Building Language: Festoon

Written by on October 16, 2012 in Building Language - 1 Comment
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Festoon. Recently, I covered the term ornament as it pertains generally to historic architecture. Today’s Building Language is a specific type of architectural ornament that is certainly fun to say! A festoon is ornament representing a string or garland hanging in a curve between two points, appearing tied on each end with a ribbon. This is a type of classical ornament, so it is very popular on Classical Revival styles throughout Indianapolis, although it can be found on other architectural styles including the Tudor Revival and Queen Anne. The garland might feature ornament including flowers, fruit, or foliage.

Festoon on 1400 Block of Broadway Street

This Victorian residence in the 1400 Block of Broadway Street features an excellent example of festoon. The foliage ornament is connected between two ornamental posts along the gabled end of the residence. This smaller example uses six festoons together, creating a band of ornament.

Another example is found on this Tudor Revival residence in the 5700 Block of North Pennsylvania Street. The festoon is more classical in nature, using two festoons together with a simple cartouche in the center over the primary entrance of the residence. The garland features a floral motif, while the ends feature limestone ribbons.

Festoon over entrance in the Tudor Revival residence on the 5700 Block of North Pennsylvania Street

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

The festoon featured limestone fruits, including intricately designed apples and grapes.

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About the Author

Raina Regan is an architectural historian employed by the Indiana National Guard. Her work encompasses statewide cultural resources projects with National Register eligible or listed structures. Raina has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Ball State University. Raina is an Indiana import by way of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan and loves the culture and architecture of the Midwest.

One Comment on "Building Language: Festoon"

  1. basil berchekas jr October 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm · Reply

    Will stay with festoons and other articles like this…very interesting!

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