Historical information

The Ballarat Technical Art School boasted a well-stocked Antique Room replete with plaster copies of classical, Renaissance and Gothic sculptural examples, which were used as drawing props by students.

The school inherited some casts from its predecessor institutions, and further consignments were purchased during the 1920s, including full length, bust and relief figures, as well as dozens of ornamental and architectural casts.

Unfortunately, much of the collection was lost or destroyed in the late 1950s. This is one of the few surviving pieces, with TAFE students reportedly drawing from it into the twenty-first century.

This plaster hand is inscribed “Waschatz, Modeller, Melbourne.”

Otto Waschatz was a German plasterer who opened a plaster business in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, and was responsible for the invention of the first true fibrous plaster - using a layer of hemp laid between plaster to create light and strong panels. By 1912 Waschatz's Lottoid Pty Ltd was a thriving and creative business, and possessed over 5,000 moulds for all kinds of plasterwork. The business closed in 1915, as the result of anti-German sentiment during World War One.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a hand used as a teaching aid at the Ballarat Technical Art School. The Victorian Education Department courses required art students to create studies based on ancient sculptures so copies of famous works were purchased as teaching aids. Among these courses were 'Drawing the Human Figure from Cast' and ‘Drawing from the Antique’.

Inscriptions & markings

Waschatz, Modeller, Melbourne