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An Architect's Note-Book in Spain principally illustrating the domestic architecture of that country.   By: (1820-1877)

An Architect's Note-Book in Spain principally illustrating the domestic architecture of that country. by Matthew Digby Wyatt

First Page:

AN ARCHITECT'S NOTE BOOK IN SPAIN

PRINCIPALLY ILLUSTRATING THE DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF THAT COUNTRY.

BY

M. DIGBY WYATT, M.A.

SLADE PROFESSOR OF FINE ART IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, &C.

WITH ONE HUNDRED OF THE AUTHOR'S SKETCHES, REPRODUCED BY THE AUTOTYPE MECHANICAL PROCESS.

LONDON: AUTOTYPE FINE ART COMPANY (LIMITED), 36, RATHBONE PLACE.

TO

OWEN JONES, ESQ.

KNIGHT OF THE ORDERS OF SAINTS MAURICE AND LAZARUS OF ITALY, AND OF LEOPOLD OF BELGIUM, MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SAINT FERDINAND OF SPAIN, &C., &C., &C.

My dear Owen,

The last book I wrote I dedicated to my brother by blood; the present I dedicate to you my brother in Art. Let it be a record of the value I set upon all you have taught me, and upon your true friendship.

Ever yours,

M. DIGBY WYATT.

37, Tavistock Place, W.C.

October, 1872.

PREFACE.

Before quitting England for a first visit to Spain in the Autumn of 1869, I made up my mind both to see and draw as much of the Architectural remains of that country as the time and means at my disposal would permit; and further determined so to draw as to admit of the publication of my sketches and portions of my notes on the objects represented, in the precise form in which they might be made. I was influenced in that determination by the consciousness that almost from day to day the glorious past was being trampled out in Spain; and that whatever issue, prosperous or otherwise, the fortunes of that much distracted country might take in the future, the minor monuments of Art at least which adorned its soil, would rapidly disappear. Their disappearance would result naturally from what is called "progress" if Spain should revive; while their perishing through neglect and wilful damage, or peculation, would inevitably follow, if the ever smouldering embers of domestic revolution should burst afresh into flame. Such has been the invariable action of those fires which in all history have melted away the most refined evidences of man's intelligence, leaving behind only scanty, and often all but shapeless, relics of the richest and ripest genius.

It is difficult to realise the rapidity with which, almost under one's eyes, the Spain of history and romance "is casting its skin." Travelling even with so recent and so excellent a handbook as O'Shea's of 1869, I noted the following wanton acts of Vandalism and destruction, committed upon monuments of the greatest archæological and artistic interest since he wrote. At Seville, the Church of San Miguel, one of the oldest and finest in the city, was senselessly demolished by the populace as a sort of auto da fé, and by way of commemoration of the revolution of September, 1867. In exactly the same way the fine Byzantine churches of San Juan at Lerida, and of San Miguel at Barcelona, have been "improved off the face of the earth." Church plate, Custodias and Virils of the D'Arfés, Becerrias, and other Art workmen, have vanished from the treasuries of all the great ecclesiastical structures; whether sold, melted down, or only hidden, "quien sabe?" The beautiful Moorish decorations of the Alcazar at Segovia had been all but entirely destroyed by fire, attributed to the careless cigar lighting of the Cadets to whom the structure had been abandoned. The finest old mansion in Barcelona, the Casa de Gralla, probably the masterpiece of Damian Forment, and dating from the commencement of the fourteenth century, has been pulled down by the Duke of Medina Celi to form a new street. The beautiful wooden ceiling of the Casa del Infantado at Guadalaxara, the finest of its kind in Spain, in the absence of its owner, who I was told lives in Russia, is coming down in large pieces, and once fallen, I scarcely think it will be in the power of living workmen to make it good again. The exquisite Moorish Palace of the Generalife at Granada, second only to the Alhambra and the Alcazar at Seville, is never visited by its proprietor, and is now one mass of white wash, a victim of the zeal for cleanliness of a Sanitary "Administrador... Continue reading book >>




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