The Builder’s Magazine: Designs of coloured Ornaments for Pannels – February 2010

Two ornate designs shown side-by-side for coloured ornaments for gate panels
Designs of coloured ornaments for panels from The Builder’s Magazine: or Monthly Companion for Architects, Carpenters, Masons, Bricklayers, &c.… by A Society of Architects
(London: Printed for the Authors; and Sold by F. Newbery …, 1774) (18th Century Collection, 18th C. Coll. 720.942 BUI)

The Builder’s Magazine has been kindly donated to the University Library’s Special Collections by Dr Hendrik (Hentie) Louw of Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

In the preface, it is explained that “a set of Gentlemen have formed themselves into a Society to promote the improvement of Architecture” and to increase the intellectual output of the profession. Furthermore, they will take a different approach from that of other publications: “Architects, in general, have, in their publications, considered the magnificence of building, rather than its use; it shall be our task to unite both; for Architecture cannot be more grand than it is useful; nor is its dignity more to be considered than its convenience“.

It begins with an alphabetical glossary to building terms (in this volume from ABACUS to BRIDGES:

ABREUVOIR, OR ABREVOIR, in Masonry, signifies the joint or juncture of two stones, or the space or interstice to be filled up with mortar or cement.

ARAEOSTYLE, a term used by Vitruvius, to signify the greatest interval or distance which can be made between columns; which consists of eight modules, or four diameters.

Place BRICKS are made of the same earth, or worse; with a mixture of dirt from the streets; and these are often so very bad they will hardly hold together …

There then follows a series of plates, with explanations, including an elevation for a garden building of the Ionic order, designs for iron work for balconies, a plan for a town house, brick and stone arches, a section of a hospital and the coloured ornamented panels shown here.

John Carter (1748-1817) was educated in Battersea and Kennington. He started out working as an artist for his father but went on to be apprenticed under a surveyor and also to work as a draughtsman and illustrator. In the course of his career he was influenced by such important patrons as John Soane and Horace Walpole. He illustrated The Builder’s Magazine from 1774 until 1786. Commissioned by the Society of Antiquaries, he surveyed a number of ecclesiastical buildings, including Durham Cathedral, for a series of published drawings which attempted to be the first accurate, measured drawings of English religious buildings. He also contributed to the Gentleman’s Magazine which he used as a vehicle for expressing his controversial views on “inappropriate restoration” and the destruction of ancient monuments.

This particular copy of The Builder’s Magazine has the inscription of James Hedley, Meldon, Northumberland April 1st 1842 on the front pastedown and an ink drawing of a bird.

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