John Henning's moulds and casts of the Parthenon sculptures

AD 1816-22

Early souvenirs

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries classical sculpture was so popular that a trade in plaster casts of the sculptures also developed. The casts were used in country houses and art academies as decoration and for study.

These miniature copies of the famous sculptures from the Parthenon were made by John Henning (1771-1851), who came to London from Paisley in Scotland in 1811. Henning was struck by the beauty of the sculptures from the Parthenon frieze and asked for permission to draw and model them. Henning carved versions in slate as sunken impressions, from which raised versions were then cast in white plaster. Henning reproduced the frieze in sections measuring five cm (two inches) by 15 cm (six inches). These were sold in boxed sets. Today individual copies of these casts can still be brought from the Museum shop.

Henning and his son John Henning Junior (1802-57) later became well known for carving a partial replica of the Parthenon frieze around the Atheneum, the gentleman's club in Waterloo Place, London, in 1828.

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Height: 2.000 inches

Museum number

GR 1938,11-18.19-25



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