Spotlight: Plaster Casts

If you’ve studied at the Studios, you will have noticed our fantastic collection of plaster casts. Lavender Hill Colours has an extensive and constantly expanding collection of plaster casts, which are available for purchase in-store and on their online shop. Each of the plaster casts has an interesting and occasionally mysterious provenance.

David’s Eye, Ear, Lips, and Nose:

Casts taken from the head of Michelangelo’s David, the famous sixteenth century sculpture housed in the Galleria dell ’Accademia, Florence. Often used by beginner sculptors and painters to improve facility in rendering individual features.

David’s Torso:

Miniature reproduction of the torso of Michelangelo’s David. Useful for the study of male anatomy.

Dying Slave:

A cast taken from the head of Michelangelo’s mannerist Dying Slave, which was intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome. This cast is fantastic for the study of gesture, expression, and portraiture. The original sculpture is housed in the Louvre, Paris.

Bust of Voltaire:

Taken from a 1778 bust by the neoclassical sculptor, Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828), this cast shows Voltaire a few months before his death. Imitating the naturalistic Greco-Roman style, the Bust of Voltaire is useful for studying realistic facial anatomy and structure.


This cast of a cherub is sourced from the Bottega Basile, Armando Basile’s artisan workshop in Florence.

Detail of Foot:

This cast is taken from Bernini’s David (1623-4), a Baroque masterpiece housed in the Borghese Gallery, Rome. It is useful for painters and sculptors interested in anatomy, gesture, and Baroque mannerisms.

Detail of Hand:

This cast is taken from Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647-52), housed in the Santa Maria della Vittoria Basilica, Rome. Like Bernini’s foot, it is useful for those interested in studying anatomy, gesture, and mannerism.


This twentieth century cast of a flayed hand was taken from the Royal Academy of Arts collection. It is useful for the study of anatomy.

Winged Victory of Samothrace:

A miniature cast of a second century BC Greek sculpture, Victory of Samothrace, kept in the Louvre after its rediscovery in 1863. This sculpture has been studied by artists since its uncovering as a fantastic example of drapery interacting with the figure.

Beethoven Life Mask:

A rare life mask of Beethoven, originally taken by the sculptor Franz Klein in 1812 following the German composer’s most productive middle period. A striking ornament and, with Beethoven’s formidably furrowed brow, a challenging reference for those interested in honing their portraiture skills.

Leopardi Death Mask:

The death mask of Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), an Italian philosopher and poet. This cast is an excellent reference for the study of pronounced facial anatomy.

The Renaissance Girl:

Nicknamed ‘The Renaissance Girl’ by the studio, this cast was taken from a sculpture of Cupid, or possibly Diana, by the relatively unknown French Art Nouveau artist, Agathon Leonard (1841-1923).

Small Female Torso:

Sourced from a foundry on the outskirts of Florence, this simple cast is useful for those interested in studying female anatomy.


This cast was sourced from the Charles H. Cecil Studio, Florence. It is taken from an ancient sculpture held in the Vatican Museums, ‘Laocoön and his Sons’, which was excavated in Rome in 1506. It was famously visited by Michelangelo shortly after its unearthing. Laocoön is a Trojan priest of Apollo who features in the Greek Epic Trojan cycle and Virgil’s Aeneid. This cast is fantastic for an advanced study of facial expression and gesture.

La Rieuse Napolitaine:

A sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875), exhibited at the Salon in 1867. This rare cast was obtained in Paris. Carpeaux made only a few marble versions during his lifetime.

Venus de Milo:

The head of the Venus de Milo, a Hellenistic Greek sculpture made between 150 and 125 BC and displayed in the Louvre since its rediscovery in 1820. This over life-sized and simplified head is a particularly good resource for beginners.

Female Flat Head:

A cast of the head of Psyche of Naples, also named Psyche of Capua, a first century BC sculpture held in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

Three Graces:

A cast of a second century BC Roman bas-relief held in the Louvre.

Neapolitan Fisher Boy:

This cast is most likely a late nineteenth-century sculpture, and was sourced from an antique store in Naples. It is an entirely unique cast, which cannot be traced back to its original source.

St Benedict:

Though affectionately nicknamed St. Benedict, this is a cast of St. Andrew by Flemish sculptor François Duquesnoy (1597-1643). The original over life-sized marble sculpture, carved between 1629 and 1633, is housed in St. Peters, Rome.

Lying Male Torso:

Although we suspect that this may be a Rodin clay sketch, there is little information available to confirm its provenance. An excellent example of male anatomy.

La Négresse:

A beautiful miniature of the famous abolitionist sculpture made by Carpeaux in 1868. This is one of the studio’s most attractive casts.

If you have interesting plaster casts, bronzes, or any other sculpture of your own which you would like to share, or if you have any more information on our own casts, please do not hesitate to get in touch at [email protected].

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