Antique bronze-clad alchemist with skull single bookend by Marion Bronze circa 1922
Let this alchemist bookend give your library a potion of charisma. Although the official Wretched Relics interpretation of this is "alchemist with skull," the original title is unknown. Perhaps the man is a philosopher, a scientist, or even a necromancer. Make of him what you will.
This nearly century-old bookend is in virtually perfect condition. There is a small dent in the head, as shown in the pictures. Other than that, there is only some very light wear. The felt has been replaced.
Marion Bronze cast this using the electroforming method around 1922, when the company was founded in Metuchen, New Jersey. It is unsigned, as is common for Marion Bronze's early work. Fortunately, a former employee of Marion Bronze abandoned his large collection of the company's products, which has enabled collectors to identify a number of them.
The electroforming process went roughly as follows. First, the manufacturer would create a plaster cast of the master sculpture and spray it with an electrically conductive coating. Then, they would hang the cast in a tank of plating solution while running an electric current through it via a wire in its base. Over the course of several days the cast would build up a coating of bronze. Then the manufacturer would remove the product from the tank and apply the finishing touches. The hallmark of electroformed bronze is the indentation in the product's base where the wire was severed. You can see this indentation in the pictures and feel it through the felt.
The bookend is about 4 1/4" wide, 7" tall, and 3 1/2" deep. It weighs about 3 1/2 pounds.