Elements of Design: Pargeting
I always love learning something new, especially when it comes to identifying an art form with the proper word. I recently came across Pargeting — the art of creating three-dimensional raised designs on exterior walls. The reliefs are traditionally created with sand and lime plasters. A few pargeters today add straw or even animal hair to strengthen this mix, which harkens back to the Edwardian Era.
Church and nature-based carvings were popular designs. The story goes that Henry VIII brought over Italian stuccoists to work on his royal palaces. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if that work has survived.) Later on, the art was brought to England by Flemish migrants and then local craftsmen began to learn the art with them.
Pargeting is traditionally done on top of a floated coat. The designs are drawn in with small trowels and specialized tools and then built up by hand. If it is to be a substantial relief, then wire frameworks are used. Below, two of the most recognized authorities authorities on the craft.
If you’d like to read more about the history of pargeting, Building Conservation has an excellent article. The Jacobean era probably saw the most call for pargeted buildings. Although much of the work for the pargeters of today involve historic reconstruction, modern day artisans have helped reinvigorate the art. Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Elements of Design!
7/30/11 UPDATE – Theresa Cheek of Art’s the Answer wrote a great post on Pargeting as well. Check it out!