Soissons
(Aisne, France)
Cathedral of Saints-Gervais-et-Protais
Surveyed: 1969, 1977, 1980-83, 2003, 2009, 2014
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 footings to the south transept and to the walls of the choir were set out probably in two separate operations: in the choir walls the north was ahead of the south by a few courses while the south was attached to one side of the old church and the choir followed around the outside; land donated for the south in 1176
South aisle capitals and vaults
South gallery bases and piers, choir wall bases in two campaigns, and first piers on south side of nave that included the four crossing piers and all in the W2,which would have intruded into the inside of the old church.
South gallery capitals and vaults with arches over aisles onto crossing piers and arcade to first bay of nave; rose in north-east end of gallery, choir aisle sills with vertical join against gallery.
South triforium string and capitals with a break by crossing
Choir wall and window capitals
South clerestory string and capitals, start of vaults; the hemicycle aisle vault and aisle vault in WS1 together, from profiles; ES1 (c) shows decision to place crossing capitals at this height, implying a different design for the choir.
South clerestory sill, choir aisle window capitals, with flyers built into walls; the encircling wall pauses at this point.
South cornice, roof and completion of hemicycle aisle vault: services could now be held in the south, so the old choir could be demolished and interior choir pier footings put in.
Choir pier, capitals, arcade and the vaults.
Choir and crossing triforium set out in 1200, with capitals with a much taller passage than in the south, indicating a clear decision to build the first "tall" design; in the WN the vertical joint is to the west of the WN2 shafts.
Choir walkway, supports for flyers, and capitals with start of vaults; in raising the height the crossing capitals set higher, and older ones moved up to new location.
Choir window capitals, oculi
Triforium at SW crossing, one bay of transept and first in nave to stabilise this corner.
Choir roof, vault and cornice with double window and oculus to south of WS1 pier
The choir stalls could be completed by 1211 so the clergy could then move back into the choir
Layout the nave walls west of the third piers to the entry.
Nave aisle wall and pier capitals
Nave triforium, possibly with the bases to north transept
Nave string, window sill and walkway.
Nave clerestory and window capitals
North transept aisle walls and pier capitals
Nave cornice and roof
North transept aisle vaults
Work in the north continues, but slowly, and a long time before the north window and the high vaults are achieved.


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