a general term applied to all the varieties of outline or contour given to the angles of the various subordinate parts and features of buildings, whether projections or cavities, such as cornices, capitals, bases, door and window jambs and heads, etc. The regular mouldings of Classical architecture are, the Fillet, or list; the Astragal, or bead; the Cyma reversa, or ogee; the Cyman recta, or cynma; the Cavetto; the Ovolo; the Scotia, or trochilus; and the Torus: each of these admits of some variety of form, and there is considerable difference in the manner of working them between the Greeks and Romans. (See those terms.) The mouldings in classical architecture are frequently enriched by being cut into leaves, eggs, and tongues, or other ornaments, and sometimes the larger members have running patterns of honeysuckle or other foliage carved on them in low relief; the upper moulding of cornices is occasionally ornamented with a series of projecting lions' heads.
In medieval architecture the diversities in the proportions and arrangements of the mouldings are very great, and it is scarcely possible to do more than point out a few of the leading and most characteristic varieties.
In the Norman style the plain mouldings consist almost entirely of rounds and hollows, variously combined, with an admixture of splays, and a few fillets. The rich mouldings, however, are very various, one of the most marked being the constant recurrence of mouldings broken into zigzag lines, and forming what is called the Zigzag or Chevron moulding: it has not been very clearly ascertained at what period this kind of decoration was first introduced, but it was certainly not till some considerable time after the commencement of the style; when once adopted, it became more common than any other ornament. A series of grotesque heads placed in a hollow moulding, called Beak-heads, with their tongues or beaks lapping over a large bead or torus, was also very common. The Hatch moulding is also not uncommon, and is found early in the style, as it can be cut conveniently without the aid of a chisel, with the pick only. The other favorite mouldings of the Norman style are the Billet mouldings, both square and round, the Lozenge, the Nail-head, the Pellet, the Chain, the Cable, and the Rose, of all which illustrations are here given. There may also be mentioned the Star, the Billeted Cable, the Nebule, the Studded, the Indented, the Scalloped, the Fir-cone, the Double Cone, the Dovetail, the Embattled, the Open Heart, and the Antique.
In the Early English style the plain mouldings become lighter, and are more boldly cut than in the Norman; the varieties are not very great, and in arches, jambs of doors, windows, etc., they are very commonly so arranged that if they are circumscribed by a line drawn to touch the most prominent points of their contour it will be found to form a succession of rectangular recesses. They generally consist of alternate rounds and hollows, the latter very deeply cut, and a few small fillets; sometimes also splays are used: there is considerable inequality in the sizes of the round mouldings, and the larger ones are very usually placed at such a distance apart as to admit of several smaller between them; these large rounds have frequently one or more narrow fillets worked on them, or are brought to a sharp edge in the middle, the smaller rounds are often undercut, with a deep cavity on one side (e e), and the round and hollow members constantly unite with each other without any parting fillet or angle. The ornamental mouldings in this style are not numerous, and they are almost invariably placed in the hollows; the commonest and most characteristic is that which is known by the name of Dog-tooth ornament, which usually consists of four small plain leaves united so as to form a pyramid; these ornaments are commonly placed close together, and several series of them are frequently introduced in the same suite of mouldings; the other enrichments consist chiefly of single leaves and flowers, or of running patterns of the foliage peculiar to the style.
The plain mouldings in the Decorated style are more diversified than in the Early English, though in large suites rounds and hollows continue for the most part to prevail; the hollows are often very deeply cut, but in many instances, especially towards the end of the style, they become shallower and broader; ovolos are not very uncommon, and ogees are frequent; splays also are often used, either by themselves or with other mouldings;
fillets placed upon larger members are abundant, especially in the early part of the style, and a round moulding, called the Scroll-moulding, with a sharp projecting edge on it, arising from one half being formed from a smaller curve than the other, is frequently used, and is characteristic of Decorated work; when used horizontally the larger curve is placed uppermost: there is also another moulding, convex in the middle and concave at each extremity, which, though sometimes found in the Perpendicular style, may be considered as generally characteristic of the Decorated. Fillets are very frequently used to separate other members, but the rounds and hollows often run together, as in the Early English style. The enrichments consist of leaves and flowers, either set separately or in running patterns, figures, heads, and animals, all of which are generally carved with greater truth than at any other period; but the ball-flower, which belongs especially to this style, and a variety of the four-leaved flower, are the commonest.
In the Perpendicular style the mouldings are generally flatter and less effective than at an earlier period.
One of the most striking characteristics is the prevalence of very large and often shallow hollows; these sometimes occupied so large a space as to leave but little room for any other mouldings: the hollows and round members not unfrequently unite without any line of separation, but the other members are parted either by quirks or fillets. The most prevalent moulding is the ogee, but rounds, which are often so small as to be only beads, are very abundant; and it is very usual to find two ogees in close contact, with the convex sides next each other. There is also an undulating moulding, which is common in the abacus and dripstones, peculiar to the Perpendicular style, especially the latter part of it; and another indicative of the same date, which is concave in the middle and round at each extremity, is occasionally used in door-jambs, etc. In Perpendicular work small fillets are not placed upon larger members, as in Decorated and Early English; splays also are much less frequent. The ornaments used in the mouldings are running patterns of foliage and flowers; detached leaves, flowers, and bunches of foliage; heads, animals, and figures, usually grotesque; shields, and various heraldic and fanciful devices; the large hollow mouldings, when used in arches or the jambs of doors and windows, sometimes contain statues with canopies over them;