RA Collection: People and Organisations
Domenico Brucciani was born in Lucca, Italy in 1815. He moved to London where he established a Gallery of Casts in Covent Garden by 1837. This business was one of many which emerged in the 19th century, when the copying of art became a lucrative trade across Europe. Brucciani’s firm, which was one of the most successful, developed links with both the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). Both institutions assembled important collection of casts of sculpture and architecture during this period.
Brucciani’s most ambitious undertaking was the casting of the Pórtico de la Gloria, the 12th-century façade of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 1866. The Cast Courts (then called the Architectural Courts) of the South Kensington Museum were specially designed to accommodate the 18-metre width of this enormous cast.
Brucciani died in 1880, although his business continued into the 20th century.