chapter  4
27 Pages

Speaking ruins

ByJonathan Hill

The fascination for ruins developed through a dialogue between disciplines and nations. Painters informed philosophers, writers stimulated architects and Italy inspired Grand Tourists. The influence of British empiricism on eighteenth-century European thought was extensive, stimulating appreciation of nature and its relations with architecture. The principal texts of Locke, Shaftesbury, Burke, Kames and Whately were translated into French and German soon after they first appeared in English. But just as Kent was the principal exponent of the early eighteenth-century picturesque, Giovanni Battista Piranesi was largely responsible for the fascination for ruins coming to fruition as a design practice.