The Tuscan Capital And Entablature

This plate shows the setting out of the Tuscan entablature in detail, and again shows both versions. A few specific points need to be noted. The capital is turned (circular on plan) up to and including the echinus. The abacus is never round on plan. In the Tuscan and Doric orders it is square, and in the Greek derived Ionic. In the other orders the shape of the abacus is derived from the square. The face of the entablature is aligned with the diameter of the notional upper limit of the column 'produced' through the capital, in accordance with Renaissance - but not earlier - practice. The projection of the cornice is equal to its height, so that the cornice profile is disposed about a line drawn at 45° from the upper end of the frieze. Most of the Renaissance authorities cited accept this height:projection ratio. Lutyens advocated a slightly steeper pitch, and there is a case in each specific application for this angle to be reassessed. It is well established that where oblique forms return through a right angle their pitch tends to be judged by the angle made by the mitre of the two adjoining faces - hipped roofs are a case in point - but as a general rule the angle of 45° will not lead one far astray.

As in plate 10, both Palladio's and Gibbs's form of capital and entablature are illustrated. The choice is for the individual - for applications which are restricted in scale, such as a porch, the simpler form of Palladio may be preferred, but in my view the more precise profile of Gibbs's corona with its undercut soffit is clearly superior. It is proper for the upper limit of the echinus in both Tuscan and Doric to be inset from the face of the abacus, but this inset should never be exaggerated, and in diminutive applications of these orders it can almost be dispensed with, in order that the abacus may not be seen to overhang the column too ponderously.

11. THE TUSCAN CAPITAL AND ENTABLATURE

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