Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vaulting, Southwell Minster

click photo to enlarge
The chapter house at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, like most such buildings, is polygonal, in this instance octagonal. A few are rectangular. What makes this particular chapter house differ from other polygonal examples is the lack of a column rising up from the centre of the floor to the centre of the vaulting above. Looking at the pattern of ribs that spring from the walls between the windows and the complexity of the ribs and bosses, one can imagine that a central column would have made the building of the roof over this beautiful space considerably easier. However, that ease would have been bought at the expense of the clarity of the view that the members of the chapter would have had of each other as they sat on the seating built into the walls: they would always have to lean to see the person opposite them!

Most photographers with an interest in architecture gravitate to Southwell's chapter house for the beauty of the naturalistic carving of the capitals of the columns. These represent identifiable leaves and plants, and were executed in the Decorated style around the year 1290. Every time I visit the Minster I photograph them. However, since I hadn't photographed the vaulting before that was what I concentrated on during my last visit.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Chapter House Vaulting, Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 9mm (18mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On