Berengaria

Copy of an Effigy
1852-1854 (made), 1230-50 (made)
Berengaria thumbnail 1
Berengaria thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, The Ruddock Family Cast Court, Room 46A
Place Of Origin

This and most of the other tomb and effigy casts displayed here were first shown at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham between 1854 and 1936. Exhibitions at the Crystal Palace told the history of world culture in an entertaining and popular manner through thousands of plaster copies of objects and architectural fragments. After fire destroyed the building, the surviving casts were given to the V&A to join other reproductions already displayed here.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted plaster cast
Brief Description
Plaster cast of an effigy of Berengaria of Navarre probably made in London in 1852-54. The original was made in France in 1230-50.
Physical Description
Plaster cast of the effigy of Berengaria, Queen of King Richard I of England.
Dimensions
  • Length: 226.5cm
Production typeCopy
Gallery Label
Cast of Unknown artist Effigy of Berengaria of Navarre 1230–50 This and most of the other tomb and effigy casts displayed here were first shown at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham between 1854 and 1936. Exhibitions at the Crystal Palace told the history of world culture in an entertaining and popular manner through thousands of plaster copies of objects and architectural fragments. After fire destroyed the building, the surviving casts were given to the V&A to join other reproductions already displayed here. Cast 1852–54 Painted plaster Probably London Given by the Trustees of the Crystal Palace in 1938 Museum no. Repro.A.1938-5 Original Polychrome stone France The Chapter House, L’Épau Abbey, Le Mans(21/06/2018)
Credit line
Given by the Trustees of the Crystal Palace
Object history
Copy of an effigy of Berengaria of Navarre made in plaster probably in London in 1852-54 and given by the Trustees of the Crystal Palace in 1938. The cast was given to the V&A following a fire at the Crystal Palace. The original was made from polychrome stone in France in 1230-50 and is from The Chapter House, L'Épau Abbey, Le Mans.
Historical context
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This and most of the other tomb and effigy casts displayed here were first shown at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham between 1854 and 1936. Exhibitions at the Crystal Palace told the history of world culture in an entertaining and popular manner through thousands of plaster copies of objects and architectural fragments. After fire destroyed the building, the surviving casts were given to the V&A to join other reproductions already displayed here.
Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.A.1938-5

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record createdOctober 3, 2006
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