How Antique Reproductions are Made – The Williamsburg Collection

Antiques for the home and garden are a great way to show respect for previous generations. Antiques add character, but also show a glimpse of what people in that time valued or found useful or beautiful. But there are only so many actual antiques available. However, antique reproductions of interesting artifacts can be a more realistic and less expensive option.

History, architecture and a blend of many cultures influences American outdoor décor. This is the third in a multi-part series exploring the partnership between Campania International and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

This living museum located in historical Williamsburg, Virginia has faithfully preserved gardens, structures and artifacts. The garden décor in the Williamsburg Collection has both antique reproductions as well as ‘inspired by’ pieces. Today, you’ll see how they create one of these antique reproductions.

Unique to Williamsburg

There are a number of special urns and other items of garden décor around Williamsburg. One of the most notable however was at the actual Govener’s Palace which was this classical frieze urn. Inspired by Ancient Greece, this formal urn would have been considered very European and sophisticated. It’s placement at the Govener’s Palace makes it extremely special.

Which also makes it a perfect sort of piece around which to create an actual antique reproduction of.

The Antique Reproduction Process

As shown below, the first part of the process begins by brushing on layers of silicone coating. The flexible silicone is safe for the artifact and won’t harm it at all. The strength and flexibility of that silicone helps it to fully capture all of the urn’s original details and textures. Then these coated layers need time to dry.

Once the silicone is dry, then artisans hand apply a layer of plaster. The plaster is what ultimately holds the rubbery silicone solidly in place to form a mold that will hold the mold. Typically with a symmetrical piece such as this urn, they only need to do half of the item, and can from there create a mirrored half back in the artisans’ studio.

The Finished Urn

Once the mold is fully finished, then the process of actually producing the replicated product can begin. At Campania International, the wet liquid cast stone is poured into the mold. After it hardens, they remove the item and hand sand it. Lastly the item is given a natural stain to highlight the beauty and intricate details on the urn. This authentic and specially produced antique reproduction can now complement any modern home entryway or outdoor area.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this special behind-the-scenes glimpse into the actual creation of cast stone décor. We’ll have several more parts to this review of the Williamsburg Collection, including more fascinating histories and mysteries about some of those products. Stay tuned!

Written and posted by Jean Widner of the Garden-Fountains.com Team.