George Jackson began creating interior decorative elements around 1780 and is recognised for introducing fibrous plaster into the UK. His company grew into one of the leading manufacturers of composition mouldings and fibrous plasterwork in the world.
These wonderful photographs from their archives show their first showroom, at Rathbone Place, near Oxford Circus in London which they moved into in 1834. At that time the Adam Brothers style of architecture and interior design had been central to ‘the age of elegance’. It is believed that Robert Adam was associated with the introduction of composition as a reproductive material.
Jacksons were soon producing reverse cut hardwood moulds and pressing out the new material in many decorative settings to order. “Compo” as it is colloquially known is a putty-like substance originally introduced as a means of producing enrichments without recourse to the long-established method of wood carving in the late 18th Century.
Later, John Jackson, the founder’s son introduced Fibrous Plaster into the country, setting the scene for a completely new and time saving approach to the production of interior embellishments.
George Jackson’s ornamental plasterwork was commissioned for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, for gentlemen’s clubs in Pall Mall and for Buckingham Palace. The company won two medals at the Crystal Palace exhibition in 1851 and worked on more than forty theatres in London and the provinces. Museums, art galleries, libraries, universities, asylums and colleges were also decorated by the Jacksons. One such example is the Royal Holloway College, based on the French chateau of Chambord, in which Jacksons decorated the ceilings in the Library Museum, Dining Hall and Recreation Hall. In 1890, Queen Victoria commissioned a State Banqueting Hall at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. This room had a deeply coffered ceiling composed of fibrous plaster and the decoration included Indian symbols of Gunesha – the Elephant God of good fortune – and a peacock over the chimney-piece and over-mantle (the peacock alone consisted of over 500 hours of work).
Recognised for craftmanship and expertise in the field of interior decoration, including the granting of four Royal Warrants, George Jackson Ltd continues to produce a wide range of pre-cast plaster related decorations and have an exclusive range of over 11,000 boxwood moulds – as well as an extensive library of historical books and documents, some dating back to the age of Robert Adam. The company also offers a modelling service and specialist plaster finishes.
George Jackson Ltd is now at : Unit 19, IO Centre, Kimpton Park Way, Sutton, Surrey, SM3 9BW. Tel : 020-86879740