Looking at Buildings

Styles & Traditions


It developed from the architecture of Ancient Italy rather than Greece, in particular from the temples of the Etruscans, who lived in the part of central Italy that includes modern Tuscany. It is therefore often associated with ancient or rural simplicity.

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The Banqueting House

Sometimes these also project diagonally outwards, so that all four sides can look the same (called angle volutesGlossary Term). Otherwise they run back from the main outer edge, like a roll of bedding curled up at each end. The shafts can be fluted or plain. On the corniceGlossary Term, there is usually a row of little blocks called dentils set just below the main overhang. The friezeGlossary Term can be plain or ornamented; sometimes it bulges outwards (called a pulvinatedGlossary Term friezeGlossary Term).

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St Bartholomew's Hospital, Gatehouse

Another variant has a band of decoration (called a swagGlossary Term or a festoonGlossary Term) stretching between the volutesGlossary Term.



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.


Ornamental garland, shown as if suspended from both ends. Compare swag.


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


(lit. cushioned): Of a frieze: of bold convex profile.


Ornament in the form of drapery suspended from both ends. Compare festoon.


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