Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Art gallery and the Hell Ceiling

Hello my friends!

Welcome faithful followers and new followers. I hope you are all doing well. Today I finished the Art Gallery and the Hell Ceiling...

Art gallery

I thought the room was finished a while ago, then I got a new DVD and discovered the hell ceiling at Burghley House  by Antonio Verrio. I do not enjoy painting very much and I am not particularly gifted at it, but I did want to try and do something interesting with the ceiling over the Grand staircase. If I had failed miserably, I would have just put up a white and gold dome.

Before renovations

I took out my Dremel and cut out an opening (you saw this before). I find it difficult to get perfectly straight lines with the Dremel so I needed to cover up the edges I just cut

This shot of the staircase is from the back of the house which no one can see...that is why the steps are not perfect

I used a baseboard molding, mitered the corners and glued it onto the ceiling paper. In this picture you see it from above. The dome sits on these molding strips. The next step was creating the dome. I looked for months for anything that would do...plastic bowls, glass pot lids, butter dishes...nothing was the right size or shape and then I decided to make it from scratch.

I took a cardboard tube and cut it into 4 equal strips lengthwise

The tube came from Les Chinoiserie when they shipped one of my wallpaper orders. Martha, the square is the best tool I have

I then measured and cut them to the sizes I needed and glued them together to shape the sides of the dome

Cutting the pieces was just slow trial and error

It took a while to cut the pieces to fit. I just eyed it and slowly took off a bit at a time with a sharp craft knife. I glued them together and used illustration board for the top part. To make sure it was solid I glued on wood strips over the joints between the pieces. The dome is at the back of the room which is 12 inches wide, 12 inches high, and 33 inches deep. I could of spent a lot of time filling in gaps and crack, but since you really could not see imperfection I just used spray gesso and put on 3 good coats.

When the spray gesso was dry I penciled it guide lines for the elements I wanted and then I used regular gesso and a small brush to build up the design.

Most of the work was the Hell mouth because that was what I most wanted to show, and it was easier then teeny tiny people

I could have just painted, but since I am not that terrific with a paint brush I figured the 3 d effect would be a bit more forgiving. In the above picture you see the design covered with a yellow base coat. I only use Delta Ceramcoat because they cover really well and are not too watered down. Next I used a sponge to paint the sky and clouds, then I used a brush to paint any areas I wanted to give the illusion of fire

I tried to look at pictures online and in art books, but for the life of me I have no idea how one paints fire. The only tutorials I found online were using spray guns, but I did my best

I then painted the Hell mouth. the idea was to have it look like clouds of smoke. I used charcoal paint which I mixed with white to create different grays clouds.

I also spent a while trying to get the eyes just looks like a great big cat but that was not the original just went that way and I followed

In the picture above you can see some red lines on the Hell Mouth. I was fixing the red areas and when the brush was almost dry I just went over the face and realized it highlighted the detai8l in the gesso and I liked the effect.  Next I painted the people and demons. I had pictures of Burghley house for the general look of the ceiling, but the demon figures were details I remembered from Dante's Inferno.

I tried to detail the figures, but I know when to stop...not perfect, but it gave the impression I was going for

Originally I had planned on doing a lot more figures but later in this post I will show you that only about half of the dome was visible when looking at the dollhouse. Had I loved painting I would have done more, but be it as it is this was more then enough. The main figures I worked on were Cerberus the 3 headed hound and Death which was a caped skeleton with black wings.

And here is a close up of the hell Mouth. I tried to add detail to the people with colored pencils, but I did a test and they kept ruining the paint. I was happy with the overall illusion with the naïve figures so I decided to stop here rather then ruin my work.

When it was all dry I fitted it into the opening of the ceiling and decided where the chandelier would go

I love this chandelier but it is just a bit too small for the space. I relocated it to the Walnut Library and will order a Sonata chandelier from the Getzans. I already have that chandelier for the entrance of the Manor, but the chain was too short for the staircase so I used this one to give an idea of the final effect.

