Crockets and finials for Aachen Cathedral

Two new finials for the Aachen Cathedral in Irish bluestone

For Aachen Cathedral some pinnacles had to be replaced. The old ones were worn and had cracked because of rusting iron and because the layering of the stone was not properly applied. The deposition direction of the stone should preferably be processed horizontal, otherwise there is a risk that a long vertical slice breaks off. Here it was put in vertically.

The material for these pinnacles is Irish bluestone. It is virtually the same material as the more famous Belgian bluestone, but it is a bit more evenly toned (some would say more boring) and easier to work in: it is slightly less hard and there's less tool wear because it contains less silica.

Cutting work

old and new block of stone for Aachen Cathedral

old finial and new block of stone

rough block of stone for Aachen Cathedral

using the chainsaw can speed up the work

I got supplied with the old model and new blocks of Irish bluestone (kilkenny limestone). The four crockets of the finial are not connected to each other in the middle. With an angle grinder, I can not all the way down to the shaft, but with a chainsaw it's no problem. This speeds up the carving significantly! Of course, a large stonesaw machine could also fix this, but I don't own one. For firmness I could even leave part of it still attached, so that the stone wouldn't break too easily.

Shaping the forms

precutting the finial for Aachen Cathedral

precutting and carving the rough shape. With the chainsaw I can cut right up to the shaft

Finials are essentially the same as crockets. A gothic pinnacle contains from bottom to top a few rows of leaf shaped ornaments (the crockets), which are usually crowned with more intricate leaf shapes which are opposed to each other in a cross shape (the finial).

These crockets and finials of Aachen Cathedral are likely postwar copies. They were certainly not carved all that exciting at the time. I have, without deviating much, applied slightly more tension in their shape. The overall shapes of the finial are all located within the same plane. That makes it easy to quickly precut these flowers in the beginning.

crockets of irish bluestone for the Aachen Cathedral

in the background the old crockets, the new in front

The simple water leaf crockets I carved a bit deeper, and made the outlines a bit more graceful and sharper (see below). In 1993 I first learned to carve crockets and finials, and in the past 25 years I've made a lot of these, but not often in bluestone before. Because Irish bluestone or Kilkenny limestone, is, as its Dutch name denotes, a relatively hard stone, it is natural that the shapes are kept so simple. But even the simplest of water leaf crockets has its own charm, and it is essential that its shape keeps the tension and that after generations of copies to copy we're not just left with a vague sort of shape. That still makes it somewhat interesting for me to carve: the search for a beautiful shape and its tension.

It is intended to replace many more pinnacles from Aachen Cathedral in the future.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

Llittle praying man (flying buttress figurine for Eusebius Church)

copy of praying man in Muschelkalk limestone copy of praying man in Muschelkalk limestone

Llittle praying man

I'm already quite busy again carving flying buttress 5 from St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands). This series consists of a razorbill, an elephant, a sea lion, a Buffalo, a squirrel, a praying little man and for the third time the ark. From the description of the figurines by the church: …Read the whole article…

A party for ten gable stone reliefs

to the first post about this House Sign↑

Koen van Velzen at the unveiling of the plaque from the Blue Tram street. Ten house signs after designs by cartoonistsBlue, blue, sky-blue

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An interesting gable stone

A plaque in the making for the Blue Tram street in Haarlem

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Noah and his ark: from tuff to limestone

…to the first post about this project↑

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Noah's Ark, up in the air

flying buttress figurines with theme Noah's Ark-1

flying buttress figurines with theme Noah's Ark-new blocks ofMuschelkalk limestone

new blocks of Muschelkalk limestone

Yesterday I received a new batch of stone again: seven new blocks of Muschelkalk limestone and seven old flying buttress statuettes from St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands). This series has Noah's Ark as its theme. …Read the whole article…

Four grotesques in Amsterdam-1

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Reconstructing and copying

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Some odd jobs

Radio silence?

Dismantling  the bronze sculpture by Inka Klinckhard (various jobs)

a sculpture by sculptress Inka Klinckhard disassembly

It was very quiet on my blog for a while, but I've still been busy doing some odd jobs. After the placement of two Hercules statues in Barneveld I disassembled and reinstalled another bronze sculpture quite nearby, in Museum Nairac. …Read the whole article…

A new belly for the plinth of Hercules (videos)

A sad history

For centuries the sandstone statue of Hercules stood on its stone base in the Estate Schaffelaar Barneveld. Until sometime in the seventies a group of young people entered the Schaffelaar Wood and smashed it to pieces. In grief, the statue was then buried in the garden. Around the turn of the century, the picture was dug up again and restored somewhat. On the pedestal, meanwhile, …Read the whole article…

Cinema Royal (with update)

facade Royal Cinema 1935right hand curl-oldArt Deco

In the days that life was still good and film titles still brilliant , in the Hinthamer street in Den Bosch there was a cinema: Cinema Royal. On a photograph from approximately 1935 we see Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable star in the poster of the movie 'It Happened One Night'. On a recent photograph, they are replaced by the neon letters of Zeeman stores. Apparently the cinema itself was an adaptation; the Art Deco facade still contains a few ornaments from an earlier date. …Read the whole article…