Suppliers included Peter Chenu, James De Ville, the Giannelli family, Francis Hardenberg, Humphrey Hopper, the Papera family and Robert Shout. Discovery, reception and diffusion of classical art - Sculpture - The Classical Art Research Centre and The Beazley Archive - The University of Oxford The trade outside London was smaller but still dominated by Italians: Luke O’Neil in Edinburgh by c.1784 (he was also a firework maker), Pellegrino Mazzotti in Norwich before 1819, Tognieri in Bath by the 1820s and Pieroni in the 1850s, and Papera junior and Andrea Giuntini in Cheltenham in the 1840s, to name but some of the makers active in a few selected centres. It was possible to hire plaster figures, as Nollekens informed his fellow sculptor, Francis Chantrey, ‘You may hire casts at Papera's and Genelli's’, and as the amateur artist, Sarah Harriet Burney, told a friend in 1804, ‘By subscribing a shilling a week to Papara, the Plaisterman, I got what busts or whole length figures I pleased’ – which she could then use in her studies. He would arrive ‘carrying a large white enamelled bowl (for mixing Plaster of Paris), a roll of scrim (for reinforcing the plaster) and a collection of odd lengths of iron rods (for bracing the moulds)… He would have come to Chelsea, with all this paraphernalia, from Camden Town…. Their moulds and a few tools were sent on ahead by wagon to Chambery, capital of the French department of Savoy, where they would make their first stay. Now that the Corona thing gives us a lot of time at home, I have brought my Plaster Casts back to life and added them to my shop. in association … They are of interest to classical archaeologists, art historians, the history of collecting, curators, conservators, collectors and artists. They would cross the Apennines and the Alps, marching in a little corps of twelve or fifteen. In 1858 a court case against a master, Luigi Caproni, was dismissed concerning the wages of Mansueto Mei, a plaster figure maker who had left him after 20 months of a 30-month contract to make images. Texts address plaster casts and related themes from antiquity to the present day, and from Egypt to America, Mexico and New Zealand. For abbreviations, see Resources and bibliography. But after a few years I stopped selling my own Plaster Casts and put affiliate offers from Amazon on my website, where I earned a small commission. At this time Meacci was calling himself a piece moulder and figure maker on his invoice paper. In the early 19th century, Italian figure makers began to come to Britain in increasing numbers to produce ornaments for town and country houses and to sell cheap plaster figures as an itinerant trade. Remember that the code is only valid until 30. Advertising more than 300 plaster figures of classical and modern subjects. In 1843 Antonio Caproni of 97 Gray’s Inn Lane was accused of retailing an indecent cast of a naked female figure in the street. Such figures might be bronzed to give them a more solid appearance and to suit the heavy feel of Regency interiors. They are of interest to classical archaeologists, art historians, the history of collecting, curators, conservators, collectors and artists. Each cast is hand-finished in the studio, suggesting how the hand of the artist might affect a finished piece. The interest in phrenological heads endured into the early 20th century until the subject was substantially discredited. He collected "as many of the most celebrated works… carved and cast, antique and modern as he was able to obtain anywhere". The sherd and squeeze collections may be of more interest to academic researchers but these databases make our collections accessible to all. Clifford established the importance of such figure sellers in 18th-century Britain, especially in London, and their role in supplying figures and plasterwork for ornamenting and lighting interiors, and for use as models for manufacturers such as Wedgwood. Click the link and you will be directed to the shop page were all my Plaster Casts are displayed: You can enter the code on the cart page as well as on the checkout page. Sculptors’ moulders became a specialist branch of plaster figure working, producing piece and waste moulds, gelatine moulds and plaster and wax casts, so necessary in the production of bronze sculpture. John Baptist Giannelli was in London by 1777, Anthony Sartini by 1785, Bartholomew Papera by about 1789 and Ambrose Pelligrini by 1790. In London directories, ‘plaster cast figure makers’ of apparently Italian origin, already common at the beginning of the 19th century, dominated as the century progressed (as analysed by Peter Malone). Bartholomew Papera would carry ‘new things round to artists in baskets’, according to John Thomas Smith, who tells how Joseph Nollekens welcomed the opportunity to inspect such novelties although, on one occasion, he bridled when Papera named a rival, John Deare as the modeller. Evidence for migrant groups of plaster figure makers in Britain comes through the official ‘Returns of Aliens Passengers’, recording foreigners landing in Britain and through the 10 yearly census returns. This is the Museum of Classical Archaeology Collections online database of the plaster cast, pottery sherd and paper squeeze collections. This development was a matter of comment at the time. The sight of itinerant figure sellers inspired several Victorian paintings, including James Collinson's Italian Image Boys at a roadside Ale House, 1849, and William McTaggart's Following the Fine Arts, 1874, as well as popular printed images (see Journal of the History of Collections, vol.3, no.2, 1991, pp.283-4). These itinerants sought not to settle in England but to return home with enough money to become owners of a house and a little land in the immediate neighbourhood of the villages where they were born. In his 1968 autobiography, Wheeler gives a graphic description of ‘Charlie Smith’, whom he described as ‘a big man, slow of gait and with a high-pitched voice’. Domenico Brucciani’s invoice for moulding and reproducing the tomb effigy of Robert, Duke of Normandy in Gloucester Cathedral, 1875 (National Portrait Gallery records, Duplicates of Accounts). Although the market today for new bronze sculpture has somewhat declined, and with it the need for such a network of independent sculptors’ moulders, the continuing importance of casting and working in plaster and similar materials can be seen from the work of artists as varied as Rachel Whiteread and Thomas Houseago. Retailing of plaster figures took place through street trading in London and elsewhere and by travel to provincial towns to set up temporary shop, in both cases with a view to the household market for popular and contemporary figures. There was also a period when plaster phrenological heads were a focus for the study of the human head. This page is intended as a source of information for art students who want to learn classical painting. Very Cheap, etching by John Thomas Smith, published 1815, from his Etchings of Remarkable Beggars, Itinerant Traders and other Persons (National Portrait Gallery). Nothing special and in any case not expensive. Showing his collection of classical plaster casts and modern marble busts. In the second half of the 19th century the market for bronze statues for civic spaces and for statuettes for domestic interiors developed rapidly. In the case of Papera, we know that he built up a remarkable clientele of leading figures in society within a few years of arrival, including the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Warwick, Sir George Beaumont and Sarah Siddons. 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