Elizabethan painted wall plaster
A section of Elizabethan painted wall plaster displayed at Canterbury Heritage Museum is a very rare and beautiful survival from Tudor times. It came from a house in Lower Bridge Street, just outside the city walls of Canterbury, and was salvaged during demolition. The Elizabethan decoration was hidden beneath later wall covering.
Plaster was painted with decoration before the days of wallpaper. The Kentish fruit and flowers of this Elizabethan wall decoration extend over the timbers framing the plaster panels as well as the plaster itself. The timbers gave the wall structural support. Paint, which has been dated to about 1600, was applied directly onto wet plaster. The richly coloured plants include roses, carnations, tulips, heartsease, acanthus, cherries, apples, pears, grapes, peaches and acorns. There is also a pigeon.
Elizabethan painted wall plaster. © Canterbury Museums and Galleries collection.