While the provenance of these particular objects is unknown, plaster reliefs such as these were popular souvenirs in the 18th and 19th centuries. A tradition for wealthy young European men and women was a Grand Tour of Europe, lasting for months or even years, with visits to major cities and cultural sites. Artisans took advantage of the popularity of carved gems by making similar objects out of less expensive materials, such as plaster, to be purchased by travelers as mementos of their tour. Plaster intaglio casts were often mounted into books or cases and usually depict historical and mythological figures and scenes. The theme of this set of casts is “Mitologia” (mythology).
-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator
See other examples of plaster intaglio casts and learn more about The Grand Tour here: