This exhibition investigated the rich tradition of decorative plasterwork, from the Rococo splendour of the Foundling Hospital Court Room, now one of the highlights of the Foundling Museum, to the contemporary designs of master craftsman Geoffrey Preston.

From small, beautifully-modelled relief panels to the Museum’s exuberant Rococo ceiling, Lines of Beauty cast a contemporary gaze upon the creation and preservation of the Foundling Museum’s exquisite interiors, alongside Preston’s own work in the Rococo style.

One of the UK’s leading architectural sculptors, and a specialist in decorative plasterwork, Preston led the team responsible for the pioneering restoration of the eighteenth-century hand-modelled stucco ceilings at Uppark House in West Sussex, which were destroyed by fire in 1989. This experience led him to re-examine the language of eighteenth-century form and to incorporate it in his own original work.

Lines of Beauty illuminated the art of modelling in clay through objects and photographs of some of Geoffrey’s principal commissions, including the award-winning Great Fulford in Devon, and recent work which is exhibited for the first time. New, large-scale works showcased the potential of these expressive materials while demonstrating how the Rococo style is guided fundamentally by proportion and geometry. Drawings and models illustrated the creative process from initial sketch to completed work. Different materials and techniques were explained, from traditional stucco to modern moulding and casting methods, alongside the artist’s tools and materials.

The exhibition also highlighted the restoration of the Foundling Hospital Court Room and its stunning plasterwork, which was donated to the Hospital by Georgian craftsman and entrepreneur William Wilton in the 1740s. The plasterwork, furniture and furnishings were saved when the Foundling Hospital building was demolished in the 1920s, before being painstakingly restored in their current site at the Museum.

This exhibition explores the frozen music of the stuccowork that graced the historic English interior and gives a flickering vision of the most inspiring plaster decoration of modern times
Country Life
The intricacies of this master's art are displayed, giving an insight into this extraordinary craft
Harper's Bazaar