Style History- English Gothic- Perpendicular Period c.1350–c.1550

31 May

Perpendicular Gothic

The Perpendicular Gothic period (or simply Perpendicular) is the third historical division of English Gothic architecture, and is so-called because it is characterised by an emphasis on vertical lines; it is also known as International Gothic, the Rectilinear style, or Late Gothic.

The Perpendicular style began to emerge c. 1350. It was a development of the Decorated style of the late 13th century and early 14th century, and lasted into the mid 16th century

In the later examples of the Decorated Period the omission of the circles in the tracery of windows had led to the employment of curves of double curvature which developed into flamboyant tracery: the introduction of the perpendicular lines was a reaction in the contrary direction.

Features of the style

This perpendicular linearity is particularly obvious in the design of windows, which became very large, sometimes of immense size, with slimmer stone mullions than in earlier periods, allowing greater scope for stained glass craftsmen. The mullions of the windows are carried up into the arch moulding of the windows, and the upper portion is subdivided by additional mullions. Buttresses and wall surfaces are likewise divided up into vertical panels. Another major development of this period was fan vaulting.

Doorways are frequently enclosed within a square head over the arch mouldings, the spandrels being filled with quatrefoils or tracery. Pointed arches were still used throughout the period, but ogee and “Tudor” arches were also introduced.

Inside the church the triforium disappears, or its place is filled with panelling, and greater importance is given to the clerestory windows, which are often the finest features in the churches of this period. The mouldings are flatter and less effective than those of the earlier periods, and one of the chief characteristics is the introduction of large elliptical hollows.

Some of the finest features of this period are the magnificent timber roofs; hammerbeam roofs, such as those of Westminster Hall (1395), Christ Church Hall, Oxford, and Crosby Hall, appeared for the first time. In areas of Southern England using flint architecture, elaborate flushwork decoration in flint and ashlar was used, especially in the wool churches of East Anglia.

Notable examples

The earliest examples of the Perpendicular Period, dating from 1360, are found at Gloucester Cathedral, where the masons of the cathedral would seem to have been far in advance of those in other towns; the fan-vaulting in the cloisters is particularly fine.

Among other buildings of note are:
the choir and tower of York Minster (1389–1407);
the nave and western transepts of Canterbury Cathedral (1378–1411),
the tower, towards the end of the 15th century; New College, Oxford (1380–1386);
the Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick (1381–1391);
the remodelling of the nave and aisles of Winchester Cathedral (1399–1419);
the transept and tower of Merton College, Oxford (1424–1450);
Manchester Cathedral (1422);
the central tower of Gloucester Cathedral (1454–1457),
the central tower of Magdalen College, Oxford (1475–1480).

Sherborne Abbey (1475–c. 1580), particularly noted for its vast fan-vaulted roof, Bath Abbey (although restored in the 1860s) and Henry VII’s Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey (1503–1519) are notable later examples of this style.

To those examples should be added the towers at St Giles’ Church, Wrexham, Coventry, Evesham, and St Mary’s at Taunton, the first being of such exceptional magnificence that it is known as one of the “Seven Wonders of Wales”. All of a kind, Eton College Chapel, Eton, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (1446–1515) and Syon Abbey may also be put under this heading.

The Perpendicular style was often used in the Gothic Revival, most famously in the Houses of Parliament: another fine example is Bristol University’s Wills Memorial Building (1915–1925).


In Gothic Revival- Houses of Parliament


In Gothic Revival- Bristol University’s Wills Memorial Building (1915–1925)

 
The interior of Gloucester Cathedral conveys an impression of a “cage” of stone and glass, as is typical of Perpendicular architecture. The elaborate tracery of the Decorated style is no longer in evidence, and the lines on both walls and windows have become sharper and less flamboyant in manner. tower, towards the end of the 15th century; New College, Oxford (1380–1386)  
Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick (1381–1391) choir and tower of York Minster (1389–1407)  
Winchester Cathedral (1399–1419) remodelling of the nave and aisles of Winchester Cathedral (1399–1419)  
transept and tower of Merton College, Oxford (1424–1450) Sherborne Abbey (1475–c. 1580), particularly noted for its vast fan-vaulted roof  
Bath Abbey Bath Abbey nave fan vaulting  

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: