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IN offering this work to the public, it may not be out of place to refer to the purpose we (Mr. Bicknell, my former partner, and myself) had in view in its preparation. Our intention primarily was to make it a work of Architectural details, suited to the present styles. Some few years have elapsed since Mr. Bicknell brought out his "Detail Cottage and Constructive Architecture," his last work on details, and during that time a great change has taken place in the style of Architecture. The French, then largely in vogue, has been supplanted by our present modified Gothic, which appears as "Queen Anne," "Elizabethan," "Jacobean," or "Colonial," and is a revival of the old Gothic, as it appeared during the periods referred to under these respective names. The present styles, while bearing many characteristics of their prototypes, do not adhere strictly to any of them. Thus, in what is known as the Queen Anne (of the present day) is frequently introduced classic features, and the same is true of the other styles. So radical a change made it seem necessary to give a large number of complete designs for houses, as well as details of detached portions, which we have accordingly done, our purpose being to furnish good examples of complete buildings, as well as practical details.
In gathering the material for this work we have endeavored to select from the best sources, and have enlisted the services of several men prominent in their profession, with the intent of giving the greatest variety possible in the compass of such a work.
As will be observed by referring to the different designs, we have studied to make this work one of practical utility.
All plans, elevations and Details are drawn to scale. The elevations have been worked out with care, so that they may be clearly understood without further explanation than is furnished by the drawings. In some cases we have shown the construction by full framing plans. Details are given in great variety and abundance, amounting to nearly 700 in all, and drawn to a large scale. They will be found to cover almost every question that can arise in detailing a modern dwelling.
We have avoided giving many costly designs, but think the large number of low-priced, yet picturesque, designs of good character given in this work has not been exceeded in any former Architectural publication.
Stores and their details have been given suitable, though limited, attention.
In closing, it may not be out of place to refer to the manner in which the work has been executed. The entire set of plates has been engraved on stone. We have adopted this method in this publication, although at a large expense, in preference to the cheaper photo-lithographic processes, in order that every line may be clearly defined and the scale accurately preserved, and think the appreciation of practical men will be ample recompense for the extra outlay.
WILLIAM T. COMSTOCK NEW YORK, July 1st, 1881.
Excerpted from Victorian Domestic Architectural Plans and Details by William T. Comstock. Copyright © 1987 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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