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Crocket  

John Thomas

[Fr. croc, crochet: ‘hook’]

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.

Crocket capitals developed during the period of transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture from the mid-12th century, with small curled, twisted fronds of vegetation projecting from the body of the capital, in a form suggesting the much older use of curved floral decoration in the Corinthian order (see Orders, architectural, §I, 1, (iii)). After c. 1250 the crocket emerged as a curve of foliage that twisted or hooked back, turning the opposite way to the arch or gable out of which it rose, reminding Gwilt of ‘the buds and boughs of trees in the spring season’. In the course of its development, the crocket lost its hook-shape and began to curve upwards rather than downwards, becoming richer and more florid. Thus after ...

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Cusp  

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Ogive  

Article

Jacques Heyman and Francis Woodman

A slender, turret-like projection employed universally as an architectural feature, particularly associated with Gothic architecture from the 13th to the 16th centuries, where it was used decoratively on such features as parapets and gables, and with some structural purpose on buttresses.

Jacques Heyman

A pinnacle placed on a buttress provides stability at the head of the pier, counteracting the tendency towards sliding failure caused by the force exerted on the pier by the flier. The relatively small weight of a pinnacle increases the frictional force along the potential lines of slip, effectively locking the stones together. The pinnacle can do little to prevent a buttress from overturning completely under the action of the thrust delivered by the flier. In fixing the stability of the head of the pier, the line of action of the pinnacle is immaterial, so that it can be placed towards the outside of the main buttress, where its small effect on the overall stability will be even further diminished....

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Tracery  

Allan M. Brodie and Nicola Coldstream

Stone framework to hold sheets of glass in place within a window opening. Tracery is a particularly characteristic feature of Gothic architecture, appearing first in the late 12th century as a means of creating enlarged window openings. The term is derived from the stage in the construction process in which a window pattern was traced out on a bed of plaster laid on a tracing floor (see Tracing floor), as can still be seen at York Minster (see York, §III, 1, (i)). Individual tracery bars were then cut and laid in position on this surface before being inserted into the window-frame. By the early 13th century the patterns created for windows were extended to decorating wall surfaces. Construction techniques were perfected by c. 1230, allowing architects to concentrate on developing increasingly complex patterns. Tracery remained in widespread use until the end of the 16th century. Though initially and primarily a technique in ...