Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Copy of a Minstrel Gallery

Copy of a Minstrel Gallery

  • Place of origin:

    Exeter (Copy, made)
    Exeter (Original, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1865 (made)
    ca. 1350-69 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gendall, John (caster)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1865-39

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, The Ruddock Family Cast Court, Room 46A, case WW

Choirs or musicians would have performed at Exeter Cathedral from the original 14th-century minstrel gallery. The gallery is decorated with 12 angel musicians playing different instruments, including the bagpipes, a trumpet and cymbals. Although the original gallery is colourfully painted, the cast, made in the 1860s, was painted grey. This could be because the Museum wanted to demonstrate form over colour in the cast.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a Minstrel Gallery depicting 12 angel musicians playing different instruments, including the bagpipes, a trumpet and cymbals. Although the original is colourfully painted, the cast is painted grey. This could be because the Museum wanted to demonstarte form over colour in the cast.

Place of Origin

Exeter (Copy, made)
Exeter (Original, made)

Date

ca. 1865 (made)
ca. 1350-69 (made)

Artist/maker

Gendall, John (caster)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 193 cm, Length: 493 cm

Object history note

Cast of a Minstrel Gallery created in plaster in Exeter about 1865, possibly by J. Gendall and purchased from Mr J. Gendall in 1865 for £90 7s. The cast shows 12 angel musicians playing different instruments. The original is sculpted by an unknown artist in Exeter about 1350-69 and is from the nave in Exeter Cathedral.

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

Plasetr cast of a Minstrel Gallery possible by J. Gendall in about 1865 depicting 12 angel musicians. The original was made by an unknown artist in about 1350-69.

Labels and date

2. Cast of
Unknown artist
Minstrel Gallery
About 1350–69

Choirs or musicians would have performed at Exeter Cathedral from the original 14th-century minstrel gallery. The gallery is decorated with 12 angel musicians playing different instruments, including the bagpipes, a trumpet and cymbals. Although the original gallery is colourfully painted, the cast, made in the 1860s, was painted grey. This could be because the Museum wanted to demonstrate form over colour in the cast.

Cast
Possibly by J. Gendall
About 1865
Painted plaster
Exeter
Museum no. Repro.1865-39

Original
Limestone
Exeter, England
Exeter Cathedral (in the nave) [04/07/2018]

Materials

Plaster; Paint

Techniques

Casting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Minstrel galleries

Categories

Sculpture; Architecture; 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.