Skylight Studios has worked extensively with historical associations, museums, universities, towns and cities, private collectors, and organizations such as the National Park Service, the Trustees of Reservations, and Historic New England on the replication of original sculptures. At times this is done to preserve a historic piece by moving it indoors and replacing it with an exact replica in the original outdoor location. At other times an exact copy is needed at another venue. We have used our skills and experience to create faithful molds and copies in enduring materials that are suited for the intended location and visually match the original pieces.
Some of our replication projects include:
The Salem Custom House Eagle – Salem, MA
Built in 1819, this historic building served as offices for the U.S. Custom Service. Today, it is a National Park Service museum that contains exhibits relative to its history. While American author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked there, he found the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter.
The heroic-size wooden eagle on the pediment was carved by Joseph True in 1826. The weathering of time deteriorated the wood and in order to preserve it indoors, it was taken down in 2004. Skylight Studios worked with the National Park Service to conserve the original. Afterwards, a silicon rubber mold was fabricated to cast a resin replica that matched the original in every detail. The NPS historical conservators determined the original colors and gilding that Skylight Studios duplicated in the copy.
Katharine Lane Weems Rhinoceros
Katharine Lane Weems created twin heroic-size Rhinoceros sculptures for the entryway of the Bio Labs Building at Harvard University as well as graphic designs of African animals which are carved into the terracotta facade. During the 1980s, Skylight Studios restored all of her original plaster models for the Rhinos and created 2 bronze copies that are installed at the Zoo Center at the Bronx Zoo and one resin copy which stands in front of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. After the completion of these 3 copies the molds were destroyed.
The Barney Mausoleum – Springfield, MA
Everett Hosmer Barney and his wife and son are buried here. Everett Barney’s wealth came from fabricating weaponry for the Civil War and from his other business endeavors. He located this mausoleum, in what is now Forest Park, near their mansion. He bequeathed his estate and an endowment to Springfield to create a public park. For Skylight Studios’ project, the sculptural elements were restored, molds were fabricated, and the sculptures were reproduced in polyester resin.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – Boston, MA
This stone door surround and frieze reproduction was completed in collaboration with Ivan Myjer of Building & Monument Conservation. Myjer conserved the original marble elements so they would be ready for silicon rubber molds. The reproduction was cast in bonded marble. Other objects and ornaments have been replicated at the Gardner in order to preserve the originals.
Bacchante and Infant Faun – Boston Public Library
Well-known sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies created this life-size sculpture in the late 19th century and gave it as a gift to the acclaimed architect Charles Follen McKim who had helped him to study abroad. McKim was building the Boston Public Library at the time with his firm, McKim, Mead & White, and offered to donate the sculpture and place it in the future courtyard. However, the Library refused the offer after a public outcry concerning the offensively realistic, nude female, as opposed to the popular idealized figures of the time. The public also disapproved of the depicted bacchante (a follower of the Roman wine god Bacchus) due to the current temperance movement. McKim eventually donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fast-forward about a hundred years, and the Boston Public Library and the George B. Henderson Foundation Fund commission Skylight Studios to create a reproduction of the sculpture for the courtyard after all. The original sculpture had become so popular that it had been reproduced in several sizes and could be found in the collections of several museums. Skylight Studios used the copy of Bacchante and Infant Faun owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to make a mold and then cast another copy for the Library, appreciated by a new generation.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University
The casts of Maya sculptures and monuments in the collection of the PMAE are well-known and sought after in order to make reproductions. Several copies of stelae have been replicated and two examples are shown here. The stela reproduction on the left is on permanent display at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. The stela copy in the center will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The image on the right shows copies of a Tikal lintel, one of which is also at Dumbarton Oaks.
The Sunken Garden Fountains at the Elms – Newport, RI
These 3 fountains grace the Sunken Garden at the Elms, now one of the mansions owned by The Preservation Society of Newport County. Over time they deteriorated and many of the bronzes were destroyed or stolen. In 2000-2001, we worked with the curator to replicate the missing figures and ornament and to restore the existing bronzes. The fountains were completely rebuilt reproducing all the original details. The Preservation Society of Newport County presented the 2005 Laurel Award to Robert Shure “in recognition of his outstanding service and meticulous skill and artisanship in restoring or replacing the Society’s lost or damaged statuary.”