Port Eliot Red Book — Designs for Lord Eliot by Humphry Repton (1792-3)

Port Eliot Red Book: Explanation of the New Cloister Design


The following plan will shew the uses to which this new Cloister may be appropriated, and I hope there will be found no objection in point of convenience to such a line of building from the centre of the House to the east end of the Abbey. The Gateway, which requires to be ample and lofty (for the reasons already stated), should be of sufficient height for a coach to drive under it. If it be objected that it will darken the hall, I may answer in the words of Mr. Burke, "To make an object very striking, we should make it as different as possible from the objects with which we have been immediately conversant; where therefore you enter a building, you cannot pass into a greater light than you had in the open air, to go into one some few degrees less luminous, can make only a trifling change; but to make the transition thoroughly striking, you ought to pass from the greatest light to as much darkness as is consistent with the uses of Architecture. (Burke on the Sublime &c.)"

This effect will be produced by the hall being lighted only from the Gateway, but the injury done to the chamber floor may require some consideration, especially as the floor of the room over the Gateway will be higher by about four feet than that of the present bed chambers. I have therefore supposed no communication from the House, but – if that should be desirable – it may easily be obtained by taking off a passage from the darkened bed rooms and lighting it by a skylight, there being no rooms above.

For ease of reading, punctuation and capitalization have been modernized.