This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
The mouldings employed by the Romans are generally followed, through the medium of the Renaissance work of Italy and England, in most of the work executed to-day; and these sections are therefore evidently even more important to the student than the Greek mouldings which he has already studied. The architects of the Italian Renaissance selected with almost invariable good taste the best moulding sections employed by the Romans in the Classic examples with which they were familiar; and these same sections were later copied by the architects of England and other countries, until our modern moulding vocabulary is substantially confined for precedents to these profiles.
The various moulding sections may be studied in Fig. 140, as well as in all the other plates, which are carefully detailed for this purpose in order to show the general purpose and use of all the Roman mouldings in common use, so that the variations and refinements in their outlines can be easily apprehended and understood. In studying these drawings, especially those of the Roman Order Plates, it must be remembered that they are intended merely as a type or general form of the many varieties devised by the ancients. The various outlines should be studied in the plates redrawn from original work and in the various works given in the bibliography elsewhere annexed.
In many of the Plates here reproduced, the moulding ornament in the original examples has been omitted in order to show more clearly the moulding outline and section and to convey at the same time the fact that the Order alone may be employed with the minimum amount of ornamentation and yet obtain a very satisfactory result. In other cases, the moulding ornament has been suggested over only a small portion of the drawing, for the same purpose of simplifying the architectural effect as an aid to its readier comprehension. The use of ornamentation, to the extreme degree manifested by the Romans, is evidence of a luxuriance and a lack of refinement on the part of the builders and the nation at large. Useless ornament in any event is employed only for the purpose of rendering upon the beholder an effect of greater costliness; and it is a mooted point whether ornament, as applied by the Romans in elaborate carving on plain surfaces as well as on mouldings, obtains an effect commensurate with its cost.