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Church Flower

Ballflowers on pew

The Monday Photo

In the Decorated period of church design, (1280 to 1377) the favourite ornament was the ball-flower.

But this isn’t just a ball-flower, and it’s not from the Decorated period; it was carved in 1863 when this church was refurbished.

This is a closer look at the pulpit of All Saints, Hulcott, which I showed you last week. It’s an example of the Gothic Revival style.

A ball-flower or ballflower is a carved globular flower with three curved petals. They curve round a smaller globe in the centre, though this example isn’t very crisp now.

The four symmetrical petals you can see around this one aren’t seen in carvings from the Decorated period. The ballflower stands alone, usually in evenly spaced rows and sometimes alternating with other ornaments.

You are most likely to see them in the concave part of a decorative moulding around a column top or along a wall.

The ornaments of this pulpit alternate too. They are both carved inside the same square shape, so it’s not obvious at first. But this is where close study pays off; it’s finding those little details that make looking at churches so worthwhile.

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