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

Corbel / Corbel table
KOR bl

[Overlapping] corbels in a corbel table
Arcaded corbel table


1. Corbel: A projecting bracket of stone, brick, wood, metal, etc., which supports a cornice, arch, or orielExample: Left illustration above.

2. Corbel: An overlapping arrangement of bricks or stones [overlapping corbels] in which each course extends farther out from the vertical of the wall than the course below. Usually supports a cornice or overhanging member. Example: Center illustration above.

French: "corbel" = a raven; hence, a beak-like projection

A type of bracket.

A corbel is a solid piece of material in the wall, whereas a console is a piece applied to the structure.

Found in almost all styles of architecture

Typical types of corbels: ancone ...  modillion

Figurative/figural corbels: Corbels simply or elaborately carved with human, animal or grotesque faces or bodies. Contrast to gargoyles, which were intended to be waterspouts and which were sometimes used for protection against evil spirits, etc.

Machicolation: In medieval fortifications, a projecting gallery or parapet supported on corbels having openings through which stones or boiling water could be dropped on an enemy.

Corbel table

Corbel table, in architecture, a continuous row of corbels (a block of stone projecting from a wall and supporting some heavy feature), usually occurring just below the eaves of a roof in order to fill in beneath a high-pitched roof and to give extra support.

It was a popular architectural feature in early medieval churches, particularly in Romanesque buildings, in which the corbels were carved and elaborately ornamented with decorative motifs, such as fancifully sculptured grotesques. On medieval castle walls, parapets were supported by boldly projecting corbel tables, with floor openings between the corbels through which defenders of the castle could drop missiles, molten lead, or boiling oil on the attacking force below.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica (online March 2019)


The corbel was adapted for use in interiors and on furniture, and was popular in Renaissance designs.

CORBEL examples from Buffalo architecture:

CORBEL examples outside of Buffalo:

CORBEL TABLE examples from Buffalo architecture:

CORBEL TABLE examples outside of Buffalo:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
.| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| .

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.