chapter  8
Typecasting Byzantium: Perpetuating the Nineteenth-Century British Pro-Classical Polemic
Pages 16

From the eighteenth century, great importance was placed on the acquisition of good-quality plaster casts of sculpture, particularly reproductions of the classical and Renaissance periods.4 By the 1850s a programme of mass production of plaster casts was underway, encouraged by the popularity of the cast courts at the London Great Exhibition of 1851. is led to the opening, in 1873, of the South Kensington Museum’s Cast Court,

or clay by a potter. 3 I. Jenkins, Archaeologists and Aesthetes in the Sculpture Galleries of the British Museum

part of which survives today in the re-named Victoria and Albert Museum. Evidence of the importance placed on the acquisition of good-quality, plastercast and electrotype reproductions of works of art is apparent in the setting up in 1867 of a European Commission to obtain and share reproductions of known masterpieces of world art. e intention behind the convention was to share the most prized classical sculptures of the Western canon through a programme of plaster reproductions.5