lipprose Werner Nolte über mittelalterliche Architektur und Geschichte
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Statics and Aesthetics

Around 1338, in the crossing of Wells Cathedral, these two concepts joined in a harmonious union.

I am referring to the famous scissor arches. The identity of their creator is not entirely certain. He was probably a master builder named Joy, a truly fitting name, as his architectural work has brought so much of it to the cathedral's visitors.

 

ScherenboegenWells Cathedral - Scissor Arches

 

The scissor arches' purpose, however, was not solely to bring joy, but also to save the tottering crossing tower. It is incredibly exciting that the genius master knew how to combine the practical with the beautiful.

There are purists among the specialists who are less pleased. Alec Clifton Taylor has said: "Just think it away".

You can find lesser known and less spectacular predecessors of the scissor arches in Salisbury, built around 1320, having the exact same function as in Wells.

 

(Clifton-Taylor, Alec, The Cathedrals of England, Thames & Hudson, London, 1967 and 1986)

 

 

 Translation: Erik Eising (M.A.)