The Corinthian Capital

This and the Composite capital are the two most difficult elements to represent in the whole of the orders. The four sketches in the right-hand margin of the plate show the way the capital is built up. The core of the capital is a cylindrical continuation of the shaft, turned over at the top like the inverted mouth of a bell (glimpsed in the principal diagonal elevation) beneath an abacus of four convex sides in all respects similar to that of the four-sided Ionic capital. The abacus is supported by four pairs of volutes at the corners, and four subsidiary pairs in the centre of the sides, each pair joined by a web, often pierced and in turn supported by calyces or caulicoli springing from eight stems disposed around the column. The volutes in the centres of the sides are sometimes interlaced, as in the capital in plate 24. The capital is completed by two tiers of leaves - Chambers says that they should be of olive in the Corinthian order - again springing from the central cylinder, the whole of the lower part of which is thus concealed by foliage. A small flower adorns the centre of each side of the abacus. Unlike the volutes in the Ionic order, the sweep of the Corinthian volutes is contained beneath the abacus, the full depth of which appears on the elevation.

The vertical divisions of the capital are dimensioned in plate 24 and it is not necessary for these to be repeated in the more detailed plate. The total height of the capital, above the torus terminating the shaft, is 1.15 diameters, 0.15 being allocated to the abacus, the remainder disposed in three equal bands of one third of a diameter. The upper third is devoted to the volutes and calyces, and a band of leaves occupies each of the lower thirds. The extremities of the leaves are contained within a straight line drawn between the tip of the abacus and the torus surmounting the shaft.

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