King's College Chapel, Cambridge
Engraving: from 'Cantabrigia Illustrata', D. Loggan (c. 1690)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library
Built between 1448 and 1515, King’s College Chapel is celebrated as one of England’s greatest Medieval buildings. Its reputation relies on the remarkable purity of its architecture: despite a long construction history, the chapel’s builders remained true to its initial plan, together creating a powerful and unified interior.
The chapel is one of the best examples of Perpendicular architecture. A long, high, rectangular box, internally it is characterised by a grid of lines across glass and wall. This continues unbroken from floor to ceiling, finally fanning out in the vaults. Structure is kept to a minimum, making available a vast canvas for stained glass, and remarkably even lighting.
This late seventeenth-century engraving by Loggan focuses on this architectural magnificence, contrasting this to everyday life. Women and gentlemen promenade in the nave, admiring the architecture. Others read, chat, or avoid the beggars and unleashed dogs. And despite this irreverent bustle, the chapel’s architecture remains majestic over all.