seems to be nothing more in them, in many instances, than a desire to
enrich a surface by straight and curved scratchings, or to decorate
an edge by hacking away a series of notches, just as a boy cuts a stick.
However this may be, at all periods of which we have cognisance there
has been an occasional tendency to employ decoration of a linear character,
and this without the forms of a later period being necessarily evolved from
those of an earlier. It is as if the same forms have naturally commend-
ed themselves to the people of all times. The difficulty of classification
is, consequently, considerable, for although the distinction between
rectilinear and curvilinear forms naturally suggests itself, it is found that
they are often used in close conjunction and simultaneously.
Of rectihnear forms the most prominent types are the zigzag,
the key (or fret) and the trellis.
How retentive these forms are may very well be illustrated by the
zigzag. Fig. 174 shows one of the columns beside the entrance to the
Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, as it now stands in the British Museum.
90 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
The whole of the principal ornamentation here is based upon a series
of shallow zigzag sinkings on the surface, separated by bead work
from another set of zigzags, on which there is a scroll pattern.
This pattern we may leave for the moment, merely noting the
general principle of the ornamentation, as found here upon a
column of very early Greek date.
Examples of this zig-zag ornament were extremely rare in classic
times, but they revived again in the comparatively elementary period
of the English and Continental Norman, and even a little earlier.
An illustration (Fig. 175) is given of a nook shaft in the doorway of
Paddlesworth Church, Kent, which belongs to the nth century,
shortly before the Norman Conquest. It is therefore Saxon and, so
far as can be traced, of Scandinavian origin, yet the system of orna-
mentation is exactly that of the elementary Greek work at Mycenae ;
a little more crude perhaps, but the same in its essentials. A far better
known example, something like a hundred years later in date, is to be
found on the nave columns of Durham Cathedral. Exactly in this
position, however, the zigzag ornament is rare, but it became extremely
common in Norman times as an arch enrichment. An example is shewn
in Fig. 176, and others have been previously illustrated in Figs. 81, 83
and 153. This belongs to the middle of the nth century and is merely
typical of a very large amount that is to be found throughout England,
and to a lesser extent in Normandy and also in Picardy. It seems as
if this may have developed from the notched stick, though another
idea, somewhat more far-fetched, has been promulgated that it repre-
sents hemstitch, this being consistent with the theory that almost all
Norman enrichments of linear type can be traced to needle work.
To an architect, however, these are vain speculations ; the great
thing is that the enrichment is found to have existed in far distant
lands and very different dates, and that it is one which is capable of
being used with considerable effect and of being varied to suit cir-
cumstances and applied to architectural work of different types.
When the zigzag next appeared it was again at a time when designers
were thrown back to a certain extent upon their own native ingenuity.
I'^.'^j . Ill-;^T"*^ ">â– '
...â– IJ II
[Facing page 90.
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Facing page 91.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 91
It is found in the cut brickwork chimneys of the English Tudor period
and in the similar cut brickwork of Belgium of the same date. A some-
what late example is given in Fig. 197, which shows a portion of a
stepped gable in what was till lately the Hotel de Gand at Ypres.
It might naturally be thought that the trellis pattern was a
development of the zig-zag, considering that it is but a coupled zig-zag,
but it is doubtful if this is the case. It is a form of ornamentation
which belongs essentially to the Norman period and has more the
appearance of having been derived from needlework than any other
enrichment, passing, as the strands often do, over and under one
another alternately as if to suggest a coarse canvas. Even when this
is not the case the effect is much the same. One of the most pro-
nounced examples known is illustrated in Fig. 178, the trellis pattern
being carried over the whole face of one of the transept gables of St.
Etienne, Beauvais. It was not a particurarly common ornament,
but of all those of Scandinavian origin it was the one which survived
the longest in Gothic times, recurring now and again throughout the
whole period, particularly in smaller work, as exemplified in Fig. 179,
which shows the upper part of a shaft on a 15th century tomb in
Westminster Abbey. Another example has already been illustrated
in Fig. 162. It was even retained throughout the earlier years of the
English Renaissance ; at any rate it crops up now and again in Eliza-
bethan tomb work. Strange to say it is also to be found in the recently
discovered Azteck remains in Mexico.
