indicates the summer, and that of the fifteenth century denotes the
autumn merging into winter. Occasionally divergencies from this,
such as the appearance of the acorn amongst the early summer foliage
of Southwell Chapter House, cannot be taken to disprove the general
tendency ; they only go to show that the carvers were not working
with deliberation. It is, in fact, impossible to believe that the men
of the thirteenth century, with their ideas of spring and opening life,
could have had any foreknowledge of what their grandsons and their
grandsons' grandsons' might do. They could not have known that
those who were to follow them would supersede spring by summer
and summer by autumn. Even the later men may not have recognised
what they were doing. They followed a gradually changing fashion,
which for the period was universal throughout the country.
Neither of these facts seems to have been fully appreciated during
the Gothic revival of fifty years ago. In all the books of that time
the thirteenth and the fifteenth century foliage is spoken of as con-
ventional ; the first as stiff-leaved or stiff-stalked, and the last as
rectangular. To a certain extent the writers were correct, but had they
recognized the succession of the seasons, probably better work would
have been done by the masons who put their theories into practice.
With workmanship which fell little short of that of their Gothic fore-
fathers, and with an almost equal appreciation of beauty of form, they
occasionally committed incongruities, such as the introduction of the
50 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
autumnal grape amongst a group of spring leaves, as shown in Fig.
102, which illustrates one of the terminals to a hood moulding in the
chapel connected with Uppingham School.
â– Â» > 3
1 > Â» o
Fig. 114 â€” Capital in Apse, St. Alpin, Chalons siu- :Mainc.
Fig. 118 â€” Wood Cusp, Maison Francois I., Abbeville
Fig. 119 â€” Crocket over West Door, Antwerp Cathedral.
[Facing page 50.
Fig. llo â€” Thistle Carving, Nortli Door, West Front, Tours Cathedral.
[Facing page 51.
Ornament with a Foliage Basisâ€” The Gothic
School of the European Continent
Ornament with a Foliage Basis â€” The Gothic School
OF THE European Continent.
The Romanesque and Gothic foliage ornament of the continent of
Europe, while it synchronised with that of Great Britain, differed
from it materially in inspiration and in local characteristics, though
if we except Italy and Spain, where Gothic art was an exotic, we find
that there was no marked difference of type or motive once the English
Channel was crossed. It may be said at once, however, that the rule
already laid down that the 13th century foliage was that of spring,
while that of the 14th century represented summer, and that of the
15th century autumn, was observed and was carried even further in
some respects than in England. The entirely different spirit in which
this sequence was adopted, and the universal acceptance of the same
spirit in continental examples of similar date, seem to have been due
to the general conditions prevailing. This is as might be expected.
England, isolated by the sea, was at peace within itself for several
centuries, and free to develope village communities and an agricultural
population, living in isolated cottages of small villages clustered round
a country church and with no attempt at fortification. The life was
free and pastoral. The churches were served mainly by secular
priests, while those priests who were attached to the monastic orders
also lived quiet and peaceful lives, having their houses either in the
great towns, where their abbeys formed the present cathedrals, or else
completely isolated in the country. On the continent of Europe the
conditions were very different ; there was constant warfare, constant
raiding ; the unprotected village was a practical impossibility ; the
populace was compelled to live in walled towns. Warfare was the rule
rather than peace, and the great cathedrals rose within walled cities,
54 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
as the churches belonging to a community and served by secular
priests, and were not growths of a monastic system. These remarks
apply more particularly to the early periods, but they are sufficient
to show that there was good reason why English carvers should find
their inspiration more directly in natural foliage than the carvers of
France and Germany.
During the Romanesque period there were two traditional influences
at work in Europe, and, from what has been already said, it will be
recognized that these were likely to be strongly felt. Throughout
the districts which had been under Roman sway at a much earlier
date â€” that is, along the trade route passing northwards up the Valley
of the Rhine into Germany and again along the similar route which
passed from Italy westwards across the Riveria and then northwards
into France â€” a great deal of Romanesque carving is to be found,
which is closely allied to the Roman and Byzantine. Two examples
are given, each from the extremity of one or other of these routes.
