Reproduction of a Scythian bowl with animal handles

Not on view

Electrotyping is a chemical process used historically to make high quality reproductions of works of art. During the Victorian era, one of the main producers was Elkington & Co. of Birmingham. They were licensed by the South Kensington Museum of London (now the Victoria & Albert Museum) to produce replicas of objects from royal treasuries and museums across Europe. The electrotypes approved by the Department of Science and Art, a British governmental agency, carry Messrs. Elkington’s mark in the form of an official stamp in metal.

This modern electrotype is a copy of a gold bowl in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. The original was reportedly found in Western Siberia in 1716 and collected by Peter the Great of Russia (r. 1682-1725), who commissioned the first Russian archaeological excavations. The Siberian Collection of Peter the Great contains gold artefacts from the Scythian and Sarmatian nomadic cultures of Eurasia. The shape of the bowl, horizontal fluting (see Rhyton terminating in the forepart of a ram, 1989.281.30a, b), and zoomorphic handles suggest connections with Achaemenid metalware.

In the nineteenth century, many museums collected copies of ancient and historical works of art with the aim of presenting outstanding works to a broader public and to serve as inspiration for artists and manufacturers. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, founded in 1870, began to acquire electrotypes in its first decade. In 1883, Henry Marquand, a collector and early patron of the Museum, funded a large purchase from Elkington & Co. of nearly three hundred pieces. Today, these works are part of many departments in the Museum and along with plaster casts reflect the history of collecting and the role of the museum as a locus for the teaching of art history.

Reproduction of a Scythian bowl with animal handles, Electrotype

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.