Wattle & Daub: Craft, Conservation & Wiltshire Case Study
3.6 Daub
4.1 Soils
4.1.3 Strength
4.2 Dung
4.2.2 Lignin
4.2.3 Urine
4.3 Fibre
5.4.2 Renewal

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3.7 Decoration

Although most daub work was left plain, decoration was common across many regions and could be either painted or profiled. Simplest was the colouring of the limewash with either a cow dung tint, a richer pigmentation using ox blood or earth-based pigments.
Internally, the panels may also have been pigmented, but wealthy house owners sometimes had the completed panels decoratively painted. Examples of medieval work survive including floral patterns, chequers and heraldic detailing. Repeating patterns could be extended over the timbers so that the whole wall was covered [Figur[46]].46

Panels may have been given interest by lightly combing the finished surface prior to limewashing [Figure 21]. From the 16th century, external walls were frequently decorated with incised patterning, a rudimentary form of pargetting also known as ‘stick-work’ or ‘combed work’. The patterns would have been formed by crude wooden combs, a stick or large nail [[47]].47 Gypsum was used for plasterwork where available, such as the Isle of Purbeck, around Knaresborough in Yorkshire and the Trent Valley. Since its properties were conducive to modelling (‘raised’ work), it is not surprising that ornamented pargetting was developed. It became particularly fashionable from the 16th century and into the 17th century, especially in East Anglia where the whole frame would be covered and intricately decorated. [[48]].48

[46] Slocombe (1992), pp. 77-78 and Weald & Downland Open Air Museum (2002), p.51.
[47] Clifton-Taylor (1962), p.358.
[48] Ibid., pp. 252-354.