(Aisne, France)
La Visitation
Surveyed: 1980-83, 2003, 2015
This is an experimental section where John James is attempting to identify the carvers though the use of common templates and/or a recognisable manners of carving. Such a large-scale analysis of all the capitals in these buildings has not been attempted before. As an ongoing enterprise that is still in its infancy, we seek your input. John believes this has the potential to increase our understanding of how they worked and to provide a more solid basis for dating than we have had.
Choir in many campaigns; too hard to disentangle without an accurate survey; among the anomalies: varied arrangements of external drums and shafts, windows not central between external shafts, and on the interior oriented away from the main axes, curves outside walls look flattened as if made from arcs with separate centres, diameters of drums get smaller above the sills, wall set back from plane of drums in south corner, heads of windows straight, and curved only between them;
Choir exterior sculpture with pause above the larger ones over the half drums where small capitals alongside come from a later campaign; chapel es2 later than taller ones in the east;
North arm; es1w (c-) has 4 capitals that would be earlier than es1n clerestory, with later capitals set around them; therefore northern set of shafts were added; shows that the transept chapel was earlier (but has a drum and joined to centre); rib caps at 45 and are not built in while the way that e1 is set into the wall shows the ribs are later
Earlier capitals raised and thin additional capitals set around them
Upper walls of choir with small exterior capitals set alongside larger ones over drums; cornice
Raised the east 8 courses and moved caps up with them; es1w (c-) group of 5 capitals would be earlier than es1nclerestory, so northern set of shafts were added; therefore transept chapel earlier (but has a drum and joined to centre); rib caps at 45 (ribs
Big arches over double bays from nave only on north side; nave clerestory; used to have a wooden ceiling in the nave;
South transept dado seems to have been spolia from a cloister erected at a much later date.
Much later work in the transepts with windows and vaults

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