Cottonian Collection Sculpture

A small collection of bronzes, plasters and other sculptures largely of the Italian, French and English schools.

bronze sculpture of a woman


The bronzes, though few in number, include some fine examples.


plaster cast pair of lions

The fashion for collecting plaster casts peaked in the 18th and 19th century. Using plaster to create casts of famous sculptures enabled collectors to appreciate the beauty and skill of world-renowned masterpieces in the privacy of their own homes. Casts were made of the original work and then plaster poured into the moulds to make copies. More complex sculptures had to be moulded in several parts and subsequently joined together. The plaster casts on display here from part of the Cottonian collection amassed by Charles Rogers. The subject matter such as Venus and Mercury as well as the Roman Bust shows the interest in collecting Classical Greek and Roman sculpture and subjects.

two boxwood sculptures of a man and womanOther sculptures

Alongside the bronzes and plaster casts are various other types of sculpture.

Access the sculpture online

Please note that not all records are currently complete to the same standard. If there are any errors, please get in touch with us.


Kristin Annus and Eleanor Barker (formerly part of our Young Explainers group) tell us more about the sculptures and how bronzes and plaster casts were made. Listen to the MP3 file, or read the accompanying transcript in PDF. These were originally produced in 2013.

Sculpture in the Cottonian Collection transcript [133KB]