One would think that ornamentation of this description was not
capable of great development, and possibly Indian work, such as is
shown in Fig. 180, (where the openings are hexagonal, or honey comb,
and not diamond shaped), had an entirely different origin. It is difficult
indeed to discover how rectilinear surface ornament passed first to
the Moors of Southern Spain and Northern Africa, and then gradually
across to India, where it has survived to the present day. There may
possibly have been some connection with what we know as Norman
ornament, for the Normans occupied Sicily. Most surface mosaic
work is curvilinear or else based on foliage forms, but there is still a
92 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
small amount of it which is designed in straight lines â€” much as is the
wall decoration from the tomb of Eduand-Duala at Agra (Fig. i8o),
obviously well-suited to execution in mosaic That the general sug-
gestion of the whole of this surface is Byzantine goes a long way to
support the theory of Byzantine origin of the detail, which has a
mazy intricate appearance until it is resolved out into its simple
elements, but is the found to be upon a comparatively simple basis.
Another well-known rectilinear pattern is the Greek " fret "
or " key-pattern," which is cut into the flat surface of the moulding
shown in Fig. i8i, a mere fragment of which was discovered near
the S. E. Anta of the Erechtheion at Athens, and is now in the British
Museum. This consists entirely of horizontal and vertical lines,
and, simple as it is, it is capable of a certain amount of variation.
In this particular example it is worked round a square block, but
this is by no means always the case. It was a favourite surface orna-
ment for colour and mosaic decoration, particularly during the Classic
period, but it seems to have been resuscitated, like some other Classic
rectilinear forms, in English Norman work. An example has already
been illustrated in Fig. 152, where it occurs as a horizontal surface
enrichment in the interior of Barfreston Church, Kent.
The square blocks shown in Fig. 181 are themselves enriched
with a star-shaped rectilinear pattern. Exceptional as it is, this
is of extreme interest, considering the tendency for the revival of
classic forms in Norman times. Something of the same sort appears
in Fig. 176, where in two places a star-shaped sunk enrichment of
an elementary type is to be seen in the spandril over the doorway
and again in the abacus above the capital, which is cut into the form
of " nail heads," as they are called, these being closely allied to the
star-shaped pattern shown in the Greek work of Fig. 181. More
will be said about this in the next chapter.
There is a curved form of the key pattern which is by no means
uncommon ; the example given in Fig. 182 from the edge of a mantel
shelf at Langley Park, Kent, might just as well have been taken from
many another piece of either Roman or Renaissance work. It has appar-
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 93
ently nothing whatever to do with the guilloche, an ornament which
has been already alluded to several times.
Now, the guilloche is one of the most important Classic enrich-
ments. It is to be found at a very early date indeed ; in its incipent
form it has been seen in Fig. 5, where it occurs as part of the Assyrian
Sacred Tree. This seems to suggest that it had a tendril origin, but
possibly it is nothing more than a primitive effort to obtain decoration
by means of curved lines. How this could happen is shown in Fig.
174, though what occurs there is more perhaps a forecast of the
curvilinear key pattern than of the true guilloche. The tendril or scroll
is of a continuous form, such as can easily be made, and in fact often
is made, with braid upon a lady's dress. The whole suggestion of
the guilloche is greatly that of braiding. Owing to the way in which
the moulding which is illustrated in Fig. 181 has become destroyed
through exposure to the weather, it is easy to recognize that what
was a complicated guilloche may have had its origin in the simple
twisting of ribbon. As a general rule in the Greek form it is not pos-
sible, however, to trace how the various strands would run into one
another, and this characteristic would have been more in evidence
if the moulding had been less destroyed. Whenever the ornament
was revived at a later period there was more definite arrangement
of the plait, as if the subsequent workers thought that there was
no doubt of the origin and worked accordingly. A simple but quite
typical example is shewn in Fig. 183 ; it is of Renaissance date and
shows a little piece of the door jamb of the Venetian Palace, Rome.
