Architectural reliefs & house portraits

House portraits.

Meticulous small scale architectural sculpture in low relief.

Queen Anne house portrait (detail)

I make small scale portraits of individual houses to commission, handbuilt in terracotta or stoneware, depending on the original building material, with detailed decoration and glazed windows. I’ve made portraits of all kinds of houses, some for the National Trust, many for individuals, from thatched cottages to castles.

This is one of my all-time favourites – a lovely house with interesting brick and stonework, and beautiful gable detailing. I like to include as much detail as possible, to show the individual character of the subject; for this house, I also made the house name plate, which appears in the portrait.

This one’s Peckover House, a National Trust property in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which I’ve made several portraits of, including one as new, without the wisteria. I’m sometimes commissioned to make a portrait of a childhood home that no longer exists, when I work from old photos and people’s detailed memories.

Here’s ‘the most perfect Georgian street in England’ (Pevsner) – North Brink, Wisbech. But I often make not-quite-so-grand subjects:

this one’s our old gallery in Whitechapel – a typical Victorian town-house;

and this one’s a cottage in Norfolk – a lovely subject with the archway through to the garden. I often make portraits of modern houses too:

this nice mock-Tudor house has lovely brickwork and interesting detailing.

This one really is a log cabin in Switzerland.

And this is a good example of a much-loved ‘ordinary’ house which makes an ideal subject. I often make portraits of larger subjects like hospitals, churches and factories for retirement commissions:

They’re made in low relief, so they hang on the wall or stand on a shelf, with a flat back that’s ideal for an inscription. I work from photographs (which you can send me by email or post), and prices start at £300. They are ideal for formal presentations or commemorative celebrations. I also draw architectural subjects on handmade paper for presentations – prices for these start at £250 (framed).

Many different subjects work well, as long as the facade has some interesting features and a strong character. Most of all I enjoy catching a likeness of a much-loved house and garden, with its own individual character:

I’m always happy to discuss a possible subject and estimate for a commission – if you send me a photo, I can let you know how much your subject would work out at.  Potters’ Yard house portraits is my website dedicated to these miniature architectural studies, with a gallery of past commissions, full information about the commissioning process and a contact page; you’re very welcome to send me an enquiry about a place you think might work as a portrait.

Architectural reliefs

Tympanum is an example of my larger scale architectural reliefs: wall-hanging detailed low-relief sculptures of architectural subjects.  This one’s based on one of the doorways to San Marco in Venice; sometimes the subject is a Georgian gateway:

I enjoy making studies of architectural details in series, for example of San Marco, St Paul’s, Winchelsea Church, Castle Rising, looking at the brickwork or tracery detailing. Or sometimes I make portraits of individual buildings that have caught my eye; I often have some of these studies for sale; please contact me for further information.

Potters’ Yard house portraits is at http://www.pottersyardhouseportraits.com

To enquire about any work, please leave me a note in the comment box below or click on contact details.

All photographs copyright Liz Mathews.

7 Responses to “Architectural reliefs & house portraits”


  1. […] Architectural reliefs & house portraits […]

  2. Jane and Sue Says:

    You did a replica of our house on Edes Terrace in Wisbech many years ago. We still treasure it.

    Best wishes Jane and Sue

  3. John Says:

    Hi do you make o guage(1:43 scale) miniature models of these? pls let meknow. thanx


    • No, I don’t make models at all, only low-relief sculptures of individual architectural elevations and the scale varies depending on the subject. I aim for the human perspective rather than a bird’s eye view.
      Many thanks for your interest. Liz


  4. A new website devoted to my house portraits can be found at
    http://www.pottersyardhouseportraits.com
    with a lovely gallery of my favourite past commissions, and a commissioning page that explains the process.
    I’ve added a blogpost about the new site here on Daughters of Earth at
    House portraits from Potters’ Yard

  5. john key Says:

    We still treasure our house and Wisbech Fire Station they take pride of place in our home.Always a talking point. Thanks Liz.


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