How to Clean Plaster Casts by Andrea Felice

Cast with a beautiful original light patina.
V&A Museum, London.
Photo By A. Felice 2017

" I constantly receive questions and requests about how to clean plaster casts. It may seem a trivial question but it isn’t. Anyone who has found an old cast or even an historical cast in his hands knows the frustration of seeing it impoverished or ‘damaged’ by dust, dirt, various kinds of spots and more generally all that signs of time.

Also it’s true that a cleaned cast is not synonymous of beauty, since the cleaning done by unskilled hands often causes worse damages more than the initial conditions. Personally I love the patina of time on the casts, usually I do not proceed with any cleaning if not really necessary. During my long experience on the restoration of casts and plaster models I can say that restoring plaster ‘less you do, more you have done’." -Andrea Felice

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I wish I had some plaster casts to clean! They’re so hard to come by and expensive in the UK. #makemyowncasts

The prices can be pretty steep. We scout some of the local flea markets and co-ops, occasionally finding some beautiful casts. They often do require some clean-up—but then they are good to go. I believe our collection was acquired for pennies compared to some.

Also might help to reach out to some students doing master sculpture copies to see if they might part with them affordably. We have a few of the David features that were made as copies by students and I would think that most wouldn’t even know.

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Yes - good ideas! Thanks :slight_smile:

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