Châlons-en-Champagne
(Marne, France)
Notre-Dame-en-Vaux
Surveyed: 1969, 1972-74, 1977, 1980-83, 1992-98, 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.
The nave was shifted to the south of the space between the towers to widen the span, and therefore the existing towers sit on earlier foundations as art of a narrower church; transepts suit that altered axis, and were begun with the nave walls.
Nave and transept aisle walls with capitals on an alternating grid and presumably piers that have been replaced, not designed for ribs, though at least for timber roof over aisles.
All crossing piers with the transept chapels that have the same details in the bases and imposts; the coursing of the lower part of the south wall connects, but not above and not at all in the north while the crossing capitals and those at the level of the nave gallery suggest that the church had arches springing at that level for a low-ceilinged building, and that all was raised later.
Nave aisles walls, piers alternate above the capitals, not below where all are the same.
West portal, capitals and sculpture
South portal capitals; those in the left from a different drew to those in the right.
Nave piers, capitals are largely replaced, but in what seems a sympathetic manner, if over-florid.
Transept gallery openings and capitals, and is the latest moment to show they intended to raise the height 25 years after laying the capitals below the gallery string; includes column-figures in the eastern crossing, and corner shafts for a rib vault over the crossing, un bonded coursing shows where work steps down into the transepts
Western and eastern towers level 1; probably, the miracle recorded in 1157 refers to this part of the work, but which part collapsed? It was a dozen years before the choir was rebuilt, and more before work resumed on the nave.
Eastern towers levels II and III, and with it the south transept wall with the double roses, and in a separate campaign the single oculus in the north, with a long-term joint above these oculi.
Western towers II and III
Complete the nave vauilts and build the string under the floor of the gallery with capitals to the vaults; presumably these capitals were intended to support a lower vault or cross arches, an idea that would have been abandoned when the gallery piers were designed.
Choir footings for round chapels; notice that it is being laid out before its "mentor" at St-Remi had reached the level of the gallery, which means that if St-Remi were the inspiration it was hidden under scaffolding, and thus more likely to have been transmitted by the original designer.
Choir walls with ambulatory and dado, and fluted shafts externally; the curved wall flattened by arches, though still round at spring.
Nave aisle vaults because the inserted rib capitals in WS1 are those of the nave gallery. Two years then needed after the vaults to get to the gallery capitals.nave aisle rib vaults
N+I672Nave gallery caps and vaults. The range suggests the nave arrangement is some 5 years earlier than the same work in the choir. It is 3 courses shorter than choir.
Nave triforium with linkage for triple windows. Nave coursing connected to transepts.
Choir piers, arcade arches, bec capitals in chapel, twin-and oculus windows like plate but in courses, and vaults with tas-de-charge.
Choir gallery string course, and curved walls straightened.
Choir gallery capitals and vaults. Lower flyers built with the wall.
Choir triforium shafts for linkage with twin windows, capitals for both triforium and high vaults.
Choir clerestory external walkway.
Choir clerestory window capitals, fluted columns to support flyers, but renovations make it difficult to determine if there had been a walkway or supporting shafts.
Choir cornice and roof. In 1183 Bishop Guy blessed the church, which could have celebrated the roof.
Transept clerestory and vault, north rose
Nave vaults 5-7, western rose


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