The legacy of nineteenth-century replicas for object cultural biographies: lessons in duplication from 1830s Fife

Sally M. Foster, Alice Blackwell, Martin Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
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The St Andrews Sarcophagus and Norrie’s Law hoard are two of the most important surviving Pictish relics from early medieval Scotland. The entanglement of their later biographies is also of international significance in its own right. Soon after discovery in nineteenth-century Fife, both sets of objects were subject, in 1839, to an exceptionally precocious, documented programme of replication through the enlightened auspices of an under-appreciated antiquarian, George Buist. This well-evidenced case study highlights how and why replicas, things that are widely prevalent in Europe and beyond, are a ‘thick’ and relatively unexplored seam of archaeological material culture that we ignore at our peril. These particular replications also offer new insights into the vision, intellectual and practical energies of early antiquarian societies, and their web of connections across Britain and Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-160
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • replicas
  • cultural biography
  • early photography
  • entanglement
  • facsimiles
  • Norrie's Law hoard
  • plaster casts
  • St Andrews Sarcophagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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