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

PED a ment

Triangular pediment - Title Guarantee Building

Round/Segmental pediment - Electric Tower

Broken pediment - 245 North Street (YWCA)

Broken pediment -  McNiven House

Swan's neck pediment -  40 North St.

Bonnet top pediment - Chippendale highboy


A triangular gable across a portico, door or window; any similar triangular decorative piece over a doorway, fireplace, etc.

"Pediment" is possibly a garbling of "pyramid."

Raking cornices: the sloping edges of a pediment

Tympanum: the space inside the pediment. It is is ideal for bold sculpture, as in Greek temples.

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.

Segmental pediment: a round pediment

Some Classical pediments are round or swan's neck

Tympanum: The triangular recessed face of a pediment; the space enclosed by a lintel and an arch over a doorway


Triangular or arched cresting [above a building or doorway or] on a piece of furniture.

Called a broken pediment when sides do not converge at an apex.

A bonnet top is the furniture equivalent of a swan's neck pediment

An architectural term adopted by cabinet makers to describe a triangular or shaped (as the swan necked) feature placed above the cornice of a bookcase, cabinet, tallboy, or longcase clock.

Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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