Visual analyses of English Romanesque architecture have often taken second place to questions of structure, dating, or filiation despite the fact that English buildings from the years 1080-1150 display the richest variety of wall articulation in Romanesque Europe. This variety did not much affect the traditional three-story elevation of arcade, gallery, and clerestory, but lay rather in the manipulation of pier form and vertical wall shafts. Some masters in England adopted the Norman system of compound piers and vertical wall shafts without major change while others designed arcades of cylindrical piers for elevations which lacked any vertical articulation. Soon combinations and extensions of these systems appeared, most of which attempted to enhance the vertical connections between the stories without entirely abandoning cylindrical piers. This study attempts a comprehensive overview of these formal developments and argues that the variety, sophistication, and originality of the resulting solutions strongly suggest that impressive visual effects were more valued by contemporaries than structural or spatial innovation.
- Copyright 1989 The Society of Architectural Historians