Decorative plasterwork was created by skilled craftsmen, and for over four hundred years it has been an essential part of the interior decoration of the British country house. In this detailed and comprehensive study, Geoffrey Beard has created a book that will delight the eye and inform the interested reader. For those who have sometimes been puzzled by the complexities of plaster decoration it will be a most useful work of reference on a fascinating art form, about which no book has been published for nearly fifty years. After discussing the part that patrons played in commissioning and financing these beautiful decorations, a useful chapter is devoted to materials and methods of work and here the author describes the ingredients of good plaster; he has studied the work of present-day English plasterers and Swiss stucco-restorers in order to establish precisely how the materials of plaster and stucco were composed and used.
Preface; Acknowledgments; MAGNIFICENT BUILDING; The urge to build, income and costs, sources of income; MATERIALS AND METHODS: Raw materials and equipment, plaster, hair, sand, laths, stucco, armatures, tools, moulds, methods of work, guilds, apprentices and craftsmen; WROUGHT WITH PLASTER, 1500-1600; THE BEST MASTERS, 1660-1702: The Office of works, the principal officers, The Master Plasterer; Official projects, Whitehall to 1685, Newmarket, Windsor Castle, the City Churches, St Paul's Cathedral, Winchester, Whitehall: the Chapel; Hampton Court, Kensington Palace, Greenwich Palace, Private Patronage; ADORNED WITH STUCCO 1702-1760; CLASSICAL COMPOSITION 1760-1830; PLASTERWORK IN SCOTLAND; Notes; Plates; Select List of Plasterers; Biblography; Index of Places; Index of Persons.