in it! By choosing an architect capable of sympathy with his own
artistic feeling, he could have done more at the very outset towards
procuring a fitting setting for himself and his life, than he has been
able to do by all his care and thought in selection.

That they who lack taste will also stamp their own individuality on the
house they live in, no matter how extended has been the architect’s
province, we know to our cost to be only too true.

All here know that the only right way to go to work to design anything
is to give it that form which will best enable it to fulfil its
functions, that form which is best adapted to the methods by which
it is to be produced, at the same time giving it the most beautiful
form consistent with & explaining these conditions of purpose and
construction: and I contend further that to gain artistic success the
position it is to occupy must also be taken into consideration; it must
be designed for its place; and, to get the best result, its place must
even be designed for it.

Socially morally and artistically one of the most necessary reforms
to-day is that we should simplify our lives; we should shake ourselves
free from all this hampering web of artificialities in which we
have become so degradingly entangled: and in our homes we must
make this possible for ourselves by first sweeping away all these
fussy substitutes for ornament, all these supposed indications and
requirements of refinement. Then, when we have done this, we must set
ourselves to make those things which are necessary and helpful to real
life and true refinement also beautiful.

But have you ever seen the _ordinary_ room with nothing but the bare
necessaries of educated and refined life in it? I can assure you the
effect is not comfortable. And it is not to be wondered at that people
condemned to live in such rooms should try to supplement their baldness
by all sorts of added ornament and bric-à-brac. Some time ago a picture
dealer was looking at some of our designs for rooms, and he said: “Yes,
but it cannot be expected that I should admire them. You, and those
who follow your teaching are the worst enemies I have. I want people
to have houses of the ordinary type, that they may always be trying
in vain to make something of them, by patiently buying & buying in
the hope that by adding first _this_ then _that_ some approach to a
satisfactory result may be obtained. Each of these rooms is in itself
a complete and satisfactory whole: there is no temptation to add
anything.”

Lest the foregoing should give any the impression that I do not find
places for pictures, I will let this bring me to what sooner or later
this evening I shall be called upon to justify myself in, namely, the
amount of realism I admit in a picture to which I accord a place as an
element of decoration. I hold that the degree of conventionalisation
justifiably demanded in any decoration is only such as is necessitated
by the following: The limitations of the materials and the processes
by which it is to be produced; a just appreciation of the special
beauties of these materials and characteristics of these processes;
and a full recognition of its proper relations to all by which it will
be surrounded, and with which it is to be combined as a component part
of an architectural whole. There is no need for adding any further
artificial restrictions. But as a legitimate reason for convention
I would add a perfectly frank acknowledgment of considerations of
economy. If you use one process in preference to another because it is
less costly, there is no occasion to disguise this. But, spite of the
convention justified by this needful economy, seek to retain something
of the effect which the _motif_ that gave the inspiration had upon you.

The easel picture hung on the walls of our houses is certainly
unsatisfactory; that it is only more so when hung on the walls of an
exhibition all will admit: but that all the advance we have made in
our power to represent nature in realistic portraiture is in the wrong
direction we cannot admit. We may insist that our easel pictures shall
be regarded as complete in themselves, and thought of as detached
& dissociated from all that surrounds them; but this is demanding
an impossibility: they must form part of a whole. We find the easel
picture is less unsatisfactory if we do nothing more for it than
consider its frame, the colour scheme of its setting and surroundings
with relation to it: give it a definite place made for it, and it is
better still. But let us add to all its other dignity this too, that
it fulfils all the demands made upon it in its capacity as an element
of decoration, and it will be by so much the greater. The imaginative
picture, or the picture giving a bit of nature with her mood, and
having something of the effect upon one the real scene would have, only
gains by being at the same time also decorative. And it is equally true
that if decoration, by the suggestion of a beautiful scene, can also
have upon us something of the uplifting effect such a scene would have,
as a decoration it is finer.

Do not let us have convention pure and simple. If we are to retain all
that art has gained in the development of the easel picture, we must
face the problem fairly, not shirk it. Let us first have something
which we feel to be really beautiful, and then let us suffer it to
undergo only such conventionalisation as is dictated naturally by
the conditions and processes of its production, the limitations of
the materials from which it is to be created, and a true feeling for
fitness; never losing sight of the essential elements of the beauty of
our _motif_ and the factors in creating that beauty, and sacrificing
nothing we can help of its meaning and charm.

BARRY PARKER.



OF FURNITURE. Part 2.


There is one point touched upon by Mr. Parker in his paper, about
which I should like to say a few words: I refer to the question of
simplicity in furnishing. I feel that in showing to an assembly of art
workers many of the illustrations which we wish to show, some further
explanation on this point is due.

There may be rooms required for state purposes in the palaces of kings
or the mansions of the great, which call for elaborate & very ornate
furnishing: such I do not propose now to consider. I would refer rather
to the homes of average middle-class people, where this style of
furnishing would be out of place.

Such people have usually thought it necessary for their houses to
contain several sitting-rooms, calling them dining-room, drawing-room,
and breakfast-room, although the means at the disposal of the great
majority would not allow three decent rooms; and the desired number
could only be obtained by reducing them all to tiny box-like chambers,
not one of them large enough to make a comfortable living apartment.
From this supposed necessity has sprung the typical modern suburban
residence, which consists of a series of these small box-like chambers
more or less cleverly fitted together; while to meet the demand thus
caused, we find the warehouses filled with ready-made furniture,
supposed to be suitable to these rooms, inscribed “drawing-room
suite,” “dining-room suite,” and so on. These also I will not consider;
they have no interest, no actual touch on life. Such houses and the
furniture which is made for them are no more fitted to the lives of
nine out of ten middle-class families than would be the old hall and
solar of the middle ages with their rude fittings. My contention
is that the great majority of middle-class families live in one
sitting-room. It is even pathetic to watch their attempts to do this
in houses which seem specially designed to make it as difficult as
possible. Many make the dining-room serve them for a living-room,
wasting the best room in the house by keeping it vacant, except on more
or less state occasions; others live in the drawing-room, taking their
meals only in the dining-room. But whatever the arrangement, they all
alike seem to be hampered for want of a good comfortable living-room
designed and furnished as such.

I want specially to speak of rooms of this class, in the designing and
furnishing of which we are at once brought into touch with the daily
life of the household, and have scope to consider and meet their actual
requirements. In such a room, if they possessed it, most families would
take some at any rate of their meals; suitable table and seats must
therefore be provided, with something of the nature of a sideboard
or dresser to hold the many accessories which are most conveniently
kept in the room. The ladies would do their work here and should have
cupboards or other provision for their numerous apparatus. A piano and
place to keep music will generally need providing; while book shelves,
cupboards or drawers for newspapers and magazines, will be required;
and some kind of writing table or bureau properly fitted to contain the
household stationery & business papers would mostly be a great boon.
The room too should have cosy seats, and something in the way of a
sofa or settle as the family will sit and rest here; and these must be
comfortably placed in relation to the fire, door, and windows. A place
would not uncommonly have to be found for children to spend at any rate
part of the day, which implies a toy drawer and some space for play.

It is of course only in the smaller middle-class house--which by the
way is numerically far the most important--that the whole of the
family life is carried on in one sitting-room: but the need of a
good living-room is none the less felt in many a larger house where
the means of the occupants will allow of their having more rooms
than one in regular use. In such houses some of the functions of the
living room will no doubt be provided for separately. There will be
a nursery or play-room for the bairns in one house; a special room
for meals in another: in one, afternoon callers will be received in
a boudoir; in another, a study or library will be set apart for more
studious pursuits; while the tastes of some families may demand a
room set apart for music. But whatever rooms may be added, still, in
the great majority of cases, there will be needed one to serve as a
general living-room. Just as in the middle ages the great hall was
the centre of the house, all the other chambers clustering round and
being subordinate to it; so in the modern middle class house a good
living room is the first essential, and all the other rooms should be
considered in relation to it.

This living room requires furniture and fittings specially suited to
its various functions, and its requirements can no more be met by a
suite of dining-room or drawing-room furniture than they could by a set
of kitchen things. If we remember that large numbers of such houses
as we are speaking of are worked with one servant, and the majority
with not more than two; it will be obvious that this room, which in so
many cases will be used for an early breakfast, must be so arranged
that it can be easily and quickly cleaned. If we consider further the
great number of articles that must be kept handy in such a room, to say
nothing of the people themselves who are to occupy it--for whom after
all the room exists, and as a back-ground for whose life it alone has
any reason for being--it will be evident that the furniture cannot well
be too simple.

If the result is not to become a crowded jumble, ample allowance must
be made, in considering the decorations and furnishing, for the life
that is to come into the room, and for the hundred and one articles
which we may call the implements of such life. These of themselves
must form a large element, good or bad, in the decoration of a room;
and could they all be obtained graceful and beautiful, there would
be a liberal supply of ornament. But this is one of the greatest
difficulties; for, while it is possible to find beautiful plaster-work,
carving, gesso panels, and so forth, it is almost impossible to obtain
the necessary implements of life even tolerably elegant.

In vain do we seek to make a room look beautiful by the elaboration of
its decoration and furniture, irrespective of all that goes to make up
the life that will be lived in it. The successful room is the one which
looks well with all the life in it, not the one which looks its best
before it is occupied. It is only by making proper allowance for this
life that a living room can be made to look well. Great simplicity is
needed in the treatment of a room which may so soon become crowded and
restless; but which may also, if properly treated, be more charming and
homelike than any other, just because it is so full of life and the
evidences of life--a decoration after all by no means to be despised.

RAYMOND UNWIN.



BUILDING & NATURAL BEAUTY.


