‘A Cheape Piece of Magnificence’ Decorative Plasterwork at St Nicholas Priory and Beyond

Lunchtime Talk

South-West England is immensely rich in decorative plasterwork from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A distinct local tradition grew up in the period and produced plaster ceilings, overmantels and friezes of a variety and an abundance not seen in other parts of England. Much of this output survives, primarily in a domestic context and in particular, in the Devon towns of Exeter, Barnstaple, Dartmouth and Totness, and the high status houses in the rural hinterland.

Using the plasterwork from St Nicholas Priory as a starting point, this illustrated talk by Nigel Pratt will focus on the decorative plaster tradition and how this fitted in with the wider developments in architecture and changes in the economy and society of the sixteenth century. It also looks at the techniques, materials and designs used and how are these adapted in response to the constraints of the early modern house.

Nigel Pratt studied at the universities of Exeter and Oxford and worked as a professional archaeologist before returning to the south-west as a building conservation specialist. Access to a broad spectrum of houses containing plasterwork kindled an interest which has led to post-graduate study at the University of Exeter, which Nigel fits in with his full-time job as Senior Church Buildings Adviser for the Diocese of Exeter.

Advance tickets, £5, can be purchased online from www.ticketsource.co.uk or by telephone on 01392 665885 (Exeter Tourist Information Centre) – available to book!

Please note that St Nicholas Priory is a medieval building and the room in which the talk is taking place is not wheelchair-accessible.

This event is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Sep 25 2019