If you are a fan of beautiful, ornate craftsmanship, then the castles and halls of England have so much to offer. A lot of people focus on the external architecture or the furnishing and artwork inside these buildings, but there’s a lot more to see. If you look up and all around the room, you’ll notice that these grand buildings often boast some beautiful plasterwork.
If you want to know where you’ll find some of the most stunning examples of this, then read on – as we’ve compiled a list of the seven most outstanding examples in the country.
Powderham Castle in Devon is first on the list. Records of the estate date back to the Domesday Book, so it’s fitting that such an old and grand building boasts some truly stunning plasterwork. It is markedly different from other castles in Devon in that it is mainly hand-made stucco, rather than being moulded. It is made in the Rococo style, and features intricate designs including birds, musical instruments and even a coat of arms!
As it’s one of the Queen’s favourite residences, you’d expect grand décor at Windsor Castle. Well, the sumptuous State Apartments are the perfect showcase for some of the most spectacular plasterwork in the country. The ceilings are covered with elaborate designs – certainly sumptuous enough for royalty. The castle has been extensively renovated, so the plasterwork is looking better than ever.
Ragley Hall in Birmingham boasts some fantastic plasterwork too. Designed and crafted by James Gibbs in 1750, it’s a stunning example of plaster in the Baroque style. This plasterwork can be found in the 70 foot long Great Hall, so it’s as impressive for its scale as it is for its intricate detailing. It’s open to the public, so pop along and see for yourself!
Osterley Park is a popular stately home, with hundreds of weddings and other events held there every year. You’ll be amazed the craftsmanship throughout the house, particularity in the Library and The Great Stair. The elaborate yet tasteful plasterwork is a great example of the work of Robert Adam, a renowned architect of his day.
Muncaster Castle has been home to the same family for over 800 years, and each room reflects the love and care that has gone into preserving the original features. The Drawing Room is home to some stunning Italian plasterwork, which adorns the segmental ceiling to great effect.
Mereworth Castle in Kent is home to some of the finest plasterwork in the county. Designed by Giovanni Bagutti, it’s a fantastic example of the Italian’s work, with his flair evident everywhere. The doorways are framed with elaborate designs, while the walls are adorned with sumptuous swags of fruit and flowers.
Our final plasterwork must-see is Dunster Castle. The plasterwork in the dining room was installed by Colonel Francis Luttrell and his wife Mary in 1861. This beautiful curlicue plasterwork adorns the ceiling and is a real highlight of the house for anyone who is visiting.
Go and see them for yourself
Now that you know where to find some of the finest plasterwork in the land, there’s no excuse not to go and visit. You never know, you may even find some inspiration for your own home! Each part of a stately home’s décor adds to the overall grandeur, and these great examples of plasterwork prove that it’s not all about paintings and gardens after all.
Jon Riley is the Co-Director of the artisans in plaster – Locker & Riley. Jon thinks there are some beautiful examples of English plasterwork throughout the country, and takes pride in the fact that Locker & Riley have contributed to places like the London Palladium and St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel.