Some Frequently Asked Questions about Berrocal's Multiples.

Q. "What is a Multiple?"

The word "Multiple" refers to the multiple number of pieces that will be made in total of a particular sculpture. Thus for example Berrocal undertook to produce "an edition" of 10,000 copies of Mini David before destroying the moulds and making no more. The concept of producing numerically limited editions has been traditional with Prints for many years but Berrocal was the first artist to introduce the concept to sculptures. Thus he made it possible for more than just one person to enjoy them and in the case of his complex pieces, making it financially feasible to produce them at all. For example to make a single copy of Richelieu would have put its price impossibly high; however by limiting the edition to 2000 there is a compromise between the exclusivity of ownership and feasibility of production.

The production of the multiples starts with huge numbers of drawings, then the building of wooden prototypes. The designs are modified, more prototypes made and so on until everything eventually locks together correctly, then the moulds are made and the casting proper can begin. After the casting is done there remains some very sophisticated fitting and finishing. This requires a work force willing to do what is fundamentally a dirty industrial process whilst having the rare combination of skill, patience, and a sophisticated understanding of how the parts are intended to interlock.

Q. How are you able to sell new multiples nearly 30 years after they were first produced?

It is often not commercially viable to produce and finish an entire edition at one time. Maybe the casting is done in batches of say 10 or 50 sets of parts, or maybe most of the casting is done, but the finishing and fitting of the individual pieces is left until later. Mini David for example is completely sold out and can only be obtained from a previous owner but, for example, some of the 2000 copies of Richelieu are still available new from the foundry.

Once the final copy of the multiple has been cast and numbered the moulds are broken and no more will be made; and, since Berrocal's death in the summer of 2006, the opportunity to buy a new copy of a Multiple is running out.

Q. "How should I look after my Berrocal Multiples?"

This depends on the material, We use the following methods; but will take no responsibility if you destroy your sculptures by taking our advice!

The Chrome plated ones like most Mini Marias and Mini Cariatides hardly need any maintenance.

The Nickel plated ones like most Mini Davids, Mini Zoraidas, Portrait de Micheles may go slightly dull over a long time and can easily be brought back to their original shine with a light rub with a polish impregnated cloth.

The Brass ones like most Romeo & Juliets and Richelieus should be regularly polished with a polish impregnated cloth. They should never be polished with a liquid polish whilst still assembled as the polish runs into the cracks and causes staining inside which is very difficult to repair. If your brass sculpture is very corroded, you must disassemble it before applying liquid polish so that you can be sure of removing all the polish.

Some sculptures like Romeo and Juliet and Mini Cristina have springs and other internal steel parts. These parts are difficult or impossible to get at; so be very careful not to let any polish get into the joints - a little fine clock oil should not do any harm.

Most of the larger multiples like Totoche are bronze. Many people make the mistake of polishing these. However if anyone owns a sculpture and wants it highly polished that is their privilege. The most valuable bronze sculptures will be those that have developed a fine patina over many years. This is difficult to achieve - some people have very acid fingers and can quickly mark a new bronze sculpture. We always keep a duster near our sculptures, and LIGHTLY wipe them over after they have been handled by sticky fingers. You can use a polish impregnated cloth to remove very dirty finger marks but ideally the bronze should be allowed to develop an even patina over many years. The secret is to be patient and always keep them clean rather than polished. Because all the parts are hand cast, they all have very slightly different mixes of metals. When absolutely new they look all like brass, gradually this gets less yellow. The surface will still be shiny but the colours will darken into varying degrees of honey coloured browns and will end up looking like those wonderful antique bronzes you can see in museums.

Most Hoplitas have steel balls for eyes, these can be wiped with an oily cloth. The blued bronze helmet must not be polished or it will lose the blueing This is also true of the multiples with coppered surfaces like some of the Desperto Ferros. The Magic Cube in Hoplita's brain is plastic so solvents must not be allowed near it.

NB Polish wadding (like Duraglit in the UK) is a substitute for liquid polish and the same rules apply to this as to liquid polishes. The polish impregnated duster is absolutely dry.


Goliath Polished - - - - - - Goliath Lacquered - - - - - - - Goliath Patinated

Q. "What makes a particular Berrocal sculpture especially interesting to a puzzler?"

Most 3D interlocking puzzles are based on Cartesian or simple geometry whereas many of the Berrocals incorporate surprisingly intricate almost organic shaped pieces. Goliath & Richelieu are popular because of the huge numbers of pieces. Richelieu because each piece locks the part before it. Goliath because chunks have to be pre-assembled. Romeo & Juliet because of the unique articulated pieces and sexy action. The Mini Maria, Zoraida, Michele & Cristina because they have nice organic pieces and were more affordable. Mini David & Cariatide slightly simpler but very striking ornaments. The Micros because they are even more affordable and can be worn as pendants. Hoplita because he has striking eyes and a Rubik cube brain. Archimboldo because of the illusion that a heap of vegetables is a face. The Desperta Ferros because they are not too difficult and are wonderfully tactile. Every one has some uniquely attractive feature. Unlike purely geometrical puzzles they retain their decorative beauty and interest year after year.

Q. "How long have you been selling Berrocal's works?"

We have been agents for Berrocal's Multiples since the 1970s. We also buy and sell pieces for owners both as principal and occasionally as agent. We maintain a list of people's long term "wants" so that we can find the right home for rarer pieces.

Q. "What is my Berrocal worth?"

It is impossible to give a general valuation as there are too many variables including: - condition, location, present trends in collecting, economics, and prior expectations.

Please note that due to the excessive demands on our services we now charge a fee for Valuations for Insurance purposes.

We do not buy the Mini or Micro series unless in perfect condition with original book and packaging. It is rare for us to be able to purchase a pre-owned Berrocal in a sale ready condition. They usually require us to do substantial work to restore to saleable condition. We ensure that all we sell are in fine condition inside and out, and we give a money-back guarantee.

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