Stone and 'The Gothic'

Stone and 'The Gothic'
Reims Cathedral in Northern France is probably one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture. The cathedral was constructed from hardwearing Courville Stone, a northern French limestone.
Gothic style is characterised by pointed arches, flying buttresses and intricate detailing – all typically handcrafted from local limestones (limestone generally being an easier stone to carve). Designed to inspire awe and wonder amongst the masses, with a greater emphasis on height, light and space than Romanesque predecessors - this grand and lofty style started to appear in civic and secular buildings like the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and Belfry of Bruges in Belgium.
With the arrival of the Renaissance, tastes changed throughout Europe – and Gothic style waned in popularity. It wasn’t until the ‘Gothic Revival’ in the 18th Century that we started to see a revival in Gothic style – with buildings once again using stone to create intricate and dramatic expressions of design. St Luke’s Church in Chelsea was one of the first ‘Gothic Revival’ churches in the country, and was constructed from ‘Bath’ stone – the famous limestone that remains an enduring favourite to this day.
This grand, dramatic style of architecture caught the imagination of ‘Gothic’ writers like Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan-Poe – and more recently filmmakers who have adapted the themes in these stories to create modern horror films. The intricate and sometimes ghoulish carvings made from limestone on medieval gothic buildings continue to amaze and intimidate us to this day!

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