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Doryphoros (or Spear Bearer): FT1

Object information

Current Location: Founder's Entrance Hall Upper Landing


Doryphoros (or Spear Bearer)


Maker: D. Brucciani & Co.




Plaster cast after the Doryphoros (or Spear Bearer), a Roman marble now in Naples.


History note: The cast, presented by Samuel Sanders in 1891, was supplied by D. Brucciani & Co. of London at a cost of £6.0.0.

Legal notes

Presented by Samuel Sanders in 1891.

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1891) by Sanders, Samuel


D. Brucciani & Co. was one of the most successful firms producing plaster figures and casts in London during the nineteenth century. This business was one of many which emerged in the 19th century, when the copying of art became a lucrative trade across Europe. Brucciani’s firm developed links with both the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). Both institutions assembled important collection of casts of sculpture and architecture during this period. Brucciani died in 1880, although the business continued until 1921.

Domenico Brucciani (1814-80) was born in Barga in 1814. At the time of the 1841 census, he was recorded as living with his uncle, Lewis Brucciani, in London. Lewis had come to London in 1820 and by 1824, was insured as an artificial flower manufacturer and a plaster figure maker. Lewis retired to Barga in 1844 and Domenico took over the plaster figure business. In the 1851 census, Domenico (aged 33) recorded his occupation as ‘Professor of Modelling in Clay’ and in 1861 as a plaster figure manufacturer, employing 25 men and five boys. He traded from Little Russell St from 1829 and also traded in the 1850s from 1 Leather Lane in partnership with Giovanni Graziani as plaster figure makers, a business which he continued following the dissolution of the partnership in 1857. When Brucciani’s new premises, the Galleria delle Belle Arti, opened at 40 Russell St in 1864, the size of his new gallery of casts was given as 100 by 25 feet.

In July 1851, Brucciani received an appointment from the Science and Art Department to instruct students in the School of Design in moulding, at a salary of £35 a year. He appears to have been appointed to take casts in 1853 or 1854. Brucciani worked as a modeller for the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) and the British Museum, taking casts of items in their collections and supplying other casts. He described himself as ‘Formatore [i.e., maker] & Modeller to the Science and Art Department’, as well as to the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, on his blue invoice paper. At the British Museum, Brucciani was appointed formatore in 1857, following the death of William Pink, and used premises at 196 High Holborn to store the museum’s moulds.

Text adapted from the National Portrait Gallery online resource, ‘British bronze sculpture founders and plaster figure makers, 1800-1980’.

This cast is after the Doryphoros (or Spear Bearer), a Roman marble now in Naples, itself a copy of a lost Greek bronze original by Polyclitus, of c. 440 BCE.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Casting (process) : Plaster cast

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: FT1
Primary reference Number: 241891
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_1_1849
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Wednesday 12 August 2020 Updated: Friday 8 December 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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