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cular lines, and of lines partly straight, and partly circular, as the capitals of columns, and vases, &c.
Thirdly, * those composed of all the former together with an addition of the waving line, which is a line more productive of beauty than any of the former, as in flowers, and other forms of the ornamental kind: for which reason we shall call it the line of beauty.
Fourthly, f those composed of all the former together with the serpentine line, as the human form, which line hath the power of superadding grace to beauty. Note, forms of most grace have least of the straight line in them.
It is to be observed, that straight lines vary only in length, and therefore are least ornamental.
That curved lines as they can be varied in their degrees of curvature as well as in their lengths, begin on that account to be ornamental.
That straight and curved lines joined, being a compound line, vary more than curves alone, and so become somewhat more ornamental.
That the waving line, or line of beauty, varying still more, being composed of two curves contrasted, becomes still more ornamental and pleasing, insomuch that the hand takes a lively movement in making it with pen or pencil.
And that the serpentine line, by its waving and winding at the same time different ways, leads the
eye in a pleasing manner along the continuity of its P. 39 variety, if I may be allowed the expression; and
which by its twisting so many different ways, may be said to inclose (though but a single line) varied contents; and therefore all its variety cannot be expressed on paper by one continued line, without the assistance of the imagination, or the help of a figure; see where that sort of proportioned, winding line, which will hereafter be called the precise serpentine line, or line of grace, is represented by a fine wire, properly twisted round the elegant and varied figure of a cone.
* Fig. 25. T. p. l.
+ Fig. 26. T. p. I.
PLEASING FORMS ARE COMPOSED.
Thus far having endeavoured to open as large an idea as possible of the power of variety, by having partly shewn that those lines which have most variety in themselves, contribute most towards the production of beauty; we will next shew how lines may be put together, so as to make pleasing figures or compositions.
In order to be as clear as possible, we will give a few examples of the most familiar and easy sort, and let them serve as a clue to be pursued in the imagination : I say in the imagination chiefly, for the following method is not meant always to be put in
practice, or followed in every case, for indeed that P.40 could hardly be, and in some it would be ridicu
lously losing time if it could—Yet there may be cases where it may be necessary to follow this method minutely; as for example, in architecture.
I am thoroughly convinced in myself, however it may startle some, that a completely new and harmonious order of architecture in all its parts might be produced by the following method of composing, but hardly with certainty without it; and this I am the more apt to believe, as upon the strictest examination, those four orders of the ancients, which áre so well established for beauty and true proportion, perfectly agree with the scheme we shall now. lay down.
This way of composing pleasing forms, is to be accomplished by making choice of variety of lines as to their shapes and dimensions; and then again by varying their situations with each other, by all the different ways that can be conceived : and at the same time (if a solid figure be the subject of the composition) the contents or space that is to be inclosed within those lines, must be duly considered and varied too, as much as possible, with propriety. In a word, it may be said, the art of composing well is the art of varying well. It is not expected that this should at first be perfectly comprehended, yet I believe it will be made sufficiently clear by the help of the examples following:
The figure * represents the simple and pleasing figure of a bell; this shell, as we may call it, is composed of waying lines, encompassing or bounding P:41 within it, the varied space marked with dotted lines : here you see the variety of the space within is equal to the beauty of its form without, and if the space or contents were to be more varied, the outward form would have still more beauty.
As a proof, see a composition of more parts, and · a way by which those parts may be put together by
a certain method of varying: i. e. how the one half of
* Fig. 29. T. p. 1.
the socket of the candlestick A*, may be varied as the other half B. Let a convenient and fit height be first given for a candlestick, as t, then let the necessary size of the socket be determined as at (a) † after which, in order to give it a better form, let every distance or length of divisions differ from the length of the socket, as also vary in their distances from each other, as is seen by the points on the line under the socket (a); that is let any two points signifying distance, be placed farthest from any other two near points, observing always that there should be one distance or part larger than all the rest ; and you will readily see that variety could not be so complete without it. In like manner, let the horizontal distances (always keeping within the bounds of fitness) be varied both as to distances and situations, as on the opposite side of the same figure (b); then unite and join all the several distances into a complete shell, by applying several parts of curves and straight lines ; varying them also by making them of different sizes, as (c): and apply
them as at (d) in the same figure, and you have P.42 the candlestick $, and with still more variations on
the other side. If you divide the candlestick into many more parts, it will appear crowded, as || it will want distinctness of form on a near view, and lose the effect of variety at a distance : this the eye will easily distinguish on removing pretty far from it.
Simplicity in composition, or distinctness of parts,