Artful Choice: Geoffrey Preston

Artful Choice: Geoffrey Preston

Do you spend more time saving posts of beautiful products on Instagram and Pinterest as we get ready for holidays? I find myself hitting the "save" button more and more frequently, as I'm subconsciously starting to think about gifts for the special people I'm going to visit in the Pacific Northwest. (I'm also thinking a lot about our new apartment, so I'm probably doing more wishlists for myself than I'd like to admit). But, as I review the images and products I set aside, the ones that stick with me are the artisan made products that can't be mass produced. When pictured alongside their commercial counterparts, the difference becomes even more striking.

Working in antiques, I'm reminded again and again about the importance of slowing down, the beauty of items created by hand, and the lessons in our time that remind us to go for quality. Like many of you, I'm also a fan of mixing the old with the new, and the high-end with the lucky find. So, in the spirit of shopping "artfully" and supporting the artists and small businesses that create exceptional beauty today, I wanted to put together a holiday series of my favorite recent finds - starting with a favorite plaster master in the UK.

Please note, as is the nature of craftspeople and antiques - ship times may be in the future, processing might take longer, and some items are the only one of their kind in the whole world. But this seems to make the whole purchasing and receiving process feel a bit like Christmas if you ask me!

Geoffrey Preston - UK. 

Living in Paris, the art of plasterworks is everywhere. From the interiors of white, light-filled Haussmannien appartments, to government buildings, museums and even the ceiling of my doctor's office - decorative plasterwork is part of the city's interior charm.

Geoffrey Preston is one of the UK's most prolific architectural sculptors, and after studying sculpture at Hornsey College of Art, and training as a stonemason and carver, he has been the lead on multiple significant restoration projects for historical properties.

For the past 20 years, Geoffrey has run a workshop in the countryside in Devon, a few miles outside Exeter. Alongside his wife Jenny Lawrence, and a small group of skilled tradespeople, he creates sculpture and decorative plasterwork.

geoffrey preston sculpture ceiling

2009 - Wiltshire, England - Achitect: George Saumarez Smith, Adam Architecture - Photo: Nick Carter
While the studio works on large commission projects for luxury hotels and private homes, they also have branched into creating smaller works of plaster that can be used as decorative art in the home and are quite accessible. These are the works I found on Instagram and fell in love with.
I was surprised and excited to find that the smaller pieces are affordable and inspired by great works of art, then created masterfully by hand. I think these plasterworks would make a stunning addition to any home, and look wonderful alongside antique paintings. 
Here are a few of my favorites:
This piece was inspired by Caravaggio’s beautiful painting Basket of Fruit from 1599, which hangs in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan. It has a hook cast into the back for hanging.

geoffrey preston

Raffle Leaf, a version of the acanthus leaf with ‘raffled’ or serrated edges, is a common motif in rococo decoration. This one is a study that Geoffrey made to explore the form. Shop here.
plaster decorative art for home
Overmantel with Roses and Ribbons. Shop here.

Make sure to follow Geoffrey's work on Instagram, and keep an eye on this talented artist and his studio for works both grand and petite in scale!

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