Architecture as power
One of the first and finest examples was Henry III’s reconstruction of Westminster Abbey to house the shrine of Edward the Confessor. It was also, ostentatiously, a declaration of the place of kingship in the divine order of the world.
'Another characteristic of the Decorated style was to reduce large architectural motifs ...'
At Westminster, the diamond-shaped 'diaper' patterning in the spandrels of the arches imitated contemporary bronze tombs, including that of Henry III himself. All wall surfaces were probably once painted and gilded, with the result that the whole building sparkled like an enormous precious metal casing for the Confessor's shrine.
Another characteristic of the Decorated style was to reduce large architectural motifs and use them for small objects. Screens, choir stalls, tombs, and monuments like the Eleanor crosses were designed as micro-architecture with tiny arches, gables and pinnacles.
In part this was just a way of extending decoration across surfaces. But it could also make a statement about the spiritual and social hierarchy. For instance, the tomb of Edmund Crouchback, in Westminster, has a three-gabled canopy, supported by miniature buttresses, which rests on a chest with a row of weepers in gabled niches.
If the canopy represents a quarter-size representation of a real building, then the weepers in their niches depict real people standing in doorways. The scale therefore makes the man in the effigy about 7.5m (25ft) tall - perhaps a suitable height for Henry III’s younger son.