Flèche

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Notre-Dame de Paris with its 19th century flèche, lost to fire in 2019.
Model of the flèche of Notre-Dame de Paris made for Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1859) (Museum of Historic Monuments, Paris)

A flèche (French: flèche, lit. 'arrow'[3]) is the name given to spires in Gothic architecture: in French the word is applied to any spire, but in English it has the technical meaning of a spirelet or spike on the rooftop of a building.[4][5] In particular, the spirelets often built atop the crossings of major churches in mediaeval French Gothic architecture are called flèches.[5]

On the ridge of the roof on top of the crossing (the intersection of the nave and the transepts) of a church, flèches were typically light, delicate, timber-framed constructions with a metallic sheath of lead or copper.[6] They are often richly decorated with architectural and sculptural embellishments: tracery, crockets, and miniature buttresses serve to adorn the flèche.[6]

Flèches are often very tall: the Gothic Revival spire of Notre-Dame de Paris (1858–2019) by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was about 100 feet (30 m) before its destruction in the Notre-Dame de Paris fire, while the 16th century flèche of Amiens Cathedral is 148 feet (45 m) high.[6]

The highest flèche in the world was built at the end of the 19th century for Rouen Cathedral, 157 metres (515 ft) high in total.[citation needed]

A short spire or flèche surrounded by a parapet is common on churches in Hertfordshire; as a result this type of flèche is called a Hertfordshire spike.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Lassus, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-2613, ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5, retrieved 2020-05-27
  2. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Bazhenov, Vasily Ivanovich", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-476, ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5, retrieved 2020-05-27
  3. ^ "Definition of Spirelet". collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  4. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "spire", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-4392, ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5, retrieved 2020-05-27
  5. ^ a b Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "flèche", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-1827, ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5, retrieved 2020-05-27
  6. ^ a b c "Flèche | architecture". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  7. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Hertfordshire spike", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-2249, ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5, retrieved 2020-05-27