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The Gilbert Bayes Sculpture Gallery, which opened on Thursday, will explore the materials and techniques of European sculpture, with approximately 650 objects on display ranging in date from 900 to 2000. On display will be pieces of virtuoso carving and some of the V&A’s best modelled and cast sculpture including work by Giambologna and Rodin.

The total cost of the gallery is £1.1m and has been generously sponsored by The Gilbert Bayes Charitable Trust as well as other donors.

The gallery is divided into areas which explain the two main methods of making sculpture. The first method – carving – will be shown through carved wood, stone, semi-precious materials, alabasters and ivory. The second method – modelling and casting – will be shown through wax and terracotta models together with cast bronzes.

Two videos on techniques will be on display, one highlighting the process of lost wax bronze casting, the other demonstrating how polychrome sculpture is made. Both of these videos will be available on the V&A website. In addition, handling objects will be included allowing the visitor to touch sculpture from the V&A’s collections. They will be able to appreciate the surfaces in a variety of materials and finishes.