Fig. 103 shows an almost pure Corinthian capital from the Martin
Kirche at Brunswick, which is about as far as the influence of the
Rhenish trade route extended. It will be noticed that there are two
rows of acanthus leaves, but that the volutes terminate with trefoil
leaves and that the rectangular outline of the stone from which the
capital has been cut can be clearly traced in the upper portion of it.
This may be remarked as being by no means an isolated example,
but as typical of a large amount of work, such as is to be found over a
territory of considerable length but narrow in width, extending almost
to the Baltic in a direct line north from the Alps. It has already been
referred to in the second chapter of this volume, one of its most western
examples being illustrated in Fig. 48, which showed two capitals in
the wall arcade of the north transept of Laon Cathedral â€” one of which
does not differ very greatly from the present example, while the other
displays a similar arrangement of the leaves without serrations and with
the tips curled over into a tight knot.
Fig. 104 is an illustration of the same true Romanesque influence
as found at the extremity of the French trade route, in the Church
Fig. 116 â€” Canopy Terminal,
St. Sanveiir. Dinan
' â€¢* ;Â« .
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Fig. 120 â€” Crocket to Canopy over North Doorway,
Fig. 121 â€” -Niche Canopy in Buttress, South Doorway,
[Facing page 54.
Fig. 117 â€” Crocket and IMiiial to Arc-h\v;iy in the Courtyard of the Hotel de Villc, Al)heville.
[Facing page 55.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 55
of St. Sauveur, at Dinan in Brittany. The acanthus leaves are here
as perfectly of Roman type as they are at Brunswick, but the district
was reached by a different route.
While this Romanesque type of ornament was in general use
along the two trade routes mentioned and in the districts controlled
thereby, there was quite a different influence at work along the coast â€”
that of the Scandinavian pirates, who, as Danes and Anglo-Saxons, had
made England their principal home, but also occupied a great part of the
northwestern coast line of France. The ornament due to this influence
was most of it devised upon a lineal basis and will consequently be
dealt with later on, but there was a good deal in England and along
the coast of France into which foliage was introduced, the influence
of the type occasionally crossing that of the Romanesque. It is
generally known as Norman, and an example is given in Fig. 105, now
forming a holy water stoup in the Church of Notre Dame at Chalons
sur-Mame. The stems are intertwined and the foliage is of a branching
trefoil character, though intermingled with leaf terminals which show
that the anthemion motive was recognized by the workers. There
is consequently a combination of types in this example, such as is by
no means uncommon ; and it will be recognized that all types were
now, at the end of the 12th century, tending towards a foliage treat-
The next development can be clearly seen in the several capitals
of the double north aisle of St. Hilaire, Poitiers, illustrated in Fig. 106.
Some of these capitals are almost purely Corinthian, but the nearest
and the largest in the photograph shows fewer leaves upon the bell,
and these are curled over at the tip, still to a certain extent suggesting
the volute of the Corinthian capital. What is being reached is some-
thing very like the broad leaf capitals of the Oratory Chapel in Dover
Castle already illustrated in Fig. 83, which, as said in connection
therewith, was really French rather than English, the development
being as now indicated. In France, on the other hand, the Scandin-
avian type, as illustrated in Fig. 105, was never developed far, though
it is often to be found.
