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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved boxwood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Clark and Fenn Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fine example of the carver's art is a mould for decorative relief, of the kind used to adorn panelling, ceilings, fireplaces and door surrounds. The shallow carving indicates that this mould was for making a fairly flat band, probably for a picture frame. Although the scrolls, feathers and rosettes depicted here are reminiscent of the neo-classical motifs of the 18th century, it is more likely that this mould was carved during the 19th century when the ne-classical style was revived.

Different mixtures of whiting, glue and gum arabic, known as 'composition', were pressed into the boxwood mould to make crisp, detailed mouldings that were light and easy to apply to a ceiling or wall. For larger mouldings paper pulp or some kind of textile were added to provide body. The development of moulded composition ornament brought about a decline in the number of professional woodcarvers needed for decorating interiors. Skilled carvers, however, were still very much in demand for the production of perfect moulds.

This piece is part of a large collection of moulds and carvings once owned by George Jackson & Sons, a London firm specialising in decorative plasterwork. Established in 1780, Jackson's were reputed to have produced neo-classical mouldings for interiors designed by the Adam brothers, such as those at Croome Court in Worcestershire. Later Jackson projects included work on the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, Buckingham Palace and several Cunard liners.

This scrolling pattern incorporates stylised flowers and foliage, and derives from the Vitruvian scroll. This frieze and banding ornament appears in classical architecture and was named after the author of the only written account of architectural theory to survive from classical antiquity, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, who wrote in the first century.

Physical description

A reverse carved mould, probably made of boxwood

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)


19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved boxwood

Descriptive line

Boxwood mould, carved to mould a scrolling, foliated pattern, London, 19th century.

Production Note

The firm from which the V&A acquired this mould, George Jackson & Sons Ltd, was based in London until its move to Mitcham, Surrey in 1988.




Hand carved

Subjects depicted

Vitruvian scrolls; Rosettes


Tools & Equipment; Interiors


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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