Spelter (or zinc)

Today, the art market calls "spelter" (French : régule) both the zinc, whose low cost contributed to the popularization of the sculpture and which was used during the 19th century for the production of sculptures and works of art, and the real spelter which appears at the end of this century and which is an alloy of tin or lead and antimony.

Zinc sculpture as spelter can be covered with copper and then gilded but they are most often tinted with golden, silver or polychrome pigments to give them a certain patina similar to the bronze patina. Some works of art were thus both made up of spelter and bronze.

Although zinc and spelter do not have the same solidity nor the same sound as those of the bronze, the confusion is easy, so much so from 1910 the manufacturers of zinc sculpture were forced to affix on their works "imitation bronze". Sculptures, clocks, candlesticks, vases or planters will be made in spelter, until the 1930s in particular.

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