(active 1502-1509 in London)

Interior view

Westminster Abbey, London

After the 14th century, cathedrals lost their leading role in English architecture. The outstanding building projects of the 15th and early 16th centuries occurred in small-scale church building such as chapels and parish churches and also in the building of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Some of these smaller building projects turned out, at least in part, to be no less spectacular than the cathedrals and monastery churches of earlier times. This is especially true of the magnificent series of royal chapels with which medieval architecture in England comes to an end. English kings emerged as founders of prestigious building projects: King's College Chapel in Cambridge (Henry VI), St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle (Edward IV), and Lady Chapel at the east end of Westminster Abbey (Henry VII). As all three chapels were intended to serve as royal burial places, they reached cathedral proportions.

Henry VII (1485-1509) had the Lady Chapel in the east of the Westminster Abbey torn down for his own burial place and the choir made twice as long. Both outside and inside, Henry VII's Chapel is composed entirely of intricate panels with hardly any plain wall area left. The greatest triumph of the interior space is the vault. It is a fan vault, but combined with large hanging bosses called pendants.

The photo shows Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

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