Furniture Styles

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Medieval Ornament: From Romanesque to Gothic

The transition from the round arch, characteristic of the Romanesque style to the Pointed style of the thirteenth century, is readily traced in the buildings in which the two styles are intermingled; but the passage from Romanesque Ornament to that which prevailed so universally in the thirteenth century is not so clear. All traces of the acanthus leaf have disappeared, and we find a purely conventional style of ornament universally prevalent in all the buildings of the time. The nearest approach to this style is found in the illuminated MSS. of the twelfth century, which appear to have been derived in some of their features from the Greek MSS. The ornaments are formed of a continuous stem, throwing off leaves on the outer side, and terminating in a flower. The general disposition and arrangement of the lines in any given space is exactly similar to the arrangement of Early English sculptured ornament.

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