With the hell Ceiling done I made the curtains for the bay window and then started to hang artwork in the room. I made paper templates of each wall section in the room and drew out the furniture that would be in front of it. this way I could figure out how to hang the art and properly fill the walls on a flat surface.

When all the sections were to my liking I glued the artwork into place. And here is the Art gallery of Dewell Manor

The statues are souvenirs I have purchased on holidays. The chess set was a present from one of my dearest friends. The mantel is from Jim Coates.

South wall

south wall close up

North Wall

North Wall Close up. The figure on the desk is from Randall Zadar, the painting over the fireplace is a postcard I purchased at the Louvre.

I mentioned before that the Hell Ceiling was only partly visible. This next shot is the most you can see if you bend down a bit and look up into the room

My next project would have been the Loggia, but plans have changed. At first the loggia was going to be simple brick and wood beam ceilings, after I saw the Alhambra it was going to be carved stone, after I saw the mansions in Newport is was going to be many i9deas but nothing really stuck....then this week I had an idea and for the first time I could see exactly what I wanted and I loved it

Future Breakfast Room

Since the Loggia was right off the Dining room, I decided I will close of the arched openings with huge windows, add a fireplace and it will become the breakfast room. I know exactly what I want it to look like and am very excited about it. There is another room in the Manor that has a similar design, but I am not above using the same trick twice when I like it.

As for the Loggia furniture, I will use it on the balcony above

New balcony...I think I will lose the plant

This balcony is right outside the Earl and the countess's bedrooms.

That is all for now my friends. It was slow going because we have been really busy the past month and I have had little time to work on miniatures. Before I go I just wanted to let you know I will not be commenting on your blogs for a few weeks because Jo and I are going on holiday. I will be back mid march and will catch up with all your great projects done. I will take the time on the boat to work on the breakfast room design.

Thank you all, older friends and new followers. your encouragement means so very much  to me. I try to follow everyone who follows me, but there are many new followers who do not seam to have a blog or at least it does not show up when I click on your icons. If you have a blog and I am not following please let me know. 

I wish you all the very best and I look forward to catching up with your blogs in a  few weeks.

A big hug to all,



  1. Hola Giac, que gran trabajo has hecho, eres muy ingenioso la boca del infierno te ha quedado genial. Es un placer visitar tu blog y contemplar tu gran mansión.
    Un abrazo

  2. Wow, Giac! Your Hell ceiling is Very successful! I love the figure of death with his cape.... dragging a soul! (Some of the Medieval versions of the Hell Mouth in Books of Hours are Incredibly detailed... and look like yours!) The glimpse you get is all that is needed to suggest the entire painting... if it were all there, but not needed in this case! It really adds a layer of depth of meaning to this house! The Gallery is Gorgeous! I love all the paintings and the statues and the fine furniture... it just has that feel of a Family House where they have traveled and collected great art trough the centuries!And I look forward to seeing the next step with your breakfast room! Have a Great Vacation!!!

  3. I know this will sounds stupid, but whenever I look at your work I feel like crying. I think I may have said this before. You Manor is such a thing of beauty. A quick look is never enough. As one looks closer, there are more and more details to relish.
    Thank you for sharing this...I can feast on this until you come back. Have a safe trip and enjoy. Bring back more great minis!Tell Jo I said
    Major Hugs

  4. Giac querido, a pintura do teto ficou ótima! Parabéns!
    A galeria é uma jóia preciosa, A perfeição em cada detalhe.
    Um grande abraço.

  5. Just beautiful Giac, I wish I had your talent. Enjoy your vacation. My husband and I booked our own vacation just before I read your blog. Hope you're going somewhere warm, this winter has been so cold.

    Enjoy and again, beautiful work! For me it's back to shaping Wisteria leaves!

  6. Love what you have done so far Giac and look forward to seeing what you design for the breakfast room. Have a great holiday, and just kick back and relax a bit ... I find my greatest ideas come when I'm completely relaxed.

