> A common use of the word "Ionian" is in naming the three Greek
> orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. What's usually taught to
> beginning art
> history students is how to recognize the columns, and I assume TSE
> would have
> been taught this in the intro class in ancient art that he took at
> Doric columns are squat and cigar shaped and have a plain capital or
> top (as
> on the Parthenon). Ionic columns are more slender and have a volute
> at the top. The Erechteoin has Ionic columns. Corinthian columns are
> the most
> slender of all, and the capital has acanthus flowers. If your wife has
> a copy
> of Janson, Gardner, or any other intro art history text, there's
> probably a
> picture of the various columns. Or maybe on the Internet (attention,
> All of the columns, and Greek temples generally, would have been made
> Pentelic marble, the white marble that the Greeks quarried on mount
> Pentelicon. In photos of the Parthenon, that's the mountain one sees
> in the
> distance. So I take "Ionian white" to mean the color of white marble,
> or of
> the white marble used by the Greeks for Ionian (and all) columns.
> temples, incidentally, have no mortar between the stones, which stay
> in place
> just of their own weight. Plus I think there might be metal rods or
> likely) pegs inside the columns, which had to be made in sections.
> weighs about 160 pounds per cubic foot, so it's easier to make tall
> in sections and stack the sections.
> As you've probably noticed, Greek architecture was imitated a lot in
> periods, right down to the courthouses in so many American towns that
> meant to resemble Greek temples, columns and all. These aren't
> white or made of marble.
> The gold Eliot mentions doesn't strike me as Greek. Remains of paint
> are on
> some Greek temples and sculpture, and there's a dispute about how they
> originally. Whether they were entirely painted or just highlighted
> with paint
> in some places. But I've never heard gold mentioned as one of the
> colors, and the use of gold paint and gold leaf is actually more
> typical of
> the middle ages and later.
> So my question now is whether Wren used white (or white marble) Ionic
> columns, perhaps touched up with gold, in the church of Magnus Martyr.
> Pictures needed, and I'd look first at the interior. The phrase you
> "Ionian blue," sounds like a reference to the sea, or even the Aegean
> sea if
> "Ionian" is being used here as a synonym for "Greek." It's possible a
> wouldn't think of Ionic columns unless they knew at least the
> rudiments of
> art history. But tse was exposed to at least the rudiments, from that
> class in the history of ancient art. The person teaching it wasn't an
> historian, but a teacher of Greek. So it might be fair to assume he's
> put at
> least as much stress on Greek art and architecture as on the work of
> Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, or whomever else was included in the
> If I've disgraced myself by getting any of the above not quite right,
> (who's an architect) will correct me.
No need, dear Pat! You are right.