Around the cottage I live in there is a large rookery, spreading over
many trees which form a small wood on the hillside. Last year a pair of
rooks began to build a nest in a beech-tree that stands by the cottage:
they chose a large bough over-hanging the road, quite away from the
general colony, and in a very prominent position. This was evidently
the cause of great annoyance to the black-coated community, who
again and again destroyed the half-built nest. The enterprising pair
maintained their position however; and after some weeks of contention
got the nest completed, by working in turns, one mounting guard while
the other fetched the twigs. They reared their family without further
molestation, so far as I could observe; but this spring the first thing
the rooks did was to destroy the last remnants of the nest left by the
winter storms.

This interesting little episode of rook life set me musing as to why
the community should object to this nest. I could only suppose that its
isolated and prominent position offended their sense of the general
fitness of things, and that they wished to guard against the first
beginnings of “Suburban Villadom.” If so, we must I think commend alike
their good sense and their good taste. For there is nothing which it
seems more hopeless to harmonize with natural scenery than the modern
town suburb. We find plenty of cities, towns, and villages, castles,
mansions, and cottages, which are a joy in the landscape; but when a
modern town begins to sprawl its squalor or its suburban gentility out
into the fields, what desecration of scenery follows! Most people feel
this without realising the cause very fully. But if we look for it,
we shall find that modern suburbs specially offend in coming between
the town and the country; so that, however the city may be fitted to
beautify the landscape, we cannot see it from the fields; nor can we
catch a refreshing glimpse of the cool green hillside from amidst our
busy streets. For between lie miles of jerry cottages built in rows,
or acres of ill-assorted villas, each set in a scrap of so-called
landscape garden.

In the old towns which we admire when we chance to come on them, we
notice that the country comes up clean and fresh right to the point
where the town proper begins: and it does begin indeed: honest town,
confessed, which does not seek to look half-countrified. In the oldest
cities we sometimes find a wall with the country coming right up to
the gates, which adds to this effect. In old times all the townspeople
lived in the town, and tried to make it comely as a town; and when
this was done it generally looked pleasing in the landscape. It was
possible to get most charming peeps of country from its streets--framed
in perhaps with an old gateway, or with some decent town buildings.
Of our modern citizens, all who can afford it live outside the town,
removed from those who work to make them wealthy. Hence they lose
interest in the town as a dwelling-place, and we get a great central
business quarter, surrounded by the residential suburbs containing only
poor town buildings or nondescript half-country dwellings. It is not
however with suburbs only that we spoil scenery; in isolated buildings,
or groups of buildings, we very often put up what is offensive to the
lover of country; and it will I think be both interesting and useful to
enquire a little further why the buildings which our forefathers put up
mostly adorn a landscape, while our own erections so frequently spoil
it.

Much of the charm of old buildings is no doubt due to the kindly
hand of Time, which not only heals the scars that man makes on the
earth, but tones down the raw surfaces, and softens the hard lines
and colours of anything he may build. But not to Father Time can we
give all the credit. It will be more than he can do, I think, to make
our modern suburbs look as beautiful, as fitting in the scenery, as
many an old city or country town does. Apart from the question of
beauty in the style of building, which of course is an obvious factor
of great influence, there are a few more easily understood reasons
for the difference between old and new. If we take for example their
position: do not old houses and villages generally seem to nestle in
a valley, under a hill, or by the edge of a wood or copse, and both
by their placing and style convey the idea of shelter and retreat?
Sometimes this characteristic was carried so far, that we find houses
placed so as to get little or no view. But they were built for busy
people who lived mainly out of doors, and returned to their shelter
at night as the rooks come home to roost. Too often now we place a
building so as to strike a note of defiance with surrounding nature.
The thing stands out hard and prominent in the landscape; shouts at
you across the valley; and through not co-operating with the scene,
fails to convey anything of that sense of nestling in a fitting nook,
or on an appropriate ledge--that sheltering under Nature’s wing as it
were--which makes a building look really at home.

Then, too, does not the old building seem almost to grow out of the
ground on which it stands? Built of the local stone; roofed with
material common to the district--thatch, stone shingles, or grey
slates, perhaps; harmonizing in colour with the rocks and soil; it is
as appropriate to the earth on which it rests, as the twig built nest
of the rook is to the tree top on which it sways so lightly and yet so
securely.

As we pass from county to county, rejoicing in the unspoilt bits
of old villages and towns, we cannot but notice how much of the
restful quiet beauty is due to the general harmony. We see the grey
stone-roofed village of Yorkshire and Derbyshire, so quietly fitting
to the country of rocks and stone walls; the green slate of Cumberland
and Westmoreland, that country of bright colouring; the thatch of
Shropshire or Somerset, always cosy and homely looking, whether on the
timber-framed building or on the whitewashed cottage; or again, the
purple slates of North Wales, unobtrusive among the dark blue shadows
of her towering peaks, and fitly covering in the cottage whose walls
are of rough slabs of the same slate. The red tile, too, coloured
with the iron which tints the soil, more widely distributed and in
greater variety than any of the roof coverings, though not exactly a
natural product only needs to be clothed with the golden green of the
lichen to look as much at home as any of the rest: we know it well
in Staffordshire, and to think of Whitby without its red roofs is to
realise at once what beauty it can give to a scene. Each of these
roof coverings has a special beauty of its own; some look well almost
anywhere; but we do not always realise how much of roofs we see in a
landscape, or to what extent the restful charm of old places springs
from their harmony with surroundings and the general prevalence of one
material in the district.

Our fathers were not tempted as we are in this. They had to use the
local material and to stick to it. There were no railways in their
time carrying blue slates to Whitby, or red tiles to North Wales. Now
all these materials are brought to our doors, and the builder chooses
each according to his own fad; and so we get all sorts of materials
and colours hopelessly jumbled up together, with no thought of general
harmony.

Our manufactured materials too are less beautiful. Our tiles by perfect
machinery are made so true and flat that a modern tile roof looks as
though it had been ironed with a polishing iron, like a shirt front.
And both our tiles and bricks tend to become so hard and forbidding
that no kindly lichen will clothe them, no wind and rain soften and
tone them. It gives one something of a shock to see the delicate
clematis and the clinging ivy struggling with a wall which, after
twenty or thirty years, still looks as hard and new as the day it was
built. The old tiles were a little curled in burning, and had a surface
rough enough to afford lodgment for moss and lichen; and so the lines
were less hard, and the newness of surface and colour soon mellowed
into all sorts of lovely shades.

Many an old building that has little pretension to fine architecture,
yet adorns a scene of natural beauty by its simple fitness of design,
where a modern one would probably spoil it. Such design was the
outcome of a natural effort to get the most use and convenience out
of materials thoroughly known. Hence a general suitability is found
between design and material, and an obvious connection between quaint
features and the want that has called them into being. Look at the
plainest old four-square thatched cottage, and there will nearly always
be some interest in the way the thatch has been coaxed up over a
window, or a ridge worked to avoid a chimney gutter, which redeems it
from baldness. The same skilful handling of tiles is found in all real
tile districts; and so we find many picturesque gables, which we should
miss in a country of slates or stone shingles.

There is on all hands evidence of a willingness to give labour without
stint; to do a job well and a bit more; to linger over it, and see if
a little more work here and there would not improve the look. In fact,
we read in these old buildings, as in an open book, of a simple workman
who was something of an artist, one who could take pleasure in his
work, finding joy in the perfection of what he created, and delight in
its comeliness.

Whenever we again raise up such an army of builders, working at their
trades with the pleasure of artists, then will all buildings become
as beautiful as of old; then will it be possible for such workmen,
co-operating with a true architect or master builder, to raise fine
architecture, like our old cathedrals and abbeys. No effort of
office-trained architects, with workmen whose chief interest on the
job is to find ‘knocking-off time,’ can ever take the place of the
co-operation between real craftsmen under the leadership of the most
able among them: for it is to this that we owe most of the building
that we can truly say adorns our country.

RAYMOND UNWIN.



CO-OPERATION IN BUILDING.


As beautiful as an old English village.” The phrase arrests our
attention and calls up many a pleasant picture stored in our minds;
but with the remembered beauty there comes too the associated sadness
of something loved that is fast passing away. The picture we recall
may be the view down some long wide village street bordered with
clusters of cottages, some opening direct on to the roadside, some
with their bright bits of flower border in front; here and there a
break in the buildings is marked with the dark foliage of trees in a
larger garden; a dignified forecourt with its iron railings reveals an
old manor house, or a gate-way in a high wall overhung by elms leads
to the vicarage; while at the street end where the road turns away is
the lich-gate, leading to the church whose parapetted roof and slender
spire rising far above all the surrounding buildings complete the whole
group. Or maybe we picture to ourselves rather some village green,
with the rows of sunny whitewashed houses, the barns and haystacks of
an occasional farmyard, the end of an orchard, and the village school,
that are gathered round it.

In such views as these there are houses and buildings of all sizes: the
hut in which the old road-mender lives by himself, the inn with its
ancient sign, the prosperous yeoman’s homestead, the blacksmith’s house
and forge, the squire’s hall, the vicarage, and the doctor’s house,
are all seemingly jumbled together; and mingled with them are barns and
village shops, wood-yards and wheel-wrights’ sheds. Yet there is no
sense of confusion; on the contrary the scene gives us that peaceful
feeling which comes from the perception of orderly arrangement. This is
the more surprising because the order is rather intuitively felt than
seen or consciously realised by the beholder. It is due very largely
to the beautiful grouping of buildings and roofs, a grouping which has
come so inevitably that it seems as if it would be somewhat difficult
to avoid it, or to utterly spoil it. Certainly where many buildings of
various characters and sizes are gathered together, as in a village, a
picturesqueness of grouping is rarely absent even when the individual
buildings have in themselves no special beauty; and very often the
introduction of one or two really ugly modern buildings detracts little
from this particular charm.

