Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Tuesday 17th May 2022


CaryatidsGlossary Term [1] and AtlantesGlossary Term [2] take a human or part-human form. In the Ancient World it was thought that columns symbolised the human figure, and human forms sometimes did duty for columns instead. CaryatidsGlossary Term [3] are female figures, AtlantesGlossary Term [4] are male. The males are usually shown as bearded and muscular, straining to hold up the entablatureGlossary Term [5], the females usually in repose.

Herms or terms are simpler versions with an upward-tapering shaftGlossary Term [6] finished off with a human torso. All of these are more often used in relief rather than free-standing, for example on doorways or fireplaces.

BlockedGlossary Term [7] columns have shafts intersected by square stone blocks, as if not all the stones had yet been carved. The form goes back to RenaissanceGlossary Term [8] Italy, where it began as a kind of sophisticated joke. It is used decoratively, and also at entrances as an expression of strength and security.

ordersGlossary Term [9]. One of the few to catch on was the version of DoricGlossary Term [10] or TuscanGlossary Term [11] designed by Salomon de Brosse, a 16th-century French architect, which has a straight-sided shaftGlossary Term [12] with the separate stones emphasized by grooves.

Variants of the CorinthianGlossary Term [13] with little sculpted figures in the capitalGlossary Term [14] were common in the Ancient world, and sometimes appear on British buildings.

capitalGlossary Term [15] rather like the IonicGlossary Term [16], but with volutesGlossary Term [17] shaped like fossil ammonites - a pun on his own name.

Terraced houses
London, Admiralty Arch

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009