In architecture mouldings have been used inside and outside of buildings. Architectural mouldings are used to give shape and form.
Used to enhance the appearance of buildings, exterior mouldings were originally made in stone but from the 1800s stucco became a popular material, being more affordable. Popular in London in the early Victorian period it was used to create smooth, evenly coloured house fronts in terraces and for larger Victorian villas. It became less popular about the 1860s when the price of stone fell and terracotta became used more widely.
Interior mouldings, namely plaster cornicing, coving and ceiling roses were used not only to enhance a room’s proportions but to signify the room’s use and importance. Rooms that received guests such as the reception room, dining room, parlour and hall tended to have larger and more decorative mouldings.
Prior to the Victorian era decorative plaster mouldings were created on site by using fingers on wet plaster. In the 18th century, Italian stuccadores created intricately designed ceilings on site and by hand and the profiles and types of plaster ornaments increased enormously. The builder chose appropriate mouldings for the house and this could heavily influence whether the house sold or not. Elaborate mouldings justified a more expensive house. Mouldings came to emphasize the social hierarchy.
Each room featured decorative mouldings matched to its use, fruit would feature in the dining room and floral swags in the drawing room. The 19th century brought change again, with mouldings being less ornate and bulky and plaster mouldings becoming simpler as decorate wallpaper became more popular. In this century decorative mouldings are still used, often to recreate the look of bygone eras. The Finishing Touch have created the next epoch with unique, lightweight and easy to install mouldings.