Focus on Ancient Plaster at Conference Organised by Emma Payne

3rd March 2020
Cape Town, South Africa, man working in sculpting studio, working with mold

QEST J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust Scholar and archaeological conservator Emma Payne is currently working at King’s College London, and along with her colleague Will Wootten and Abbey Ellis (University of Leicester/Ashmolean Museum), she is organising a conference titled Ancient Plaster: Casting Light On A Forgotten Sculptural Material at The British Academy in April.

Marble, bronze, and terracotta are all celebrated materials for sculpture in the round. However, plaster, another noteworthy material in antiquity, is understudied and often absent from the archaeological record. Two major questions regarding the role of plaster in ancient sculpture remain unresolved. This conference, bringing together international experts including archaeologists, conservators, and contemporary sculptors, aims to tackle these debates. Firstly, it will explore plaster as a sculptural material in its own right and address the use of plaster models for the production of works in other media. Secondly, it will tackle the contested issue of life-casting in antiquity, assessing whether such casting was indeed used in the production of bronzes. Demonstrations of plaster working and casting processes will give participants a practical understanding of material and technique. This interdisciplinary practice based focus will facilitate collaboration between archaeologists and contemporary practitioners, enabling cooperative analysis of these important and unresolved research problems. Confirmed scholars also include QEST Garfield Weston Foundation Scholar and sculptor Thomas Merrett.

Monday 6 April – Tuesday 7 April 2020

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

More information and booking link: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/events/ancient-plaster-casting-light-forgotten-sculptural-material