The village was the expression of a small corporate life in which
all the different units were personally in touch with each other,
conscious of and frankly accepting their relations, and on the whole
content with them. This relationship reveals itself in the feeling of
order which the view induces. Every building honestly confesses just
what it is, and so falls into its place. The smallest cottage has its
share of the village street on to which the manor house also fronts.
It is content with that share and with its condition, and does not try
to look like a villa. It is this crystallisation of the elements of
the village in accordance with a definitely organized life of mutual
relations, respect or service, which gives the appearance of being an
organic whole, the home of a community, to what would otherwise be
a mere conglomeration of buildings. This effect is greatly enhanced
where the central feature around which the village has clustered, the
church, castle, or manor house, is of sufficient size and architectural
interest to challenge comparison with the whole village rather than
with the individual houses. The impressive pile of the old Priory
as seen across the valley towering above all the other grey roofed
buildings of the little town of Cartmel, is a fine example of this. The
sense of unity is further increased in most old villages by a general
harmony in colour and style of the buildings themselves, due to the
prevalent use of certain materials, which are usually those found in
the district.

In the modern building-estate all these elements of beauty are entirely
wanting. The land is cut up into little plots all about the same size;
these are sold to a chance collection of people who erect on them
houses of any conceivable style, or lack of style; each deals with his
own plot quite regardless of the others; and every house seems to be
wishing to dissociate itself as much as possible from its neighbours,
to look as distinct and imposing as it can. Ground enough not being
allowed for each house to stand comfortably within its plot, such
separation as exists only makes it possible for every house to block
the view from some other, and easy for the occupants to over-look
their neighbours and realise their near presence all round to a maximum
extent. No grouping of buildings is thought of nor any organized
arrangement, beyond occasionally some feeble attempt at laying out
streets; and it is rarely indeed that we seem able to erect a public
building of any sort at all in scale with the extent of the surrounding
houses.

To compensate for the loss of the interest springing from variety of
grouping, a loss specially evident in the old-fashioned four-square
suburban villa, an attempt is now mostly made to introduce some special
features into each individual house, and so to create an artificial
picturesqueness. This is not uncommonly done by needlessly cutting
up the roof with turrets from which there is no outlook, or gables
which serve no purpose except to provide an excuse for a little black
and white half-timber work. A street of such houses is however even
less satisfactory than one of the old square box houses, in that it
is more artificial, and lacks a certain element of dignity which its
predecessor often acquired from its very simplicity. In short, around
all our towns are spread patches of villadom of the beauty of which no
one can cherish any memories, but the ugliness of which causes them to
be regarded by many with a cordial hatred; so much so that to the lover
of natural scenery the commencement of a new house is regarded as a
sure sign of the coming destruction of the old beauty.

Modern conditions of life and work are not conducive to the production
of great architecture, and it seems probable that we shall have to
await some change in these conditions before much that is really
fine in building will be accomplished. But in the simpler buildings
required for domestic purposes there are marked signs of improvement.
Already a few architects are meeting our wants without affectation
or pedantry, but with simple directness and honesty of construction,
and are producing individual buildings of great beauty; but so long
as these remain isolated examples, mere units in a chance collection,
they can do little to help the whole effect. The various buildings must
be brought into harmonious relations one with another; the suburb or
settlement must be conceived in some broader spirit and developed in
relation to a definite idea of the whole, if any improvement is to be
effected.

We cannot of course put back the hands of time, nor can we re-create
the spirit which built the old churches that crown so many villages.
The relationships of feudalism have gone, and democracy has yet to
evolve some definite relationships of its own, which when they come
will doubtless be as picturesque as the old forms. But allowing full
force to these disadvantages, we could, if we really desired it, even
now so arrange a new building site that it should not be an actual
eye-sore, and might manage that it should have some little of the charm
of the old village.

Thanks to the growth of taste among all classes of people there is
springing up a demand for something of the kind. In all the large
towns are numbers of people who hate the ugly & dreary life that
they are condemned to live in them, who love the country and country
life, and who will travel long distances to and from their work that
they may be able to enjoy them. These people do not want to live in
isolated houses, out of sight of their neighbours; they are townspeople
of sociable instincts: but neither do they desire to live in a mere
extension of the fringe of the town. What they really want are country
villages, little centres of life large enough and varied enough to
give them interesting human society and a few of the more necessary
comforts of modern life, such as a post office, a railway station,
efficient drainage and water supply. These people have many common
interests, much that all would wish to preserve in a new home, as, for
example, fresh air, and an open view of country that cannot readily be
spoilt. Just such an amount of associated action as would ensure these
advantages for them all, would suffice to give the sense of cohesion
to the whole settlement which is so lamentably wanting when each
struggles ineffectually to secure as much as he can of them for himself
alone. With some co-operation the maximum of these advantages could be
obtained for every individual house, be it large or small; without it
none but those rich enough to purchase a large tract of country for
themselves can be secure of even a limited share of them.

Within easy reach of large towns, estates & farms are constantly
changing hands at prices little above their value as agricultural
land. Frequently we find the enterprising purchaser takes advantage
of the demand for country homes: he spends a few hundred pounds in
developing his purchase as a building estate, by making roads and
laying drains; then he cuts it up into small plots and sells it at
three, five, or even ten times the rate at which he bought it. If a few
of those who wish to secure a country home were to purchase such an
estate or farm among them, they could get all the advantage of cheap
land themselves. If they were then to develop the site on co-operative
lines, they could obtain many other equally solid advantages. The
houses could be grouped together and so arranged that each would obtain
a sunny aspect and an open outlook; and portions of the land could be
reserved for ever from being built upon to secure these views.

[Sidenote: _See plates 11, 38 and 39._]

The arrangement that should be adopted to obtain the best result, would
depend entirely on the nature of the site. If it were on the ridge
of some rising ground, probably the best plan would be to group the
houses at each side of a good broad roadway, taking the wide village
street as the suggestion; while on a good southern slope, the most
successful plan might be to gather the houses and other buildings on
three sides of an open space, adopting the village green as the model.
Where the site was large enough, and the slope sufficient, a second
green with its houses could be arranged, low enough not to obstruct
the view from the upper one; or where two sides of a valley were
included, villages might be placed on each of the slopes, leaving the
valley below for ever free to afford a pleasant prospect for each
village. The particular arrangement to be adopted would be a matter for
most careful thought, and no building should be commenced until some
definite conception of what the completed village was to be like had
been worked out. The sites for prospective schools, church, or other
public buildings, should be reserved from the first, in accordance
with the size to which the available land would allow the community to
grow. The houses should be clustered together as much as possible, not
set villa-wise each in the centre of a little plot. Some few houses of
wealthier members could stand back in larger grounds, taking advantage
of outlying positions or sharing in the common outlook as seemed
best: their gardens and entrances would make pleasant openings in the
buildings. But the majority of the houses should be gathered into
groups, which would inevitably acquire picturesqueness from the variety
both in size and form of the buildings.

A good number of the houses too might be open to the road or green.
The unfenced common coming right up to one’s doorstep, always gives a
charming sense of openness whether viewed from within or from without;
a sense in no way diminished by the contrast that occasional fenced
gardens or forecourts offer where the houses are set back somewhat.
All sorts of individual tastes and needs would afford opportunity for
obtaining variety: the one thing to be avoided at all costs would be
the producing of anything like a street of detached villas.

The common insatiable desire for detachment is very remarkable; it
appears to arise mainly from a resigned acceptance of the jerry
builder’s party wall as the inevitable one. Everyone suspects a party
wall, looks to hear through it his neighbour’s child in the dead of
night, or his piano on a Sunday afternoon. Guarantee a sound-proof
party wall, and few will be able to give any valid reason why there
should be from ten to fifty feet of useless ground between every two
houses. In a properly built house, one is really much less conscious
of one’s neighbour, and much less over-looked by him, if his house is
attached, than if it is a few yards away. Where it is desired, however,
many minor devices, such as a highly walled garden or a covered-in
yard, may be used with effect to increase the number of separate houses
without destroying the grouping.

Artistically, the success of the plan would depend largely on the
clustering of the buildings, the avoidance of mere rows on the one hand
and of detached villas on the other. But, in addition, some controlling
influence must maintain a certain degree of harmony. The use of local
materials as far as possible should be encouraged, and the introduction
of discordant colours or styles of building be prevented. The extremest
degree of simplicity should be allowed, but anything pretentious,
showy, or false, be rigidly excluded. Probably this general control
could be best secured by giving to some architect in full sympathy with
the scheme powers similar to those usually possessed by the agent of a
large ground landlord, though exercised in the latter case more often
to maintain the value of the property than its beauty.

The question of design in the individual building is one that cannot
be touched on here, though obviously a matter of vital importance to
the degree of beauty attainable; rather I seek to emphasize the great
advance which is possible to us by a right use of such taste and
designing ability as may be readily commanded to-day. So soon as the
desire for some collective beauty in our buildings has been stimulated,
the chief difficulty will have been overcome. If by some little
co-operation we can arouse interest and pride in the matter, time will
develop that collective appreciation of what is fitting, to which we
must look for final success.

[Sidenote: _See plates 36 and 38._]

Association for mutual help in various ways is undoubtedly the growing
influence which is destined to bring to communities that crystalline
structure which was so marked a feature of feudal society, and the lack
of which is so characteristic of our own. When our new settlements
begin to feel this influence they will again take on some of the unity
which comes from organic growth. And as this influence increases
in force, and interest and thought become more and more centred in
the communal institutions and buildings, so will these begin to
grow in beauty; for the people will wish to adorn them. The beauty
of the village and its public buildings will then become a first
consideration, and the pride of the inhabitants will be displayed in
these, not in the aggressive elaboration of their own houses.

