Trip Prep 23: A dose of John Summerson

June 30, 2011 | 2 Comments

A random flick through a new book(that arrived today) that I plan to read after my trip has satisfied a need to do some architectural research before having a few days in London. I have read many many books on English architecture in the past but I wanted to brush up a bit.

This is a fairly boring sketchbook page… BUT it contains a wonderful thought that will be the key to any visits to Hawksmoor churches in London (I plan to visit as many as I can – have done this before but pre-sketching days) Just to put this in context, when I went to Venice the first time I spent 3 months reading architectural history books and created my own architectural guide from the notes I took!

John Summerson was a legend – I LOVE his books. The classical Language of architecture was definitely the best book we were given to read at University. He has such a way of condensely dispersing gems left right and centre.

BTW one of the highlights of my flickr postings last year was S-ophie reading a Summerson comment on my sketch of Blenheim palace and posting the desired quote for me

Blenheim detail 2

Sophie wrote….the quote of Summerson you might have been looking for:
There is a double beat, then [the Doric Order] wheels round. Another double beat: it turns, enters the towers – it disappears. Then out it marches from the near side of each tower, marches forward till it is returned as a formal entry with steps inside and a flourish of arms above. (summerson, The classical Language of Architecture, 1991, pag. 71)

As I wrote at the time, you cant imagine how special it was that someone saw my note to myself, knew exactly what I meant and then via my iphone I was able to read it that evening!!! Wow!!


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