This is the sort of thing my grandfather would have created in his lifetime. He had studied art at Trinity College Dublin. In time his son would take up the trade of ornamental plaster work too.
As a child, fascinated though I was by dad’s work, he wanted something better for me.
“It’s heavy, dusty work and the gelatin molds are messy to make.” He’d say.
The fashion for ornamental plaster work dwindled with the clearance of war torn Victorian buildings. The new trend was for functionality and modernity.
Following on its heels the space aged dawned; glamorous polished plaster walls were in demand. Machines were revered, and work ethics mirrored their relentless drive.
It came at a time when dad became a grandad himself. He lamented that the skills learned as his fathers apprentice had no place in this target-driven climate. His ageing bones rebelled against the physical exertion of pressing cold wet plaster onto the walls of building sites.
Dad and Grandad have since gone to their reward; yet that mysterious cloud of childhood plaster – dust persisted. It traveled through the generations to settle on me, and I found myself working with the stuff, despite Dad’s wishes.
Today, when I work on pieces like these ornamental plaster stations, I feel a connection with my past and my faith; and the “restorer” in me springs to life.
In a pleasant Scottish town the new Parish Priest found a collection of forgotten boxes. Hidden in a unused room of the presbytery, they contained a set of quatrefoil stations of the cross.The following images show their damaged condition as found… and as restored to their former appearance.
The words “Van Poulle” were written on the sides of two of the stations, though it is not clear (to me) if these stations were made by another studio, and only retailed by Van poulle. The gold crosses which sit in sockets above the numbers are not shown here.
(Photo colours may appear different due to effect of changing natural daylight.)
Station cleaned and restored ~ amateur repairs eradicated.