Saint John, New Brunswick is Canada’s first city, incorporated in 1785. This exhibition catalogue and the exhibition it supports celebrate the city’s architectural heritage and examine the rise of the architect towards professional status through the medium of the architectural drawing during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The exhibition’s title, “Music of the Eye”, is taken from an 1831 English architectural publication The Music of the Eye by Peter Legh which suggests, at least indirectly, a relationship between the composition of a building design and scoring of a symphony. Pretty watercolour renderings like the cover of this publication were conceived as objects of fine art, meant to appeal to the client and the general public. As much as the nineteenth-century architect might enjoy the comparison with a symphony director, beauty and harmony of individual parts were not the other factors at work. On a practical level, the architect employed a range of architectural drawings which sought to control both the design function and the building site. Businesslike graphics such as contract and working drawings were extended to the smallest detail, thus codifying the process of design and production and establishing the architect as manager in relation to the building trades, if not the client. “Music of the Eye” is, therefore, a Trojan Horse which conceals its true intentions beneath an impressive exterior.
Author: Gary K. Hughes
Publisher: The New Brunswick Museum
Published Date: 1992
# of Pages: 138
This book is also available in French.