A brief history of Decorative Mouldings

These architectural terms date back to the ancient Greeks who were the first to consider form, balance and decoration in their interior and exterior architecture. Most patterns have evolved from the foundations of classical design and it has influenced the way we consider symmetry and space ever since. Think of columns, flutes, bases, friezes and motifs.

Architectural mouldings can be found both inside and outside buildings and became a fundamental element in the character of Victorian interior design. Mouldings give form and shape and help bring definition to the spaces they are used within.

Decorative plasterwork was also used to emphasise social hierarchy. Ornate plaster mouldings could underline a room’s importance – heavy decoration and large decorative features were intended to impress one’s guests in the more public areas of the house.

Classic Baroque mouldings by The Library Ladder Company

Above: Ba'Rock Cornice Moulding No.338A (large Rococo) £97.49 for a 2 metre length. 

Pre-Victorians, decorative plaster mouldings were created in situ by using fingers and wet plaster ~ many 17th century plasterwork ceilings were impressively ornate. Wealthy Italians hired stuccadores to create intricate ceiling designs on site, such as coving, by hand. Mouldings were matched to the purpose of each room so for example fruit would feature on the mouldings in the dining room and floral swags in the drawing-room. Styles crossed many eras, and ultimately it was at the whim of the builder and architect to design a room. ‘Egg and dart’ and fleur-de-lys patterns were synonymous with the Victorians whilst the Georgians favoured square patterns and ‘dentils’ or teeth.

Regency Cornice Range by The Library Ladder Company

Regency Cornice range as a pelmet by The Library Ladder Company

Above: The Regency Cornice range No.308 large, used as a pelmet. £82.01 for a 2 metre length, shop online here

In the 19th century mouldings became less ornate and more bulky with heavier detail. In the Georgian period, it was fashionable to leave the dining room chairs against the walls away from the table and so a wooden dado rail or chair rail became fashionable to protect the walls from knocks.

Around 1850, moulds were commercialised, lowing the cost and doing away with the handmade expense. After 1880 the taste in plaster mouldings became simpler as decorative wallpaper became more widely used.

Our range of Purotouch products can be used together from wall panelling, wall mouldings, cornicing, skirting, ceiling roses and door mouldings.

When you need some extra help

We are here to quote for cornicing so please get in touch at info@thelibraryladdercompany.co.uk

All products are available to order online at https://llcompany.co.uk/.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.