Salisbury Cathedral Cloister Garden

Salisbury has one of the most magnificent cathedrals in England, a prime example of the Early English Gothic style (built 1220-58). The splendid arcaded cloister is the largest in England (58m x 190ft square) and was added in the late 13th century.

The cloisters were started as a purely decorative feature only five years after the cathedral building was completed, with shapes, patterns, and materials that copy those of the cathedral interior.

It was an ideal opportunity in the development of Early English Gothic architecture, and Salisbury Cathedral made full use of the new techniques of this emerging style. Pointed arches and lancet shapes are everywhere, from the prominent west windows to the painted arches of the east end. The narrow piers of the cathedral were made of cut stone rather than rubble-filled drums, as in earlier buildings, which changed the method of distributing the structure’s weight and allowed for more light in the interior. The beauty and balance of the archways of the cloisters are an example of gothic architectural grace.

The piers are decorated with slender columns of dark gray Purbeck marble, which reappear in clusters and as stand-alone supports in the arches of the triforium, clerestory, and cloisters. The triforium and cloisters repeat the same patterns of plate tracery – basically stone cut-out shapes – of quatrefoils, cinquefoils, even hexafoils and octofoils. Proportions are uniform throughout.

The cloister was almost certainly a plain square of grass in the middle ages but now is managed as a garden. In the centre stand two majestic cedar trees. They were planted over 150 years ago to commemorate Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: curves.

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