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Mould - Mould

Mould

  • Object:

    Mould

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1780-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, fruitwood mould

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Clark and Fenn Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    W.227-1989

  • Gallery location:

    Furniture, Room 135, The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, case BY10, shelf LEDGE1

This mould is reverse-carved with two bands of guilloche enclosing dots and stars. Guilloche is an ornamental pattern or border built around a series of circular voids. The mould was used for the multiple production of architectural ornament in plaster or in composition, a paste or putty usually consisting of four basic ingredients: whiting, glue, rosin and linseed oil.

Reverse-carved moulds of this kind were widely used from about 1780 until about 1900. Initially, the ornament was produced by pressing a thickness of composition into the oiled mould, and squeezing it in a screw press. The pressing could then be removed from the mould in a still warm and flexible state and applied to the surface to be decorated. The use of moulds to make reproduction ornament greatly reduced the demand for ornamental carving in wood.

Composition manufactories, as well as firms such as carvers and gilders, used moulds and commissioned them from specialist workshops. This mould comes from a collection of moulds that the London firm of George Jackson & Sons Ltd (trading in 1780) gave to the Museum in 1988, when they became a subsidiary of Clark & Fenn Ltd. Jackson's had acquired moulds from other companies, such as the London-based firm of Brown's, who went out of business in the first half of the 20th century. It is thus unlikely that they made the whole collection of moulds.

Physical description

Summary Description
Reverse relief mould of fruitwood with two bands of guilloche, one enclosing dots, the other enclosing stars.

Marks/Subjects
'711' in black paint, over cream paint at one end of block.

Decorative Scheme
The mould is carved by hand in shallow relief with two bands of guilloche, one enclosing dots, the other enclosing stars.

Structure and materials
The even grain and reddish hue suggests the mould is made of fruitwood. Before plastics, fruitwoods were often used where a smooth, hard stable substance was required. The decorative motif is carved by hand.

The mould is rectangular and is sealed at one end with cream paint over which is written "711" in black paint.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca.1780-1820 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved, fruitwood mould

Marks and inscriptions

'711' in black paint, over cream paint at one end of block.

Dimensions

Height: 2.7 cm, Width: 34.4 cm, Depth: 8.6 cm

Object history note

This mould comes from a collection of over 800 that the London fir m of George Jackson & Sons Ltd (trading by 1780) gave to the Museum in 1988, when they became a subsidiary of Clark & Fenn Ltd. Jackson's had acquired moulds from other companies, such as the London-based firm of Brown's, who went out of business in the first half of the 20th century. It is thus unlikely that they made all of the moulds in the collection. On acquisition the moulds were felt to provide 'not only an archive of the decorative plasters trade but also constitute an eloquent vocabulary of the classical language of ornament.' Many of the designs are in the classical style, suggesting a late 18th and early 19th century date, however others are clearly mid and late Victorian.

There are many finely carved moulds within this collection, some of which are stamped with initials, such as "GS", which are thought to relate to their respective carver.

Historical significance: It is thought that the Adam brothers (Robert Adam 1728-1792) and John Adam (1721-1792)) played a major role in the initial manufacture of composition ornament on a grand scale. They are alleged to have employed George Jackson (1756-1840), the founder of the present company, George Jackson & Sons Ltd. (a subsidiary of Clark & Fenn Ltd.)

Historical context note

Reverse-carved moulds of this kind were widely used from about 1780 until about 1900 for the multiple production of architectural ornament in plaster or in composition, a paste or putty usually consisting of four basic ingredients: whiting, glue, rosin and linseed oil. Composition manufactories, in addition to firms such as carvers and gilders, used these moulds which were commissioned from carvers' workshops.

Initially, the ornament was produced by pressing a thickness of composition into the oiled mould, and squeezing it in a screw press. The pressing could then be removed from the mould in a still warm and flexible state and applied to the substrate. Towards the middle of the 19th century, machines were introduced and more widely used in the production process. The presence of machine planer marks are in evidence on many of the moulds, which would suggest that they were made-or at least used- in the second half of the 19th century. Others have no such evidence.

The use of moulds to make reproduction ornament greatly reduced the demand for ornamental carving in wood.

Descriptive line

English; boxwood; for plasterwork (Jacksons colln)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Gerson, Martha Blythe: 'A Glossary of Robert Adam's Neo-Classical Ornament', in Architectural History, (Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, London, 1981), Volume 24, pp. 59-82
May, Marion R., Ornamental Jacksons, (Marion May, 2001)

Materials

Fruitwood

Techniques

Carving

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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