Perpendicular style

Perpendicular style, term given the final period of English Gothic architecture (late 14th–middle 16th cent.) because of the predominating vertical lines of its tracery and paneling. It is also called rectilinear for the prevailing angularity of the designs. The work produced after 1485 is sometimes classified as Tudor style. The use at the Gloucester Cathedral, about the middle of the 14th cent., of numerous vertical panels of tracery for both windows and walls led to a rapid spread of the style. Its climax was reached in Henry VII's chapel, Westminster (c.1500–1525), where panelings cover both exterior and interior surfaces. At Winchester they cover the whole west front. In some cases church windows were of great size, making the west end practically a wall of glass with mullions running vertically for the entire height. Elaborate traceried fan vaulting was one of the distinctive creations of the style, and roofs of complex open-timber construction were numerous. A number of elaborate chapels were built in this period, especially at Oxford and at Cambridge (where King's College Chapel is a notable example), as well as various academic buildings, such as the divinity school at Oxford (completed 1480).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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