Friday, 30 December 2011


The word Finial comes from the Latin Finis - the end - so actually it is quite apt as the year is finishing - but I only realised that connection just now.  I love finials, stone ones in particular.  I look out for them and admire the mastery of carving.  By old writers the architectural term is frequently applied to a pinnacle (more about pinnacles to follow), and usually confined to a bunch of foliage which terminates pinnacles, canopies and pediments in Gothic architecture.  The introduction of finials was at a time when crockets (more about them to follow too), were popular, to which they bear a close affinity.  The leaves used in finials often resemble those used on crockets, and sometimes four joined together would make up a finial.  Spires are often topped with finials.

Beautiful examples exist at King's College, Cambridge which my latest lino-cut attempts to show.  Where gables support ornamental decoration or finish in the form of a final, they are sometimes known as hip-knobs.

These are some more modern ones - Five Finials by Ian Hamilton Finlay (with Peter Coates)

1 comment:

  1. The grenade got a guffaw as I tried to understand what it was and how it fit into the line up.


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