History of the British Museum and its collections, £6.00
Catalogue of casts of classical sculpture in the British Museum
London, England, AD 1838
Replicas of art from Greece and Rome
Today, replicas of many objects from The British Museum's collections are available for purchase. Medieval jewellery, casts of Classical sculpture, coins from Roman Britain and games from the ancient Near East can be bought by the public and kept as a memento of a visit to the Museum.
Long before The British Museum had bookshops and giftshops, replicas of some objects were produced by the Museum, mainly for scholars to study. The first to be produced were of the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens and from the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, in around 1816.
In 1836 the Museum began to produce casts commercially. This is the 1838 list of casts of 'ancient marbles, bronzes, etc' available from existing moulds. In the late nineteenth century, production of the casts increased as interest in the collections grew and plaster casts became fashionable in the home. Casts from other collections were also displayed alongside other objects in the galleries of the British Museum.
Some of the earliest moulds for the casts were made by the sculptor Richard Westmacott, who advised on the arrangement of sculpture in the Museum for almost fifty years. Subsequent work was undertaken by Pietro Angelo Sarti and William Pinker. In 1857 Pinker was succeeded by Domenicho Brucciani, whose company continued such work until the beginning of the twentieth century. They also produced casts of objects from many major international collections. These were displayed in their London showrooms.