White may be returning to our homes but I still think we’re not ready for flat all-white interiors. Makes me think of Woody Allen’s Sleeper. However I do have a soft spot for decorative plasterwork and the art of stucco by the grand master Geoffrey Preston.
In 2000 Geoffrey set up his workshop in Exeter to focus on sculpture and modelling. His work ranges from small, beautifully modelled relief panels to complete rooms and many significant projects including the pioneering restoration of the 18th century hand modelled plasterwork at Uppark House. More recently he has been selected for the 2014 Crafted mentoring programme founded by Guy Salter and supported by Walpole British Luxury.
The New House (pictured) designed by George Saumarez Smith has four stunning stucco panels modelled in high relief by Geoffrey. Inspired by the long, curling leaf forms found in Baroque and Rococo plasterwork, these intricate panels make white magnificent.
The art of hand modelling plaster to create detailed, beautiful architectural features such as ceilings, wall panels and mantels has been around since Roman times and Geoffrey is the best craftsman in the country. To hand model highly decorative plaster, you need the finest tools and to be fast – you have just three hours before it sets. But the results are breathtaking and this brings me back to why chalky white stucco is always welcome in my home.
Another who gives white great depth and texture is Peter Hone. With an eye towards Sir John Soane's Museum, he has filled his London flat with urns, busts and architectural fragments collected from his travels. Visit Pentreath & Hall to purchase a fragment from Peter Hone’s collection and read Bridie Hall’s recent blog to find out more about this master plaster caster.