Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Lion in the Attic – more of Blount’s plasterwork

Lion detail, from the attic of Godfrey Blount's Studio
from T.D.L. Thomas, ‘Rustic Renaissance: Arts and Crafts in Haslemere’, Country Life, April 15, 1982
Stewart Dick in The Craftsmen concluded his article on Blount’s plasterwork (‘Godfrey Blount’s Free-Hand Plasterwork for Interior Decoration’, The Craftsmen, Vol 12, April 1907-September 1907) “Of course the success of such work will depend very much on the design very much on the design, which in Mr. Blount’s case is as free and spontaneous as the work itself.  Everything stilted and formal should be avoided; the whole charm of the work lying in its ease and freedom.”   Dick reported that the plasterwork illustrations accompanying the article were “taken from work done by Godfrey Blount in different houses in the north of England”.  However one of pictures is labelled “Frieze in hall of the Knipp, Chiddingfold”, which is a few miles away from Haslemere.

Frieze in hall of the Knipp, Chiddingfold by Godfrey Blount, The Craftsmen, Vol 12, April 1907-September 1907

In 1982 Country Life (T.D.L. Thomas, ‘Rustic Renaissance: Arts and Crafts in Haslemere’, April 15, 1982) reported that ‘Three years ago in the roof space of a house in Haslemere, Surrey, some crude plaster reliefs were discovered, which incorporated the Latin inscription “We owe our knowledge and inspiration to the Greeks and the Barbarians”  The house had been the studio of the artist Godfrey Blount, and the discovery of these reliefs and their motto sheds new light on the personal interpretation some of the protagonists made out of the Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the century…The doggerel in his (Godfrey Blount’s) studio …may roughly translate, in a catch-phrase, as “art for nature’s sake” and is perhaps a plea for rationality interestingly opposed to the feverish “art for art’s sake” movement which was catching the imaginations of other artists at the time.”  This building is called The Old Studio, Kings Road, Haslemere.

Godfrey Blount plaster friezes,
from T.D.L. Thomas, ‘Rustic Renaissance:
Arts and Crafts in Haslemere’,
Country Life, April 15, 1982

The plasterworks shown in the article suggest that the plasterworks are on both sides of the studio roof, effectively presenting four separate pieces.  Above the boarded windows on one side of the building are two lions, and on the right hand side is a man surrounded by greenery.  On another side is a stag that Thomas describes as “the symbol for religious aspiration.  The stag stands in a grove of trees: pear, rose and vine, which are all symbols of Christ and his passion”  A stag can also be seen amongst trees in the plaster frieze at the Knipp, Chiddingfold above and below at Sandhouse, so it is clearly a popular motif.

Godfrey Blount plaster friezes, from T.D.L. Thomas, ‘Rustic Renaissance: Arts and Crafts in Haslemere’, Country Life, April 15, 1982

Other plaster frieze’s in houses local to Haslemere, are the plaster frieze that was in the entrance hall of Sandhouse, Joseph and Maude Egerton King’s house.  I believe it was later removed. 

Godfrey Blount plaster friezes at Sandhouse, Witley,
from RIBA's Francis Troup archive


  1. Some fantastic plasterwork-would be great to see if any of it has survived

  2. Thanks Dunc, I think some more snooping is required!

    I believe that there must be some of this plasterwork lurking in the attic of some of the local houses, even if the owners don't know it's there.

  3. Hello!
    I hope that you don't mind me asking some general questions but you seem such a fountain of knowledge! I was wondering if you knew anything about the Home Arts and Industries Association or The Art Workers Guild or if these names rang a bell to you: M Benson, M Cole, M John Layland, M Redgrave.

    Sorry I hope that you don't think I am really rude I am just trying to find out who they are!

    I adore your blog :) x

  4. Hi Zoe

    Thanks for your comments. I know bits about the HAIA and The Art Workers' Guild. None of those names ring any bells with me, as they all begin with 'M', I take it that that means 'Mr' or such and isn't an initial. I find "" an excellent site for searching old documents, I don't know if you've tried there.

    I have an article by Myzelev, 'Craft Revival in Haslemere...' that has a good overview of the HAIA and bits on the Art Workers' Guild (established 1884 and prohibited women's participation outright). I'll do a little post of what she says on the HAIA as it's easier than putting it all here!


  5. I wasn't sure before, but now I am. The Benson you refer to is W.A.S. Benson, one of the founding members of The Art Worker's Guild. There is more about him here:


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