Gothic PortalHouse DecorationGothic Architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture which started in Europe during the medieval ages. The meaning of the term "Gothic Architecture" without entering into the derivation of the word "Gothic," it may suffice to state that it is an expression sometimes used to denote in one general term, and distinguish from the Antique, those peculiar modes or styles in which most of our ecclesiastical and many of our domestic edifices of the middle ages have been built. In a more confined sense, Gothic Architecture comprehends those styles only in which the pointed arch predominates, and it is then often used to distinguish such from the more ancient Anglo-Saxon and Norman styles.
Infact the term "Gothic Architecture" is not connected to the ancient gothic people at all. The term was coined by Giorgio Vasari in 1530 to express a culture and therefore style of architecture that was labeled barbaric, primitive and very repulsive.
The origin of the gothic architecture can be traced to the classic orders in that state of degeneracy into which they had fallen in the age of Constantine, and afterwards; and as the Romans, on their voluntary abandonment of Britain in the fifth century, left many of their temples and public edifices remaining, together with some Christian churches, it was in rude imitation of the Roman structures of the fourth century that the most ancient of our Anglo-Saxon churches were constructed. This is apparent from an examination and comparison of such with the vestiges of Roman buildings we have existing.
Gothic Architecture constitutes the difference of these styles. They may be distinguished partly by the form of the arches, which are triangular-headed, semicircular or segmental, simple pointed, and complex pointed; though such forms are by no means an invariable criterion of any particular style; by the size and shape of the windows, and the manner in which they are subdivided or not by transoms, mullions, and tracery; but more especially by certain minute details, ornamental accessories and mouldings, more or less peculiar to particular styles, and which are seldom to be met with in any other.
Most of the gothic cathedral and country churches have been built, or had additions made to them, at different periods, and therefore seldom exhibit an uniformity of design; and many churches have details about them of almost every style. There are, however, numerous exceptions, where churches have been erected in the same style throughout; and this is more particularly observable in the churches of the fifteenth century.
From: The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. / Bloxam, Matthew Holbeche, 1805-1888