56 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
The influence of the Romanesque is still seen, however, in many
examples, and appears in divers manners. The broad leaf, for instance,
is foimd in two tiers in the angle capital from the Porch in the Templar's
Church, Laon, illustrated in Fig. 107, in which church much other
carving is almost identical with that found in the well-known Norman
church at Barfreston in Kent ; the similarity being so marked that it
is even possible that the same mason was employed, â€” the distance
between the two places not being really great, the intervening
sea being no serious obstacle if it be remembered that at the time
now being discussed England was in close touch politically with the
continent. Again in Fig. 108 there is an illustration of a type quite
frequently met with, while there are as many rows of leaves as in a
normal Corinthian capital. Each leaf curls over at the point and is
without serrations. This occurs as far west as Lisieux in Normandy,
in a church which has pointed arches and is of a generally 13th century
form ; it is in fact the typical early 13th century capital of
France, the leaf being that of the hart's tongue fern which has not
yet opened, belonging to a period when the arches were pointed, when
tracery was used, and when, in contradistinction to English work,
the columns were generally single cylindrical shafts and the mouldings
were of a Romanesque type, consisting of little else than large roUs
at the angles of the various rectangular blocks of which the arches
were built up. It will be noticed how very different this work is from
the English capitals illustrated in the last chapter ; and that, even
at Lisieux where English influence was considerably felt.
When the advance took place and the foliage became more natural,
towards the latter part of the 13th century, it was developed out of
the broad leaf in the way indicated in Fig. 109, which is an entirely
typical capital from Soissons Cathedral. It is as perfectly indicative
of French work of its date as the capital from Westminster Abbey,
already illustrated in Fig. 86, is of the English. There are no slender
stalks with clusters of leaves and these leaves intertwining, but
instead there are broad leaves rising from the necking and just opening
at the points. It is spring foliage, but with a difference ; it repre-
>5 \ >â€¢''
Fig. 123 â€” Choir Stalls, lAm Cathedral, (From a cast, Victoria & Albert Museum).
Fig. 122 â€” A Doorway at Goslar, Xoith Germany.
Fig. 124 â€” Tree of Jesse, Worms Cathedral.
[Facing page 56.
FIG. 128 â€” Frieze of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (British Museum).
'<r"1Â» i 'M WUfl l K *;!
Fig. 125 â€” Colossi at Kiitraiuo lo 'rciii|ilr al Alioii
Fig. 12G â€” Assyrian Head (F'rili.sli Museum).
[ Facing imge 57.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 57
sents the broad fern leaf opening out ; it is best known as the " crochet "
cap, and the leaf-hooks, or crochets, are arranged in regular ranges.
Leaves of a similar character are only found in England in rare examples,
though a complete series can be recognized in the wall arcade round
Westminster Abbey, where about one in every three is of this descrip-
tion, suggesting the idea that there was one French mason among
the Englishmen engaged upon the work.
Upon the v/est coast of France Enghsh influence might be expected
to be felt, and so it was, but only to a small extent. Where the trefoil
leaf was more developed we find, as in the capital in the Knights' Hall
at Mont St. Michel shown in Fig. no, that the arrangement was
formal in character. Examples such as this, however, are of con-
siderable rarity, and so too are scrolls such as that shown in Fig. in,
from Soissons, though where these occur they are always of consider-
able size and boldly executed, reminiscent in their curves of the scroll
work of Roman times rather than of the freedom of the Gothic â€” and
tightly curled in the leafage. Where these long scrolls occur, set in
hollow mouldings, they always have an extremely rich effect, their
simplicity and power being perhaps better suited to their position
than the delicate English work would be, for they are almost always
placed at some distance from the eye. Examples of such scrolls as
they occur upon a flat surface are illustrated in Fig. 112, which shows
the jambs of the north door of the west front of Rouen Cathedral,
the Romanlike scroll on the left being developed into the purely
Gothic one upon the right, with its leaves carried across the tendrils
so as to bind them together. This doorway is a fine example of French
carving of its date, with half Romanesque, half crochet capitals,
and some very wonderful pierced foliage in the outer and the third of
the arch rings â€” retaining the rectangular outline of the stone, and yet
so cut as to be almost detached from its substance.
