(active 1230s in Wells)

Exterior view

begun c. 1230
Cathedral, Wells, Somerset

The architecture of the cathedral presents a harmonious whole which is entirely Gothic and mostly in a single style, the Early English Gothic of the late 12th and early 13th centuries.

The west façades of the English cathedrals are insignificant compared with the French ones. Porches, added to the naves and developed sometimes into superb pieces of independent decorative architecture, serve as main entrances instead. And when there are fully developed façades, as at Wells and Lincoln, they have an existence unrelated to the interiors behind, are screens, as it were, placed in front of the church proper, and not the logically designed outward projection of the inside system, as are the French façades.

The photo shows the west front (30m high, 45m wide) of the Wells Cathedral. It is wider than the nave behind it, it is a screen for sculpture, and the single entrance portal is quite insignificant. The exterior has an Early English façade displaying more than three hundred sculpted figures. Originally all these façades would have been brightly coloured, the figures painted naturalistically and the background in vivid reds and blues.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.