Soane’s collection sheds light on cast manufacturing in the early 19th century, with makers often recorded in Soane’s Journals and ledgers. It demonstrates the thriving trade in casts of pieces from private and public collections (casts of items from Ince Blundell, Sir George Beaumont’s collection, The British Museum and others). Included are rare life masks of the artist Thomas Banks and the actress Sarah Siddons.
Important casts include:
John Bacon, medallion, Flight of Aeneas from Troy with which he won the first Royal Academy Gold Medal for Sculpture.
Henry Webber, medallion, ‘The Judgement of Midas’, with which he won the Gold Medal for sculpture (the same year as Soane won it for architecture).
Chellini Madonna by Donatello: 18th century cast made in England (one of only three casts known).
Taddeo Tondo, Michaelangelo: made in England when the marble was in the collection of Sir George Beaumont.
The complete cast collection of the architect Willey ‘The Athenian’ Reveley, bought at the Reveley sale 1801 (40-50 items).
Casts formerly belonging to James Playfair (scottish architect)
Cast of the Apollo Belvedere, made for Lord Burlington in Italy c.1719 and formerly at Chiswick House.
Collection of 91 casts made by Canova’s workshop in Rome c.1820 for the architect Lewis Wyatt including casts from temples, churches and the sculpture collection of the Polish Prince Poniatowsky. The collection came to the Soane in 1834 with Wyatt’s original catalogue.
Early casts made by the British Museum of one of Lord Elgin’s marbles and ‘The Apotheosis of Homer’ (formerly in the Colonna Palace, Rome).