Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Thursday 13th August 2020

Capitals

capitalGlossary Term [1] tapers downwards in orderGlossary Term [2] from the square sectionGlossary Term [3] of the wall which it carries, to the generally circular columnGlossary Term [4] which it crowns. The most widespread types in C12 England were forms derived from the block capitalGlossary Term [5] of ByzantineGlossary Term [6] orign; the cushion capitalGlossary Term [7] and its cousin, the scallop capitalGlossary Term [8].

In the later 12th century the lower part of the capitalGlossary Term [9] was often given a concave profile; providing the form known as the 'trumpet scallop'. A contemporary form, used from c.1170-90, also with concave lower part, is the 'waterleafGlossary Term [10]' capitalGlossary Term [11], with an upper part with inward curling leaves. Increased amount of undercutting with fine tools produced the moulded or bell capitalGlossary Term [12] of the 13th century, where the top as well as the bottom is circular.

GothicGlossary Term [13] capitals were influenced by the classicalGlossary Term [14] CorinthianGlossary Term [15] capitalGlossary Term [16], whose concave shape is marked by bands of curved leaves. The crocket capitalGlossary Term [17] is the French GothicGlossary Term [18] version, the stiffleaf capitalGlossary Term [19] is an English development.

Travelling masons spread ideas across the country; stiffleaf capitals can be found throughout England and Wales.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009