Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Pargeted House

Decorative plaster work, known as pargeting, was the fashionable way to update your half timber house in 16th-17th century England. Inspired by Henry VIII's Nonesuch Palace (now demolished, unfortunately), designs could range from simple geometric shapes to fabulous fantasy creations, depending upon the skill of the craftsman and the taste - and budget - of the home's owner. The craft of pargeting is still practised in England today; "Pargeter" (the author Edith Pargeter, for example) has even become a last name.

I had wanted to make a pargeted house ever since I first saw pictures of some fifteen years ago; they are so unusual and charming! Until very recently, though, I coudn't quite decide how to go about it. When I finally tackled the problem head on, it turned out to require several different materials and techniques, including brass etchings, N scale landscaping bits and molded styrene shapes. Quite a lot of trial and error was involved, but I was pleased with the result.

The house sold at Philadelphia Miniaturia, and is now in a private collection. I will probably make another pargeted house, but not quite as eleaborate. this one has pargeting on three sides.

I gave it a cozy English cottage interior, with a half tester bed inthe master bedroom. The little dog on the cushion (upper right room) is by Sylvia Mobley.