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Styles & Traditions


Corinthian and Composite

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The Corinthian Order
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Port of London Authority, (former)

The CorinthianGlossary Term orderGlossary Term is more slender still than the IonicGlossary Term, and also more ornately treated. It was the most common RomanGlossary Term type, and was popular in addition in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The capitalGlossary Term is tall, with rings of foliage representing the leaves of the acanthusGlossary Term plant. The shape tapers outwards, like a basket: a legend tells how a sculptor called Callimachus invented the form after he saw a basket with a flat stone on top, through which growing acanthusGlossary Term had sprouted. The corniceGlossary Term is elaborate too, often with a decoratedGlossary Term friezeGlossary Term. The shaftGlossary Term can be plain or fluted.

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The Composite Order

The CompositeGlossary Term is a more elaborate variant of the CorinthianGlossary Term. Its capitalGlossary Term has acanthusGlossary Term leaves below, spliced with IonicGlossary Term volutesGlossary Term above. It was developed by the Romans, and tends to be used to give the effect of particular richness or luxury.



Classical formalized leaf ornament.


Head or crowning feature of a column or pilaster.


One of the orders of classical architecture in which the capital of the column combines the volutes of the Ionic order with the foliage of the Corinthian.


The most slender and ornate of the three main classical orders. It has a basket-shaped capital ornamented with acanthus foliage.


Flat-topped ledge with moulded underside, projecting along the top of a building or feature, especially as the highest member of the classical entablature. Also the decorative moulding in the angle between wall and ceiling. An eaves cornice overhangs the edge of a roof.


A distinctive phase of English Gothic which developed at the end of the 13th century and continued into the later 14th; sometimes abbreviated to Dec. Named from its elaborate window tracery, which abandoned the simple circular forms of Geometric in favour of more varied patterns based on segments of circles. Dec tracery makes much use of ogee or reversed curves, which were combined in the 14th century to produce reticulated and flowing tracery composed of trefoils, quatrefoils and dagger shapes. Similar inventiveness is seen in the patterns produced by the lierne and tierceron vaults of the period, in the three-dimensional handling of wall surfaces broken up by canopy work and sculpture and in imaginative spatial planning making use of diagonal axes.


The middle member of the classical entablature, sometimes ornamented. Pulvinated frieze (lit. cushioned): of bold convex profile. Also a horizontal band of ornament.


One of the orders of classical architecture, distinguished in particular by downward- and inward-curling spirals (called volutes) on the capital of the column.


One of a series of recessed arches and jambs forming a splayed medieval opening, e.g. a doorway or arcade arch. Also, an upright structural member used in series, especially in classical architecture: see Orders.


The architecture of the Roman Empire, to which most of Britain belonged from 43 to c. 410 A.D. Our knowledge of Romano-British architecture depends mostly on archaeological reconstructions from foundations and fragments, though some notable fortifications and other military works survive above ground level in recognizable form.


Vertical member of round or polygonal section, including the main part of a classical column, and by extension also of a pilaster.


Spiral scrolls. They occur on Ionic capitals. Angle volute: a pair of volutes, turned outwards to meet at the corner of a capital.