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There’s a plaice for us. Somewhere, a plaice for us.


We went antiquing today and I bought was this attractive plaster cast of a fish.

One of my teachers in art school was the last of the old-time plaster casters, or so he told us. It’s a dying art. Incredibly important stuff, once. From the prosaic plastering-of-walls to medical casts of two-headed babies and bunions in the shape of George Washington. Those fabulous ornate ceilings, frames and gilt mirrors? Plaster — cast, carved and covered in gold leaf. Art students learned to draw from casts of great and famous sculptures and to sculpt from carving the stuff. Death masks, molds for ceramics, prototypes. Fresco. Gesso.

And don’t get me started on cement!

Anyhow, this is a modern cast of a Victorian cast from the British Museum. Presumably cast from an actual fish. It’s a plaice; a very tasty and popular flatfish. I’ve spent the whole day saying, “I’ve always wanted a plaice of my own” and “would you like to see my special plaice?” and “a woman’s plaice is in the kitchen.”

That’s twelve pounds worth of fun any day.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 17, 2009, 7:06 pm

I stepped on a flounder once.

That is all.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: June 17, 2009, 7:09 pm

When I read that one of your teachers was one of the Plaster Casters….I thought of a completely different bunch of folks from the 60’s, and wondered how in the hell they were Art teachers…

Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 17, 2009, 8:30 pm

Well, I can’t speak to your flounder, but I DID see a Badger with a swinging cod on another board…….

Comment from apotheosis
Time: June 17, 2009, 10:17 pm

I stepped on a flounder once.

I hope it didn’t hurt your sole.

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: June 17, 2009, 11:14 pm

While working at the original Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, we found an old mirror that was original to the castle. It has lovely plaster-cast decoration all around it, very ornate. It was, naturally, a haunted mirror. Must have been all the natural history it witnessed in that cursed castle in Florida!

Comment from mommer
Time: June 17, 2009, 11:57 pm

I’m still looking for my plaice in the sun………..

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: June 18, 2009, 12:33 am

That’s a mighty fine plaice you got there Stoaty. It reminds me of another fish though – scamp.

Scamp is a fish from the Gulf O’Mexico and it is absolutely delicious. Like the flatfish, scamp undergo a change as they mature as well. This one is kind of unusual: all scamp are born female, but those that survive to complete maturity graduate with the advanced degree of maleness. Isn’t that neat?

Pingback from Daily Pundit » Your Thursday Heh
Time: June 18, 2009, 12:17 pm

[…] S. Weasel “a woman’s plaice is in the kitchen.” […]

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 18, 2009, 1:34 pm

I knew a girl long ago who was a plaster caster. She was an artist, of sorts.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 18, 2009, 2:39 pm

I learn something here about art all the time.

Who knew, cement art?

Please, do go on about cement. 🙂

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 18, 2009, 3:34 pm

Wasn’t by any chance called Cynthia, was she, jwpaine? 😉

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 18, 2009, 4:16 pm

It’s just that a lot of the external ornamentation we think is carving is actually artfully cast cement, Allen. They can do amazing and fabulous things with aggregates.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 18, 2009, 4:17 pm

Speaking of amazing and fabulous things, did you know most flatfish are born with eyes on either side of their heads, and one eye breaks loose and migrates by the time they reach adulthood? It’s twoo.

Also, apparently, some species always end up on their left sides, some on their right, and some could go either way.

If you know what I mean.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 18, 2009, 4:56 pm

OT, but it’s ladies day at the races.

Or maybe it’s NOT off-topic, seein’ as how we’re into going both ways.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 19, 2009, 12:11 am

I don’t recall her name, UB, but I do remember that she was a professional ecdysiast in Jacksonville, Florida, back in the 70s. Prior to meeting her, my only knowledge of plaster casters was a reference to it in Shel Silverstein’s “Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball.”

Comment from David Gillies
Time: June 19, 2009, 12:50 am

Now you’re in Blighty, you owe it to yourself to order plaice the next time you’re in the chip shop. It makes a wonderful change from cod/haddock/halibut.

For battered flatfish with pommes frites, you would have to go a long way to top the turbot ‘n’ chips my mother ordered on a daytrip to Boulogne when I was a kid. It wasn’t turbot, it was a turbot, about a foot on a side. She scoffed the lot, greedy devil.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: June 19, 2009, 10:57 pm

Phew, I thought I was the only one with a plaster cast critter at home. Mine is of a dead rattlesnake. I keep it under the couch.

also, I like Paddington.

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Time: December 13, 2010, 7:12 pm

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Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 13, 2010, 8:15 pm

Fie upon thee, vile spammer! I have stripped thee of thy links.

I left this here to note a bit of sweasel.com trivia (no, it is NOT all trivia). This here plaice is the only color photo ever to run on the front page of sweasel.com. Because it depicts a white object, I didn’t notice that I hadn’t black-and-whiterized it.

Look for the little brown fleck on the fish’s upper lip.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 13, 2010, 9:58 pm


And the spam was pretty astonishing. . .randomly generated? Mechanically translated from a foreign language? The result of ingesting toxic substances?

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