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Death Masks and Memorial Pieces
Death is a part of life. We don’t glorify it in our casts of the dead and the dying but we do honour it and we honour those we love who we have lost or are about to. The first death mask Jamie made was of his father. “As a sculptor it was just a very natural way for me to keep his memory alive and keep him close. It was also the way I came to understand death and to not be frightened of my own.”
When we are losing a family member or a pet we realise how important our memories will be when they’re gone. Photos are one way to remember but there is nothing like a physical representation of them that we can hold and touch and see from all around. See our Pets, Portraits and Hands pages for more information on the different types of casts we can make.
If you have some warning then it is always better to make the cast from life. It can even be a joyous experience to honour each other by making a lasting memory together. We have often made casts of couples who are about to lose each other, holding hands, either at the studio or at their homes or in a hospice if mobility has been a problem. We’ve also done the same for families and for pet owners.
We are also very experienced at taking post mortem castings of hands and faces. We have generally done this at funeral homes or mortuaries but they could be done at home if you prefer. Obviously time is of the essence with such casts and there is little time to consider or prepare but if you want us to make a cast for you we will drop everything and travel anywhere to make it happen. We know there are very few people in the world who offer this service and although we don’t particularly like doing these, we feel that because we can we have a civic duty to do so. You’re part of our wider community and we want to help you in these difficult times in life.
This work is carried out respectfully and with great care. They are inevitably hugely emotional for everyone and we seek to ensure it is as easy, calm and peaceful for you and our staff as possible. We offer a thoughtful, considerate and discrete service.
These casts do not have to be morbid memories of death and disease. Often you would not know from looking at the cast that there was anything wrong with them. Even death masks can just look like they are sleeping. However it is not uncommon for us to use the cast as the basis of a portrait sculpture of them looking very much alive. The requirement for a total resculpt in these instances does add considerably to the cost over just a plane, eyes-closed ‘resting’ mask. They’re a beautiful way to celebrate and remember the love we have for our life companions.
If you are able to come to the studio to be cast before mobility problems or death prevent it then they cost no more than regular casts. A price list of everything we do in all materials suitable for these casts can be found on the Pricing page.
Out of respect we have not listed the actual prices of the memorial pieces shown here but rather a guide price for something similar. Postmortem casts are always priced individually anyway due to their added complexity, sudden necessity, travel etc. As a guide they tend to work out at two or three times the cost of regular life casts.