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Robert Scott Burn & the London illustrated Practical Geometry - 1853


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Robert Scott Burns has offered some sixty studies of moldings, all of which express the search for a profound harmony of measurements, expressed in number of parts (which implies the existence of a module and a system of measurement that is not decimal but duodecimal). A segment may be divided into five or seven or twelve parts... By linking the main measures, it becomes clear that - often - they constitute sequences of numbers - not indefinite - but canonically established as arithmetical, geometrical or "harmonic" (or even "musical") sequences. This concept of harmony is a constituent of the art of the Ancients, which has largely fallen into disuse since the 18th century. Who is still familiar with Vignole's treatiseThe regular architect: or the general rule of the five orders of architecture, published in Rome in 1583 and translated into English in 1669? Yet all measurements are expressed in parts of a module, with 12 parts (or minutes) per module!

The challenge of this study is to show that Rober Scott Burns' layouts can be easily restored using a composition grid of five modules. This type of grid is very practical for reproducing these mouldings at any scale. This type of grid is not necessary, as a segment can be divided quite easily using the properties of Thales' theorems (cf. the mnemonic known as "the harrow"!).




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