Multiple editions and sales - an explanation
In common with other fine-art processes (etching, wood engraving etc) sculpture may be made as an edition.
The numbers printed in the edition section of the catalogue show how many copies of a work are available. For example 5/8 indicates that the piece in the exhibition is number 5 out of a total of 8. Four may already have been sold at other exhibitions.
A sculptor must decide, before exhibiting a work, how many copies the edition will comprise. Once this has been printed in a catalogue, the upper limit of the edition must be observed. The artist may make one or more ‘artist’s proofs’ of the work for personal use before the edition number is set and one of these may be used to make a replacement mould if the original becomes damaged before the edition is complete.
When the upper limit of copies is reached, no more may be made and the mould should be defaced or destroyed.
If a red spot is seen on an edition in an exhibition, this DOES NOT mean that no more are available (unless the piece is the last in the edition). A red spot on the label denotes that a particular piece has been sold. Two red spots or more indicate that extra copies have been ordered at the exhibition. Other methods are also sometimes used involving green, or yellow, dots in an attempt to make things clearer. The best thing is always to enquire at the steward’s desk to confirm how many copies, if any, are still available.
Extra copies ordered at an exhibition may already have been cast, or may have to be cast specially. Purchasers will usually be given the telephone number of the sculptor so that they can enquire how long it may take to re-cast and arrange a delivery date.
Items marked Original in the catalogue are the piece from which an edition has been made.
Items marked Unique in the catalogue are one-off pieces and once sold cannot be repeated. Many of our sculptors take commissions, however, and may have something similar in their studio.
Some items may also be marked as being part of a Series. These are similar to editions, but each piece will be similar, but not identical to each other.