Object of the Month

Object of the Month



Casting a brass head, Togo

The process of lost-wax casting, or cire perdue, has changed little since the 3rd millennium BC. Solid cast-metal objects can be heavy and expensive but the lost-wax technique enables the production of hollow metal objects to be produced – especially duplicates from originals – through a series of steps.

First, a clay or plaster model (‘core’) of the object (TOP) is covered in wax (MIDDLE). A second layer of clay is applied over the wax with ducts for drainage, then the piece is heated so that the wax melts away leaving a cavity which is filled with molten metal. Once the metal has cooled and hardened, the clay is chipped away (BOTTOM) to reveal the metal object. Donated by Robert Sutherland Rattray in 1910; 1910.48.1–.3.

Find this object in a new display of metalwork in the Lower Gallery as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project.

Check back each month to see the latest featured object.