PANEL (O. Fr. panel, mod. panneau, piece of cloth, from Med. Lat. panncllus, diminutive of pannus, cloth), a piece of cloth, slip of parchment, or portion of a surface of wood or stone enclosed in a compartment. In the first sense the word survives in the use of " panel " or " pannel " for the cloth-stuffed lining of a saddle. From the slip of parchment on which the list of jurymen is drawn up by the sheriff, " panel " in English law is applied to a jury, who are thus said to be " empanelled." In Scots law the word is used of the indictment, and of the person or persons named in the indictment; " panel " is thus the equivalent of the English " prisoner at the bar." In building and architecture (Fr. panneau; Ital. quadrelto, formello; Ger. Feld) " panel " is properly used of the piece of wood framed within the stiles and rails of a door, fiUing up the aperture; but it is often applied both to the whole square frame and the sinking itself, and also to the ranges of sunken compartments in cornices, corbel tables, groined vaults, ceilings, etc. In Norman work these recesses are generally shallow, and more of the nature of arcades. In Early Enghsh work the square panels are ornamented with quatrefoils, cusped circles, etc., and the larger panels are often deeply recessed, and form niches with trefoil heads and sometimes canopies. In the Decorated style the cusping and other enrichments of panels become more elaborate, and they are often fiUed with shields, foliages, and sometimes figures. Towards the end of this period the walls of important buildings were often entirely covered with long or square panels, the former frequently forming niches with statues. The use of panels in this way became very common in Perpendicular work, the wall frequently being entirely covered with long, short and square panels, which latter are frequently richly cusped, and filled with every species of ornament, as shields, bosses of foliage, portcullis, lilies, Tudor roses, etc. Wooden panellings very much resembled those of stone, except in the Tudor period, when the panels were enriched by a varied design, imitating the plaits of a piece of Unen or a napkin folded in a great number of parallel lines. This is generally called the linen pattern. Wooden ceilings, which are very common, are composed of thin oak boards nailed to the rafters, collars, etc., and divided into panels by oak mouldings fixed on them, with carved bosses at the intersections.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)