Hidden at the back of the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels, the plaster cast workshop is a fabulous, romantic storeroom and atelier dating back to the nineteenth century.
The workshop was originally founded by King Léopold II to create replicas of classical sculptures to decorate private mansions, museums and art academies.
The vast storage area is filled with rows of wooden shelves piled high with 4,000 plaster cast moulds. They can be used to create plaster replicas of anything from a bust of Beethoven to a tiny cat from an Egyptian tomb. The craftsmen work at dusty wooden desks in a workshop dominated by a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David.
The people who work here are happy to explain their work to visitors. You can even buy one of the replicas in the shop. Open Tuesday to Friday.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.