Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tewkesbury Abbey stylistic juxtapositions

click photo to enlarge
I've heard it argued that Gothic architecture i.e. the medieval style that features pointed arches, was the first stone-built style of Northern Europe. During the so-called "Battle of the Styles" in the nineteenth century, when the design of large public buildings in Britain was often decided in competition, Gothic was frequently chosen because it was seen as a native style in contrast to the Classical style which was deemed, rightly, to be Mediterranean in origin.

The Romanesque style with its rounded arches, that preceded Gothic, can be viewed as a debased version of classical architecture, though that is not the whole story by any means; the timber building traditions of the Anglo-Saxons and the decorative sculpture of the Norse peoples are two stylistic threads that are also very evident. Something that I always found interesting was that the Romanesque style merged into Gothic rather than becoming a purer version of the styles of Ancient Greece and Rome. That had to to wait until the Renaissance.

Today's photograph shows part of the nave and more distant crossing and chancel at Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire. What always strikes me when I enter this building is the contrast between the plain, solid columns and rounded arches of Romanesque period, surmounted by the lighter, ornate vaulting of the later Gothic period. It is not uncommon in many English cathedrals, but at Tewkesbury the dissonance the pairing produces seems more pronounced than elsewhere.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On