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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/16

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viii
PREFACE.

in which they should be embodied; and, in furtherance of this idea, sixteen years ago I wrote a book entitled "The True Principles of Beauty in Art." The work was not—nor was it intended to be—popular in its form. It was an attempt of a young author to do what he thought right and best, without consulting the wishes of the public on the subject, and the first result, as might have been—and indeed was—anticipated, was that no publisher would undertake it. In consequence of this, only the first volume was published, by Longmans in 1849, and that at my own expense and risk. The event proved that the booksellers were right. The book did not sell, and it became a question whether it was worth my while to waste my time and spend my money on a work which the public did not want, or whether it would not be wiser to abandon it, and wait for some more favorable opportunity. Various circumstances of no public interest induced me at the time to adopt the latter course, and I felt I could do so without any breach of faith, as the work, as then published, was complete in itself, though it had been intended to add two more volumes to the one already published.

Some years afterwards, a proposal was made to me by Mr. Murray to utilize the materials collected for the more ambitious work in the more popular form of a Handbook of Architecture. The work was written in a very much more popular manner than that I had previously adopted, or than I then liked, or now think worthy of the subject; but the result proved that it was a style much better suited to the public demand, for this time the work was successful. Since its publication in 1855 a large number of copies have been sold; the work has now for some years been out of print, and a new edition is demanded. Under these circumstances the question arose, whether it would be better to republish the Handbook in its original form, with such additions and emendations as its arrangement admitted of, or whether it would not be better to revert to a form nearly approaching that adopted in the "True Principles," rather than that followed in the composition of the Handbook, as one more worthy of the subject, and better capable of developing its importance.

The immense advantages of the historical over the topographical method are too self-evident to require being pointed out, whenever the object is to give a general view of the whole of such a subject as that treated of in these volumes, or an attempt is made to trace the connection of the various parts to one another. If the intention is only to describe particular styles or separate buildings, the topographical arrangement may be found more convenient; but where