Cast Courts

I went to see the new displays in the Cast Courts at the V&A, which were opened in November with funding from the Weston Foundation.

First opened in 1873, the Cast Courts were originally known as the Architectural Courts, full of both originals and copies, conceived by Henry Cole and designed by Major-General Henry Scott, the architect of the Albert Hall. It was intended partly to provide source material for students in the National Art Training School (I note that there was already a ‘Female antique class room’).

They were spared from destruction by the innate conservatism of the V&A, although the classical casts were transferred to the BM and, in 1947, a big collection of electrotypes was sold to Metro Goldwyn Mayer to be used as film props, as they were in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

They were last redisplayed in 1982, but in those days, the gallery in the middle was of fakes, whereas now it is full of interpretation:-

The inside of Trajan’s Column:-

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