Last edited 16 Jun 2021


This example of Renaissance coffering comes from the ceiling of the Sala dell'Udienza, in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture (third edition) was published in 1980. It was created for Penguin Reference and compiled by John Fleming, Hugh Honour and Nikolaus Pevsner.

It defines coffering as: ‘Decoration of a ceiling, a vault, or an arch soffit, consisting of sunken square or polygonal ornamental panels’.

The spaces or openings in a coffered ceiling may be referred to as lancunaria.

Some of the earliest forms of coffering are stone examples found in ancient Greek, Islamic, Chinese and Roman structures. One of the most famous examples of Roman coffers is the ceiling of the Pantheon. Coffers were also used in Renaissance architecture.

The word 'coffer' can refer to a strongbox or small chest for holding valuables.

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