Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1770-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Decimus Burton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118, The Wolfson Gallery, case WE

Object Type
This plaster cast of an architectural detail from an ancient Roman building was acquired by the architect Decimus Burton, either in Rome or London. It is a moulding of egg and dart, after a Roman original in Rome. Reproductions of classical architectural details were much sought after by architects in the early 19th century. Sir John Soane (1753-1837), for example, owned a large and important collection of casts, which were used as sources for his own designs.

Decimus Burton (1800-1881) was the tenth son of James Burton (1761-1837), a successful speculative builder and developer in London and south-east England. He received practical training in his father's office, and also attended the Royal Academy Schools. He began practising as an independent architect relatively early, briefly as a public architect, but then he increasingly concentrated on private commissions. He travelled extensively, both in North America and Europe.

Materials & Making
Plaster casts were especially sought after during the 19th century, when reproductions of great works of sculpture and architecture were thought crucial for the training of artists. A separating substance was applied to the surface of the work to be reproduced, and a plaster mould made from that. The mould would then be used to make any number of additional plaster copies. These were often sold to artists, and later in the century to art colleges for study purposes.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)


ca. 1770-1830 (made)



Materials and Techniques



Height: 15.24 cm, Width: 31.8 cm, Weight: 4 kg

Object history note


Descriptive line

MOULDING of egg and dart, after a Roman original

Labels and date

British Galleries:

By the end of the 18th century the main demand for casts or copies of architectural detail came from architects. Casts served as design sources and also impress demonstrated that the architect had received a proper classical education. [27/03/2003]


Architectural fittings


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.