Studies of columns

Studies of columns

Studies of columns and entablatures, demonstrating the five orders of architecture
George Smith (b.1811 or 1812)
1800s
pencil on paper
RIBA No. PB688 (28)

Ancient Greek and Roman buildings often contain columns which support facades or beams. The design and size of the column, in relation to the building above it, often conforms to a style known as an 'order'. The Greeks used three orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The Romans added two more: Tuscan and Composite.

Each order had a particular symbolism. The Doric order, for example, was considered masculine and can be found in temples dedicated to male gods. The Ionic order was used for temples dedicated to female gods.

George Smith records details of the five orders in this drawing. Interest in Classical architecture increased during the 18th and 19th centuries, due to new archaeological discoveries in Greece and Italy which fuelled the imagination of artists, designers and architects.