Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Fan Vaulting Definition

History and Architecture

Fan Vaulting

One of the last - and most extravagant - forms of medieval vaulting. Fan vaults are so named because the vaulting ribs resemble an open fan, with ribs of equal length radiating out from a single point supported by a vaulting shaft or capital. The fan vault ribs are bound by a a semi-circular rib, and the grouped ribs are shaped like an inverted concave cone. Shorter lierne ribs crisscross the radiating ribs, creating intricate patterns. Some of the best known examples of fan vaulting are King's College Chapel in Cambridge, the nave of Sherborne Abbey in Dorset, and the choir of Peterborough Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

Related: Capital   Chapel   Choir   Nave   Vaulting   Lierne  

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