Ceiling Roses I Have Seen

One of my favourite features of a pre-1900 building is the beautiful ceiling rose. Ceiling roses are often found in ‘public’ rooms in Victorian homes – usually in the parlour and dining room. But sometimes, if the original owners were that way inclined, they can also be found in the private master bedroom. The material used to create ceiling roses were either plaster, timber or pressed metal and they can be found in a range of different sizes. The primary function of the ceiling rose, other than providing another decorative element to a room, was ventilation. Perforated ceiling roses are commonly found in rooms that had fireplaces to help with ventilation. That’s not to say that the Victorians didn’t also have unperforated ceiling roses for no useful function other than the elegance it displays to guests, because they sure did! Nowadays, when exploring a pre-1900 dwelling, you will likely see the ceiling rose repurposed for modern times – with a light fixture hanging from the centre of the ceiling rose.

The following images include some of the best examples we have come across while recording the built heritage of Christchurch.

This is the first ceiling rose of three found in a building built in 1892. This small ceiling rose was in the front entrance of the dwelling. It is a perforated ceiling rose with moderate decoration. Simple, but catches the eye when you enter. Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield.

Next up in the same 1892 dwelling was this beautiful large ceiling rose in what would have been the parlour. The perforated ceiling rose is highly decorative with leaves and flowers. It was one of the largest ceiling roses I have come across, at 1.5 m wide! Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield.

Last, and certainly not least, for the 1892 dwelling is this small plain ceiling rose found in a small back room. It still functioned as ‘ventilation’, being perforated, but does not have the grand look of the previous ceiling roses. The owners clearly were not expecting guests to visit this back room. Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield.

This medium sized perforated ceiling rose was the only one found in an 1880s house with a school room attached. While ceiling roses are often removed over time due to modification or updating ceilings, no evidence could be found to suggest there were any other ceiling roses in the building. The interesting thing about this ceiling rose was that it was installed in the school room attached to the main building. So not the typical show-off your fancy plaster features to your guests that you expect from the Victorians. Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield.

This has to be one of my favourite ceiling roses that I have come across. This perforated ceiling rose was found in a building built in 1898. It has a beautiful leaf and flower motif with small stars in the middle with a larger star surrounding the inner circle. The 20th century occupants of the site also must have thought it was beautiful, as they haven’t modified it into a lighting feature, leaving it in its spectacular original form. Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield

Now for something a little more abstract. This ceiling rose also came from a dwelling built in 1898 (but not the same building as the previous!) This ceiling rose is very different compared to the previous ones I have shown you. It is not perforated in the middle, instead the ventilation comes from between the decoration at the edge of the ceiling rose. It might be hard to see it in the photo, but there are four vases in the centre of the ceiling rose that have bouquets of flowers. Leaves and flowers, as you can see in this blog post, are very common motifs for ceiling roses. Image: Jamie-Lee Hearfield.

This ceiling rose, and the following two ceiling roses, come from a building built in 1880 that sadly was demolished before my time at the company. However, the photos of them live on! The above ceiling rose has a beautiful leaf design and sneakily hides the ventilation underneath the raised leaves. Image: Annthalina Gibson, Kirsa Webb.

This next ceiling rose is a lot smaller than the previous one but is still highly decorative with a leaf design. The ventilation is also a lot more obvious in this ceiling rose. I appreciate that the owner at the time decided to put the new light fixture next to the ceiling rose instead of through it. Image: Annthalina Gibson, Kirsa Webb.

Another smaller ceiling rose from the same 1880 dwelling. This design is a lot simpler than the last two. It has a flower in the middle and what would have been six leaves surrounding the flower. Now only three of the leaves remain, which could be due to the plaster not lasting the test of time or the leaves being damaged while the light fixture was added. The middle of the ceiling rose is perforated underneath the small leaf design. Image: Annthalina Gibson, Kirsa Webb.

Jamie-Lee Hearfield



1 thought on “Ceiling Roses I Have Seen

  1. Our house also has ceiling roses in two rooms and the hallway that are about 1.5m wide and absolutely beautiful! They’re part of the reason I bought the house. We get so many comments on them… How does one go about getting more info about them? We don’t know the date of our house and haven’t been able to find any records of it which is sad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.