December 10, 2013
Quite aside from the ethical implications, no private individual today is ever going to get to own the Parthenon Sculptures. The closest you could get to having a piece of them in your own home is to have a high quality cast. Many casts were made at one time or another, but some are better than others – it depends a lot on which generation they are, in terms of how far removed they are from the original sculptures.
Nowadays the British Museum Shop makes resin casts. The horse of Selene appears in Charlton Heston’s garden at the end of the film Bowling for Columbine, and I happen to know that British TV presenter William G Stewart also has a similar piece in his garden.
Some of the best casts are those that were made by the Brucciani company. Laura Steel, a teacher in Classics at Northern Illinois University, acquired what is thought to be one of these casts, and she has now advertised it for sale on Ebay.
Its the sort of thing that should ideally go to a university or museum, but I would imagine that it would also be of interest to many private collectors too.
For those of you gulping at the price tag for a plaster cast, as she explains at the end of the auction notes, this is comparable to the values that other similar pieces have sold for in recent years.
Full-sized Brucciani plaster copy of Parthenon frieze slab Athena Greek Greece
RARE and IRREPLACEABLE cast of one of the Elgin Marbles
Seller Notes: “Excellent used/vintage condition, with no visible flaws in the front surface. There is one larger chip in rear lower framing and a few tiny flakes from upper/lower edges (see photos).”
Regarding the piece for sale:
This piece is an irreplaceable, vintage, life-scale plaster copy of the East V Parthenon frieze slab depicting Athena and Hephaestus seated that was likely situated directly above the main entrance to the Parthenon (see photo for accepted scholarly placement of this slab within the frieze). The original is one of the Elgin Marbles held by the British Museum. While it would be even more ideal for potential buyers to see this piece in the (plaster) flesh, the photos should at least demonstrate that the cast is in excellent condition and is made in the traditional way, with un-sanded plastered strips along the back. It measures approximately 119 x 101 x 13 cm and appears to have metal framing, at least along the top edge, that would be strong enough to hang the piece on a wall surface without attaching any additional hardware.
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