JAIC 1983, Volume 23, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 32 to 46)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1983, Volume 23, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 32 to 46)

ON COPYING BRONZE STATUETTES

Ann H. Allison, & Robert B. Pond



1 INTRODUCTION

IT IS THE PURPOSE of this paper to present and explain the origin of some of the difficulties encountered in replicating small statues by casting as well as to establish the limits of shrinkage that can occur when a bronze casting is derived by replicating an original casting. It is our further purpose to propose a method by which the chronological relationship of a series of bronzetti of the same or of a slightly varied motif may be evaluated.

A metallic statue can be copied in at least three ways. First, if the copier is an artist gifted as a copyist, he can reproduce the form to an exactness dependent only on his skill and the opportunity to study the original carefully. His method of modeling, molding, and casting may be closely similar to that of the original artist. Second, if a part mold of the original work exists, a wax replica can be derived or a second casting be made directly into the part mold. Third, if the copier has the advantage of possessing the original work for a short period of time, during which he can generate directly from it a multipart mold, then, at his leisure, he can reproduce the work over and over again by the lost wax method.

In a discussion of bronze joining, Cyril Stanley-Smith1 said, “The greatest problem that a historian of techniques faces is, perhaps, to avoid jumping to the conclusion that an object was made in the way that he himself would find natural to make it!” The purpose of this paper is not to establish a single system of copying as optimum or even much used. It is our intent to inform those not familiar with the last of the methods mentioned above of some of the problems, results, and limitations of the technique.


Copyright 1983 American Institute of Historic and Artistic Works