Multiplying Lives: Casting Light on the Modern Meanings and Values of Early Medieval Sculpture

Dr Sally Foster

Plaster casts of early medieval sculpture, dating from the 1820s onwards, are little studied but provide unique evidence for changing modern attitudes to replication of ancient objects and society‚Äôs perspective on early medieval culture. This project aims to establish the cultural significance and future potential of the surviving replicas of early medieval sculpture in Europe, using Scotland as an initial pilot, and to raise awareness of this, particularly among those responsible for this fragile resource. Adopting a biographical approach, it aims to evaluate the effect of replication on the extended agency of early medieval sculpture, and the nature of its impacts on society as a whole. Objectives include drawing together for the first time the surviving material culture and archival  sources evidencing the replication phenomenon. The approach involves looking at the event-horizon of replication and case studies of individual sculptures and collections. The aspiration is to work with partners to extend this to a wider range of replicated early medieval material.