  7. I love how you created the ceiling I may use that technique one day, thanks for sharing. Enjoy your holiday.

  8. You have so many great ideas and they are always interpreted so artistically. Happy holidays!

  9. Wonderful works again :) this house is amazing :)

  10. This is a stunning gallery, Giac - you should be very proud!

    Very clever use of a mailing tube! I remember Mulvany and Rogers made Buckingham Palace's dome in miniature with a convex mirror (the kind used in parking garages)...then tackled Sans Souci's oval dome by cutting a series of thin, increasingly tiny oval rings out of wood, gluing them together, then plastering over the wood to smooth it over.

  11. Hey Giac,

    again beautyful and perfekt work. It looks great.

    LG Alexandra

  12. Wow, that is a really impressive Art Gallery and that Hell ceiling is absolutely spectacular. Excellent work once again, Giac, Congratulations. Viv

  13. Gorgeous work, as always, Giac! That hell ceiling is really something! Enjoy your holiday. I'll look forward to your next blog post and visit when you get back. xo Jennifer

  14. The painting in the ceiling is very 'Hieronymus Bosch' I would have nightmares looking at it but luckily there are other beautiful things to look at instead. Have a wonderful holiday =0)

  15. I admire yourimagination, Giac! I love all furniture in your Art Gallery - it's so easy for me to see how much I lack to be at least a bit closer to such effect. ;)
    Have a great holidays!
    Big hug

  16. Wonderful! I like the details.... You makes a great job!!
    Nice holiday to you, Conni

  17. You are very talented to attempt that painting Giac but what a fabulous addition to the gallery. I love the mix of paintings and sculpture. I've loved sculpture even since I travelled in Rome and Florence and saw all the wonderful sculptures.

  18. Giac, I admire your ideas, great job as always!

  19. Como siempre,me dejas impresionada con tu trabajo!!!! El techo del infierno es perfecto,las obras de arte lucen en la galería como lo que son:ARTE,como el que tu tienes con todo lo que tocas!!!! Y esas esculturas son geniales,sigue inspirándonos!!!!!

  20. That mailing tube use is a great idea. The hell mouth looks amazing! The Gallery is really stunning, it looks so real I would want to be in it and admire all the pieces of art :-). Have a great holiday!

  21. Hi Giac! You're showing signs of a true Victorian craftsman, putting wonderful detail where it only just visible! Good solution to your dome problem, it worked out beautifully! Your painting skills aren't as bad as you think they are, you have done a great job making the scene look very hellish! The end result is magnificent and I can't wait to see the breakfast room!
    Have a wonderful holiday!
    Kind regards, Brian.

  22. I applaud your meticulous attention to detail Giac. The domed ceiling is a marvellous addition and don't knock your painting ability - it's done the job very well!

    I'm also very impressed with your statues and was going to ask where you got them until I read further down to find they were holiday souvineirs.

    It really is a lovely room with so much to see. I hope you have a lovely holiday and manage to find the time to plan your next project.

  23. ¡Hola Giac!

    Me gusta mucho como ha quedado el pasillo lleno de cuadros, se ve muy elegante y sofisticado. Pero el techo con ese enorme gato devorando personas, lo encuentro un poco inquietante. Supongo que todo es cuestión de gustos.

    ¡Un abrazo enorme!

  24. Hi Giac! I am not a fan of 'hell and damnation' in miniature, that is for sure, but the work you did on the ceiling/dome is great! Personally I loved the room too, as it was before :D!
    I wish you and Jo a fantastic holiday, enjoy!! I'll miss your nice comments ;)!
    Hugs, Ilona

  25. Excellent and interesting choice to make a hell ceiling. As someone already mentioned here, I was reminded of Bosch. The interesting thing is how often frightening images of punishment did show up in ceiling and wall decorations during Victorian times. Like a constant reminder to the rich that they were more likely doomed no matter what ("it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle...."). I am curious to know what artworks are displayed in your gallery. Do I see Cellini's Perseus statue? Very cool. Have a pleasant and safe holiday.

