The Classical architectural orders were first developed by the ancient Greeks,who had three –Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The Romans added a further two – Tuscan at the lower end and Composite at the higher.
These crop up time and again in buildings, prints and discussions relating to scale and proportion. In textile designs columns appear in many of the classically influenced weaves and prints, such as Toile de Jouy, landscape depictions and the graphic blacks and whites of Timney Fowler.
Each style is most easily recognised by its column, and by the decoration of its capital.
Here’s a brief description of each:
Tuscan: smooth column with simple capital–no carved decoration.
Doric: short-ish, fluted column with plain ring capital.
Ionic: slender, fluted column with a capital showing two opposing scrolls.
Corinthian: slender fluted column, with the most ornate capital with four rows of acanthus leaves and four scrolls.
Composite: fluted column with simple Ionic scrolls set around acanthus leaves.