Ware's Study Collection

The Study Collection was comprised of drawings assembled by Ware and his successors that augmented ideas advanced in "An Outline of a Course of Architectural Instruction." As an "essential part of the equipment of the school," the Collection was intended to provide students with visual inspiration. These drawings were an important component of Ware's pedagogy. He hoped to offer the students, few of whom had traveled abroad, a chance to view the grandeur of the ancient past and the wonders of the contemporary European world.

English architects' working drawings, housed in portfolios, gave insights into current "first rate" office practice and technique. On the other hand, French envois, studies produced by winners of the Grand Prix de Rome during their tenure in Italy, helped train the student's eye in the correct details and proportions of classical orders and ancient monuments, and also provided lessons in technique for rendering shade and shadow. Because they were part of Ware's teaching method, the drawings were publicly displayed on the studio walls and in the library, for it was through the eye that the architect learned.

Ware reported that in 1868, the collection housed 2,000 photographs, 500 prints, 400 plaster casts, 200 crayon drawings, 40 watercolors of architectural subjects, and 30 manuscript architectural drawings. In addition, there were 100 sheets of working drawings, mostly tracings, as well as specimens of tiles, pottery, and stained glass. According to the Department of Architecture's annual reports to the President and Trustees of the Institute, there at one time existed not only portfolios with English drawings, but also French and German drawings and tracings. Ware's travels to Europe built a strong foundation for the Study Collection, but his concern with collecting contemporary European and later, American examples, was continued well into the 20th century by his successors in the Department.

While most of these drawings and artifacts have disappeared over the years, 400 items from Ware's Study Collection still exist today in the MIT Museum's Architectural Collections. English architect's drawings, primarily working drawings and tracings, and the work of French students and professionals remain today as reflections of what Ware and his successors wanted MIT students to observe and appreciate about architecture. As one of his many teaching tools, these drawings provided a view of the wider world which Ware encouraged his students to explore.

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