My assigned book “A Book of Architecture”, written by James Gibbs in 1739, contains multiple sketches, predominantly of churches but also of other buildings, such as villas. The first few pages of this book contain a written text, followed by hundreds of sketches and drawings.
To use the search Engine “Alice” properly, I had to come up with possible words that not only describe my assigned book, but are also useful to find the best book to compare it with. Thus, I decided to use “Xenotheka Library” as my Alice´s brain.
The first word I chose to describe Gibbs’ book was “draw” because I think this is a strong one-word-description for this book, as it primarily includes drawings of buildings. My second word was “church”. At first, I was not completely sure about this word, due to the fact that there are also other types of buildings included in the book. Therefore, I tried a few other words such as “villa” or “house” as a “topic of conversation”. However, I could not find a book suitable for this task with these words, which is why I returned to the word “church” to complete my search.
The first book I found is “The stones of Venice” (1898), written by John Ruskin. At first, it seems like these two books are quite different from each other: While “A Book of Architecture” contains only sketches, except for the beginning, “The stones of Venice” is primarily made up of text. However, if you dive deeper, “The stones of Venice” reveals a few sketches that strengthen its text. If you compare this to “A book of Architecture”, the drawings there exemplify the construction of the buildings it shows in the same way, as the sketches visualize the text in “The stones of Venice”. Another similarity of course is the overall topic both books share: Architecture.
As a second book I chose “Taste and the Antique” (1981), by Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny. This book deals with the construction of buildings and architecture in general. Comparing it with Gibbs’ work, it stands out that “Taste and the Antique” has more detailed interior drawings, whereas “A Book of Architecture” only uses a cut through the hole building. However, their common ground is the use of big pictures in their books, which makes it easier to spot details. In comparison to that, “The stones of Venice” only has small drawings, which are more difficult to understand. A similarity between both of my chosen books is that both, unlike Gibbs’ book, contain text throughout the whole book. The text supplements the included drawings and therefore amplifies the content it can convey towards its readers.