My philosophy of manufacture of reproduction stuff

Sorry about not posting for a while, I’ve been busy and progressing lots of things at once so nothing is quite finished yet.

I decided ages ago that I would make not direct copies of medieval and Tudor stuff, but attempt to make similar objects. Not only because starting from scratch gives a better understanding of the processes and knowledge required, but also because given the massive variety of surviving objects, I think it pointless to try and produce an exact match to one specific one. Yes, all buckles are buckles, but when you look more closely there are many variations between them, due to the use of many different moulds in different towns over a century or many different copies made. It is the latter I am aiming towards, i.e. how a craftsman would replicate something that is, say, new to town or seen as the latest fashion coming from London. Or that a competitor has designed. Therefore my replicas are often a bit different in size or precise shape.

An example of such variation can be found in the MoL book “Dress Accessories”, where they list 39 medieval pewter buckles excavated in the city of a similar design, i.e. “raised, bevelled band along centre of frame and beading along edge”.. Their diameters range from 21 to 24 mm, which suggests to me at least 3 different stone moulds or else one mould slightly recarved after every few hundred castings due to erosion of the stone, in which case the depth of the buckles should change quite a bit as well. I have trouble believing that each design of buckle would be proprietary to one pewterer or girdlemaker; that they are not helps explain the variation in shape and size. The two they do illustrate have different numbers of beads around the edge and a slightly different cross section.

There is another very geeky reason not to make your reproductions identical to originals, otherwise people might mistake one for the other or try to pass them off as originals. This has accidentally happened to a reproduction potter I know, although it didn’t involve any money, just mis-identification.


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