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Plaster cast - Effigy of Henry VII
  • Effigy of Henry VII
    Torrigiano, Pietro, born 1472 - died 1528
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Effigy of Henry VII

  • Object:

    Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    London (plaster cast, cast)
    London (original, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1858 (cast)
    1517 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Torrigiano, Pietro, born 1472 - died 1528 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster Cast painted with restored gilding

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1858:0-276

  • Gallery location:

    Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court , case FS, shelf S

This is a plaster cast of the tomb effigy of Henry VII (1457-1509), after the original in gilt bronze in Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, completed in 1517. The bronze effigy of Henry VII lies next to that of his Queen, Elizabeth of York, at the centre of the chapel which bears his name, at the extreme east end of the Abbey. Torrigiani was a Florentine sculptor, who had worked alongside Michelangelo in Rome. He worked in the Netherlands, and then spent some years in Britain, working for the Tudor court, notably in terracotta. He was subsequently active in Spain, where he was to die in 1528. The plaster cast was almost certainly made in London in the 1850s.

This a plaster cast from one of the two magnificent Cast Courts at the V&A. Since they were first opened in 1873, these galleries have displayed reproductions of some of the most significant monuments of medieval and Renaissance Europe.
In these galleries one can view plaster casts of sculptures from Renaissance Italy, notably some of the masterpieces produced by Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Michelangelo.
The sculptures are faithful copies of the originals. They were made in the 19th century, when the vogue for replicated works of art was at its height. Museum visitors at that time generally had little opportunity to travel abroad, and illustrated art books were costly. These superb casts could afford people a rare glimpse of the original sculptures, even if they could not visit Florence or Rome. Artists and designers then and now could likewise sketch and learn from them.
The painted surfaces of these reproductions often mirror the original stone or bronze, and the casts seem convincingly monumental. But they are made of plaster, a relatively fragile material.

Place of Origin

London (plaster cast, cast)
London (original, made)

Date

ca. 1858 (cast)
1517 (made)

Artist/maker

Torrigiano, Pietro, born 1472 - died 1528 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster Cast painted with restored gilding

Dimensions

Length: 221 cm, Width: 60 cm

Object history note

Acquired in 1858, details of acquisition unrecorded.

Historical context note

The effigy of Henry VII (1457-1509) lies next to that of his Queen, Elizabeth of York, at the centre of the chapel which bears his name, at the extreme east end of Westminster Abbey.

Descriptive line

Plaster Cast, painted plaster, of the tomb effigy of Henry VII, after the original in gilt bronze in Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, by Pietro Torrigiano, London, completed 1517, cast in London, ca. 1858

Labels and date

This plaster cast was taken from the great tomb of King Henry VII in Westminster Abbey. It was one of the earliest casts that the Museum acquired. Torrigiani was a sculptor from Florence who had worked alongside Michelangelo in Rome. He was one of the artists to introduce the Italian Renaissance style to England. [2014]

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Cast; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Death; Kings; Crowns; Prayer

Categories

Ph_survey; Royalty; Sculpture; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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