by Bodwyn Wook
Early American Architecture: From the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period
Morrison is good especially because of the sound distinction he makes between seventeenth century building in the Old Atlantic English colonies, and the eighteenth century. The former are colonial or late-medieval erections, and mainly of post-and-beam construction as adapted to the materials locally available from New England to Virginia and the Carolinas. After 1700 in the English colonies, Morrison writes of both Georgian and Adam or ‘Federal’ styles; the last is light, airy and delightful. A great value of Morrison’s book is that he illustrates in detail the intricacies of post-and-beam construction. Also, he notices extensively the contemporaneous building by French and Spanish settlers, on opposite sides of the continent.
A Museum of Early American Tools
Funk & Wagnalls (1964)
Sloane directs our attention closely to the carpentry of our English forebears in America, their tools and methods; he also is on the job as to the subtle differences in the wood-working tools of non-English colonists in the Old Atlantic colonies, and his charming book is extensively illustrated.
A Reverence for Wood
Funk & Wagnalls (1965)
In this book, Sloane covers the many details of early wood-working, from timber cutting to details of durable construction, mainly of homes and barns; this book, in the same format as the preceding title, is brilliantly and, most importantly, extensively illustrated by the writer.
Old House Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide To American Domestic Architecture, 1600 to 1940
Steven J Phillips
The Preservation Press (1994)
Occasionally Phillips may err on the side of simplicity, but his illustrations are diagrammatic, and he supplies excellent bibliographies although irritatingly (to me) “divvied up” in the American way into topics. A nice feature in the back, however, is a sort of thesaurus whereby the reader can get at related terms and things shown in the dictionary; this is helpful if, like me, one at the outset does not so much as know a spandrel from a springer!
A Field Guide To American Houses
Virginia & Lee McAlester
Alfred A Knopf (1984)
This is a great book, I just plain would not be without it! It excellently identifies the critical motifs of each period and style in the whole parade of American home-building, and in general behaves like the most well-mannered of guides. And yet after many, many hours in it about all I can tell you is that, on the topic of high- and late-modern houses (1850s-1960) in southern Minnesota and Greater Iowa, in the case of examples from after 1865 to about 1900, one is on pretty safe ground to say simply and in all cases: ‘Errm, aww…folk house with eclectic and Queen Anne detailing’. That should win nine bets out of ten, at any rate; but, this is doubtlessly the fault of the architects and not of the McAlesters.
The Pattern Of English Building
Faber and Faber (London, 1987)
This is the fourth definitive edition. To revert to the topic specifically of English seventeenth century colonial building in North America, in it Mr Taylor demonstrates clearly and in great detail how all over England throughout the Middle Ages down to to-day, men had great experience in bending pattern and method to the demands of locality and material. Mr Taylor is especially thorough in the matter of stone- and brickwork, and he as well attends to plaster and tile, iron-work and glazing as well as the post-and-beam foundations. The great value of course of such ‘reading for background’ is that one the more easily then can see how, for example, the Rhode Island ‘stone-ender’ was completely a natural adaptation of the colonial builders with their own long ancestral traditions of accomodation to environment. One must suppose indeed that they were all (Frank Lloyd) Wrightians without giving it so much as a thought!
In closing. I would only wish to stick in here that I’ve a book on the New England stone fence kicking about the place, but until it surfaces of its own will I simply can not recall enough of the details, of exact title and author and so forth, to take a chance at listing any thing specifically about it — it exists and, for now, that is all.
A note on the illustration: It likely doubtlessly shall have escaped to-day’s general readers’ notice that the photograph shown is in fact ‘off topic’. This will, in turn, be but a mere blinding glimpse of the obvious, at least to the creative minority of the perspicaceous. Of course and be that as it may, of late in my on-going studies of dervishment (I am muslim by conversion and a student of sufism) I have been channelling loads of these old-time johnnies, and Keith Park (later, Sir Keith) of New Zealand, in the Royal Air Force in 1940 was my late paternal 610 Squadron Leader uncle’s commander, as Fighter Command 11 Group C-in-C; over the past seven years or so, certain figures from the ‘alam al-mithal [the benighted mahommaden terrorist mystic’s “Realm of Images,” or dreamworld — ed] have suggested to me on more than on occasion that the gentleman — and, he indeed is that — might appreciate and be touched rather at appearing in the on-line pp of Bodwyn Wook. Then again he may not. Or at least that is my position in the affair, this accordingly being all very much on the lines of an experiment. I embark upon it here simply to be done for good and all, ‘insh-allah [“God damn it!”, ie — ed], with a certain amount of niggling by these fool Jinn and, so, there you have it….
[all rights revert to holders
[26 September 2010]