Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
............... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Broken pediment


A pediment open or broken at the apex, base or both, and the gap often filled with an urn, cartouche, or other ornament

Found in classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival, Neoclassical, Italianate, Italian Renaissance Revival, Beaux Arts Classical styles

On windows, broken pediments are found in Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival, Neoclassical, Queen Anne styles

See also:  Triangular pediment     .....     Round/Segmental pediment

The pediment was the crowning feature of the Greek temple front.

The Romans adapted the pediment as a purely decorative form to finish doors, windows, and especially niches. Their pediments frequently appeared in a series consisting of alternating triangular and segmentally curved shapes, a motif revived by High Renaissance Italian designers.

Following a late Roman precedent, in which the line of the raking cornice is broken before it reaches the apex, the designers of the Baroque period developed many varieties of fantastic broken, scrolled, and reverse-curved pediments.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica (online October 2020)


Used in furniture

"Swan's neck" is referred to as bonnet top

Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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