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Ammonite Order


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Type of capital similar to the Ionic Order, first used 1788–9, according to some authorities, by George Dance, jun., on Alderman John Boydell's (1719–1804) Shakespeare Gallery, No. 52 Pall Mall, London (demolished 1868–9). It was employed to embellish early C19 domestic architecture in Kent and Sussex, with volutes resembling the whorled chambered fossilized shells, called snake-stones, of a genus of cephalopods. The fossils were once supposed to be coiled petrified snakes, and were so called from their resemblance to the Cornu Ammonis, or involuted horn of Jupiter Ammon. The Ammonite Order was used by the architect-developers Amon and Amon Henry Wilds (who may have derived it from designs by Piranesi), probably as a kind of ‘signature’.

Colvin (1995);Dale (1947)

Ammonite capital Typical example as used by the Wilds at Brighton in the 1820s, and in certain groups of houses in London's Old Kent Road and New Cross Road, Southwark (c.1829), and 22–28 Rotherfield Street, Islington (c.1826) (after existing capital in New Cross Road, Southwark).

Subjects: Architecture.


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