FuturePlan: Renovation of the Cast Courts

Plaster cast of central doorway of S. Petronio, Bologna, Oronzio Lelli, 1886, after the original by Jacopo della Quercia completed after 1510. Museum no. REPRO. 1887-41

Plaster cast of central doorway of S. Petronio, Bologna, Oronzio Lelli, 1886, after the original by Jacopo della Quercia completed after 1510. Museum no. REPRO. 1887-41

First opened in 1873, the Cast Courts are among the most popular galleries in the V&A and house some of the Museum's largest and most loved objects, such as the 5.5 metre high cast of Michelangelo's David and a plaster cast of Trajan's Column, displayed in two pieces which if put together would reach 35.6 metres high.

Originally designed by General Henry Scott, the Cast Courts are arranged as two double-height, day-lit courts. Currently plans are in place for the renovation of one of the courts (Gallery 46b). This will include reinstating the primary decorative scheme of the original Victorian design and revealing the original tiled floor. A full replacement of the glazed areas of roof will be undertaken along with the complete restoration of the copper light windows to the upper gallery.  Areas of damage to the building fabric will be also be repaired.

Moira Gemmill, V&A's Director of Projects, Design and Estate, said:

'Collecting replicas of famous sculptures and monuments was a 19th-century phenomenon and the real challenge in refurbishing this Cast Court is to bring it up to the standards of the 21st Century while retaining its Victorian charm.’

The refurbishment of the Cast Courts will also provide the V&A sculpture curators and conservators with the opportunity to further research the casts both from a historical and technical point of view.

Work is currently being carried out in Gallery 46b, which is now closed to the public. The Gallery will re-open in winter 2014. The works to Gallery 46b can be observed from the upper Gallery known as Gallery 111 (Gilbert Bayes Gallery).


Video: The Cast Courts

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This development is part of FuturePlan

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