Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:History and Politics Book Chapters and Sections
Title: Expiscation! Disentangling the later biography of the St Andrews Sarcophagus
Author(s): Foster, Sally
Contact Email:
Editor(s): Hunter, F
Sheridan, A
Sponsor: The Henry Moore Foundation
The Henry Moore Foundation
Citation: Foster S (2016) Expiscation! Disentangling the later biography of the St Andrews Sarcophagus. In: Hunter F & Sheridan A (eds.) Ancient Lives: Object, People and Place in Early Scotland. Essays for David V Clarke on his 70th birthday. Leiden: Sidestone Press, pp. 165-186.
Keywords: Antiquarianism
cultural biography
early medieval sculpture
plaster casts
George Buist
St Andrews Sarcophagus
Issue Date: Oct-2016
Date Deposited: 12-May-2016
Abstract: Replicas may complicate but also help to complete the biographies of their parent objects. Disentangling the antiquarian history of the St Andrews Sarcophagus introduces an unexpectedly precocious and productive programme of early 19th-century replication of archaeological objects for the purposes of archaeological science (‘expiscation’), and its subsequent commodification. Credit for this goes to the pioneering actions of George Buist, a newspaper editor and intellectual then based in Fife (eastern Scotland). New archival and documentary research, physical examination of surviving plaster casts and scientific analysis of the original Sarcophagus provide a tantalising glimpse into the interest and energies of early antiquarian societies and their web of connections across Britain and Ireland. They also highlight how the poor or non-existent documentation of past conservation and display practices can hamper our ability to understand the composite biography of the casts and the subject begin cast. This study also demonstrates how the fabric of plaster casts can tell us more about their stories too, not least about their technology and the decisive role of the under-appreciated craftspeople who made them.
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this work in this Repository. Published in Ancient Lives. Object, People and Place in Early Scotland. Essays for David V Clarke on his 70th birthday by Sidestone Press with the following policy: The Sidestone Press policy is that all copyrights remain with their respective authors, and all authors may freely use and distribute the PDF-offprints of their contributions. You are thus free to make PDF of your chapter available on your website, send it to colleagues or students, etc. In addition we will also provide free access to the full book in our e-library at

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Foster 2016 - Expiscation.pdfFulltext - Published Version4.88 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.