Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Compound Column Definition

History and Architecture

Compound Column

Also called a compound pillar, a compound column is a support, usually of stone, made up of numerous slender columns grouped together. Solid, single columns are more common, particularly in Norman and Early English churches but by the time you reach the Decorated period church architects were starting to experiment with new forms, emphasizing the vertical thrust of columns. Many compound columns use different types of stone, so it is very common to see dark Purbeck marble columns grouped with lighter coloured limestone columns. The central column of the chapter house of Lincoln Cathedral is a good example of this type of compound column (see photo).

Related: Early English   Purbeck Marble   Chapter House  




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