  26. I noticed it before, that your perfection get all the best out. I am so impressed with all the work you put into your ceiling. I am total in love whit all your paintings hanging along the ceiling edge, it is so lovely and fits in so well.
    So nice that you are going on holiday, I wish you a very happy holiday. Enjoy.

  27. The art gallery is absolutely perfect! And I loved the ingenious solution you find to make the ceiling. But that's a very scary cat, lol!

  28. Hello Giac,

    Your boundless creativity and artistic talent never ceases to amaze me! The library looks fabulous! I can't wait to see it in person when we come to visit before the Montreal miniatures show :-)

    Have a wonderful cruise and come home with lots of new ideas:-)


  29. Giac, the art gallery is beautiful,but I would be willing to bet that it is even more spectacular in real life! Well done, one's again. I can't wait for the breakfast room to take shape. Excellent use of the space. Have fun and carry a small sketch book and camera at all times on the trip. You never know when another great idea will pop into your head.

  30. Silly iPad! That should be once again.LOL

  31. Caro Giac, hai realizzato una splendida Galleria d'arte! Sei molto accurato nei particolari e nulla ti sfugge...Complimenti per il lavoro al soffitto che deve essere stato laborioso ma con un risultato di grande effetto.
    Ti auguro una bellissima vacanza, rilassati e scommetto che sarai però sempre laborioso con la fantasia a nuovi progetti da realizzare al tuo ritorno.
    Un caro abbraccio. Manu

  32. Again your work is superb! The art gallery is wonderfully done. Your breakfast room looks to be wonderful I love the arches!

    The hell painting has wonderful detail, a little scary ;)

    I hope your vacation is wonderful, relaxing and brings back lots of creativity!
    Hugs JS

  33. I love how fearless you are. Not to mention talented. Your ceiling is amazing. And I agree with Jane... A little scary.

    Have a wonderful Holiday. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  34. Hi Giac,
    I have somehow missed a lot of your posts. I thought that you didn't make anything for a while. So I'm really delighted to see all your updates. Wonderful!

  35. Gran trabajo Giac tu galería de arte. Apuesta arriesgada la del gato, me parece inteligente la forma con la que has solucionado la cúpula. Que pases unas espléndidas vacaciones. Un abrazo.

  36. Bellissima caro Giac la tua galleria...e' sempre un'opera d'arte. Mi piacerebbe vederla dal vivo...sarà una meraviglia! Sempre bravo!!!
    Un grosso bacio

  37. Once again, congratulations Giac! I really enjoy everytime I visit your blog! I love your art gallery, it's awesome! So elegant, and the dome with de evil cat on the top, it's a very original idea, I love it!! A big hug

  38. Very good for the dome! A hell of a "cat" :) really awesome! Lovely gallery of the many beautiful paintings and sculptures! Like all the details.
    I look forward to the completion of the breakfast room.
    I wish you a very pleasant journey!

  39. I really admire your work, you've once again achieved something amazing.

  40. I'm speechless! I like the furniture, the ceiling..........everything is perfect.
    Bye, Faby

  41. How clever that ceiling painting you made. Compliments for the end result. The room looks beautiful again. Beautiful art, flooring and furniture.

    Dear greetings from Xandra

  42. Me gusta todo mucho Giac, quizás lo que menos el gato del techo, pero reconozco que queda bien, igual que las esculturas o los cuadros, esto último es lo que más me gustó. Como siempre tus trabajos son maravillosos. Un beso

  43. Wow! Everything is so detailed and well planned in your manor! But this hell ceiling really surprised me, and I love it! I also like your style of writing, it's easy to follow and interesting!