The plait or guilloche is a single one, and not complicated as in most
of the Greek examples. It recurs in this form in every country where
Renaissance architecture penetrated ; it can be recognized, for
instance, in the window jamb of the Hotel Lallemande at Bourges,
shown in Fig. 184, where it appears in combination with many other
enrichments which have already been spoken about. It will further
be noticed that the corona round the shell ornament above the window
is enriched with simple rectilinear flutings which radiate from the
same centre as the shell. This window, though it occurs in mid-
94 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
France, has every sign of being of Italian workmanship, not merely
in the character of its ornamentation and general outline, but also
in the fact that it has been carried out in the black marble which is
dsed so much in some parts of Ita'y and is rarely, if ever, except here,
iound in France. Much more typically French is the example given
in Fig. 185. This is a measured drawing of one of the doors of St. Maclou,
Rouen, carved in oak, by Jean Goujon about the year 1550, of others of
which a photograph has been given in Fig. 66. The guilloche in this case
is of a larger type and more complicated ; it is worked round a single
row of eyes and the plait is quite continuous, as in most Renaissance
How far the Byzantine plait or strap enrichments can be traced
to the guilloche will probably never be determined. How similar
and yet how different the two are can be seen by comparing the small
ornaments of the periods just spoken about with the larger use made
of this curvilinear ornament in Edward the Confessor's Tomb, West-
minster Abbey (Fig. 186) which, though erected in England in the
13th century, is a purely Byzantine example, exactly similar in detail
to a good deal that is to be found in the East. It will be seen that
in one of the panels the pattern is entirely made up of a large guilloche,
while in other places guilloche scrolls occur at the comers of a con-
tinuous pattern which has in all five circular eyes. It is one of the
characteristics of the Byzantine scroll work of this type that the plait
always returns upon itself, so that there is no end to be discovered.
It is a disputed point in connection with the archaeology of
ornament whether the Byzantine scroll was the origin of the Celtic
or Scandinavian, as it is exemplified on the column from Shobden
Church, Herefordshire, illustrated in Fig. 187 ; but the present
tendency is to believe that this was entirely distinct, coming in with
the other Scandinavian enrichments and being based, like them,
upon needlework and the intertwining of threads, or else upon the
twisting of wires, as in some forms of Scandinavian jewelry. In this
example the appearance is suggestive of twisted rope more than
anything else ; but it is an extreme example, most of that of earlier
1 3 > > ' ^
,â– ,"', i,.i > '.' >''.' '' ^''
- â€” '^^â€¢^vA^^,-
Fig. 194 â€” C'enti-e of Parapet, Uood-loft, >st. Eiicuue
Du Mont, Paris.
Fig. 192 â€” Portion of Door Panel (Victoria and
Fig. 19.5 â€” Fras^inent of Assyrian Pavement (British
[ Facing page 94.
Fig. 196 â€” Capital from the Arcliaic Temple of Diana,
at Ephesus (British Museum).
â– "^^â– ^^^
Fig. 199 â€” Enrichment on Pedestal Moulding, Later
Temple of Diana, Ephesus.
Fig. 200 â€” Grajco-lionuin Leaf and Tongue.
Fig. 198 â€” Corbel to overhang, Halljerstadt.
Tf'W 'i ^'^ â– ''
Fig. 197- â€” Cai)ital from the Later 'l'cni|ilf of Diana
at Kiilicsus (British Museum). ' ,. . .^
Fig. 201 â€” Enrichment on Koman Urn (British
.riin.jliii ijj' 1) ,
Fig. -.'(12 â€” Loaf Enriclunent to Mantelpiece, Lanilcy
[I-'iiciii(; jxii/e 95.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 95
date, of which there is a considerable amount to be found on Saxon
crosses, being comparatively flat.
This ornament belongs most probably to the cable type, of which
a simple example is illustrated on the same drawing in the upper roll
of the base. It is quite common in English Norman work, introduced
as in the column at Salford Priors, Warwickshire, shown in Fig. 176.
