At one time this might have referred to gentleman of a roguish nature – these days anybody restoring a period home may find another meaning for it. Coving is a common feature in Victorian and earlier Georgian homes, one that does not always wear well with time. Plaster mouldings were originally more than just a decorative feature. Elaborate coving was designed to gather and hide soot and dust from fires and lamps. As these began to become less common, in the early twentieth century, the style and design of coving became simpler but retained a significant place in interior design. Even today plaster mouldings can add a subtle elegance to simple rooms in modern homes.
Age and beauty
The older the coving, the more damage it is likely to have sustained over the years. If you are lucky you may find that plaster mouldings have been covered by false ceilings and have survived remarkably intact. In others they may have been subjected to neglect, damp, mould, suffered severe damage or even been removed. In some properties enthusiastic painting over the years has obscured the fine detailing in cornicing and ceiling roses. When it comes to period homes restoring and/or replacing plaster mouldings is an essential final touch to getting the period feel right. Cared for properly plaster is a durable and long lasting material, a favoured wall covering for centuries it has in some buildings lasted for generations. Plaster mouldings because of their delicate and complex designs are more subject to damage, however restoration specialists can be found to create new, or repair damage plaster mouldings.
The UK has seen a resurging interest in developing and restoring period properties in the last twenty years or so. Alongside this there has been a growth in interest in traditional building techniques and materials – often found to be surprisingly environmentally sensitive. This in turn has led to a growing number of specialists who can offer building and restoration services, with skills that at one time seemed on the verge of extinction. Many of these specialists are not only good at their jobs, but have an interest and a passion for this type of work. Plaster moulding specialists are now relatively easy to source, but it is worth checking out their history. While there are many companies who are looking to fill the gaps in this market – there are some craftsmen around who have never gave up on the art of decorative cornicing, even during the heady days of the Artex-ing craze. While it is possible to learn some plastering skills yourself, when it comes to plaster mouldings, it pays to get the experts in.