Ten Books on Architecture


Our Anceɾtors have left us many and various Arts tending to the Pleaɾure and
Conveniency of Life, acquired with the greateɾt Induɾtry and Diligence:
Which Arts, though they all pretend, with a Kind of Emulation, to have in
View the great End of being ɾerviceable to Mankind; yet we know that each
of them in particular has ɾomething in it that ɾeems to promiɾe a diɾtinct and
ɾeparate Fruit: Some Arts we follow for Neceɾɾity, ɾome we approve for their
Uɾefulneɾs, and ɾome we eɾteem becauɾe they lead us to the Knowledge of Things that are de
lightful. What theɾe Arts are, it is not neceɾɾary for me to enumerate; for they are obvious.
But if you take a View of the whole Circle of Arts, you ɾhall hardly find one but what, deɾpiɾ
ing all others, regards and ɾeeks only its own particular Ends: Or if you do meet with any of
ɾuch a Nature that you can in no wiɾe do without it, and which yet brings along with it Pro
fit at the ɾame Time, conjoined with Pleaɾure and Honour, you will, I believe, be convinced
that Architecture is not to be excluded from that Number. For it is certain, if you examine
the Matter carefully, it is inexpreɾɾibly delightful, and the greateɾt Convenience to Mankind
in all Reɾpects, both publick and private; and in Dignity not inferior to the moɾt excellent. But
before I proceed further, it will not be improper to explain what he is that I allow to be an
Architect: For it is not a Carpenter or a Joiner that I thus rank with the greateɾt Maɾters in
other Sciences; the manual Operator being no more than an Inɾtrument to the Architect.
Him I call an Architect, who, by ɾure and wonderful Art and Method, is able, both with
Thought and Invention, to deviɾe, and, with Execution, to compleat all those Works, which,
by means of the Movement of great Weights, and the Conjunction and Amaɾɾment of Bodies,
can, with the greateɾt Beauty, be adapted to the Uɾes of Mankind: And to be able to do this,
he must have a thorough Inɾight into the nobleɾt and moɾt curious Sciences. Such must be the
Architect. But to return.1

SOME have been of Opinion, that either Water or Fire were the principal Occaɾions of bring
ing Men together into Societies; but to us, who conɾider the Uɾefulneɾs and Neceɾɾity of Co
verings and Walls, it ɾeems evident, that they were the chief Cauɾes of aɾɾembling Men toge
ther. But the only Obligation we have to the Architect is not for his providing us with ɾafe2
and pleaɾant Places, where we may ɾhelter ourɾelves from the Heat of the Sun, from Cold and
Tempeɾt, (though this is no ɾmall Benefit); but for having beɾides contrived many other
Things, both of a private and publick Nature of the higheɾt Uɾe and Covenience to the Life
of Man. How many noble Families, reduced by the Calamity of the Times, had been utterly
loɾt, both in our own native City, and in others, had not their paternal Habitations preɾerved
and cheriɾhed them, as it were, in the Boɾom of their Forefathers. Dædalus in his Time was3
greatly eɾteemed for having made the Selinuntians a Vault, which gathered ɾo warm and kindly
a Vapour as provoked a plentiful Sweat, and thereby cured their Diɾtempers with great Eaɾe
and Pleaɾure, Why need I mention others who have contrived many Things of the like Sort
conducive to Health; as Places for Exerciɾe, for Swimming, Baths and the like? Or why
ɾhould I inɾtance in Vehicles, Mills, Time-meaɾures, and other ɾuch minute Things, which
nevertheleɾs are of great Uɾe in Life? Why ɾhould I inɾiɾt upon the great Plenty of Waters
brought from the moɾt remote and hidden Places, and employed to ɾo many different and uɾe
ful Purpoɾes? Upon Trophies, Tabernacles, ɾacred Edifices, Churches and the like, adapted . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1965


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