But again it is not unknown in Byzantine work ; the columns of Ed-
ward the Confessor's tomb (Fig. 186) display it in an exaggerated form.
It is, when one comes to think of it, rather an anomaly to stand the
representation of a twisted cable upright as a column to sustain a
load, and the absurdity becomes very apparent indeed when the
twist is of the character shown in Fig. 186. Used horizontally,
however, the ornament is quite a reasonable one, and it seems to have
been generally accepted and to have been employed over a long period
in one country or another, not perhaps so much in true Gothic times as
to have revived again with the introduction of the Renaissance, particu-
larly in German woodwork, of which there is an example given in Fig.
188 from the over-hanging beams of a house at the comer of Breiteweg
and Schuh Strasse, Halberstadt.
Reverting to ornament of the guilloche or braid origin, one finds
that it was revived in the Renaissance period, and most prominently
in England, where it appears as a twisted ribbon or strap ornament
in Elizabethan work. The example given in Fig. 189 is from Hatfield
House, the seat of the Marquis of Salisbury. The large window
openings within the arches are filled with guilloche stone tracery.
This is not very beautiful, and is consequently not indicated
in the sketch, but the lower parts of the pilasters are enriched with
low relief strap ornament, entirely characteristic of the later Eliza-
bethan period, carved upon the face of the stonework. There is a
suggestion about it of fret-work or flat pierced metal which has been
nailed on to the surface behind, but as a matter of fact it is always cut
out of the solid, the background being recessed to a level surface,
and this whether carried out in wood or in stone. It will be noticed
in this example, which may be taken as perfectly tj^ical, that the
96 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
curves are almost always those of the capital letter C, showing a
certain poverty of design, and that these curves are connected by
straight lines, with the occasional use of circles. The date of the
south front of Hatfield House is 1611, and at about the same date
ornament with a similar basis appeared upon the Continent, differing
considerably, according to the country in which it occurred. Figs.
190 and 191, respectively a measured drawing made on the spot and
a photograph of the Rood Screen and staircase of the Church of St.
Etienne du Mont, Paris, displays a great deal of this enrichment,
difficult to distinguish as to the detail in the photograph, though
perfectly clear in the drawing, while the photograph gives a better
idea of the general effect of it. The ribbon is not necessarily endless,
and in fact there seems to have been little rule with regard to it except
that of obtaining a pleasing design in curved lines, suggestive of a
twisted plait. This class of enrichment more than any other goes to
distinguish the Renaissance detail of western Europe from that of
Italy. It seems to have been based upon nothing which existed pre-
viously, but to have been naturally devised ; it gives the impression,
in conjunction with the fact that a similar ribbon ornament appears
in the same district in Norman times, that it is indigenous to the peoples
of that part of Europe, and that in fact whenever they have been
thrown back upon their own resources for ornamentation they have
naturally adopted something of this sort. In the course of a century
it developed in France into such forms as are shown in Fig. 192, which
indicates how foliage was applied to a strapwork basis.
What happened in Germany was quite different ; unless, indeed,
the English C curve may be taken to have been the basis of the devel-
opment. The street comer in Mainz, which is illustrated in Fig. 193,
is typical of a great deal that is to be found, though unfortunately it
has been vanishing somewhat rapidly during the last thirty years.
Where the owners have appreciated its value it has been taken care
of, and in many instances is coloured and gilded, but in other cases
it is to be found covered with whitewash and scarcely distinguishable
from the rest of the white houses in the streets, and under such cir-
Fig. 204 â€” Entablature of the MausoJeum at
Ilalicarnassus (British Museum).
Fig. 203 â€” Lycian Tonih (British .Museum).
Fig. 206 â€” St. Mary's Church, Dover.
Fig. 205 â€” Arch Mouldiug of the Rotunda Windows
Templars' Church, Laon.
Facing page 96
â– ^ i^^^:r>: .
Fiu. 209 â€” Detail on l'2th Centnry House, Dol,
,\. ' -
Fig. 208^Janil) of South Door, Bourges Cathedral.
* ^^ ^ ss-.,
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'- -â– -" ,
\:- â– â– '
â– â– >- -<*
Fiu. 207 â€” Corbel String over Choir Arcade,
St. Nicholas, Blois.
