Modern Souvenir Company makes beautiful handmade souvenirs and gifts that honour a centuries-old tradition. We are proud to supply major museum shops across the country, as well as small independent stores. Our products are the best British souvenirs in the world and make attention grabbing style statements in the home. Every item is imbued with detail, elegance and wit – the signature style of award-winning craftsman, Timothy Richards.
Visit the workshop
We are based in an Old Victorian School House, 5 minutes walk from Bath Spa Railway and Bus Station. The workshop is open to visitors Monday-Friday from 9:00am till 5:00pm, you are all more than welcome.
Modern Souvenir Company
Widcombe Old School
Modern Souvenir Company makes plaster replicas and giftware by hand from start to finish, using traditional sculpting methods to create masters in plasticine and clay. Once the master is complete, liquid rubber is poured around the piece which sets in around six hours to form the mould. The master is then removed from the mould and it is ready for the plaster to be poured in. When the dry plaster powder is mixed with water, it re-forms into gypsum and sets fully in about 45 minutes. Once each piece has set, it is removed from the mould. Our team craftsmen then finish the piece by hand.
The whole story
In our workshop, we continue a tradition that has been practised for centuries. The quest for discovery and the interest in themes of adventure, treasure and mystery and the unanswered questions of past civilizations, is as relevant today as it has always been. The Ancient worlds themselves were interested in learning from the past through archaeological discoveries but it was the powerful expansion of European nations in the 18th and 19th centuries that really opened up this world of exploration and expedition. They invested heavily and extensively in sending expeditions to Egypt, Greece, South America, India and China, the four corners of the globe.
These expeditions were tasked with exploration, discovery and deciphering the ancient worlds through the wealth of artifacts and treasures that they found. These rare finds were brought back by wealthy patrons and rulers who created museums and stores to house and display these extraordinary treasures. They went to extreme lengths, sometimes bringing back whole buildings. Another method of capturing the past on a colossal scale was to employ large teams of men to take full size plaster moulds of the discoveries that could not be moved.
The public interest in this world of discovery and representation was so intense that museums were constantly brimming with people in awe of these wonderful collections. This led to the establishment of a number of plaster casting workshops, of which the Gipsformerei of Berlin is a wonderful example, to replicate the finds for distribution and exchange to Museums and collectors around the world.
This is where the skills of the master craftsman and mould makers were developed, and these skills, techniques and methods have not changed to this day. We employ the same attention to quality and detail that the master mould makers of the 18th and 19th centuries used to such great effect. The skills of these historical mould makers and the workshops that employed them were integral to the distribution of knowledge and its inclusion within the culture of nations.
The demand to own the representations of these pieces led the workshops and formaries to create small scale reproductions, allowing the public to have these remarkable artefacts from the ancient worlds in their own homes. They became interior design objects on a mass scale. The plaster cast had given the people access to these significant stories of the past.
The Modern Souvenir Company collection celebrates this rich heritage and is proud to continue this work. At the workshop we produce castings of Egyptian discoveries, Classical and Roman treasures, extraordinary examples from the renaissance period as well as more contemporary pieces. All of our pieces are entirely produced in our workshop in Bath, England and each piece is hand cast and finished by our team of craftsmen using traditional methods and the finest British gypsum plaster. Our collections can be found in museums, galleries and shops of some of the finest heritage organizations around the world. We have also undertaken bespoke commissions for many of these illustrious bodies.