Copy of a Doorway thumbnail 1
Copy of a Doorway thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, The Ruddock Family Cast Court, Room 46A

Copy of a Doorway

ca. 1882 (made), ca. 1150-1175 (made)
Place Of Origin

The original doorway was part of a Norwegian church that was demolished in 1880. The South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) acquired this cast from the Museum of the University of Christiania (now Oslo). The university made moulds of the door before the church was destroyed. As an example of intricate Norwegian carving, the cast would have been an important acquisition for this Museum.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted plaster cast
Brief Description
Plaster cast of a doorway about 1882. The original is from the Church of Ål, Hallingdal, Norway and was made about 1150-75.
Physical Description
Plaster cast of a doorway depicting intricate Norwegian carvings. The original doorway is from the Church of Ål, in Hallingdal, now in the Universitets Oldsaksamling (Oslo).
Dimensions
  • Height: 381.5cm
  • Width: 183cm
Production typeCopy
Gallery Label
  • Cast of Unknown artist Doorway About 1150–75 The original doorway was part of a Norwegian church that was demolished in 1880. The South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) acquired this cast from the Museum of the University of Christiania (now Oslo). The university made moulds of the door before the church was destroyed. As an example of intricate Norwegian carving, the cast would have been an important acquisition for this Museum. Cast About 1882 Painted plaster Given by the University of Christiania (now Oslo) in 1882 Museum no. Repro.1882-231 Original Carved wood Oslo Church of Ål, Hallingdal Norway(04/07/2018)
  • This plaster cast was acquired in 1882, as a result of the international exchange of casts agreed in Paris in 1867. It is taken the portal from Ål church, Hallingdal, Buskerud, Norway (about 200 km North-West of Oslo), which was acquired by the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) from the Museum of the University of Christiania (now Oslo). The original church, one of seven in Hallingdal, central Norway, was demolished in 1880, and the following year two portals and some furnishings were presented to the Universitetets Oldsaksamling, Oslo. The casts were made soon after this, coming to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1882, as gifts from the University of Christiania. The original wood portal is vigorously carved: the decorative work consists of lions, once painted in red and black. The decorative scheme is more or less symmetrical, a palmette frieze, an undulating vine and two crouching dragons. The two capital lions stand erect, with human heads crushed in their jaws. The cast accurately reflects this complex intertwined carving. Holly Trusted
Credit line
Given by the University of Christiania, Oslo in 1882
Object history
Cast of a doorway made in plaster about 1882 and given by the University of Christiania, Oslo in 1882. The doorway is from the Church of Ål, Hallingdal, Norway and was carved in wood by an unknown artist in Oslo about 1150-75.
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.
Subject depicted
Summary
The original doorway was part of a Norwegian church that was demolished in 1880. The South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) acquired this cast from the Museum of the University of Christiania (now Oslo). The university made moulds of the door before the church was destroyed. As an example of intricate Norwegian carving, the cast would have been an important acquisition for this Museum.

Collection
Accession Number
REPRO.1882-231

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 27, 2000
Record URL