Drawn to Scale


Military surveying from Leonard Digges, Pantometria (1571).

The first important transformation of medieval design practice occurred in a military context, as a result of the need to defend against cannon fire. Unlike most medieval buildings, the new style of bastioned fortifications required the subordination of individual craftsmen to a single authoritative design and were often overseen at a distance. This situation led to a more routine adoption of paper drawing itself, both as a medium of design and as a method of communication between patron and designer. A second advance involved the introduction of two new technical conventions in the drawings themselves: the scale building plan and the geometrical survey. Both of these innovations took place in Henry VIII’s Office of Works during the 1540s, as the Crown began to plan extensive modern defences in view of a very real threat of foreign invasion.

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