What is a Modillion?

A Modillion is a decorative bracket used in classical architecture.


A Modillion is an ornate, carved or molded bracket that projects from under a cornice in classical architecture. Typically seen in Corinthian, Composite, and sometimes Ionic orders, modillions have a rich history dating back to ancient Rome. Their primary function is to add both support and decorative detail to the cornice, often being exquisitely detailed to complement the overall aesthetic of the structure.

The details carved into modillions can range from simple shapes to elaborate scenes, demonstrating the craftsmanship and artistic skill of the architects and builders. In many cases, modillions are considered one of the defining features of classical architecture, adding an element of sophistication and elegance.

In modern times, modillions continue to be used in classical architectural reproductions and in designs inspired by historical architecture. They are often made from materials such as stone, wood, or plaster, depending on the design requirements and building practices.


Modillions are commonly found on the exterior of classical buildings, such as museums, government buildings, and grand homes. They can also be seen in interior design, particularly in spaces designed with a classical or historic influence, where they add an architectural detail to cornices and ceilings.


  • What styles of architecture commonly use modillions?

    Modillions are most commonly found in Corinthian, Composite, and sometimes Ionic orders of classical architecture.

  • Can modillions be found in modern architecture?

    Yes, modillions are used in modern architecture, especially in buildings and spaces that draw inspiration from classical design principles.

  • What materials are modillions typically made from?

    Modillions can be made from a variety of materials, including stone, wood, plaster, and even modern synthetic materials designed to mimic traditional looks.

Practical Application

When incorporating modillions into a design, it's important to consider the architectural style of the space to ensure that they fit seamlessly. They should complement other decorative elements and architectural details rather than overpower them. In restoration projects or new builds seeking a classical feel, carefully selecting or designing modillions can add authenticity and elegance to the structure.