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Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Columnar niche or shrine applied decoratively to a larger building. The word is a diminutive from the Latin word aedes (‘temple’). Summerson traced its application to Gothic architecture and drew attention to the importance of playing at being in a house for all small children; he claimed that this kind of play has much to do with the aesthetics of architecture and leads ultimately to the use of the aedicula. The earliest surviving examples of aediculae are shop-signs from ...

Article

Billet  

Freda Anderson

Ornamental device used extensively in the Romanesque period, particularly in the 12th century. It is formed of small blocks, either flat and square or cylindrical, spaced out in horizontal bands (see fig.). Billets in a single band occur frequently (e.g. the nave string course at ...

Article

Chevron  

John Thomas

Form of three-dimensional zigzag ornament particularly associated with Anglo-Norman Romanesque architecture, where it was used to decorate arches, doorways and windows. An equivalent term is dancette (or dancetty), although this is generally reserved for the zigzags used in heraldry. The stripes and flashes set on to the sleeves of military uniform tunics are also chevrons. Architectural chevron is possibly related to ...

Article

Phillip Lindley

Manager of the royal building works in later medieval England (see also Office of Works). In the 12th century royal building operations were usually initiated by a writ from the king to the sheriff of the county in which work was to be carried out, the sheriff bringing the writs to the Exchequer at Michaelmas as authority for his expenditure. Viewers also attended in order to verify the expenditure. During the 13th century, as financial control was progressively removed from the hands of the sheriff, individuals who supervised specific works as ‘...

Article

Kathryn Morrison

Form of sculpture in which a column and a figure are carved from a single block of stone. It is distinct from the Classical Caryatid, which structurally replaces the column, or from figures carved into columnar shafts (e.g. the Puerta de las Platerías of Santiago de Compostela, ...

Article

A. Wallert

Medieval treatise containing a collection of chemical recipes, with descriptions on the preparation and application of pigments and dyes. It is a parchment codex written by different hands in the late 8th or early 9th century. The manuscript (Lucca, Bib. Capitolare, Cod. 490) is sometimes called the ‘Lucca manuscript’ but is better known as ...

Article

Crocket  

John Thomas

Decorative device used in Gothic art and architecture, attached to a capital or a gable, an arch, piece of tracery or coping. The term was used in medieval England in the forms crockytt and crockett. English writers of the Gothic Revival period, however, suggested a connection with the crook, noting that some of the earliest English examples take the form of the pastoral crosier, but this is probably a misinterpretation....

Article

Crypt  

Stephen Heywood

Subsidiary vaulted room normally below the main floor level but not necessarily wholly subterranean. The term is normally used of church architecture. Crypts are found throughout western Europe, until the 11th century associated with funerary rites and in particular with the cult of relics, simulating the form of a tomb if not an actual one. In some instances, churches were built around the existing tomb of a saint or a holy place. The most important example of this is the ...

Article

Cusp  

Point formed by the intersection of the curves in Gothic Tracery.

Article

Diptych  

Nigel J. Morgan

Two wood, ivory, or metal panels of equal size, usually hinged together so that they can be folded, and closed with some form of clasp. There are usually images on the inside surfaces of the panels and sometimes also on the outer sides. The panels are most commonly vertical rectangles; ...