V&A Museum Cast Courts

Six towering early Christian crosses in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s famous Cast Courts will be conserved thanks to a grant from Allchurches Trust.

The crosses were cast in plaster from ancient stone crosses dating from the seventh to 10th Century around the British Isles during the mid-19th century and installed in the Cast Courts, which have been undergoing extensive refurbishment since 2011, along with copies of other architectural and ecclesiastical wonders including the 35-metre high Trajan’s Column.

Collecting plaster cast reproductions and electrotypes reached the height of popularity in the mid to late 19th Century when only a select few could afford to travel to the UK. The South Kensington Museum (as the V&A was then known) was at the forefront of this enthusiasm, bringing together casts of important European monuments and works of art for visitors to admire and study, making them accessible to far more people.

Allchurches Trust is contributing to the V&A’s restoration of the West Court, which will now be called the Ruddock Family Cast Court, and the Central Gallery, which will become the Chitra Nirmal Sethia Gallery. Due to open on December 1, 2018, this will complete the museum's redevelopment of its magnificent Cast Courts, which include the cast crosses. The space will feature a brand new gallery exploring the history, processes and significance of casts and copies as well as looking to their contemporary relevance and future in the digital age. Entry to the Cast Courts is free.

All images © Victoria and Albert Museum, London