Author Archives: Stories in Stone

Public and Private: the chancel arch

The chancel arch of a church marks the important boundary between lay and priestly zones.  In the Anglo-Saxon church of St Lawrence, Bradford-on-Avon (Wiltshire) this arch is no larger than a doorway into the chancel, emphasising its status as a … Continue reading

Posted in Architectural features | 2 Comments

Cushion and Scallop Capitals Part 2

Part 1 of my series on cushion and scallop capitals introduced these widespread and enduring features, and in this second part I will look at some ways in which the basic forms were varied and elaborated. The first and commonest forms … Continue reading

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Cushion and Scallop capitals Part 1

Cushion capitals (also called cubic capitals) are normally described as capitals formed by the intersection of a cube and a sphere. They have a flat semicircular face, or ‘shield’, at the top of each side, and the curved triangular lower … Continue reading

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | 2 Comments

Waterleaf and Flat Leaf capitals

Waterleaf and flat leaf capitals are closely related forms that enjoyed a brief heyday in the last quarter of the 12th century in England. The simpler flat leaf capital has a concave bell bearing a broad flat leaf at each … Continue reading

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Beakhead and beast head ornament in England

Beakhead is the name usually given to a rich and varied collection of carved grotesque bird, animal and even human heads found in the architectural sculpture of the 12th century. The commonest form is the head of a bird with … Continue reading

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Prior & Gardner – sculpture as evolution

In 1912 Edward Prior and Arthur Gardner published An Account of Medieval Figure Sculpture in England: a 734-page leviathan of a book, illustrated with over 800 photographs that marked a new level of scholarship and analysis in a previously unfashionable … Continue reading

Posted in Historiography | 4 Comments