Analysis of the J.C.Hansche stucco ceiling at the Beaulieu castle

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Due to our rich heritage we have a large collection of listed monuments. Some of them have been very well preserved or renovated over the years. However, when a monument doesn’t have the proper function assigned, it can be forgotten, neglected and gets in decline. The Beaulieu castle located in Machelen is just such a case. For almost fifty years, this building is in desperate need of some attention.
The castle is decorated by decorative plasterwork. Most of them are 19th century gypsum additions to the listed stucco ceiling by Jan Christiaen Hansche located in the Hercules room on the groundfloor. This ceiling depicts the works of Hercules by a collection of nine medallions in a crossbeam and joist grid ceiling. The high relief nature of this work is one of the most important in the history of stucco interior decoration. The design for these Hercules medallions has an interesting art history as well. Unfortunately, due to the decline of the castle, the ceiling has suffered equally. Removed, sold, replaced, broken, stolen or damaged, the Hercules medallions have suffered them all.
The goal of this research is two-fold. First of all, it handles a literary study about the material, stucco, and the artist, Jan Christiaen Hansche. Secondly, it will discuss the Hercules themed ceiling of the Beaulieu castle by creating a damage atlas and analysing the potential for restoration work.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnn Verdonck (Promotor)


  • Jan Christiaen Hansche, , stucco, the labours of Hercules

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