Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Copy of a Relief - The Raising of Lazarus

The Raising of Lazarus

  • Object:

    Copy of a Relief

  • Place of origin:

    London (Copy, made)
    Chichester (Original, made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)
    ca. 1125-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Giovanni Franchi and Son (caster)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1864-56

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, The Ruddock Family Cast Court, Room 46A, case FS, shelf N

This cast and another nearby reproduce medieval reliefs from Chichester Cathedral that depict scenes from the biblical story of Lazarus. The reliefs are significant examples of Romanesque sculpture in Britain, showing remarkable emotional intensity in the faces of the figures. Having been hidden for centuries, they were rediscovered in 1829 behind the choir stalls in the cathedral.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a stone relief depicting the Raising of Lazarus, from Chichester Cathedral, West Sussex.

Place of Origin

London (Copy, made)
Chichester (Original, made)

Date

1851 (made)
ca. 1125-50 (made)

Artist/maker

Giovanni Franchi and Son (caster)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 122 cm, Width: 117 cm

Object history note

Cast of a relief depicting the raising of Lazarus made by Giovanni Franchi and Son in London, possibly 1851 and purchased from Messrs Franchi & Son in 1864 together with museum no. 1864-57 for £30. The original relief was made in Limestone by an unknown artist in Chichester for the Chichester Cathedral about 1125-50.

Historical context note

Making plaster copies is a centuries-old tradition that reached the height of its popularity during the 19th century. The V&A's casts are of large-scale architectural and sculptural works as well as small scale, jewelled book covers and ivory plaques, these last known as fictile ivories.

The Museum commissioned casts directly from makers and acquired others in exchange. Oronzio Lelli, of Florence was a key overseas supplier while, in London, Giovanni Franchi and Domenico Brucciani upheld a strong Italian tradition as highly-skilled mould-makers, or formatori.

Some casts are highly accurate depictions of original works, whilst others are more selective, replicating the outer surface of the original work, rather than its whole structure. Like a photograph, they record the moment the cast was taken: alterations, repairs and the wear and tear of age are all reproduced in the copies. The plasters can also be re-worked, so that their appearance differs slightly from the original from which they were taken.

To make a plaster cast, a negative mould has to be taken of the original object. The initial mould could be made from one of several ways. A flexible mould could be made by mixing wax with gutta-percha, a rubbery latex product taken from tropical trees. These two substances formed a mould that had a slightly elastic quality, so that it could easily be removed from the original object. Moulds were also made from gelatine, plaster or clay, and could then be used to create a plaster mould to use for casting.
When mixed with water, plaster can be poured into a prepared mould, allowed to set, and can be removed to produce a finished solid form. The moulds are coated with a separating or paring agent to prevent the newly poured plaster sticking to them. The smooth liquid state and slight expansion while setting allowed the quick drying plaster to infill even the most intricate contours of a mould.
Flatter, smaller objects in low relief usually require only one mould to cast the object. For more complex objects, with a raised surface, the mould would have to be made from a number of sections, known as piece-moulds. These pieces are held together in the so-called mother-mould, in order to create a mould of the whole object. Once the object has been cast from this mother-mould, the piece-moulds can be easily removed one by one, to create a cast of the three-dimensional object.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast of a relief depicting the raising of Lazarus made by Giovanni Franchi and Son possibly in 1851. The original was made in Chichester about 1125-50.

Labels and date

Cast of
Unknown artist
Relief Depicting the Raising of Lazarus
About 1125–50

This cast and another nearby reproduce medieval reliefs from Chichester Cathedral that depict scenes from the biblical story of Lazarus. The reliefs are significant examples of Romanesque sculpture in Britain, showing remarkable emotional intensity in the faces of the figures. Having been hidden for centuries, they were rediscovered in 1829 behind the choir stalls in the cathedral.

Cast
Giovanni Franchi and Son
Possibly 1851
Painted plaster
London
Museum no. Repro.1864-56

Original
Limestone
Chichester, England
Chichester Cathedral (in the ambulatory) [21/06/2018]

Materials

Plaster; Paint

Techniques

Casting; Painting

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Plaster Cast; Copies; Cast Courts

Production Type

Copy

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.