Dear Gentle Reader,
I struggled with the title for the preceeding post "Three Columns on Venice".
Were the columns on or in Venice?
I found a weighty question, a valuable question, there.
Could I say "Three columns on Venice", or must I say "Three columns in Venice"
Obviously, the second title gives the subject matter away too quickly.
For the novitiates to blogging, let me work backwards, as I am a backwards man, and elucidate the thought process required when titling a post.
I hoped to have readers think there would be three written columns within the post; a trinity of learning for their enjoyment.
Yet I quivered at the thought of too great a leap from the truth. I knew I might not provide much enjoyment, and I shuddered at being seen as inaccurate in the eyes of the law.
After all, were the columns on or in the land?
Quickly, I had to delve into the ambiguities of the law of real property (real property being property that cannot be moved, as opposed to just plain old property which includes chattels which are movable).
First, then (in reverse order, right?) we should examine the Modern column.
Was the Modern column an appurtenance to the land? (Sorry about appurtenance, but some legal terminology is necessary.)
If the land was sold, would title to that column pass to the buyer with the land? Was the column a part of the land (an appurtenance to the land)? Likely not.
Would people really want to keep scaffolding? Probably not.
OK. This column likely rests on the land.
What about the Syrian column?
Statuary in gardens have been hotly contested in the law, and this free-standing column is of both considerable beauty and likely of considerable intrinsic value...
The general Anglo common law approach is that if there is the slightest pricking into the underlying earth, then the statue would likely be considered an appurtenance to the land and title therefore passed to the new owner of the land, when the land was sold.
That meant that the old owner could not cart off the valuable statuary with him when he moved or sell them to his debtors. (Why else would you sell your family's seat, if not for pressing debt?) (This is why the question of appurtenance is of great pertinence.)
This column rested on stone paving, likely through its own weight. As long as there is no connecting bit, or spike on its base, it is likely not an appurtenance.
Great, the Syrian column also seems to be resting on Venice, and not appurtenant to it.
That makes two columns that seem to be on, not in, Venice. From a legal perspective.
But then we come to the first column shown yesterday, the Corinthian column.
This column is built into the Church.
The Church rests on the land.
Now is some jurisdictions, like Singapore, you can buy a house and not buy the land (Buyer Beware!), but in Anglo common law the house becomes one with the land...
So this column is in the land, not on the land. Drat.
Of course Anglo common law has nothing to do with Italy or the older Republic of Venice. But it is what I know, so I used that to organise my thoughts.
Two out of three, I mused. Not bad...
How many real property Barristers or Solicitors will be out there? I thought... and reading my blog... not many.
Three columns on Venice it will be.
Yet, while I suppose we are not post-media, still I fear that some amongst you will recall the words of master builders, from times of old, supervising the work of the stonemasons, and turn their words to our new media age, and say:
"Those who can, column. Those who cannot, post."
With that, I end.
Because that, Gentle Reader, is the backstory of the hemming and hawing, the chiselling and gnawing, that goes into crafting a title.