  44. Somehow I feel like a parrot - but what else can I say if not breathtaking, stunning, awesome, gorgeous and so, so beautiful. You've worked a little miracle with your hell dome... so clever to use this tube - but that's of course the Giac-way, doing it the smart way and turning it into something impressive. The whole gallery is pure fun to look at... it looks like a collection of artist lovers who made many travels. I can't wait to see how your loggia will turn out - and I'm wishing to Jo and you a fantastic time during vacation. Come back with many, many more fantastic Giac-ideas to impress me... ;O)


  45. Che dire caro Giac sei grandissimo ammiro moltissimo il tuo geniale lavoro!
    Un abbraccio e grazie

  46. Hi Giac
    I think your hell ceiling looks a little like My cat Baxter..maybe that's because Im a witch and dont know it ..anyway it's really cool! enjoy your trip! and need to recharge ;)


  47. Como siempre un trabajo impresionante. El dibujo me encanta para no gustarte pintar, ha quedado genial, como si lo hubieras hecho siempre.
    La galería preciosa y elegante.
    Un abrazo.

  48. Hello Giac! I think that your domed ceiling is a marvel of ingenuity and composition. I would have never have thought that a mailing tube would have proved so useful in getting the outstanding results that you have achieved. Although I truly believe in hell, I would find it a bit unnerving if I was daily going up and down those beautiful stairs to and from you Magnificent Art Gallery. (But hey... that is just me)
    The Art Gallery is Fantastic! I love fine art and the way that you have displayed it and have it framed and framing the furniture is Wonderful, and I think it is 'way cool' that you collect statuettes as souvenirs from your travels to use as statuary for the Gallery! That makes this room both personal and adds to the Personality! Well done my friend! :D
    Enjoy your holiday. After all of your recent renos ( both Big and Small) it is a vacation that is well deserved. :))
    Big Hug


  49. Hi Giac1
    It is magnifcient! The ceiling is so amazing and also all the paintings.

  50. Pues para no saber pintar lo has hecho de lujo. Te ha quedado una galería genial, con una buena colección de cuadros. Me encanta el detalle de las estatuas.

  51. Hello my dear friend!
    Your art gallery is stunning! Allow yourself the credit you deserve for coming up with an inspired idea......the "Hell Ceiling" painting looks terrific! It is one of those elements that draws you into that part of the space and makes you want to look. Congratulations on the continuing ability you have to keep us all wanting to see more!
    Love to you from Ray

  52. Fantastic your work! Marvelous furniture and pictures. Congratulations.

  53. Oh ! quel fabuleux travail.
    La galerie est superbe, vous y avez installé de très belles collections de peintures, de statues ...
    Le plafond est une pure merveille ! Félicitations pour votre talent de peintre, la technique est parfaite !
    Je suis, là encore, impressionnée et la suite est très prometteuse.
    Amicalement. rosethé

  54. Wow, the ceiling is amazing!!! It's a pity you can only see a small part of it, but at least you know it's there :-) You've made a wonderful art gallery!
    Hugs, Margriet

  55. hello Giac,

    you have nothing to fear! I would not have dared. and you were right, the result is exactly your idea. you have worked hard. I hope you show us a picture with the new chandelier. I have hate to see your new project, the breakfast room. we'll have to be patient as you go. I wish you happy holidays.

    see you soon,


  56. Bonjour Giac,
    Cette pièce est absolument fabuleuse. Quelle bonne idée pour faire le dôme que d'utiliser des rouleaux de carton. Et qu'est ce que tu vas vite pour créer ces merveilles.

  57. Zoals altijd is het weer prachtig mooi.
    liefs willy

  58. You have done a lot of work great again.
    What a nice idea that dome, I am totally away from it.
    It's all very nicely made, thanks for your explanation.
    Hugs, Willem

  59. Hi Giac,
    Your project is taking on epic proportions, even and especially with regard to the deployment of skills in the field, on your part: do you know everything!
    You are a boy to marry :-)
    Well, aside from the fact that we're both already married ;-)
    Joking aside, it's really impressive the amount of things you can do; among other things, your Victorian home is more Victorian than any other I've ever seen!
    Very curious to see how you will continue :-)
    Lovely hugs, ciao

  60. Thanks again for sharing your splendid work with us, Giac! It's all so beautiful and skilfully done! I wish you a lovely holiday.

