E.L. Malvaney has a submitted request for this MissPres Word of the Week, emailing along the photo below saying,
“…Another word I’ve recently thought of that should be a word of the week is “broken pediment.”
I suppose to break the rules you have to know them first, so here is the definition for Pediment, along with a photograph of a Pediment above a doorway at the New Capitol Building. According to Cyril M. Harris and his Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, ….
Pediment: (ˈpedəmənt) 1. In Classical architecture, a triangular gable usually having a horizontal cornice, with raked cornices on each side, surmounting or crowning a portico or another major division of a facade, end wall, or colonnade. 2. A gable above or over a door, window, or hood; usually has a cornice, crowned with another configuration (such as broken sides) or its base may be broke in the middle.
Now since we know the rule we can go ahead and break it. :) Here is the definition for Broken Pediment, along with a photograph of a Broken Pediment over a doorway at Lewis Hall at Ole Miss. According to Cyril M. Harris and his Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, ….
Broken Pediment: (ˈbrōkən ˈpedəmənt) 1. A pediment whose sloping or curving sides terminate before reaching the pediment’s highest point, resulting in an opening that is often filled with an urn, cartouche, or other ornament; sometimes called an open pediment or broken-apex pediment.
Below are some examples of Broken Pediments I was able to locate.
I also looked for other examples in my photos and ran across several structures of varying time periods and locations that employ a Broken Pediment. The Mississippi examples I found were Classical & Colonial Revival Style structures dating from the early 1800s to the mid 20th century. My personal favorite use of the Broken Pediment in the bunch was on Auburn in Natchez. Built in 1812 it uses a variety of Broken Pediments over several interior doors. The examples at Auburn fill the gap left by the break with a pineapple(?) and shell motifs.
Mr. Harris’ dictionary gives a second definition for Broken Pediment…
Broken Pediment: (ˈbrōkən ˈpedəmənt) 2. A pediment with sloping or curving sides whose base is broken in the middle; also called a broken-base pediment.
While I did not search extensively, I have not yet located a Broken Pediment above a door or window in Mississippi that fits this second definition. Does the example from the New Capitol fit this definition? Does anyone know of a building that might sport one?
Have you got a favorite Broken Pediment on a structure in Mississippi? Then share it with us! If you run across a Broken Pediment this week take a photo and upload it to the Preservation in Mississippi Flickr page.