There is the more hope of this because the practical advantages to be
derived from such co-operation as suggested, are so great and obvious
as to form just such a reliable basis of utility as is required for
the healthy growth of art. Without going fully into this side of the
question, a few of the more obvious directions in which co-operation
could help people of limited means, after they had associated for the
purpose of purchasing and developing their settlement, may be referred
to. The improvement and use of the land not required for building
purposes, by draining, planting of fruit trees, or the erection of
a suitable dairy, would be one of the first and most important of
these; this would secure a good supply of pure milk and fresh farm
produce, and at the same time allow the open ground to be enjoyed to
the full for recreative purposes. A laundry would be another enterprise
specially easy to organize on co-operative lines, and even in a village
too small to support a fully staffed laundry, it would make all the
difference if everyone could have the advantage of a well appointed
wash-house instead of having to use the ordinary inconvenient cramped
scullery with no proper appliances. In a community where several
business men daily journeyed to the town, a co-operative conveyance to
and from the station could be arranged in connection with the farm, as
could also the general carriage and cartage requirements. In providing
education for the young and recreation for all, association would be
invaluable; while it could easily be used as a means of buying, on
advantageous terms, in large quantities, commodities which cannot
economically be obtained in the country in small quantities, and of
securing many valuable services for all which would be out of the reach
of individuals.

It is of course not necessary that the first steps towards the
development of such a building scheme should be taken by the
prospective tenants. A landowner might well work on this line; he
would find in it a means of adding greatly to the value of estates
which might not be available for an ordinary building scheme. If he
would lay out a plot of land and offer to all comers a site of such
size as they wanted with sufficient open land between them and any
future buildings that might block their view secured by perpetual
guarantee, he would get plenty of applications even in positions that
are not the most favourable. He could also, by building some houses
of various sizes and carefully grouping them, give an example of the
sort of building he would encourage, which would soon be followed. By
retaining some control of plans for buildings to be carried out by
others on his land, he would be able to secure a general harmony and a
consistent development. He could too enlist the interest of his tenants
or purchasers in the growth of the colony, and foster among them
co-operative effort in that direction.

On the same lines, also, the state or municipal landlord might relieve
the over-crowding in towns by developing hamlets and villages in the
out-lying districts wherever they had, or could get, suitable land.
And even in the towns and immediately surrounding suburbs, much might
be done to remove the dreary ugliness of the streets by the use of
co-operation in building, and by the fostering of it in the occupants
of the houses. The arrangement would need to be different for a town or
suburb, where land would be costly, from that suggested for a village.
For just as the price of land in the centre of cities regulates to
a large extent the height to which it is profitable to carry up the
buildings, so on the outskirts it must determine the area of land
that can be allowed to each house. By co-operation it may be secured,
however, that all the land which can be afforded shall be available to
give air and outlook to all alike, while its actual occupation can be
reserved for those who really want a garden.

[Sidenote: _See plates 6 to 10, also 34 and 35._]

In the country we have seen how co-operation could give back to
us some of the picturesqueness of old villages. In the same way
it would add character and dignity to our towns, even to rows of
cottages. What more satisfactory town buildings could one desire
than some of the old colleges? Yet these consist primarily of rows
of small tenements grouped round quadrangles or gardens with certain
common rooms attached. The hall, the chapel, and the gatehouse, are
prominent features; while the cloisters, where such exist, affording
covered ways from the tenements to the common rooms, help to give a
sense of unity to the whole. Why should not cottages be grouped into
quadrangles, having all the available land in a square in the centre?
Some of the space so often wasted in a useless front parlour in each
cottage, could be used to form instead a Common Room, in which a
fire might always be burning in an evening, where comfort for social
intercourse, for reading, or writing, could always be found. Such a
room could be used also for music & general recreation, and might
add much colour to the lives of all those who frequented it. To this
Common Room could be added a laundry and drying-room fitted with a few
modern appliances which would not only reduce by half the labour and
time occupied in the weekly wash, but would take the bulky copper and
mangle out of each cottage, and relieve them all of the unpleasantness
of the steam and the encumbrance of the drying clothes. In connection
with this a bath-room could be arranged for groups of the smallest
cottages, while the growth of co-operation would soon bring the common
bakehouse and kitchen. From this to the preparation of meals and the
serving of them in the Common Room would be only a matter of time; for
the advantage of it is obvious. Instead of thirty or forty housewives
preparing thirty or forty little scrap dinners, heating a like number
of ovens, boiling thrice the number of pans & cleaning them all up
again, two or three of them retained as cooks by the little settlement
would do the whole, and could give better and cheaper meals into the
bargain.

It is not only to those who live in cottages that co-operation offers
advantages. From another class we hear much of the great servant
difficulty. Hotels, boarding houses, and hydropathics, are springing up
in every direction to accommodate those who are seeking to escape from
the worry of servants, the trouble and expense of jerry-built houses,
and the endless small anxieties that go to the running of a separate
establishment. But hotels and boarding houses do not really meet the
wants of this class. What they need is some arrangement by which they
could retain the privacy and individuality of a separate house, while
gaining the advantage, which they have in a boarding house, of properly
organized service and skilled cooking. These needs would be admirably
met by groups of houses arranged to give ready access to a communal
establishment, where meals would be supplied, laid either in the common
dining room or in the private house as desired; where the occasional
use of commodious rooms could be obtained for entertaining purposes;
and from whence properly trained effective helps could be sent out
daily, for as long or as short a time as might be required, to do all
the domestic work of the separate houses, or such part of it as the
occupants might prefer not to do themselves. Such an establishment
could readily be built and worked on co-operative lines, giving many of
the advantages of hotel life without entailing its disadvantages or its
costliness.

The planning of the Common Rooms would require much thought and care.
On this would depend greatly the success of the co-operative effort.
The usual small meeting-room, high, four-square, having a great deal
of tawdry decoration, but lacking anything whatever to give a sense of
comfort or to add a bit of interest, would be fatal. High the rooms
should be, in parts, sufficient to give air space and promote easy
ventilation. But there should be deep recesses or ingles with low
ceilings, places which by the contrast of their special cosiness should
attract people to sit there. If there could be a little gallery for the
musicians, a deep balcony overlooking the street or the gardens for
the smokers, these would prove great attractions for which everyone
would gladly dispense with the adornments usually thought necessary
for public rooms: though adornments of a more interesting character
there well might be, and undoubtedly would be, when people came to
appreciate their Common Rooms. As such co-operative quadrangles
multiplied, the necessary variety to suit different habits of life
would arise; for even those composed of houses of similar size would
become differentiated, somewhat as different colleges in a university
acquire a character for hard reading, for athletics, or for sport, and
each could choose according to his tastes. The essential thing from the
æsthetic point of view is that there shall be enough co-operation to
secure some grouping of buildings, some centralising influence on them.

How different our streets would look if instead of the rows upon rows
of dreary uninteresting cottages and hardly less dreary terraces of
larger houses, we could have blocks such as suggested. Some might be
adorned with a colonnade facing the street, and leading to the common
rooms at the corner; some might have a comely arched gateway into the
court as a special feature, through which, as one passed, a peep at
the quadrangle, tennis ground, or garden, would be obtained. There
need be nothing elaborate about such buildings. Quite simple cottages
or houses, with some variety of size to suit large and small families,
a little taste in proportioning doors, windows, and other details, a
little imagination in welding them into a complete whole--these would
suffice to change our dreary streets into something, the beauty and
interest of which would be a constant source of pleasure.

Architecture has always reflected the condition of the society in which
it flourished, being great in times of organisation, and deteriorating
in times of disintegration. Recently it has very clearly represented
the inordinate desire for individual independence. One sees terraces
of houses, each painted a different colour to try and emphasize their
independence. Or one may find the gable end of a porch which is common
to two villas, painted half a bright green to match one house, half a
chocolate red to accord with the other. These may be extreme instances,
but they are very typical of the length to which independence has
been carried. Society is, however, now realising very fast that
this independence is no end in itself, and is only good in that it
sets free the individuals to form new relationships based on mutual
association. This is already having its effect on architecture, in that
it is now not uncommon for the individual to make some effort to have
his buildings made beautiful for the public to look at, as well as
convenient for himself: the interest of the community in the matter is
so far acknowledged. Very soon it will seem equally obvious that the
relations of the separate buildings to each other should be considered,
and concerted effort be directed to the creation of streets with at
least some unity and dignity of effect, and settlements that, if they
may not have all the charm of the old English village, shall at any
rate look at home in their country surroundings.

RAYMOND UNWIN.



THE ART OF DESIGNING SMALL HOUSES AND COTTAGES.

By Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin.

A paper read by Mr. Unwin before an audience of Architects in January,
1901.


In the domestic branch of architecture, each commission presents to us
a fresh problem, full of human interest, the right solution of which
demands that we shall consider it from many points of view. We must
look upon the task primarily as the providing of a suitable setting for
the life of our client and his family. In this connection, not only his
actual wants but his ideals of life have to be taken thought of; nor
must we overlook our possible influence upon him through his house.

Again, each house appeals to us as a new creation of our art. We are in
much the same position as the portrait painter: the likeness, truly, is
that of the sitter, but the interpretation of it, the setting, and the
colour--in short, the art of the picture--belong to the painter. So,
too, the house as a habitation belongs to and must satisfy the client,
while as a work of art it belongs to and must satisfy its designer.
In this matter we stand as guardians, alike of our reputation and of
the general interest of the public as beholders of the building. The
right of the public to be considered is much clearer than many seem to
realize. No one who might add to the joy of life by building something
comely should add to its gloom by building what is ill-looking.

I do not anticipate that these considerations, or those to which we
shall presently come, are new to you. But it is probable that they
would appeal to each one in a different order of relative importance,
so that in no two of us would our attitude towards the problem be
exactly alike. In no house can every advantage be obtained; each must
be somewhat of a compromise; in each there must be a sacrificing of
what we deem less important to secure what we esteem of greater value.
It follows that the variety of our attitude must produce individuality
in the result. When, therefore, you did me the honour to suggest that
I should bring this subject before you, I felt that the best response
I could make would be to try to give you, as from one fellow-workman
to another, some account of the way in which we approach our domestic
work, hoping, that in comparing this, and the results which we shall
show, with other methods and results, you might find some little
interest.

