Classical Architecture: The Dentil

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Newly restored, an example of Australian Sandstone Georgian/ Colonial Dentils shown under the top cornice molding.

Deriving from ‘dens’ (Lat.)  meaning ‘tooth’, the ‘dentil’ has embellished and adorned many different periods and styles of cornice moldings. From romanesque design through the ages, the dentil, as opposed to it’s relative the “corbel”, serve various functions. Whilst corbels disperse some load (weight) from the stone, typically cantilevered above– transferring it back into the building– dentil’s are mostly ornamental and are, therefore, non-load bearing (non-structural) facade design elements.

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As the architectural periods varied, dentil design, for the most part, remained fairly uniform. This is exemplified by the use of dentil design elements in romanesque design also being used later in the art deco period of the 1920’s.

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Here, shown above the medium relief art deco frieze, an ‘inverted’ dentil, used to enhance visual depth in the building facade.
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An array of handcarved indents for the sandstone facade shown above.

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