Materials and Techniques for the Coating of Nineteenth Century Plaster Casts: A Review of Historical Sources

Risdonne, Valentina, Hubbard, Charlotte, López Borge, Victor Hugo and Theodorakopoulos, Charis (2021) Materials and Techniques for the Coating of Nineteenth Century Plaster Casts: A Review of Historical Sources. Studies in Conservation. ISSN 0039-3630 (In Press)

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This review paper offers a summary of historical techniques and materials used to produce plaster casts and to treat their surfaces, as found in the historical literature. It reviews a selection of manuals, treatises, and recipe books on the art of the cast makers as well as a selection of patents related to the manufacturing of casts and the coating of their surfaces. The introduction to the review shows how relevant archival, historical, and technical investigation demonstrates that nineteenth century replicas are works of cultural significance in their own right, by means of a synthesis of background information. This paper also offers a brief introduction to plaster moulding and casting as well as a summary of historical recipes on how to treat the surfaces of plaster casts to change the surface properties or their appearance. This review aims therefore to provide a summary of materials used by the nineteenth-century plasterer, and technical information for the use of conservators, researchers, and curators who engage in the care and study of historical plaster casts. Examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection support the information found in the historical literature.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This research was funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council (2017-21 AHRC/CDP Northumbria University and Victoria and Albert Museum - AH/R00322X/1) and supported by the Henry Moore Foundation (HMF Research and Travel Grant - 2018). Special thanks to the V&A: the Sculpture Conservation team for their insights on their conservation treatments and knowledge of the Cast Collection, and the Sculpture Curatorial Department for facilitating access to their collection and archival information. Our thanks go to all the parties involved in this work and to Dr Lucia Burgio for her helpful comments on the article.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Technical art history, plaster cast, replica, coating, reproduction, nineteenth century, recipes, review, Victoria and Albert Museum
Subjects: J500 Materials Technology not otherwise specified
W100 Fine Art
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 15:07
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2021 15:31

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