Fig. 211 â€” Corliel, Impost iiiid Vault Kib of Rotunda,
'I'eniplar.s' Church, Laon.
Facing nagc S)".
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 97
cumstances as these it is apt to fall into neglect and eventually to
be swept away amid modem improvements. The same sort of strap
ornament, no longer in continuous bands, but in isolated volutes,
is found in much smaller detail also. In the centre of the parapet of
the Rood loft in the Church of St. Etienne Du Mont, Paris, (Fig 194),
there occurs another, and common form of lineal enrichment
about which it would be possible to write a great deal, namely, that
obtained by the use of lettering. In this instance the letters I. H. S.
are intertwined as part of the flat strap work enrichments just
referred to, but letters are frequently used in inscriptions and give
texture to a frieze or other plane surface, and and are often highly
decorative, whether carved in stone or wood, or beaten out in metal.
, V â– l
^... . N
'^J^^l, ' '.
â€¢.'â€¢â– . -.'Oar
- â– ,i.-Â«..;-.J-''^ â–
Fig. 213 â€” A Capital in tlie Cliaiiter House, LiiRolu t'atheiU-al.
[Fachni page 98-
J'IG. 210 â€” Dog-tooth, Barfrestoii Clmreli, Kent.
â– 'v.j^- /^ - ^4vx''-. ^ -^ Iff -
-"Â»(S^Â«iW-'^Â»'^-J^"* '* - e - - - i**-3-
- >*: ;.- >^
xi ' 'Â«â€¢
211 â€” Thirteenth Century Diaper Ornament
Sy ><*:?-/ if2
Fig. 212 â€” A lioinancsiinc .\rcli\vay at I.onxaiii.
I-'IG. 210 â€” Ornaniciil, ^â– att()ll Churrli
(Sketclied by Mr. V. t'Ieni(.'S).
l-'dviiKi ixKje 99.
O â– ) ) > s
There are certain small enrichments which have come to be recognized
as being almost more indicative of the work of particular periods and
countries than larger features and even principles of design ; yet it
has been impossible to classify them under any of the headings which
have hitherto been used in this series. Many of them have had,
with their variations, an extraordinary persistence, but as a general
rule there is a strict line of demarcation between those which are
Classic and those which are Gothic.
The principal Classic enrichments of this description (called
" minor " merely on account of their size and not because they are
of little importance) are the egg and tongue, the leaf and tongue,
and the dentil ; while the corresponding Romanesque and Gothic
features are the billet, the nail head (with its development, the dog-
tooth), the ball flower, many combinations of these, and eventually
the crenelle cresting.
The one which can be most easily traced to a definite origin is
the egg and tongue, and it requires a certain amount of imagination
to recognize the development. Take the example of the fragment
of Assyrian pavement, now in the British museum, which is illustrated
in Fig. 195 ; hold this sideways or upside down and notice how the
border or fringe of alternate lotus-buds and flowers form incipent eggs
with their shell, having tongues placed intermediately. This little
fragment also shows a geometric pattern in the centre from which
quite possibly, one might almost say certainly, may have been derived
the Arabesque work of the Moors and of India to which attention was
drawn in the last chapter ; while there are two rows of paterae (flowers)
and another row of the incipent anthemion â€” a large scale sketch of
102 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
which last was shown in Fig. 6. Concentrating attention upon the
egg and tongue, it is found as a true architectural enrichment in an
elementary form in early Greek work. It appears, for example, on
the echinus and abacus of the Ionic column in the Archaic Temple
of Diana at Ephesus, of which there is a clever restoration by the
late Dr. Murray in the British Museum (Fig. 196). Here the egg
shell â€” if the border may so be called â€” was in the form of a bold roll,
and the egg was rounded at the base, while the tongue was merely
incipent. By the time that this temple had been replaced by the
later one, the great Temple of Diana of the Ephesians of St. Paul
(the early temple having been built about B. C. 550 and the later one
about B. C. 350), the enrichment had been completely developed, as