Plaster cornicing and coving
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image 1Cornicing is the moulding that runs around the top corner of an internal or external wall. It can also be called a coving if it is an internal decoration that consists of a simple concaved form. Batton strips were nailed to the wall and mouldings were built up through many plaster layers.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000, a cornice can be a "horizontal molded projection that crowns or completes a building or wall," or the "molding at the top of the walls of a room, between the walls and ceiling." Primo Plasterers

Period cornices – ranging in date from 1862 through to paint schemes of the 1970’s on historic cornices – shows that the colours became progressively paler, from the rich tones and hues of the Victorian period, through pale turn of the century colours to finally, the white “paint-it-out-so-we-cannot-see-it” vision of the 1950’s. Old House Colors USA


From the Georgian period onwards grander rooms that received and entertained guests had the most elaborate mouldings and the smaller private rooms had simplier decoration. Designs were taken from classical influences and a common design was the egg and dart or a dentil which featured along the bottom edge of the moulding.

Ceiling roses started to be used in late Regency and early Victorian period. The plaster roses were introduced to collect and disguise the soot and dust caused by candles and oil lamps. In the Victorian period plaster roses had deep recesses that provided a ventilation grille for the gas lighting.




1 & 2. Egg and Dart moulding

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In early Victorian times the cornices were larger and ornate buts towards the end of the period the moulding became simplier which gathered less dust. Designs became available that were pre made off site.

1& 2. Victorian oak coving with carved corbels 3-6 Victorian plaster

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In an era obsessed by hygine the Edwardians preferred understated decoration. Mouldings were shallow and simple in form.

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In-Situ Cornicework- You Tube



Dempsey Plastering

Architectural Mouldings - Davuka GRP Ltd

Regency Mouldings

House Martin Online Store

Coving Cornice Interiors

Bonds Plaster Mouldings

Simply Mouldings

Ornate Cornices: Chelmer Mouldings

Ceiling Roses : Chelmer Mouldings

Architectural Mouldings: Aristocast


Links to Articles

Putting up cornice or coving: DIY Fix It

How to repair decorative cornice

Repairing Cornice and Coving : Home-Dzine

Fitting a decorative ceiling rose

Restore Period Details: Channel 4 Homes

Cornice Colors for Victorian Homes: Old House Colors USA

Artistically Created Cornice: Primo Plasterers

Adding Detail to the Plaster Cornice: BobVila Video


Useful Research Websites

BBC Homes 1920's:

BBC Homes 1930's

Hidden House History

Francis Frith Photo Archive

The Geffrye Museum

English Architecture: Britain Express

Looking at Buildings: Pevsner Architectural Guides


Forum Debates

Channel 4 Homes Forum

Do it yourself Forum

How To Repair Brickwork- Youtube

Victorian Architectural Details

Victorian Architectural Details

Architectural Trim

Architectural Trim

The Art of Texturing and Coving

The Art of Texturing and Coving








Post War