Some of the oldest galleries in the V&A have been revamped to form its newest exhibition.
The London museum has restored its Cast Courts which date back to 1873.
Among the exhibits on show are exact copies of the 35-metre-high Trajan’s Column cast from the original in Rome, Michelangelo’s sculpture of David and an ornate cathedral door from Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
The galleries were built to reflect the Victorian craze for collecting plaster cast copies and electrotype reproductions made by passing electric current through a mould which is then coated with metal.
Senior curator Angus Patterson told the Evening Standard the collection was inspired by a Victorian “desperation for acquiring these things”.
He said: “The technology they used was treated like a 19th-century alchemy so all the excitement around 3D printing now replicates the excitement around electroplating and photography that were both developed around the same time.
“When the collection was in its first 10 years, we were acquiring as many copies as we were original works because the whole idea was to build up a collection that was a Victorian international encyclopedia of ornament.”
The courts open to the public again on December 1.