The Doric Capital And Entablature I And Ii

Plate i4 shows the capital and entablature in elevation. The projection of the cornice is i diameter, compared with a height of 0.75, this being the only order in which the 'pitch' of the cornice departs from an angle of 45°. Indeed it is best to think of this cornice not as a 45° plane with mouldings cut into it, but as two separate series of mouldings separated by a broad soffit supported by the mutules. The mutules themselves are a series of hollow boxes in which a number of guttae or pegs hang down from a soffit, surrounding a solid block, as shown in plate 15, figure (a). Different authorities vary the size and number of the guttae, but the overall form seems to be generally agreed. Serlio shows a pleasing variation in his only example of the mutular form, where the hollow box is filled not with guttae, but with overlapping leaves carved in bas-relief. Chambers insists that the width of the mutule should correspond with that of the triglyph below, since 'the width of the rafter never exceeds the width of the beam of joist it stands on'.18 I have followed Gibbs in the plate in making the mutule slightly broader, corresponding with the fillet above the triglyph. The forms are so far stylised that Chambers' assertion is a little pedantic. What is important is the design of the soffit. Plate i5 shows that it consists of square panels surrounded by a flat margin. The maintenance of a broad margin of consistent width is of more importance, and to narrow the mutule makes this more difficult. Plate 15(b) shows a section through the cornice with the sunk panel in its soffit. (Chambers, incidentally, substitutes a cavetto, for the crowning cyma, a pleasant alternative of slightly archaic appearance.) The soffit panels are often enriched with rosettes, darts, or geometrical patterns.

The frieze is quite awkward to set out. I have indicated how limited is the choice of suitable column spacings to allow a precisely square metope. Any departure from the precise square is likely to erode the characteristic appearance of the order.

The triglyph is one of the few elements not readily amenable to metric measurement, since it is divided into six parts, one part for each of the two channels, one for each of the three flat faces between them, and half a part to each chamfered edge. To accord with my decimal system I have allowed the overall breadth of each of the chamfered channels to exceed the intervening faces by a small amount. It will be seen from plate 14 that these channels terminate short of the top edge of the triglyph, leaving a plain upper margin. The upper limits of the channels are generally shown as square, though in Greek practice they were generally rounded in an elliptical curve. The metopes may be left plain or filled with bas-relief decoration, including bucranian masks, paterae, trophies or sculptured figures. Figure (b) in plate 15 explains in perspective the arrangement at the head of the triglyph.


Beneath the taenia separating frieze from architrave, the regula projects, the same thickness and breadth as the triglyph with which it corresponds, exactly as if a tenon left on the lower end of the triglyph were passed through a mortice in the taenia. The regula, however, is plain, not reflecting the channelling of the triglyph. It is very shallow, and from it hang six guttae, conical in section, unlike those in the mutules which are cylindrical.

The capital, as shown in plate 14, considerably resembles that of the Tuscan order. However, beneath the echinus a cavetto is substituted for the plain fillet of the Tuscan, whilst the abacus is enriched by an additional cyma reversa. Figure (a) in plate 14 gives an appropriate profile for a responding pilaster, in which the echinus takes the form of a cyma. Plate 15, figure (c), gives an alternative form of the capital where the echinus rises from three oversailing fillets, and the neck of the capital is ornamented with rosettes and husks.


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