Bad neighbours · vista

Vista 8: a tale of two spires

grey

The uniform brutalist offices in Bristol’s historic city centre contrast with the soaring spire of the medieval St John’s. Is this more crass than the view of the soaring spire of London’s Shard viewed through the pinnacles of Southwark Cathedral? Or is the latter more aesthetically pleasing? Bad neighbours or good neighbours?

Shard spire

Stone heads

Stone head 20: capitals

St Andrews, Congresbury, N Somerset
St Andrews, Congresbury, N Somerset
St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire
St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

A pair of historiated or figured capitals, one in England, the other in Wales; one of a king, the other of an allegorical figure (perhaps Gluttony) biting a pillar; the English head is medieval (the nose smashed by Puritans is diagnostic) but the Welsh head may well be a piece of Victorian whimsy

Capitals (from Latin caput, ‘head’) were placed at the top of pillar, usually at a load point such as the springing of an arch; the Congresbury example seems to have no such function but serves to mark the entrance to the sanctuary of the church