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For a list, contact the National Federation of Plastering Contractors, 18 Mansfield Street, London W1M 9FG (0171 580 5588). Conservators who worked on Uppark include the Clivedon Conservation Workshop at the National Trust's Clivedon Estate, near Maidenhead (01628 604721); Richard Ireland (0181 568 5978); and St Blaise Ltd from Evershot, Dorset (01935 83662). Other specialist plasterers include Clark & Fenn, Mitcham, Croydon (0181 648 4343); Trumpers Ltd of Birmingham (0121 777 6201); and The Decorative Plaster Company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (0191 236 4226). All offer a tailor- made design service and the following also provide catalogues of standard range patterns: Hayles & Howe (working on Windsor Castle: see text), Picton Street, Bristol (0117 924 6673); London Plastercraft of Fulham, London SW11 (0171 736 5146); Aristocast Originals (0114 269 0900) and Troika (0114 275 3222), both in Sheffield.


The National Trust recommends: Uppark in West Sussex (see text); the Holbech family's 18th-century Farnborough Hall in Warwickshire; the Earls of Lichfield's Shugborough Estate in Staffordshire (roccoco plasterwork by Vassalli); Florence Court in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland (more 18th- century rococo plasterwork); and Standen in East Grinstead, Sussex (1890s Arts & Crafts showpiece designed by Philip Webb, friend of William Morris). For more information on the National Trust telephone 0181 315 1111. Another house worth visiting is Harlaxton in Grantham, Lincolnshire (01476 64541). Built in the mid-1800s by Gregory Gregory, this vast and eccentric neo- Elizabethan and Victorian baroque fantasy is now the British campus of the American University of Evansville. Two forthcoming public open days (Sunday 26 May and Sunday 7 July) provide a rare opportunity to ogle at the wild and wonderful interior decoration - including massive gilded stucco cornices and friezes and a cedar staircase draped in swags, ropes and tassells, cherubs, shells and folds of fabric, all crafted in white plaster.


Period Details by Judith and Martin Miller (Mitchell Beazley, pounds 14.99); The Elements of Style (Mitchell Beazley, pounds 40), soon to be reissued in paperback; Plastering Plain and Decorative by W Millar (Batsford, 1987). The Victorian Society (0181 994 1019) produces a series of Care for Victorian Houses guides, including one devoted to Interior Mouldings (price pounds 3). The Georgian Group publishes guides (at pounds 2.75 each), including one on Render, Stucco and Plaster and another on Mouldings (telephone 0171 387 1720). The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (0171 377 1644) produces a range of advisory restoration packs, priced at pounds 4. Cathedral Communications (01747 871717) publishes The Building Conservation Directory (pounds 14.95), a useful guide to specialist services and suppliers relating to a range of restoration disciplines, including ornamental plasterwork.

Bryan Ellsbury's three-bedroom Victorian Gothic house in Dulwich, London SE23 (see text and pictures on page 78) is currently for sale through Pavilions of Splendour (0181 348 1234) at pounds 143,000.