Category Archives: Sculptural Ornament

Gargoyles at Wilstead church

At 9.30 on the evening of Sunday 11 April, 1742 the west tower of Wilstead parish church near Bedford collapsed.  The Bishop of Lincoln, having considered the extent of the damage, gave permission for the sale of three of the … Continue reading

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | Leave a comment

Gargoyles 1: Introduction and interpretation

The simplest, most straightforward definition of a gargoyle is that it is a sort of high-level stone waterspout with a gutter, projecting out far enough from the wall face to prevent water erosion. From the thirteenth century onwards these spouts … Continue reading

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Sculptural Ornament | Leave a comment