Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and often also contains lead or zinc. It is strong and durable but can also capture the fine, complex detail within a casting mould. The V&A holds in its collections a large number of bronze objects, including a group of sculptures donated by Auguste Rodin.
The Radiant Buddha
This standing figure of the Buddha Sakyamuni is one of only a tiny number of Indian metal Buddha images surviving from a formative period in the development of the image of Buddha. Its style was to have a far-reaching influence throughout Asia. The sculpture shows the Buddha standing with his hand raised in a gesture of benevolent reassurance known as abhaya-mudra.
'The Laughing Child' & 'The Crying Child', after François Roubiliac, about 1750
Pairs of the Laughing and Crying Child in bronze are highly unusual .This pair is almost certainly British, and probably dates from about 1750. The most likely author of the heads is the French sculptor Louis François Roubiliac (1702-62).
Designated the National Collection of Sculpture, this collection concentrates on Western European Sculpture from the 4th century to the end of the 19th century. Highlights of the collection include masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, ivory carvings of all periods, Northern European wood and other sculpture, commemorative medals and plaster casts. The sculpture collection contains approximately 22,000 objects.
The Metalwork collection contains over 45,000 examples of decorative metalwork, silver and jewellery ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the present day. It includes the national collection of English silver, an outstandingly comprehensive jewellery gallery, and collections of ironwork, continental silver, arms and armour, medieval champlevé and late 19th-century enamels, brasswork, pewter and medieval metalwork of international importance.