In the book “A Complete Body of Architecture” the theme of ornamentation plays a major role. Already in the preface the impact of ornamentation is mentioned and shows the reader its importance and significance for architecture. Isaac Ware, the author of the book, describes ornamentation as something very challenging. As an architect, the principles and rules must be understood and properly executed. A good example are the five orders, which are discussed in detail in a particular chapter. There it is clearly illustrated the different characteristics of the five orders, what exactly must be implemented according to the rules and where the architect has different options to choose from. The author strongly expresses that there is a certain freedom in ornamentation for the architect and he should definitely use it. Which means the architect can let his imagination run wild. However, the architect must always keep in mind for whom he is building and has to adapt his ideas according to the circumstances.
But not only the columns and their ornamentation are discussed. Also in the design of doors ornamentation plays an important role. For each of the five orders an illustration of a door is shown, which expresses for the reader the most important aspects. The same applies to windows and their ornamentation.
An extensive chapter in the book covers the inside decoration. For example chimney parts and ceilings and their ornamentation are discussed and a great variety of designs are shown. Several pages contain extensive and very detailed drawings showing the individual components and their decorations. These can be used as a direct reference or simply as inspiration for your own ideas for decorations.
The section of fences shows ornamentation not on the basis of stone, but of iron. Towards the end of the book, the designs for bridges and temples are mentioned and thus exterior ornaments are discussed. A couple of drawings of the bridges were presented on a double page and thus particularly catch the eye of the reader. Like the other drawings, these are equally detailed elaborated. In addition to the elevation – for a better understanding – they contain the corresponding floor plan.
“A Complete Body of Architecture” by Isaac Ware shows the great importance of ornamentation in architecture. According to Isaac Ware, “ornaments are the most considerable article of elegance of rooms in architecture”.
Keywords: ornamentation, the five orders, embellishment
Quote from the book: “Having designed and distributed the rooms, placing them in parts of the house suited to their several purposes, and proportioning them to one another, we shall advance to that most considerable article of elegance, their ornaments.”