Flora: hand cast plaster wall frieze inspired by the work of master carver Grinling Gibbons
The traditional wood carvings by Dutch-British sculptor and master carver Grinling Gibbons (1648 – 1721) were the inspiration behind our design for the Flora Plaster Frieze. Widely regarded as one of the finest wood carvers working in England during the late 17th and early 18th century, Gibbons’ work can still be be seen at Windsor Castle, St. Pauls’ Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace and Petworth House, West Sussex.
Gibbons’ distinct still life motifs incorporating garlands of fruits and flowers were the inspiration for our Flora hand-cast plaster frieze.
Originally designed and installed to an entrance hall of a private property on the East Sussex coast, our design incorporates flowers, fruits and decorative shellwork, accentuated by an exquisite hand-cast crab peeking over a scallop shell.
We’ve also subtly featured an open pea pod, which playfully references Gibbons’ use of the closed or open pod in his own carvings – it is said that, if he carved a closed pod, it meant he had not been paid for his work! Thankfully, our client was delighted with their installed frieze and we gratefully received payment!
Flora is now part of our Plaster Mouldings Collection and is cast as a repeatable frieze or as a decorative wall plaque, with custom sizes and design variations possible.
Our plaster architectural mouldings are hand cast in Hampshire by Philip Oatley, a leading plaster mouldings specialist. We first met over a decade ago when working together on the installation and restoration of plaster mouldings at an important Grade I listed country house designed by the 18th century architect John Nash. Since then, we have collaborated on a variety of restoration projects and challenging design commissions, including strap-work ceilings, ceiling centre roses, wall friezes and individually cast elements such as acanthus leaves and capitals.
Current design work
Continuing to be inspired by the 18th century’s fascination for the natural world and shellwork patterns, we are currently working on a design for a Shell House installation, a number of designs for wall friezes, and a coffered ceiling design incorporating carved and cast shellwork patterns reminiscent of the panels and wall decorations found lining the walls of 18th century Shell houses, pavilions and grottoes… please continue to read our blog over the coming months to see how our designs are progressing…
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and would welcome any feedback you might like to give. If you would like to see more of our work or view our interior architectural collections, please take a look around our updated website or follow us on Instagram.
Related reading: 50 Years of Following In Grinling Gibbons’ Tool Cuts