Arcade

Arcade

In church architecture, a series of arches supported by pillars or shafts, whether belonging to the construction or used in relieving large surfaces of masonry; the present observations will be confined to the latter, that is, to ornamental arcades. These were introduced early in the Norman style, and were used very largely to its close, the whole base story of exterior and interior alike, and the upper portions of towers and high walls, being often quite covered with them. They were either of simple or of intersecting arches; it is needless to say that the latter are the most elaborate in work, and the most ornamental; they are accordingly reserved in general for the richer portions of the fabric. There is, moreover, another, and perhaps more effective way of complicating the arcade, by placing an arcade within and behind another, so that the wall is doubly recessed, and the play of light and shadow greatly increased. The decorations of the transitional, until very late in the style, are so nearly those of the Norman, that we need not particularize the semi-Norman arcade. In the next style the simple arcade is, of course, most frequent. This, like the Norman, often covers very large surfaces. Foil arches are often introduced at this period, and greatly vary the effect. The reduplication of arcades is now managed differently from the former style. Two arcades, perfect in all their parts, are set the one behind the other, but the shaft of the outer is opposite to the arch of the inner series, the outer series is also more lofty in its proportions, and the two are often of differently constructed arches, as at Lincoln, where the outer series is of trefoil, the inner of simple arches, or vice versa, the two always being different. The effect of this is extremely beautiful. But the most exquisite arches are those of the Geometrical period, where each arch is often surmounted by a crocketed pediment, and the higher efforts of sculpture are tasked for their enrichment, as in the glorious chapiter-houses of Salisbury, Southwell, and York: these are, however, usually confined to the interior. In the Decorated period partially, and in the Perpendicular entirely, the arcade gave place to panelling, greatly to the loss of effect, for no delicacy or intricacy of pattern can compensate for the bright light and deep shadows of the Norman and early English arcades (Hook, Church Dictionary, s.v.).

 
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