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  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1770-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Decimus Burton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118, The Wolfson Gallery, case WE

  • Public access description

    Object Type

    This plaster cast of an architectural detail from an ancient Roman building was acquired by the architect Decimus Burton, either in Rome or London. It is a bracket with acanthus and rosettes, cast from the original marble in the Vatican, Rome. Reproductions of classical architectural details were much sought after by architects in the early 19th century. Sir John Soane (1753-1837), for example, owned a large and important collection of casts, which were used as sources for his own designs.


    Decimus Burton (1800-1881) was the tenth son of James Burton (1761-1837), a successful speculative builder and developer in London and south-east England. He received practical training in his father's office, and also attended the Royal Academy Schools. He began practising as an independent architect relatively early, briefly as a public architect, but then he increasingly concentrated on private commissions. He travelled extensively, both in North America and Europe.

    Materials & Making

    Plaster casts were especially sought after during the 19th century, when reproductions of great works of sculpture and architecture were thought crucial for the training of artists. A separating substance was applied to the surface of the work to be reproduced, and a plaster mould made from that. The mould would then be used to make any number of additional plaster copies. These were often sold to artists, and later in the century to art colleges for study purposes.

  • Dimensions

    Height: 27.94 cm, Width: 17.78 cm, Weight: 5 kg

  • Object history note

    After an original in the Vatican, Rome. Given by Decimus Burton (1800-1881) in 1879.

  • Descriptive line

    Bracket with acanthus and rosettes, after an original in the Vatican, Rome

  • Labels and date

    British Galleries:

    By the end of the 18th century the main demand for casts or copies of architectural detail came from architects. Casts served as design sources and also impress demonstrated that the architect had received a proper classical education. [27/03/2003]

  • Collection code

    Sculpture Collection