During the early years of the 14th centur^^ there was not much
building work accomplished in France owing to political causes ; for
the country was overrun again and again by the English, and build-
ing never flourishes during times of war. Only in the northeast was
58 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
there comparative peace, and it is only there where architectural
development took place. Examples of foliage carving of this date
are consequently so rare that it is difficult to lay down any rule, and it
would be impossible to do so if we had not the English work for guid-
ance. In the interior of the west front of Reims Cathedral, however,
and also in the western-most capitals of the same building, foliage
carving is to be found which is of almost the same date as that in the
chapter house of Southwell Minster referred to in the last chapter,
as can be well seen in Fig. 113. The undercutting is not so deep
as in the English work, but the foliage is of precisely the same natural
character, though here it is confined within rectangular panels. It
will even be noticed that the same leaves are represented as at South-
well ; it is almost as if one of the English carvers who had been engaged
there had subsequently found his way to Reims.
Fig. 114 represents a capital from the Church of St. Alpin, at
Chalons-sur-Mame, which is of a slightly later date, more like the
English work of about the year 1330. The whole bell of the capital
is covered with large vine leaves, amongst which the grapes appear
though the stem is hidden. It is the foUage of late summer, just such
as we should find in England at this time, perfectly natural in form.
From this date it is impossble to trace any further development
for some thirty or forty years. The period corresponds with that of
some of the most destructive warfare ever known upon the European
continent, to be followed by the " Black Death " in 1349. We have
already seen that the effect of this was very serious in England, but
it was even more so in France. On the revival of the country and
the recommencement of building work, however, the effect of war is
seen in a new way. Recent writers upon the subject trace the rise
of the French " flamboyant " phase of Gothic architecture to the fact
that a considerable number of Englishmen must have been left behind
in France as prisoners of war or invalids. Their influence is seen most
markedly upon the tracery and the mouldings, but it is to be recognized
also in such foliage as the thistle carving on the west front of Tours
Cathedral, a small fragment of which is illustrated in Fig. 115. Here
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Fig. 127â€” hfcnlptmed Drum of a Coluiiiii from the Temple- of Diana at Ephesus (British Musevim),
lacing page 58.
i *Â», -*-. fe.^ ..^.
Fig, 130 â€” Lycian Toiub (liriti^h Museum).
I'U;. 129 â€” Entablature of tlic iMaiisoluuiu
at Itarlicaruassus (British Museum).
Fig. 131 â€” Lion's Head, Irom (lie 'reiiiiile ol Hiaiia,
at Kpliesus (British Museum).
r Foc'iKj jxiuc 59.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 59
we have all the freshness of the English 14th century carving, with
its crisp outline and deep undercutting, combined with the general
inclination to use autumnal foliage which was becoming universal
in the 15th century. The stalk is still fairly covered with the leaves,
but it can be perfectly well traced, and it is also old and gnarled.
Even the thistledown also appears, as a sure indication of late work.
There is, in fact, a large amount of carving of this description to be
found, not in one district only, but spread over the greater part of
France, particularly where it had been overrun by the English a
generation previously ; that is, from the north of the Seine, right
through the whole district of the Loire and into Poitou and Anjou.
It was, of course, controlled more or less by the available material.
The example shown in Fig. 116, perhaps a trifle later in date than the
last, was executed in granite and consequently shows a type of work-
manship in which effect was obtained without high finish, and to a large
extent by drilling deep holes down from the surface, while another
somewhat late example, shown in Fig. 117, but carried out in a hard
limestone, again displays crispness of outline with the finish carried
to as great perfection as such a material would permit. In this case
the leaves are quite detached and of the latest autumnal character,
not so much conventionalized as ragged, like the detached fallen leaves
of late autumn time. This example occurs in the courtyard of the
Hotel de Ville at Abbeville. Another small example from the same
town is illustrated in Fig. 118, but this time the material employed is
wood. It may be somewhat interesting to compare this illustration
with Fig. 99, which was just as typical an example of English wood-
work of a simple kind. Another somewhat fine example of practically
the same date is the crocket over the west door at Antwerp Cathedral
shown in Fig. 119 ; it is typical of a good deal of the work which
was carried out in the low countries at that date, but with a somewhat
English outline as compared with what was generally found in France
at the same time.
