Historical Origin of Plaster Designs

Blog |May 25th, 2017

Finely executed plaster design work was used extensively in England’s Victorian and Edwardian eras throughout Great Britain and the world. Although this type of expert craftsmanship was in high demand during these historic periods, the themes and motifs most frequently displayed by many architectural and decorative plaster works originated in many varied eras and time periods in history. While some designs frequently used purist styles and themes distinct to the characteristic fashions of certain historical time-frames, others combined identifying styles and motifs of more than one era.

Stylistic Origins of Frequently Used Designs in Plaster Work Artistry

Architectural and decorative design features often found in professional plaster work artistry today originated during specific historical periods and in different parts of the world. Examples of these specialized designs include the following:


As decorative items that crown and embellish a building’s exterior or its interior structures and furnishings, cornices may include such fashionable period designs and features as the following:

• Egg and Dart Design. – This stylistic cornice pattern displays a repetitive series of round and elongated forms in a pleasing visual arrangement. The design is often finished with a ribbon-like border, and it is also referred to as the bead and reel or shell and bellflower design. This cornice style was prevalent during the Victorian era.

• Chain-Drape Design. – This decorative cornice design was often used during the Edwardian era. The thin, clean and simple lines of the chain style edge softer, drape-like designs in plaster. In some instances, the cornice design was simply a narrow chain design above or placed nearby physical cloth drapery arranged in creative, flowing fashion.

• Fruit Salad Design. – This rather ornate cornice style incorporates a raised, sculptural design of molded, fruit-like forms displayed in high relief on the cornice surface. This type of cornice style was frequently used during the Federation/Art Nouveau time-frame in history.


A keystone is a large, attractive stone placed prominently and strategically at the top centre point of an arch for the purpose of securing the other stones in place, even for many future years. Keystones often have easily identifiable designs and decorations, such as the following:

• Rose and Urn Design.
– The easily discernible design decorating this keystone depicts blooming roses arranged in an urn with strong ancient Greek stylistic influence. In medium-high relief design, the rose and urn decoration enhance and follow the graceful curve of the elegant urn’s sculptural lines.

• Colonial/Georgian Design.
– The decorative sculptural portraiture on the front of this handsome keystone has soft, gentle forms, revealing a thoughtful expression offsetting the sleek, simplistic lines of the stone itself.

• Pomegranate/Grapes Design. – This attractive keystone style displays strong influence from the Classical Roman period in history. The full, lush fruit adorns and enhances the pure, otherwise uninterrupted flowing lines of the graceful stone as if announcing its tasteful empowerment and character.

If you want the excellent advice, top quality experience and optimal craftsmanship of Dandenong South’s finest professional plaster works studio and artisans, contact the experts at Hopkins Plaster Studio PTY LTD today. You will receive only the best consultation, pricing and plaster artistry from this high quality team of specialists for all your architectural and decorative plaster desires and needs.

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