|Green man, Clare, Suffolk. Modern example.|
Pargeting is decorative plaster work found mostly on the outside of buildings, and it is skilled work, hence the recognition in the surname. Although it is found throughout the UK pargeting mainly occurs in East Anglia. The first recorded use of the word was as early as 1237 when it was included in a description of work carried out on internal walls.
|Langley Chapel, Shropshire. 17th century.|
Pargeting ranges from simple incisions to elaborate swags and floral sprays, to geometric designs, to symbolic features such as the Green Man, to figurative work and even full pastoral scenes. It can be either cut into a layer of plaster that has already been applied to a wall, or built up into low reliefs by the addition of some form of fibrous material that acts as a binder.
It mainly features on timber buildings and forms a weatherproof outer skin. Although plaster is not waterproof the application of pargeting prevented draughts and hence made homes warmer.
In the late 19th century there was a revival of the fashion and, in typical Victorian style, pre-moulded motifs could be bought to apply to smooth plaster base coats. The effect is much crisper than traditional work and frequently much simpler. Single motifs in large, blank areas, rather than overall patterning, denote later work.
|Simple, early example. Also in Clare, Suffolk.|
Internally, the work is often called stucco, and the fashion for such designs was known as early as Roman times. So whenever classical design enjoys a revival it tends to bring decorative plasterwork back with it. The fine example below is from the 18th century Music Room in Lancaster.
Apologies to my regular readers. I've got a busy weekend coming up and I might not get back to visit your posts for a couple of days.