  61. Ogni volta che passo da te rimango estasiata, è come se entrassi in un mondo da favola. Che lavori splendidi amico mio, sei di una bravura immensa. Un grande abbraccio

  62. Very cool how you made the dome, yes it is best to do something custom to your specs. (Although it is also fun to run across "the perfect thing" for something.) Anyhow came out wonderful :)

  63. The dome worked out brilliantly, as did the painting, though, as a subject matter above my own staircase I would prefer fields of poppies and picnics, etc :D Having said that I really do appreciate that kind of artwork, I would just find it too scary to have in the house. It has only just dawned on me that your miniature people are seriously wealthy folk, possibly the richest in mini land, judging by their art collection alone :D Can't wait to see the loggia progress!! Have a great trip! :)

  64. Congratulations on your work. The ancient inhabitants of the castle, had a taste somewhat peliculiares to scare his noble views, certainly not passed the door. I visited a seventeenth century palace that has ghosts and it was incredible. Happy holidays! a hug, Marisa

  65. Oi querido Giac
    Estou encantada com o seu projeto, ficou magnifico o visual do inferno de Dante visto de baixo com o belo lustre. As fotos nos quadros, lareira em fim, o seu trabalho é de arte verdadeira, eu adoro.
    O salão de café matinal com as janelas em arco, com certeza vai ficar muito legal.
    Giac, eu adorei sua ideia em fazer uma varanda conjugada ao quarto do Conde e da Condessa, isso parece ser muito romântico para o casal.
    Desejo uma ótima viagem para você e Jô.
    Carinho, Fernanda.

  66. That scene you painted using the cardboard tubes (genius!) is quite disturbing! I mean that totally in a good way... Very well done! I also love how you just covered the walls with pictures. Well done Giac! :)

  67. Beautiful painting, you're really good at everything you do!

  68. Heel erg knap gedaan Giac.mijn complimente
    groetjes Emma

  69. Bonjour Giac!
    J'admire votre travail et garde l'idée du carton rond pour le plafond de ma future maison!!! J'adorerai prendre mon petit déjeuner sur une terrasse comme celle-ci!!!

  70. Felicidades por tu trabajo y ver ese paso a paso es apasionante.
    El resultado final fantástico, eres un artista.
    Un abrazo

  71. Witaj Giac :) Wyszło pięknie jesteś bardzo zdolny.Zadbałeś o najmniejsze detale co dało rewelacyjny efekt. Pozdrawiam

  72. Fabulous, as usual. The quality of your work is something I really aspire to. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

  73. Hi Giac,
    Congrats on the paint job, you did a wonderfull job! And the idea of building up the figures in gesso gives it more dept/detail.

  74. I might have to ask you to come and build a real art gallery for David!!

    Looks wonderful as ever!!


  75. Sorry for my late comment but I was away for a while. I'm impressed by your skills....apparently you can do everything!!! The other day I left a comment on another blog saying that all of you people that do building work on your dolls house, you are all a bit of architects too!!! And it's really nice to see how you come up with ideas to solve your momentary issues with building work. The painting came out really nice!!! I love the idea of a hell mouth and I like the design. If you are on holidays (on a boat?? Did I understand correctly??) then I hope you enjoy your time there!! Well done Gianc you are an inspiration to many people and thanks for sharing!! I really like the dome idea too!!!

  76. Dear Gaic,

    My apologies for being away so long, no real reason but life getting busy. As usual your work is amazing, so dedicated and so much detail, Hells gate looks terrifying!

    I hope you and Jo had a lovely holiday the miniature world has been very quiet for a lot of us, not many blogging at all but I thought it time I did some catching up.

    Much love to you, Fi XX

  77. Hola mi querido amigo

    Espero que te encuentres bién en compañia de tus seres queridos

    Tu trabajo hermoso y deslumbrante como siempre nos tienes acostumbrado

    Gracias por compartir

    Besitos mi niño

  78. I swear, I just want to come and spend a day looking into all the windows and searching and staring, at this perfect "little" mansion. Just incredible. You really are very very talented.

  79. This Ceiling of Hell is completely beautifull. In addition to admiring your work I learn a lot of things reading your blog, thank you.