Structure, Modest, Coherency
The book I will be discussing in the following paragraphs is A Collection of Designs for Rural Retreats, as Villaswritten by James Malton. I will be focusing on the terms modesty and how it is conveyed in structure and text.
The book build-up is organized very comprehensible and is divided into five chapters namely: Reflections, Introduction, Designs for Villas, Lightning of Apartments and a last section full of Illustrations. Hence, there is a very coherent visual structure of the book, first focusing on the written elements and later on the drawings. This modest build-up of the book helps the reader to quickly identify the chapter he is currently in.
The Text build-up is also rather straightforward as Malton discusses each Illustration by itself and points out the most striking components of the design. Additionally he writes about how different projects relate to one another, so one can quickly compare them.
Since the Illustrations are not directly next to the text, one has to go back and forth between the pages, if one wishes to visually see what Malton is writing about. In this way the structure of the book and the text do not play well together, unless Malton wanted to encourage the readers to mentally build the design themselves, before seeing Malton’s results.
The text is structured in a way to always be in the middle of the page without any side notes or extra comments. In this way the modesty can be detected, as there was no need for further comments because Malton managed to discuss everything he had to say in the normal text.
The order in which the designs are discussed is rather coherent as Malton goes from the simpler designs to the more complicated ones. Hence one can visually see a decrease of modesty when gong through the pictures. With each new designs there are either more embellishments on the outside of the building or the ground plan becomes more complicated, leaving the initial 90 degrees rooms to different geometrical designs
The modesty of the setup is however a great contrast to the content of the text, as villas are not something simple and modest, and only the rich people are able to afford one. Due to this reason the structures of villas are often complicated and rich in decorations, to portray the social status and wealth of the owner.
Malton chose a very simple manner to talk about a very rich topic playing with the different levels of modesty to further enhance the topic he is talking about.