1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arcade

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ARCADE, in architecture, a range of arches, supported either by columns or piers; isolated in the case of those separating the nave of a church from the aisles, or forming the front of a covered ambulatory, as in the cloisters in Italy and Sicily, round the Ducal Palace or the Square of St Mark’s, Venice, round the courts of the palaces in Italy, or in Paris round the Palais-Royal and the Place des Vosges. The earliest examples known are those of the Tabularium, the theatre of Marcellus, and the Colosseum, in Rome. In the palace of Diocletian at Spalato the principal street had an arcade on either side, the arches of which rested direct on the capital without any intervening entablature or impost block. The term is also applied to the galleries, employed decoratively, on the façades of the Italian churches, and carried round the apses where they are known as eaves-galleries. Sometimes these arcades project from the wall sufficiently to allow of a passage behind, and sometimes they are built into and form part of the wall; in the latter case, they are known as blind or wall arcades; and they were constantly employed to decorate the lower part of the walls of the aisles and the choir-aisles in English churches. Externally, blind arcades are more often found in Italy and Sicily, but there are examples in England at Canterbury, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich, St John’s (Chester), Colchester and elsewhere. Internally, the oldest example is that of the old refectory in Westminster Abbey (fig. 1). Sometimes the design is varied with interlacing arches as in St John’s Devizes (fig. 2), and Beverley Minster (fig. 3). In Sicily and the south of Italy these interlacing arcades are the special characteristic of the Saracenic work there found, and their origin may be found in the interlaced arches of the Mosque of Cordova in Spain. In the cathedral of Palermo and at Monreale they are carried round the apses at the east end. At Caserta-Vecchia, in South Italy, they decorate the lantern over the crossing, and at Amalfi the turrets on the north-west campanile.


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Fig. 1.—Arcade, Westminster Abbey.                        Fig. 2.—Arcade, St John’s, Devizes.


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From Rickman’s Styles of Architecture, by permission of Parker & Co.
Fig. 3.—Triforium at Beverley.


The term is also applied to the covered passages which form thoroughfares from one street to another, as in the Burlington Arcade, London; in Paris such an arcade is usually called passage, and in Italy galleria.  (R. P. S.)