Suppose then that we have received a commission for a dwelling house;
that we have made ourselves sufficiently acquainted with our new
client’s wishes, his mode of life, and habits, by getting him to
write to us very fully of everything he would like to be specially
considered, discussing points with him, or visiting his home, as
circumstances may suggest; and further, that we have made full notes of
all the instructions and information thus gathered for our own use;
the first thing is to visit the site and devote some time to thinking
out the problem on the spot.

The site is the most important factor to be considered, for it usually
suggests both the internal arrangement and the external treatment.
If the site is a large one the position of the house upon it must
first be determined. In past times the house was regarded mainly as a
shelter, and this greatly influenced the choice of its position. But
we do not to-day so much build shelters for people who live out of
doors, as dwellings whence they may occasionally go forth. A primary
consideration then must be, to so place the house as to afford its
occupants the greatest possible enjoyment of such beauty of adjacent
country or grandeur of distant view as the site can command. While
doing this, however, we must place and design the house in such a way
that it shall not stand out as a disturbing excrescence, but shall look
at home in its site, in harmony with its surroundings.

This consideration of the house as a detail in a larger picture will
bring us to a determination of its general form, its treatment and its
colouring. Some positions demand a lofty building, while others seem
to suggest that it be kept as low as possible. And in the country,
certainly, the low house is more successful, more in harmony with the
scenery; perhaps because it is suggestive more of man’s dependence upon
Nature, less of his defiance of her powers. In the choice of materials
and colouring, harmony rather than strong contrast should be sought.
There is only one sure way of obtaining this at all generally, which
is, of course, to keep to local materials and local ways of using them.
At any rate I think we may lay it down that strong reasons of use or
economy are needed to justify a departure from these. Where a departure
is made, let the contrast with what is usual in the district be as
slight as may be. We do not enough consider when we introduce for the
first time into some valley a bright red roof, how it will haunt the
eye from every point of view, and may go far towards marring the beauty
of the whole scene by destroying its restfulness. We should let the
surroundings which are to constitute the picture suggest the colouring
as well as the form of the new object we are about to introduce. Some
definite scheme suitable to the position should be adopted, and colours
of paint and any enrichments made to contribute to it.

Greatly as must the site influence the external treatment of the house,
its internal arrangement will be even more definitely dictated by it.
The position of each room in relation to the points of the compass
& the outlook should be determined on the spot. It is now pretty
generally realised that no sacrifice is too great which is necessary to
enable us to bring plenty of sunshine into all the main living rooms.
In the South of England perhaps some moderation must be observed in
applying this rule, there being no inconsiderable number of days on
which a too sunny room may become unbearably hot; and, where the size
of the house will allow of it, to have an east and west room is often
a great boon. But over the greater part of our country, certainly in
the Midlands and the North, the importance of arranging for the few
days when the sun is oppressive is small indeed compared with that of
planning to suit the many days when every hour of sunshine is of the
utmost value. The general rule, then, would seem to be, so to contrive
as to get the sunshine into a room at the time when it is most likely
to be occupied. Let a study or breakfast-room be east or south-east,
a general living-room or drawing-room south and south-west. A good
western window in the room we most occupy during the latter part of the
day, gives us many an extra hour of daylight; while the opportunity
it affords us of habitually seeing the bright colour of sunset is a
privilege which is worth some effort to obtain. A kitchen is best
north-east or east, for the first coming down into the fireless house
may well have its cheerlessness reduced for the servants by what
sunshine is to be had at an early hour; later in the day, when the
kitchen is hot with cooking, the heat of the sun should not be added.
A bath-room and bedrooms, too, are pleasant with an eastern aspect,
though some cannot sleep in a room into which early sunshine can come.

Next only in importance to such considerations of aspect, and certainly
important enough to modify them somewhat, is the question of prospect;
for a pleasant outlook is a boon only less great than a sunny aspect.
We must not ignore a fine view even when it can only be had to the
north, and much less must we allow any trivial conventions, like the
old commonly accepted idea that the front of the house should be to the
road, to betray us into sacrificing such solid advantages as sunshine
and a pleasant view. In fact, to produce a good plan, one should go to
the site without any preconceived conventions, but with a quite open
mind, prepared to think out each fresh problem on the spot from the
beginning, and to receive all the suggestions the site can offer. I
hope you will pardon me if I seem to insist unduly on the importance
of so elementary a principle as that of building to suit each site.
But one sees the principle so commonly disregarded that it is needful
to emphasize it. Not only do we find houses perched uncomfortably on
the shoulder of a hill, or thrust into prominence one way or another
regardless of their effect on their surroundings; but, in arrangement,
the disregard of the site is carried so far that semi-detached houses
are even built with their plans just reversed, so that a plan designed
for the north end is made to serve for the south, or one arranged
to suit the east side allowed to pass for the west. Before leaving
the site one should be able to carry away not only detailed notes of
drainage, water supply, levels, fine trees, views and aspects, but also
a general idea as to the best arrangement of the rooms of the new
house, an ideal plan to be aimed at, and a sort of mental sketch in
block of the general form the new creation should take externally.

It would be only tedious to you if I were to go through all the items
of a house, trying to deal with them in a general way. I will therefore
now take one or two definite examples, and explain how and why we
worked them out as we did, trusting that the interest which attaches
to any actual problem solved may come to my aid and redeem the details
from tediousness.

We have chosen for the first example a country house designed for a
site in North Staffordshire, partly because this site is not one to
very obviously suggest or very imperatively demand a special treatment.
The plot of land consists of a small field, long, and rather narrow; it
is much the shape of a suburban building plot, though situated right
in the country. The main road runs along the north-east end, and the
ground rises on the far side of this road, cutting off all view in that
direction. The ground falls from the road towards the south-west: the
slope being very slight at the top, suggests a level terrace on which
to place the house. The land continues to fall away to a stream; across
this there is a very pleasant view, which becomes finest to the south
of the plot.

[Sidenote: _See plate 1._]

The client required the house to have a good comfortable living-room
for the general family life; another good room for entertaining guests
and callers; a small den for his own use, with desk, safe, and sample
cupboards; four bedrooms, one to be a bed-sitting-room for an only son;
and a kitchen with the usual offices. The house was to be arranged to
give as much open-air life within as possible. As the site is exposed
to the prevailing winds, and the best prospect is in the direction
whence they blow, some form of court upon which the rooms might
open, suggests itself as a means of obtaining the needful shelter.
The stableyard not being very suitable for the purpose, the house is
grouped about a very small central court, round which a corridor is
planned fitted with sliding windows, so that it can be converted at
will into a sort of small open air cloister by sliding the sashes down
below the sill. This is roofed over at as low a level as possible, to
avoid anything of the feeling of a well, which a court, as small as
this needs must be, might soon produce. The main roof also is made
to slope away from the court in all directions, so that a good deal
of sunlight may find its way in. Upon this corridor the main rooms
open with wide double doors, and the court being protected against
wind on all sides, it is possible, except when extremely cold, to
have the living rooms much more open to the fresh air than is usual.
A ventilating stove prevents cold draughts in winter. The kitchen,
butler’s pantry, front and side entrances, and stairs all communicate
with the corridor, but so as not to destroy the privacy of the living
rooms by obliging anyone to pass the doors when going from one to the
other. Pleasing vistas are obtained from the rooms across the court,
and from the corridor into the rooms, such as it is not often possible
to contrive in so small a house. This charm of vista should always
be thought of when planning. The living-room, as the most generally
occupied, and therefore most important room, is placed at the south
corner, having the double outlook to south-east & south-west, and
getting all available sunlight and the best of the prospect. It is not
enough to give a room windows in the right direction, however; the
room must be so arranged that it shall, so to speak, turn its face
right; and the windows be so placed that one would naturally look out
of them from the most usually occupied parts of the room. For this
reason an angle window commanding the pick of the view is thrown out
on the south-east side. This brings the sun well into the room, and
at the same time provides a good well-lighted position for the piano,
from whence anyone can easily face to the whole room while singing. For
the same reason the fire is put on the north-east wall; and, that a
thorough sense of cosiness may always be obtainable, it is placed in a
deep recess or ingle.

Now an ingle affords a very good instance of how easy it is to misuse
the old examples which we study, and that in two manners. For while
some neglect altogether the suggestions which they offer, others copy
the old forms without troubling to understand them. To make use of
old features legitimately, of course, one must first understand the
reasons which called them into being, the difficulties which they were
designed to meet: and when similar reasons or difficulties present
themselves to us we may then avail ourselves of the solution which they
indicate, not copying slavishly the details, but taking the principle
and working it out to suit our own particular circumstances. The ingle
had two main uses: the first was to protect a wide open fire from the
cross draughts arising from badly fitting or open doors, shutters and
windows; the second was to afford sheltered seats near the fire, where
the aged and feeble could rest and anyone could keep warm in cold or
rough weather. Incidentally, no doubt, our forefathers appreciated the
value of contrast, the charm of the ruddy fire-lit space glowing red
in the grey ill-lighted building, and the cosiness of the sheltered
low recess in the wide and lofty hall. To obtain this charm, as is
often done, by forming an ingle so small that one cannot sit in it
comfortably, is merely to remove the fire further from the room; while
on the other hand, to arrange a large ingle, as is also sometimes done,
with a modern tiled register stove set in a chimney breast, is to lose
the feeling of sitting on the hearth, and the charm that springs from
the fire being able to cast its glow all over the recess and be seen
from every part where one can sit. The ingle adapted to modern use, and
justifying the space it occupies in rooms of moderate size, must be
large enough to be comfortable for one to sit in regularly, a place
where one can live, not merely sit to be roasted. The fire must be so
designed as to have something of the feeling of the old fire on the
hearth, and must not be cut off from the recess or in any way allowed
to grow into a fireplace within a fireplace. It is generally well to
make the whole recess into the hearth, and we often arrange for the
fire to burn in a suitably shaped fire-brick hollow, which answers all
purposes excellently. The ingle must be protected from cross draughts,
otherwise the fire cannot be sufficiently exposed. Fenders are best
avoided, and anything like a loose coal-box is a disadvantage. A
coal-box can often be contrived in the thickness of the wall. When
properly arranged, and fitted with comfortable low seats, the ingle
always proves to be a favourite part of the room; the place where
people naturally go to sit and rest.

