Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Decorated arcade

click photo to enlarge
Existing words are often appropriated by special interest groups to describe something new. Today's photograph is a good example of that. When Thomas Rickman devised his stylistic classification of the periods of English Gothic architecture he came up with the terms Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular to describe the three main styles (as he saw them) between the end of the round-arched Norman (Romanesque) period and the beginnings of the English Renaissance; roughly c.1190 to the early to mid-sixteenth century. Decorated, with or without the capital D, was an existing word with a widely understood, non-specific meaning. But Rickman chose it to describe the ogival forms and naturalistic carving that followed the geometrical, stern precision of the  Early English style.

Today's photograph shows blank arcading in the porch of the medieval church at Osbournby, Lincolnshire. The cusped, "S"-shaped pointed arches (usually called ogee or ogival) are characteristic of the Decorated period and date the work to the fourteenth century. It's quite unusual to have the expense of this kind of decorative carving in the porch of a village church: it is more often reserved for the sedilia in the chancel. The word "arcade", as it happens, is also one that has been appropriated for a variety of uses. It originally meant an arch or a succession of arches, so to describe what we see in the photograph in that way is correct. But, later centuries applied it to covered shopping areas with arched, glazed roofs and later still indoor seaside "amusements" with slot and video games used the term.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On