Death casting - an ancient tradition

Five years ago my brother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at just 26 years old, at such a young age it was as if he had completely disappeared from the world, leaving behind nothing but memories. I felt such despair at the thought that one day these would fade, that the world would continue to turn and that eventually people, and I, would forget. You see, in the strangest way as unbearable as my pain was, it acted like confirmation of his existence. As only losing something so real could hurt so much. But what would I do as time continued to pass, if in fact it was true what ‘they’ say, and that it won’t always feel like this. How would I keep that connection in the so many years to come, how could I keep a part of him with me when I already had everything of his and yet none of it was enough?

CJ and André handled both my brother and our family with the greatest of care and compassion, always mindful and respectful of our grief, we were kept informed during every step of the casting process. In regard to the casts themselves, the quality and detail are outstanding, I genuinely knew the moment I saw them that they belonged to my brother. I love them, they are a part of him. As abstract a concept as it seemed at the time, I have never regretted the decision to have them done and am truly grateful to both CJ and André for giving me something physical to hold on to. It is still not enough of course, nothing ever will be, but having them does help.

To this day I get comfort as I run my fingers over the inverted print of his palm and place my hand in his. For me these casts are a constant and beautiful reminder of him, like proof he was here and that he did indeed leave his mark on this world... And on us.
— Sachelle Linton, 2017.

CJ Munn and André Masters have been conducting death casts for over a decade - working with families, hospices, hospitals and funeral directors to create timeless, beautiful and deeply personal works for those who have suffered a recent loss. The nature of such work means that it is always needed at short notice and we aren't always available to travel to take the moulds from the deceased person in the short window of time between death and burial or cremation. Unlike a plumber or an electrician, we recognise that you can't simply go to the next person in the phone book or ring around a few friends to ask for someone to do it. So this year we began compiling a directory of lifecasters who can offer a sensitive and professional death casting service to those in need. Although we cannot promise to be available when you call, we will always try and find someone who can help you in our absence, even though there are only a few people in the UK that currently offer this service and have the necessary skills involved. Please get in touch with your details. Feel free to phone if you feel more comfortable talking rather than emailing, and we will always call you back as soon as we can if we are unable to answer straight away. Below you can see some examples of casts we have made that fall into this very sensitive category. Please note, some of the photographs are poorer quality than we would normally display as they have been taken merely as a record of the job rather than styled for a 'photoshoot' as per some of our other types of work; however we have included a range of work so you can see what can be achieved after a loved one has died. 

We will usually need to know the following information:- location of the deceased's body (and if they are going to be moved in the imminent future), your relationship to the deceased (family need to give permission for a casting to take place), whether you have discussed the possibility of a casting with the funeral director or hospice so that they have also given their permission to cooperate with the process, the window of time we have available for the moulding to take place, in certain circumstances we may need to know the cause of death (please note that if your loved one died of a contagious disease or is suspected of having done so then, sadly, we cannot cast them), and which body part you would ideally like cast. You do not have to decide on the final material or design/mounting of your cast at this stage. We recognise such decisions can feel overwhelming and confusing when you are dealing with the shock and sadness of a recent bereavement. We offer a choice of full 3d casts, imprints and 'outprints' and will always do our best to fulfil any special requests, however, we are sometimes limited (by time, the position and condition of the body, etc) as to what can be achieved. For further information please read our FAQ on the death casting process and options before you get in touch. In terms of pricing, we do recognise that it's not a cheap process, due to needing to close up our workshop for the day and travel to and from your location. However, we do offer very flexible payment terms allowing you to break the costs into instalments. Due to the unique nature of death casting, and the need to travel to different locations we have to quote for these jobs individually. Please do not be afraid to ask simply because you fear the costs. We will always try to find a way to help you if we can. To get a full quote for different options, please contact us with the information requested above in this paragraph.


Bespoke Memorials for Graves, Gardens and Landscapes

In addition to these traditional lifecasting options, we also have the ability to create other types of bespoke memorial sculptures. We can even recreate a likeness of your loved one in solid bronze from photographs, which means it doesn't matter how much time has passed since their death - they can still be honoured in timeless art. Using a combination of 3d digital modelling, 3d printing and traditional sculptural techniques, we can create a face, bust or even a full figure pose that captures the looks and character of your lost loved ones. We can also create traditional bronze wreaths, sconces and other memorial sculptures either from your designs or ours. 

Public Art or Stylised Memorials

In collaboration with our favourite artist blacksmiths at the Fire & Iron Gallery, in Leatherhead, Surrey, we can also create more stylised memorials to reflect the character of a loved one or historical icon. The following images, courtesy of the Fire & Iron Gallery, show the memorial sculpture dedicated to 'The Amesbury Archer', otherwise known as 'The King of Stonehenge' for which we were commissioned to create the face of the archer in aluminium to fit with their fantastic design for the archer's body and bow. 

Other Memorial Options

Such memorials do take many months produce and the cost can be prohibitive to many families, so we can also put you in touch with other memorial artisans who can make everything from fingerprint jewellery, Pandora style beads or charms containing your loved ones' ashes and locks of hair. As with all our works of art we do offer flexible payment terms, allowing you to break the costs down into instalments. Please email us with your requirements in the first instance or phone us during normal working hours on 01622 609386. 

If you would like to make a donation towards a fund to help low-income families have a death cast in their time of need. Please click the donate button below. Every penny of your donation will go towards creating these works of art for families in need and your data will not be shared with any third parties.