Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
headed windows, separated by intervening flat buttresses, which reach to the cornice.  Each buttress is edged with two slender cylindrical pilasters; and each window flanked by two smaller arches, whose surfaces are covered with chequer-work.  The arch of every window has a key-stone, formed by a grotesque head.—­Above the whole is a corbel-table that displays monsters of all kinds, in the form of beasts, and men scarcely less monstrous.—­The semi-circular east end is divided in its elevation into three compartments.  The lower contains a row of small blank arches:  in each of the other two is a window, of a size unusually large for a Norman building, but still without mullions or tracery; its sides ornamented with columns, and its top encircled with a broad band of various mouldings.  The windows are separated by cylindrical pillars, instead of buttresses.—­In the upper part of the low central tower are some pointed arches, the only deviations of style that are to be found in the building.  To the extremity of the southern transept has been attached a Grecian portico, which masks the ancient portal.  Above is a row of round arches, some of which are pierced into windows.

Of the effect of the nave and transept within, it is difficult now to obtain a correct idea, the floor intervening to obstruct a general view.—­High arches, encircled with the embattled moulding below; above these, a wide billeted string-course, forming a basis for a row of smaller arches, without side-pillars or decoration of any kind; then another string-course of different and richer patterns; and over this, the triforium, consisting also of a row of small arches, supported by thick pillars;—­such is the elevation of the sides of the nave; and the same system is continued with but small variation in the transepts.  But, notwithstanding the general uniformity of the whole, no two compartments are precisely alike; and the capitals are infinitely varied.  It is singular to see such a playfulness of ornament in a building, whose architect appears, at first view, to have contemplated only grandeur and solidity.—­The four arches which support the central tower are on a magnificent scale.  The archivolts are encircled by two rows of lozenged squares, indented in the stone.  The rams, or rams’ heads, upon the capitals of these piers, are peculiar.  The eastern arch rises higher than the rest, and is obtusely pointed; yet it seems to be of the same date with its circular companions.—­So exquisite, however, is the quality of the Caen stone, that no opinion drawn from the appearance of the material, ought to be hazarded with confidence.  Seven centuries have elapsed since this church was erected, and there is yet no difference to be discovered in the color of the stone, or the sharpness of the work; the whole is as clean and sharp as if it were but yesterday fresh from the chisel.  The interior of the choir has not been divided by the flooring; and the eastern extremity, which remains perfect, shews the original

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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