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Last edited 01 Jun 2022
In its broadest sense, the term ‘soffit’ can be used to refer to the underside of any construction element, such as an arch, architrave, or projecting cornice. However, most commonly it refers to the underside of the eaves, that is, the underside of the part of the roof that projects beyond the external wall of a building.
In classical architecture, a soffit can be decorated with ‘tooth-like’ blocks used in a close repeating pattern, known as ‘dentils’. In the Doric order, rectangular blocks were commonly hung from the soffit of the cornice over the triglyphs, known as ‘mutules’.
Short Guide, Scottish traditional shopfronts, published, on 18 April 2017 by Historic Environment Scotland, defines a dentil as: ‘A small block which is part of a horizontal series situated below the cornice often in late 19th-century shopfronts. May also be used to decorate other features such as door pediments.’
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