Structural Ensemble

an inherent part of it. If we seem to branch off from the main line of development, it is only for the moment ; for my thesis is the real identity between the higher forms of draughtsmanship and the architectural sense.

I have several times put forward what may seem to many to be naught but an amusing paradox, to be a passing opinion, of the possible verity of which I should find it difficult to give a demonstration. I have said that not only is nude-drawing the best school for all kinds of drawing and design, but I have specially stated that, if I had my way, I would oblige all architects to study the nude profoundly for many years. In Relation in Art I have condemned in too summary a way English architecture to a secondary standing ; had it not been that I was writing in English for an English public I should no more have mentioned English architecture (considering the space that I could devote to the subject) than I should have mentioned Norwegian, or Russian. I should not even have spoken of it as little as I have of Byzantine or of Indian in its different forms. The present book is again written in English for English readers. This time I will put forward more clearly the weakness both of English figure-drawing (or, if it be preferred, of English drawing as a whole) and of English architectural design. The defect is one and the same. By presenting it from two different points of view I shall but make its nature more clear. This, then, is why I pass without transition from a discussion of the nude to an examination of ogival architecture ; and in so doing break down, at least for myself, the artificial divisions that are pedantically erected here and there in what is in reality a coherent subject : Art. The essence of great drawing is rhythmic structural ensemble, the essence of great architecture is rhythmic structural ensemble. In England the sense of coherent structural c oneness5 or ' unity' is singularly wanting ; it is replaced by a sense of tidiness and order. How poorly the


two English terms just employed replace the French ! Shall wre make a hideous word nearer to the mark : ' togetherness ? ? Vocabularies in all languages are wreak in terminology that does not express a need of the people. This lack of a term really proves my thesis.

In my phrase ' structural ensemble 5 the mechanical exigencies of architecture are also tacitly implied. Again I repeat that the nude offers an excellent schooling in types of mechanical equilibrium which are at the same time aesthetically valid. I am inclined to think that, far from waning in excellence as an architectural school, the nude is likely to become even more fitted to future application in this way. In the old forms of architecture tensional strains were rare, were confined to certain tie-beams. Compression and flexion reigned nearly supreme. Now all is changed with the introduction of steel girders and reinforced concrete. Every attempt is generally made to convert all stresses into tensions. The human body is largely a tensional system.

The law may be unhesitatingly laid down that artistic worth is always to be measured in terms of cohesion, of apt fitting together of parts. The site of Salisbury Cathedral was a virgin site, so Mr. Francis Bond tells us in his English Cathedrals.1- He goes on to say that c from this fact resulted a cathedral different from any other that we possess. In other cathedrals we study the medieval architect designing under difficulties ; what we see in such a composite cathedral as Hereford or Chichester or Rochester is not one design, but a dozen designs trying to blend into one design ; sometimes, as at Canterbury and Rochester, rather ineffectually, sometimes, as at Hereford, with remarkable success. At Salisbury it is not so ; the design is one design, all sprang

1 George Newnes, London.

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