Thursday, April 29, 2010

French Gothic Influence on British Architecture

The characteristics of the Gothic architectural style include flying buttresses, pointed arches, and ribbed vaulting. These inventions in engineering allowed for the increase in size of the colorful stained glass windows that are an important feature in Gothic churches, as light was an expression of God. The height of the cathedrals and their towers and spires, were majestic and awe inspiring to the worshippers. The horizontal lines drew the eye to heaven and eternal life. This architectural style began in 12th century France and was then seen in England.

One of England's most beautiful Medieval cathedrals that was patterned after the French Gothic style was the Exeter Cathedral. It is famous for its two Norman towers, impressive west front carvings, and the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world.

Canterbury Cathedral is another English building which is admired around the world for its architecture as well as its religious significance. It has a French gothic style from its re-construction over five hundred years ago. The ancient stained glass of the cathedral is a great example of Medieval art. The windows depict scenes from the Bible and important moments in the lives of saints. Canterbury cathedral is still home to the archbishop today.

Probably the most famous example of the French Gothic influence on a English building is Westminster Abbey. With its pointed arches, ribbed vaulting, stained glass and flying buttresses, it is classic Gothic architecture. King Henry III built the present Abbey in 1245, modeled on Reims and Armiens in France. The Abbey is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

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