This review paper offers a summary of historical techniques and materials used to produce plaster casts and to treat their surfaces, as found in the historical literature. It reviews a selection of manuals, treatises, and recipe books on the art of the cast makers as well as a selection of patents related to the manufacturing of casts and the coating of their surfaces. The introduction to the review shows how relevant archival, historical, and technical investigation demonstrates that nineteenth century replicas are works of cultural significance in their own right, by means of a synthesis of background information. This paper also offers a brief introduction to plaster moulding and casting as well as a summary of historical recipes on how to treat the surfaces of plaster casts to change the surface properties or their appearance. This review aims therefore to provide a summary of materials used by the nineteenth-century plasterer, and technical information for the use of conservators, researchers, and curators who engage in the care and study of historical plaster casts. Examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection support the information found in the historical literature.