But I am digressing from the plan, and must return to the living-room
which we are designing. There the ingle is of somewhat special
construction, having several small windows to afford peeps out towards
the court and the view, and to give light conveniently placed for
reading; and also having cupboards for the display of oriental pottery.
The seats are made long enough to recline on.

[Sidenote: _See also plates 25 and 50._]

A large sunny bay facing the fire is arranged to be used as a dining
recess, except in very cold weather. Such a recess relieves a living
room from being uncomfortably blocked up with a meal-table. The bay
also gives us a west window through which the evening light will come.

In all rooms there is a part by the door where no one willingly sits,
because of a certain lack of comfort; it is well to keep such part
of the room as small as possible. Very often a room may be actually
improved by being reduced in width just where the door opens, while the
space cut off may be put to valuable use. In this case the sheltered
south-west balcony, which is obtained by narrowing the two rooms
opposite the doors, adds greatly to the amount of open air life it is
possible to enjoy, and makes it easy to have the pleasure of frequently
taking meals in the open: the little window by the sideboard is
convenient to hand things through for this purpose. A recessed balcony
is, in our climate, much more useful than any projecting verandah. It
is possible, owing to the extra shelter, to sit in such a balcony two
or three times as often as in the verandah with open ends.

[Sidenote: _See plate 32._]

In this room, a sideboard, a large cabinet and the other important
furniture, form part of the scheme: they are thought out and designed
with the building. In the treatment of the room advantage is taken of
the beams and lintels required for the recesses, and where these are
lacking a deep picture rail carrying line with them is adopted, under
which the sideboard, cabinet, and most of the windows are arranged
to finish, leaving an unbroken frieze above, and giving a sense of
order and unity to the whole. This frieze is decorated with a painted
suggestion of landscape; but in simpler treatment, if whitewashed,
or coloured with the ceiling, it would be light & satisfactory. The
lower portion of the walls, under the decorated frieze, is finished in
plaster tinted to the required shade by mixing colouring matter with
the skimming coat; this forms a good, plain, solid-looking background
for either pictures, furniture, or the people who inhabit the room.

Where economy is any consideration we may keep rooms as low as
possible, giving additional space outwards, which is as valuable as
space upwards for use as an air reservoir, and for all other purposes
so much more valuable. This house is nine feet from floor to floor.

[Sidenote: _See plate 33._]

The hall, or entertaining room, being intended for less constant as
well as more formal use, takes a somewhat simpler shape. Placed at the
west corner with windows south-west and north-west it gets all the
sunshine during the afternoon and evening, when most occupied. It is
immediately accessible from the entrance, and opens upon the balcony
and garden through a double window. The fire is placed in an ingle
contrived under the stairs and half landing, an arch being used in this
case to carry the chimney stack and form the recess. The flue from the
fire is brought over on to the arch by means of a copper hood. A little
bay, partly in the porch, lights this ingle. The messenger’s seat in
the porch, a cupboard, and a coal box complete the utilization of
the space under the stairs, which is thus not only made to add to the
convenience, but also to contribute something to the interest of both
the room and the porch.

Adjacent to the entrance is the small sanctum. Here, again, something
is taken off the square room, which, while improving it rather than
otherwise by giving a recess for desk and pigeon holes, enables us to
have a small vestibule with cupboard for visitors’ hats and cloaks. A
comfortable corner between fire and window is left clear for easy chair
and reading stand.

Behind the living-room, with its fireplace at the back of the
living-room fireplace, is placed the kitchen. It occupies the east
corner of the house, and has its main window to the north-east, the
right aspect for a kitchen. There is a small window to the south-east,
to light the range and make a comfortable place for sewing or reading.
One corner between fire and window should always be kept free from
doors in a kitchen, so that there may be a place to sit in; and a still
more comfortable kitchen results, when it is possible to collect all
the doors on one side.

The larder has its window in the back porch, to get a north aspect;
while thorough ventilation is secured by an opening on the south-east
under the eaves where the sun cannot reach it. The cellar was added
after the preliminary plans were made, the scullery being re-arranged
to allow of it. This latter is shaped to obstruct as little as possible
the squint window in the living-room ingle, and at the same time faces
south, which, as there is no fireplace, is a good aspect for it.

The staircase rises from the corridor, and as it is accessible from
all parts without passing the doors of the reception rooms, a back
staircase is not needed. Where economy is a consideration the back
staircase is one of the first things which may be dispensed with, for
it adds so little real comfort in proportion to its cost.

[Sidenote: _See plate 2._]

The bedroom plan follows pretty closely the ground plan, the bedrooms
also leading off a corridor round the inner court. All four bedrooms
are arranged so that in addition to being convenient as bedrooms, they
have at least a corner near the fire comfortable to sit in. In small
houses to regard a bedroom as a sleeping room only is a mistake. The
accommodation is greatly increased when each member of the household
can use his or her bedroom as a private den also. The balcony is
repeated on the first floor--the bedrooms being as serviceable without
the space it occupies--and by reason of the parapet and overhanging
eaves, it is even more sheltered than that on the ground floor; and it
is thus possible in two bedrooms to sleep practically in the open air
in almost all weathers. It has special value, too, as an addition to
the west room, which is designed for the boy’s bedroom and study. Here
the bed fits in a deep recess out of the way; a washstand is contrived
in the sill of the window of the same recess, which is slightly bayed
to give the needful room; and a curtain may be drawn across, cutting
off all the special bedroom appliances; so leaving a good comfortable
study. A window is put to bring the south-east sun into bedroom No.
3, the wide sill of which in the rather narrow room may be used for
a dressing table. In bedroom No. 4 an over-hanging window recess is
carried out on the joists, to avoid the want of comfort which one
always feels on the window side of a room when the door opens right in
the corner, as here. This room has also a little window towards the
court to bring in morning sun; and thus all the bedrooms get through
ventilation and plenty of sunshine.

Of the treatment of the rooms little need be said. The recesses by the
chimney breasts are fitted with cupboards and bookshelves, which are
designed to include simple framings or mantels for the fireplaces, and
the cornices of which are arranged to match the cornice over doors and
windows and to carry line with a picture rail running round the room.
Wall papers or other decorations stop at this rail, all above being
taken in with the ceiling. This arrangement enables the ceiling to be
broken up by the slopes of the low roofs without giving the ugly odds
and ends of papered wall, which really are the only unpleasing feature
about a ceiling broken up in that way.

During the whole of the planning the elevations are of course kept
in view, and the block design carried away in the mind from the site
constantly exerts a modifying influence. The difficulty usually is
to maintain sufficient simplicity; so many features are suggested by
little conveniences of planning that one has continually to cut them
out, never to seek for them merely for the sake of effect.

This plan which we have just considered, representing, perhaps, rather
a large house to be classed as “small,” does not quite illustrate
one point to which we attach very great importance in the designing
of small houses. The second plan shown gives me an opportunity of
referring to this. Here a special effort was made to obtain one room
giving some sense of space in a house not large enough to contain
several large rooms. In all small houses much must be sacrificed, but
it seems to us to be infinitely less of a sacrifice to reduce the
number of rooms, than to reduce the size of them all. In every small
house it should be a first consideration to secure one room large
enough to allow of some interest being worked into the room itself, and
to afford some comfort and dignity of life to its occupants.

[Sidenote: _See plates 3, 64, and 65._]

In the plan now before us the hall was made into the chief living room;
it is carried up two stories to provide for an organ gallery. The
gallery leading to the balcony, the landing, and the staircase, are all
thrown into this hall; the stairs are so arranged as to afford a screen
to the fire, and form a sort of deep ingle with low ceiling under the
landing. The low ceiling continues under the organ gallery and the
balcony, the central part of the hall being open to the full height.
The sense of cosiness in this ingle is greatly enhanced by contrast
with the lofty open space outside; while the variety in lighting,
whether when the morning sun streams in at the great east window, or
when the ingle glows red in the gathering dusk, adds a perpetual charm.
In the gallery is a second fire, with a lounge seat by the organ, under
a kind of canopy formed by the half-landing of the second floor stairs.

[Sidenote: _See plate 4._]

To obtain this spacious hall the remainder of the house has been
reduced as much as possible. Only one other small room, for den or
meal-room, is provided, with kitchens, offices, and four bedrooms,
two of which are on the second floor. Lest you should be inclined
to think that only for people living a very exceptional life would
it be advantageous to throw so much space into one room, I will
next refer to a design drawn for a London literary man, who, though
not able to afford a large house, still by reason of his position
required occasionally to be able to entertain a good many people.
Here the first consideration has been to obtain a hall which would be
at once a comfortable living-room and a dignified entertaining room.
The meal-room has been kept as small as would just allow of a little
dinner-party being given in it. The fire is placed in one corner, the
sideboard in another; had it been possible to put the door also in
a corner it would have been still more convenient, for in a small
dining-room it is in the corners that there is a little space to spare.
The narrow Hampstead building plot, having a south-west aspect, and
the best prospect to the south, dictated the general arrangement of
the house and the placing of the best room at the south corner. This
room is spanned by two arches to carry the wall of the study over;
within one of them is placed the fire recess with seats and fitment,
thus using up all the space under the stairs to add to the size and
character of the room; while the stairs themselves, which are shut
off from the vestibule by a door, are also open to the room, the
quarter-landing forming a small gallery overlooking it.

