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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/15

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FROM THE


PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.




ALTHOUGH the present work may in some respects be considered as only a new edition of the "Handbook of Architecture," still the alterations, both in substance and in form, have been so extensive as to render the adoption of a new title almost indispensable. The topographical arrangement which was the basis of the "Handboook" has been abandoned, and a historical sequence introduced in its place. This has entirely altered the argument of the book, and, with the changes and additions which it has involved, has rendered it practically a new work; containing, it is true, all that was included in the previous publication, but with a great deal that is new and little that retains its original form.

The logical reasons for these changes will be set forth in their proper place in the body of the work; but meanwhile, as the Preface is that part of it which should properly include all personal explanations, I trust I may not be considered as laying myself open to a charge of egotism, if I avail myself of this conventional license in explaining the steps by which this work attained its present form.

It was my good fortune to be able to devote many years of my life to the study of Architecture—as a fine art—under singularly favorable circumstances: not only was I able to extend my personal observations to the examples found in almost all the countries between China and the Atlantic shore, but I lived familiarly among a people who were still practising their traditional art on the same principles as those which guided the architects of the Middle Ages in the production of similar but scarcely more beautiful or more original works. With these antecedents, I found myself in possession of a considerable amount of information regarding buildings which had not previously been described, and—what I considered of more value—of an insight into the theory of the art, which was certainly even more novel.

Believing this knowledge and these principles to be of sufficient importance to justify me in so doing, I resolved on publishing a work