MSA was tasked with the unique and challenging project to capture, record and document the magnificent statues that once took centre place on the gates of the Bethlem Royal Hospital.
These reclining figures provided insight into historical and early modern understandings of mental health, by symbolising the opposing conditions between manic and melancholic symptomes. The statues that once looked over patients, staff and visitors entering the hospital now flank the stairs leading to the galleries of the Bethlem hospital’s new £4m museum to Mental Health (Bethlam Museum of the Mind http://museumofthemind.org.uk/).
Just as attitudes to mental health have massively changed in modern times, so too has the way we record and document features of historic significance.
This exercise was perfectly suited to one of our High Definition 3D Laser Scanners as the project involved reproducing, in seamless detail the iconic statues that once adorned the entrance gateposts to the Bethlem Royal Hospital (or Bedlam as known from 1676-1815).
The life-size statues known as "Raving and Melancholy Madness" are the most famous works of the Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber, and were significant landmarks for London in their time. These reclining figures portray the conflict between manic and melancholic symptoms which lay at the heart of early understanding of mental ill-health.
The statues now have the pride place in the Bethlem Museum of the Mind and as part of the museum’s education project, they assigned MSA the task of replicating these beautiful figures for a 3D print that would recreate the iconic entrance gates.Cut
The survey team was led by Dr Carlo Raffaelli, MSA‘s heritage team leader, his field sketches are reproduced above. As always our survey team knew the value of excellent supporting information to assist effective field survey work. This included field sketches and high resolution photography that would provide a greater understanding and appreciation of the statues.
The team undertook a series of close range, high resolution scans over a morning to ensure that the fine detail of the statues had been captured providing complete coverage.
Working closely together our survey and visualisation teams had the opportunity to produce technically challenging work which is both visually stunning and accurate.
Combining the latest 3D lasers scanners with our specialist historic documentation team resulted in a comprehensive point cloud that provided complete coverage at a resolution needed to detail the statues. This information was passed onto MSA’s 3D modelling team who generated a 3D meshed model of the statues. The meshes were cleaned and optimised to enhance the visual experience while reducing file sizes and was formatted for 3D printing.
The successfully scaled 3D printed models of the statues were combined with an architectural impression of the gateposts, and a 2D print of the hospital behind which is currently on display as a new exhibit at the museum. The resultant evocative display gives a haunting view into the past of Bethlam and historical attitudes to mental health.
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A 360° visual of our rendered Raving and Melancholy