| Alberti, Leone Battista Architecture 1755, tr. Leoni, James |
Compasses, and fixing one Foot in the Point
below the Eye, let the other reach to the End
of the Line which you have already turned,
that is to say, to the End of your Semi-circle,
and turn it upwards till you touch the upper
Edge of the Ovolo.
Thus with two unequal
Semi-circles, you will have made one entire
Compass about the Eye of your Volute.
go on with your Sweep in the same Manner,
till you have turned it quite to the Eye of the
Volute, or that little Circle in the Middle.
The Top of the Ovolo in the Front must have
a Projecture of two Minutes beyond the Rind,
and the lower Part of it must be even with the
Top of the Shaft.
The Sides of the Volutes
where the hindmost joins to the foremost on
each Side of the Capital, must be contracted to
the same Width as the Ovolo, with the Addi
tion only of one half Minute.
must be adorned with an upright Cymatium
of one Minute.
The Back of the Volute must
be adorned with a little Channel half a Minute
deep, and the Annulets on the Side of this
Channel must be one Fourth of its Breadth,
and the Spaces on each Side the Channel must
be filled with Leaves or Fruits.
That Part of
the Ovolo which appears forward in the Front
of the Capital must be carved with Eggs, and
under them with Berries.
In the Void left on
each Side by the Sweep of the Volute, carve
Leaves or Scales.
And thus much for the Ionic
The Corinthian Capital is in Height
one whole Diameter of the Bottom of the Shaft.
This Height must be divided into seven Parts
or Minutes, of which the Abacus must be al
The rest is entirely taken up by
the Bell or Vase, the Breadth of which at the
Bottom must be exactly equal to that of the
Top of the Shaft, without any of its Projec
tures, and the Breadth of the Top of the Vase
must be equal to the largest Diameter of the
Bottom of the Shaft.
The Length of the A
bacus on every Side must be equal to ten of the
afore-mentioned Parts; but the Corners of it
must be cut away to the Breadth of one half
of those Parts.
The Abacus of the other Ca
pitals consists entirely of straight Lines, but
that of the Corinthian must go with a Sweep
inwards to the Thickness of the Bottom of the
The Thickness of the Abacus is divid
ed into three Parts, the Uppermost of which
must be made exactly as we adorn the Top of
the Shaft, that is to say, with a Fillet and small
The Vase must be covered with
two Rows of Leaves standing upright, each
Row consisting of eight Leaves.
must be in Height two of the afore-mentioned
Parts, and the remaining Parts must be given
to several little Shoots rising out of the Leaves
to the Top of the Vase.
These Shoots are in
Number sixteen, of which four are tied in each
Front of the Capital, two on the lest Hand in
one Knot, and two on the right in another,
spreading away from each Knot in such a Man
ner, that the Tops of the two outward ones
make a Sort of a Volute exactly under the
Horns of the Abacus.
The two Middle ones
in each Front join together, winding also like
Volutes, and exactly over the Middle of them
is carved a beautiful Flower rising out of the
Vase, which must not exceed the Abacus in
The Breadth of those Parts of the
Lips of the Vase which those Shoots do not
conceal from us, is only one of the afore-men
tioned seventh Parts.
The Leaves must be di
vided into five Plumes, and never more than
The Tops of the Leaves must pro
ject half a Minute.
It looks handsome in the
Leaves of this Capital, and all other Carving
of the same Nature, to have all the Lines cut
in deep and bold.
This was the Capital of
the Corinthians. The Italians brought into
their Capital all the Ornaments that they found
in the others, and observed the same Method
in making the Vase, Abacus, Leaves, and the
Flower in the Abacus, as the Corinthians. But
instead of Shoots they made use of a Sort of
Volutes, under the four Horns of the Abacus,
projecting two whole Minutes.
The Front of
the Capital, being otherwise naked, borrowed
its Ornaments from the Ionic; for instead of
Shoots it has Volutes, and the Lips of its Vase
are carved full of Eggs with Berries underneath
them, like an Ovolo.
Besides the Capitals here
described, we up and down see a great many
other Sorts made up of the Members of these,
with either Additions or Diminutions: But I
do not find that they are much approved.
And thus much may suffice of Capitals, unless
it be necessary just to mention one Practice;
which is, that it is common over the Abacus
to lay a very thick square Piece of Stone, or
Plinth, which seems as it were to give the Ca
pital Breadth, and to prevent its being oppress
ed by the Architrave, and at the same Time is
of Use to keep the nicest and most delicate
Parts of the Work from being injured in laying