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A variety of finishes are available to sculptors, some involving colour. Bronze may be coloured by patination with chemicals; colours can vary from deep brown, gold, to greens and blues reminiscent of the natural corrosion of the metal. Stone can be given a highly smooth finish using abrasives or be left in a more rugged, natural state. Wood can be left natural, or polished, or painted; ceramics may be glazed, which involves firing them to melt the glass in the glaze. New materials are generally painted, although clear resins can be very effective uncoloured. Plaster needs a protective coating of wax or varnish.

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Colley Cibber
possibly from the studio of Sir Henry Cheere, 1st Bt
circa 1740
NPG 1045

Edith Sitwell
by Maurice Lambert
1985, based on a work of circa 1926-1927
NPG 5801

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