See Works, 9.54 and Works, 10.386 for Ruskin’s numbering of the thirty-six capitals of the lower arcade and the eight sides of each capital, and compare the index of shafts at Notebook M2 p.104L. Compare Palace Book p.13, which gives the clearest outline of his final system, and the notes at Notebook M pp.182-3. There do, however, seem to be five different versions in Palace Book. There is Ruskin’s final version, the same as that which Selvatico had used (see Selvatico (1847) pp.128f), and the basis of the numbers in the plan on Palace Book p.13. There is the system used in Palace Book p.4, which starts from the Ponte della Paglia end but ignores the corner capital and so differs by one from Selvatico’s system. There is the system at Palace Book p.43 and Palace Book pp.54Lf where he starts from the Molo / Piazzetta corner and counts towards the Porta della Carta so that, to take an example where the identification seems certain, what was the 32nd in Ruskin’s final system is called the 14th at Palace Book p.54. At Notebook M2 p.89L he starts at the Porta della Carta and counts ‘towards the sea’. At Palace Book p.45 he calls the Corner Capital ‘A’ in accordance with the system of letters used at Palace Book p.13.
At Palace Book p.45 there is what seems to be a confusion of the 16th and 24th capitals, a confusion which continues into the published edition at Works, 10.410.
At Works, 10.468 there is a list of the capitals and their subjects.
See Notebook M2 p.104L for Ruskin’s index of the orders of shafts as he defines them in relation to the section and leafage of their capitals and see the notes on the capitals at St M[arks] Book p.4w to St M[arks] Book p.13w. For the orders of the leafage of capitals compare the division into rows in Plate XX at Works, 10.431. See Works, 11.276 for a list of the buildings from which the images at Plate XX are taken, and Works, 11.276-278 for a discussion of the development of the leafage of capitals.
At Works, 10.464f there is an extract from the Times September 16th, 1889, on the restorations of the capitals until that time.
Works, 10.412 gives Ruskin’s account of procedures (not always followed in practice) for recording inscriptions.
Works, 10.411 gives the views of Cook and Wedderburn on the problems of recovering the inscriptions.
Zanotto (1853) for example pp.309 and 312 draws attention to inaccuracies in Ruskin’s descriptions of the capitals and his transcriptions of the inscriptions. Sometimes there are excusable slips:
costanza - impugna con la destra un bastone e non una spada come dice Ruskin’ (312)
or Ruskin’s ignorance of the figures of the four crowned saints of the 19th capital and his confusion of the implements used by them - for example St. Nichostratus holds the compasses attributed by Ruskin to St. Claudius, who in fact holds a mallet and chisel; or the spelling ‘obedientia’ for ‘obediencia’ which seems to result from an attempt to force the inscriptions into conformity with classical Latin.
Sometimes, though, Ruskin seems to ignore his initial observations in order to make the evidence fit his conclusions. It is interesting to trace the shift in Ruskin's perceptions of the 9th and 29th capitals to conform with his preconceptions as he moves from Palace Book p.42L to Notebook M p.184, and to the published version at Works, 10.394f. In the published version the point he wishes to make depends on the reading ‘virilis’, and that is the only reading given there, though his initial notes suggest the reading ‘invincibilis’, which is the reading reported by Zanotto at page 309. Similarly at Palace Book p.42L Ruskin’s initial note of the inscription seems to represent a form of ‘temperantia su’ in omnibu’ (Zanotto’s reading at page 309), but the last two words contradict the argument in the published version at Works, 10.395, and are left unexamined there.
Capitals starting from the Ponte della Paglia and numbered from east to west along the Molo S. Marco, all of them from around 1350:
The 18th Capital of the Ducal Palace Lower Arcade (Zodiac), from around 1350, is at the corner of the Molo and the Piazzetta (and above it the Angle Sculpture of the Adam and Eve / Fall of Man, and above that the Archangel Michael). The capitals are then numbered from south to north towards the Porta della Carta (and dates are given when they are not from c.1350):
The 36th Capital of the Ducal Palace Lower Arcade (15th Century) is at the corner at the Porta della Carta end of the Piazzetta side of the arcade (and above it the Angle Sculpture of the Judgment of Solomon, and above that the Archangel Gabriel).
The photographs given here are of the capitals as they are now, in the appropriate position of the arcade, but not necessarily representing what Ruskin saw after extensive programmes of restoration and replacement.
For photographs of the capitals and their place in Ruskin’s thinking about Gothic see Quill (2000) pp.134-141.
[Version 0.05: May 2008]