Specifically the base: The description says "turned brass". In 1600, would
it have been turned from a large brass chunk? Would it have been rough-cast
first and then "cleaned up" by turning? If turned, presumably this would
have been done by hand...?
Holzapffel's "Hand or Simple Turning", page 17, shows a woodcut from
1568 of a man turning a large sphere on a pole lathe. He is holding
the chisel under his arm in the way I've seen recommended for turning
metal by hand.
I think the base might have been cast in an open sand mold formed by
rotating a template of the shape. Fill it, wait a bit, pour it back
out leaving a thin shell of solidified metal.
" Pyrotechnia" is a thorough description of smelting, refining and
casting practice from 1540. The author made bells and cannon, not
small artsy stuff, and as the title suggests he concentrates on work
done with fire rather than tools, though some tool work necessarily
When I was 5 years old we lived near a small foundry. They let me
watch as they mostly hand-shaped the sand molds for parts to fix old
looms and cast them in aluminum. The tools are similar to those for
Just off the top of my head, probably cast (lost wax
method?) and then turned. Water wheel for power, or horse or
oxen walking around an axle.
Still, some seriously incredible quality work for that time
era. Would have to be expensive, for sure.
Probably done via lost wax like bells. For something like that, they
probably would have made a wooden pattern on a simple pole or treadle
lathe, cast a plaster mold to get the reverse, then made wax patterns
from that. Chase with hand tools afterwards, that's what apprentices
were for. Engineering lathes as we know them weren't around until
MUCH later and probably wouldn't have been used on such anyway, they
could get a decent finish without them.
De Re Metallica has a lot on old-time processes. A lot of techniques
were simply not written down, either, were part of guild "lore" and
were only passed on master to apprentice.
Possibly spun from brass sheet on a metal spinning lathe.The base and
post at least were probably done by this method.
Wooden forms are made and mounted in the lathe and the brass is worked
and formed over the form by spinning the form and the brass sheet ,
tools are used to shape and form the brass into the forms.
It's an old trade and is almost a lost art ,although there are quite a
few home shop metal spinners around.
Just guessing here: Turning (anything) during the 17th century was probably
done either by human or water power. Steam power wasn't quite there yet.
So, considering that the power needed to turn down a 'large chunk' was
relatively scarce, I'd say rough cast first, then turned.