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Abundance

  • Object:

    Copy of Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (Copy, made)
    France (Original, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1883 (made)
    1548-60 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mathivet, L. Monsieur (caster)
    Goujon, Jean (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1883-115

  • Gallery location:

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

The allegorical figure of Abundance and the hunter goddess Diana are examples of the work of Jean Goujon, sculptor to King Henri II of France. The plaster casts of the original stone reliefs were purchased by the Museum in 1883 from a Parisian plaster cast maker. They illustrate a Victorian interest in French Renaissance and Mannerist art.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a stone relief depicting Abundance.

Place of Origin

Paris (Copy, made)
France (Original, made)

Date

ca. 1883 (made)
1548-60 (made)

Artist/maker

Mathivet, L. Monsieur (caster)
Goujon, Jean (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 162.5 cm, Width: 68 cm

Object history note

Cast of a stone relief created about 1883 and purchased from Monsieur L. Mathivet in 1883 for £1 12s (40 francs). The cast is of a stone relief depicting the allegorical figure of Abundance, which was sculpted by Jean Goujon about 1548-60. They illustrate a Victorian interest in French Renaissance and Mannerist art.

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 stone relief by Monsieur L. Mathivet about 1883, and purchased by the Museum in 1883. The cast depicts the relief of the allegorical figure of Abundance sculpted by Jean Goujon about 1548–60.

Labels and date

1. Casts of
Jean Goujon (about 1510–65)
Abundance and Diana
About 1548–60

The allegorical figure of Abundance and the hunter goddess Diana are examples of the work of Jean Goujon, sculptor to King Henri II of France. The plaster casts of the original stone reliefs were purchased by the Museum in 1883 from a Parisian plaster cast maker. They illustrate a Victorian interest in French Renaissance and Mannerist art.

Cast
Monsieur L. Mathivet
About 1883
Painted plaster
Paris, France
Museum nos. Repro.1883-115
and 116

Original
Stone
Musée Carnavalet, Paris [04/07/2018]
Like the other reliefs at the Musée Carnavalet, an imposing renaissance building in Paris, now a museum, this allegorical figure of Abundance is a fine example of Jean Goujon's work. The original carved stone sculptures were executed during the reign of Henri II of France, a great patron of the arts. Goujon's sinuous and sensual figures were much admired, and seen as epitomising French sculpture in the mid-16th century, following the great era of Italian artists working at the Palace of Fontainebleau, under Francois I, Henri's father and predecessor as King of France. The plaster cast after the original stone relief was purchased by the Museum in 1883 from a Parisian plaster cast maker, illustrating the interest in Victorian Britain in French renaissance and mannerist art.

Holly Trusted []

Materials

Plaster; Paint

Techniques

Casting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Figures (representations)

Categories

Ph_survey; Sculpture; Architecture; Plaster Cast; Copies; Cast Courts

Production Type

Copy

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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