The staircase is such an essentially interesting and decorative feature
in a house, and the space under and around it may be made to add so
much to a room both in size and individuality, that it always seems a
pity to shut it off in a mere passage. In old houses the charm of some
departure from the plain room is well recognised, for the favourite
view, alike for the artist and the photographer, is always that which
contains some peep of stairs from the hall, some gallery, balcony,
ingle, or deep window recess. When the most is made of such advantages
as can be claimed for the bare square room, they seem but a poor
compensation for the loss of character and charm.

Over the hall in this house are placed the client’s study and bedroom,
the two being combined that both may have the benefit of the whole air
space: book cases and curtains screen off the bedroom portion. Double
doors and double windows are fitted to this room, for perfect quiet
both by day and by night is essential; and further to secure this,
ventilation is obtained independently of the windows by means of two
fireplaces and an air shaft built in one of the stacks. The client’s
wife, son and daughter all proposed to make considerable use of their
bedrooms in the day time.

But I must pass on now to cottages, the second part of our subject. The
distinction between a small house and a cottage, never a very clear
one, has been further obscured by a common affectation of simplicity.
The word certainly suggests a simple shelter for a simple form of life,
and for our purposes I propose to regard as a cottage any house in
which separate accommodation is not provided for servants. Provision
for domestic help there may be, but it must be “as one of the family,”
not constituting a separate class to be separately provided for.

To cottages, what has been said about the advantage of securing a good
living-room, even at great sacrifice of other conveniences, applies
with additional force. For not only is the total space at our command
usually less, but the number of functions which the living-room has to
provide for is greater, many of the functions of a kitchen being added
to it. To combine the comfort of a living-room with the convenience for
work of a kitchen will tax our skill in planning, and as the space
we can give becomes less, our care in the disposal of it must become
greater.

[Sidenote: _See plates 5 & 37._]

Let us again proceed by way of example, taking a largish cottage
designed for a client who wished to live a quiet simple life, yet on a
scale that would allow of his enjoying the more necessary comforts and
refinements. The site is near a small Derbyshire town, and consists
of a mound caused by the out-crop of some shale grit. On the north
runs a stream, to which the ground falls precipitously; the road is to
the west, and there is a steep fall here also; to the east the fall
is slight, while to the south the ground rises gently. There are fine
views in all directions, most interesting to the north, least so to the
south. The client, however, desired the main windows of the living-room
to be to the west, having a special liking for the evening light. The
site seemed to demand a simple oblong house with plain span-roof kept
as low as possible, forming a sort of crest on the steep-sided mound.

The western end of the building becomes the living-room, having windows
with the desired outlook. There is a window to the north to command the
best of the view; another on the south side admits plenty of sun; and
in addition on this side there is the outer door, placed there that it
may be possible to enjoy the charm which a door opening direct from a
room upon a sunny garden always gives. Such a door must, however, be
so placed that while the peep out is obtained the comfort of the room
is not destroyed. Here we have gathered the two doors and the stair
foot together in a narrow part of the room out of the way, leaving all
the rest of the space comfortable to occupy. The fire is placed on the
north wall, in a deep recess; one side of which is devoted to rest, the
other to work. The former is occupied by a comfortable low seat; in
the latter is fixed a plate-rack, and a working dresser fitted with a
small fixed bowl for washing up glass and china. All the kitchen work
done in the living-room is thus confined to the one corner handy to the
fire for cooking, and well lighted by the north window. The fireplace
is designed to be used as a closed cooking stove or as an open fire to
sit round. The floor of the recess is tiled, which enhances a little
the feeling of sitting on the hearth, and at the same time affords the
most easily cleaned surface for the working corner. The arrangement,
though producing a little the effect of a room within a room, secures
at anyrate some of the cosiness of an ingle. We are enabled to get a
sheltered garden-seat by reducing the width of the recess to a more
comfortable dimension. The ingle is further defined by an archway, on
one side of which is fitted a writing desk, and on the other the piano
is designed to stand, occupying part of the space under the rising
stairs, the remaining portion being taken up with a store cupboard
opening into the kitchen. A second resting place is provided by a wide
low window seat in the main window. Fixed seats are arranged for two
sides of the meal table, one having a high back to screen it from any
draught coming through the outer door.

To this one good room is added a kitchen for the more dirty work,
fitted with a small range; a good cupboard for coats and hats by
the entrance; a coal-place and larder. Upstairs are four bedrooms,
necessarily rather small; one has a bed-recess taken off the largest
room to help it, and as it is over the low ceiling of the ingle, it
gets the advantage of extra height under the sloping roof; and thus the
low ceiling, which adds so much to the feeling of cosiness in an ingle,
is made to benefit the bedroom over. Where some such arrangement as
this is not possible, we sometimes utilize the space between the low
ceiling and the floor above as a storage cupboard, and we often take
advantage of it for ventilating purposes, by bringing fresh air into
the room, slightly warmed by passing behind the fire, and delivering
it over the opening to the recess, where it is distributed with the
least possible draught. Where an outlet into a flue is desirable to
supplement the exhaust due to the fire, we find this a very good
place to arrange it. In a room with close-fitting iron casements,
sufficiently well built not to leak excessively through floors,
skirting, and door, the most frequent cause of a smoky chimney is the
want of sufficient air supply, and some form of inlet is an absolute
necessity. For bedrooms this may be successfully arranged in some
cases through a hollow fender kerb.

All the bedrooms in this cottage are so arranged as to have a fairly
comfortable corner between the fire and a window, where one can sit
to read or write. An east aspect is obtained for the bath-room, and a
linen cupboard warmed by the cylinder is provided.

Of the elevations I need only say that local random range stone is
used for the ground story, while for the upper portion the need for
obtaining four bedrooms over a house so narrow requires the use of nine
inch brick walls which are rough-cast in cement. The roof is covered
with local stone slate.

It is obvious that the living-room of this cottage could with much
less trouble have been made a four-square room with a fire at one end
and a door at the other; and might have been furnished with a mixture
of kitchen and parlour furniture. But I shall have sadly missed the
purpose of this paper should you not now feel, as we do, that life
would be immensely more comfortable and more dignified in a room such
as I have been describing, where each requirement has been considered
and provided for, and which has had just the shape and arrangement
given to it that seemed best to meet those requirements; where,
moreover, all the furniture has been designed in keeping with its place
and its purpose, so that there is no incongruity between the desk and
the dresser, the piano and the plate-rack.

Time will not permit me to refer in detail to any smaller cottage
plans. But enough has, I hope, been said to make it quite clear, that,
whatever the size of the house, we think it should grow, both as a
utilitarian plan and as an artistic creation, out of the real needs
of the occupants; and that the art of designing small houses and
cottages consists, not in following any accepted code of conventions,
however useful these may be in their place, but in working out such a
convenient and comely setting for the special life that shall be lived
in them as shall enable that life to expand itself to the fullest
extent, not merely unhampered by the building in which it is clothed,
but actually stimulated by a congenial surrounding.


[Illustration]



LIST OF PLATES.


  PLANS.                                                           Plate

  House at Northwood, ground floor plan                                1

     „         „      first floor plan                                 2

  House at Marple, Cheshire, plans                                     3

  House designed for a Hampstead site, plans                           4

  Cottage designed for a Derbyshire site, plans                        5

  Co-operative Dwellings, Cottage plans                                6

  Co-operative Dwellings, plan of Common Rooms                         7

  Co-operative Dwellings, block plan of quadrangle                     8

  Co-operative Dwellings, plans for larger houses                      9

  Co-operative Dwellings, plans of larger Common Rooms                10

  Plan for a hamlet                                                   11


  LINE DRAWINGS. (Barry Parker, delt.)

  An Artizan’s Living-room                                            12

  A Living-room                                                       13

  A Living-room                                                       14

  Sketch for a Hall, near Derby                                       15

  Sketch for a corner in a Hall, near Derby                           16

  A Library                                                           17

  A Living-room                                                       18

  A Study in the roof                                                 19

  A Hall in Buxton                                                    20

  A Living-room in Buxton                                             21

  Sketch for a Hall in Buxton                                         22

  Sketch for a Hall in Marple, Cheshire                               23

  Corner in a Hall, Church Stretton                                   24

  A Living-room, Church Stretton                                      25

  Sketch for a Billiard-room, Carrigbyrne, Co. Wexford                26

  Room to be built on to “The Old Cottage,” Tintagel                  27

  Sketch for a Fireplace, Westmoreland                                28

  Sketch for a Hall, Westmoreland                                     29

  A Hall, Montreal, Canada                                            30

  A Living-room                                                       31


  WASH DRAWINGS. (Barry Parker, delt.)

  A Living-room, Northwood                                            32

  A Hall, Northwood                                                   33

  Design for Co-operative Dwellings                                   34

  Common room in Co-operative Dwellings                               35

  Village Common Room                                                 36

  A Cottage interior                                                  37

  Design for a hamlet                                                 38

  A Village corner                                                    39


  PHOTOGRAPHS.

