‘Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham’; British School
Photo credit: The Cheltenham Trust and Cheltenham Borough Council
In our July 2021 group email, we pose the Art Quiz question:
To which classical order do the columns around the Pump Room belong?
(a) Doric (b) Tuscan (c) Ionic (d) Corinthian
Answer: (c) Ionic – always identified by the two lateral volutes or scrolls that form the capital (the decorative head) of an Ionic column. The Pump Room columns are unusual, however, because Ionic columns are nearly always fluted, whereas John Forbes, the architect, specified smooth-surfaced columns – either from preference or because fluting required highly skilled, time-consuming and therefore costly stone-carving.