As the 15th century drew towards its close, and at the opening of
the i6th century, the carved foliage of France went a step further
6o THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
than in England â€” except in such isolated examples as the choir stalls
in Henry Vllth Chapel, Westminster, already described. The late
dying leaf of winter rather than of autumn, such as is illustrated in Fig.
120, is often seen, which the absolutely bare bough of winter, as shown
in Fig. 121 â€” a sketch of a niche canopy in the south doorway of Beauvais
Cathedral â€” was not entirely uncommon.
It was not until the comparatively late period of the 15th and
i6th centuries that there was much Gothic carving in Germany ; it
seems as if there is an almost unbridged gap from the 12th to the
15th century. Of the later work, however, a considerable amount
exists ; it is based upon the French, but as a rule is more heavy and
less crisp and less instinct with artistic spirit. The doorway at Goslar,
shown in Fig. 122, is typical. The leaves are detached and are of
wintry rather than autumnal type, but unquestionably ugly ; in fact,
they are overpowering in relation to the door, and not kept in proper
subordination as they should be to the general architectural treat-
ment, with little sense of proportion between one group of leaves
and another, the excessive prominence given to the pinnacles of the
terminals being particularly noticeable in comparison with the crockets
upon their edges. This heavy type looked perhaps better in woodwork
than in stone. The choir stalls at Ulm Cathedral, shown in Fig. 123,
are typical of a great deal of wood carving of the late 15th century.
The stem in the central panel is heavy, and the leaves artistically
intertwined around it ; but no less characteristic is the long lower
panel, with its central rod perfectly straight, out of which the leaves
spring â€” a form of carved foliage ornament which was commonly
employed upon the German timber buildings of the time.
When the spirit of autumn was replaced by the spirit of winter
â€” which occurred in the early part of the i&th century in Germany
as well as in France â€” the foliage carving might be said to have " gone
to seed." Fig. 124, though an extreme, must not be considered to
be an isolated example of the representation of bare boughs with
occasional dying leaves upon them, exaggerated until all artistic
feeling is lost. It is perfectly clear that the carvers have actually
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 6i
twisted together small pieces of wood to serve as their models.
The spirit of the Gothic art was obviously dying out ; it was
quite time that it was replaced by something else. The seasons had
run their course, spring had merged into summer, summer into autumn,
and autumn into winter The same thing had occurred in Germany
as in France and in England. Gothic architecture was at an end.
5 ) > >
C A r> 1 - A _
P'iG. 132 â€” Bull Head Capital from Salamis (British
Fig. 134 â€” Etruscan Anteflx (Victoria and Albert
Fig. 133 â€” Roman i:rn or Crater (British Museum).
Facing page G2.
â– i â–
â– ^^ -17.^
^^ _ 'â€¢â€¢â– ^^vi-
Fig. 135 â€” Scroll Enrichment of a Monument in the Church of Sta. Maria del Popolo, Rome.
(From " Ornamental Details of the Italian Renaissance.")
Fig. 136 Step End, Palazzo Gondi, Florence
(Victoria and Albert Museum).
Fig. 137 â€” Italian Bracket of the Sixtenth (,'entury
(Victoria and Albert Musoeum.)
Fig. 139 â€” Door from a I'niace at Genoa (Victoria
and Albert Museum).
[Facing imge 63.
Ornament with a Human and Animal Basis-
Classic and Renaissance School
Fig. 138 â€” Bronze Entrance Gates to Loggia of the Campanile, Venice.
[Facing page Gl
â€¢ -^-V.^ ''"â– '
Fk;. 142 â€” Corbel to Confessional Box, St. Loup,