  Corner in Dining-room                                               40

  Living-room in Bridgwater, The Garden Bay                           41

  A Hall in Buxton, view 1                                            42

        „     „      „   2                                            43

        „     „      „   3                                            44

  A Living-room in Buxton                                             45

  A Hall in Buxton                                                    46

  A House in Church Stretton, the Hall, view 1                        47

      „           „            „        view 2                        48

      „           „      The Living-room ingle                        49

  A House in Church Stretton, Dining recess in Living-room            50

  A House in Church Stretton, a Bedroom, view 1                       51

  A House in Church Stretton, a Bedroom, view 2                       52

  A House in Bradford, the Hall                                       53

  A House in Bradford, the Consulting-room                            54

      „         „      the Sitting-room, view 1                       55

      „         „             „      „   view 2                       56

  A House in Buxton, the Living-room                                  57

      „        „     the Drawing-room                                 58

      „        „     the Balcony                                      59

  A Farmhouse Sitting-room, Derbyshire                                60

  A Living-room in Buxton                                             61

  A Living-room in Croydon                                            62

  A Living-room in Buxton                                             63

  A Hall in Marple, view 1                                            64

       „      „     view 2                                            65

  A Hall in Montreal, Canada, view 1                                  66

       „       „        „     view 2                                  67

       „       „        „     view 3                                  68



[Illustration:

        PLATE 1.

        A HOUSE AT NORTHWOOD,
        STAFFORDSHIRE, PLAN
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VIII. SEE PLATES 32 AND 33.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 2.

        A HOUSE AT NORTHWOOD,
        STAFFORDSHIRE, PLAN
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VIII.


FIRST FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 3.

        A HOUSE IN MARPLE,
        CHESHIRE, PLANS
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VIII. SEE PLATES 23,
        64, AND 65.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 4.

        A HOUSE DESIGNED FOR A
        HAMPSTEAD SITE, PLANS
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VIII.

NOTE; THERE ARE TWO BEDROOMS AND A BOXROOM ON THE SECOND FLOOR.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 5.

        A COTTAGE DESIGNED FOR A
        DERBYSHIRE SITE, PLANS
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VIII. SEE PLATE 37.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 6.

        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATES 8 AND 34.

SECOND FLOOR PLAN.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

DESIGN FOR PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN;
SUGGESTED PLANS FOR THREE OF THE COTTAGES.]


[Illustration: PLATE 7.

        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATES 34 AND 35.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

SECOND FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

DESIGN FOR PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN. PLAN OF
COMMON ROOMS]


[Illustration: PLATE 8.

        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATES 6 AND 9.

DESIGN FOR PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN

BLOCK PLAN

BLOCK PLAN OF QUADRANGLE OF LARGER HOUSES AND COMMON ROOMS.]


[Illustration: PLATE 9.

        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATE 8.

SECOND FLOOR PLAN

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN

DESIGN FOR PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN;
QUADRANGLE OF LARGER HOUSES AND COMMON ROOMS. SUGGESTED PLANS FOR TWO
OF THE COTTAGES.]


[Illustration: PLATE 10.

        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE VII.

DESIGN FOR PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN;
QUADRANGLE OF LARGER HOUSES & COMMON ROOMS. PLAN OF COMMON ROOMS.

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

GROUND FLOOR PLAN]


[Illustration: PLATE 11.

        PLAN FOR A HAMLET,
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATE 38.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 12.

        AN ARTIZAN’S LIVING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 13.

        DESIGN FOR THE
        LIVING-ROOM IN A HOUSE
        CONTAINING THIS ROOM,
        SANCTUM, SCULLERY,
        PANTRY & BEDROOMS ONLY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 14.

        DESIGN FOR THE
        LIVING-ROOM IN A HOUSE
        TO HAVE THIS ROOM,
        SANCTUM, KITCHENS,
        OFFICES & BEDROOM
        ACCOMMODATION ONLY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 15.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR A
        HALL NEAR DERBY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 16.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR
        A CORNER IN A HALL NEAR
        DERBY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 17.

A LIBRARY.]


[Illustration: PLATE 18.

A LIVING-ROOM.]


[Illustration: PLATE 19.

A STUDY IN THE ROOF.]


[Illustration: PLATE 20.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH
        FOR A HALL IN BUXTON,
        DERBYSHIRE.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 21.

        DESIGN FOR A LIVING-ROOM
        IN BUXTON, DERBYSHIRE.
        SEE PLATE 45.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 22.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH
        FOR A HALL IN BUXTON,
        DERBYSHIRE.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 23.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR
        THE HALL IN A HOUSE AT
        MARPLE, CHESHIRE. SEE
        PLATES 3, 64 AND 65.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 24.

        DESIGN FOR A CORNER IN A
        HALL, CHURCH STRETTON,
        SHROPSHIRE. SEE PLATES
        47 AND 48.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 25.

        DESIGN FOR A
        LIVING-ROOM, CHURCH
        STRETTON, SHROPSHIRE.
        SEE PLATES 49 AND 50.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 26.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH
        FOR A BILLIARD-ROOM,
        CARRIGBRYNE, CO. WEXFORD.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 27.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH OF
        A ROOM TO BE BUILT ON
        TO “THE OLD COTTAGE,”
        TINTAGEL, CORNWALL.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 28.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH
        FOR A FIREPLACE,
        WESTMORELAND.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 29.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR A
        HALL, WESTMORELAND.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 30.

        A HALL, MONTREAL,
        CANADA. SEE PLATES 66,
        67 AND 68.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 31.

        DESIGN FOR THE
        LIVING-ROOM IN A HOUSE
        HAVING IN ADDITION TO
        THIS ROOM A SMALL HALL,
        KITCHEN, BEDROOMS, AND
        OFFICES.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 32.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR
        A LIVING-ROOM AT
        NORTHWOOD, STAFFORDSHIRE.
        SEE PLATE 1.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 33.

        PRELIMINARY SKETCH FOR
        A HALL AT NORTHWOOD,
        STAFFORDSHIRE. SEE PLATE 1.

        NOTE: THE CHIMNEY-STACK
        STANDS ON THE ARCH, AND
        THE FLUE IS BROUGHT OVER
        TO IT WITHIN THE COPPER
        HOOD.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 34.

        DESIGN FOR PROPOSED
        CO-OPERATIVE DWELLINGS
        IN A YORKSHIRE TOWN. TO
        ILLUSTRATE LECTURE VII.
        SEE PLATES 6, 7, AND 8.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 35.

        INTERIOR OF COMMON ROOM
        IN PROPOSED CO-OPERATIVE
        DWELLINGS IN A YORKSHIRE
        TOWN. TO ILLUSTRATE
        LECTURE VII. SEE PLATE 7.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 36.

        DESIGN FOR PROPOSED
        VILLAGE COMMON ROOM NEAR
        LEEDS. TO ILLUSTRATE
        LECTURE VII.

        NOTE: THE BILLIARD
        TABLE HAS BEEN OMITTED
        FROM SKETCH TO SHOW
        THE RAISED SEATS WHICH
        OVERLOOK IT, & THE INGLE.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 37.

        DESIGN FOR A COTTAGE
        INTERIOR. SEE PLATE 5.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 38.

        DESIGN FOR A HAMLET,
        ILLUSTRATING LECTURE
        VII. SEE PLATE 11.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 39.

        SKETCH FOR A VILLAGE
        CORNER, ILLUSTRATING
        LECTURE VII.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 40.

        DINING-ROOM IN EAST
        DERBYSHIRE. THE
        SIDEBOARD CORNER.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 41.

        A LIVING-ROOM
        IN BRIDGEWATER,
        SOMERSETSHIRE. THE
        GARDEN BAY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 42.

        A HALL IN BUXTON, VIEW 1.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 43.

        A HALL IN BUXTON, VIEW 2.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 44.

        A HALL IN BUXTON, VIEW 3.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 45.

        A LIVING-ROOM IN BUXTON.
        FOR DESIGN SEE PLATE 21.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 46.

A HALL IN BUXTON.]


[Illustration: PLATE 47.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON. THE HALL, VIEW 1.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 48.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON. THE HALL, VIEW
        2. SEE PLATE 24.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 49.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON. THE
        LIVING-ROOM. VIEW 1.
        SHOWING INGLE. SEE PLATE 25.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 50.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON. THE
        LIVING-ROOM, VIEW 2,
        SHOWING DINING RECESS.
        SEE PLATE 25.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 51.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON, A BEDROOM,
        VIEW 1.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 52.

        A HOUSE IN CHURCH
        STRETTON, A BEDROOM,
        VIEW 2.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 53.

        A DOCTOR’S HOUSE IN
        BRADFORD. THE HALL.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 54.

        A DOCTOR’S HOUSE
        IN BRADFORD. THE
        CONSULTING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 55.

        A DOCTOR’S HOUSE
        IN BRADFORD. THE
        SITTING-ROOM, VIEW 1.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 56.

        A DOCTOR’S HOUSE
        IN BRADFORD. THE
        SITTING-ROOM, VIEW 2.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 57.

        A HOUSE IN BUXTON. THE
        LIVING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 58.

        A HOUSE IN BUXTON. THE
        DRAWING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 59.

        A HOUSE IN BUXTON. THE
        BALCONY.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 60.

        A DERBYSHIRE FARMHOUSE.
        THE SITTING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 61.

        A LIVING-ROOM IN BUXTON.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 62.

        A HOUSE IN CROYDON. THE
        LIVING-ROOM.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 63.

        A LIVING-ROOM IN BUXTON.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 64.

        A HALL AT MARPLE, VIEW
        1. SEE PRELIMINARY
        SKETCH, PLATE 23.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 65.

        A HALL AT MARPLE,
        VIEW 2. FOR PLANS,
        SEE PLATE 3.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 66.

        A HALL IN MONTREAL,
        CANADA, VIEW 1. SEE
        PLATE 30.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 67.

        A HALL IN MONTREAL,
        CANADA, VIEW 2. SEE
        PLATE 30.
]


[Illustration: PLATE 68.

        A HALL IN MONTREAL,
        CANADA, VIEW 3. SEE
        PLATE 30.
]



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

In the original book, some sidenotes were positioned mid-paragraph.
Here, all sidenotes are positioned at the beginning of the paragraph.

Transcriber added a page number (136) to the “List of Plates and Plates
at the end” entry in the Table of Contents.





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