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, a new bronze Hercules was installed, created by Ton Mooy from Amersfoort. Then the plan arose with the current owner of the estate, the Foundation Geldersch Landscape and Castles, to safely place the old sculpture inside, and the new one on a new plinth outside. I was asked to take care of its removal and installation and to carve a new belly’ for the new plint of the bronze Hercules. In November 2016 we cut the old plinth free with the chainsaw and brought it to my workshop.

A new belly

A new base already existed , and the new top plate was still attached to the bronze statue. The bronze statue was removed from its plinth four years ago for fear of bronze theft.

I ordered a large block of Irish bluestone 72 x 82 x 87 cms, with a weight of more than 1300 kilos. I first carved the general shape of the plinth, after which I started on the ornaments.new belly for plinth of Hercules Schaffelaar in Irish bluestone

Video: Carving the ornaments

I had forgotten to turn on the camera at the start of the carving work, so specifically for the video I carved the same ornament again on a scrificial piece. After the carving of the contours the real shaping is shown on the final block.


On the day of installing I again had the same truck and crane operator as during disassembling: the Ruitenbeek firm from Amersfoort. We collected the two statues from the storage area of the Gelder Landscape, drove to the park and installed the plinth of Hercules in three parts on the existing concrete slab in the park.

new belly for pedestal of Hercules

A new base of Hercules. Bronze sculpture by Ton Mooy. Sculptor Koen van Velzen made a new base.

The bronze statue was made by Ton Mooy from Amersfoort. I was responsible for the placement and the carving of the new plinth

When the new, bronze Hercules stood shimmering in full sunlight again, we drove to the mansion for the real challenge. We still had to transport the gruesomely heavy old plinth and the old statue across the marble floor to the stairwell , and there mount these to a final height of three meters. The staircase was too narrow for a gantry crane, and there was no place to hang a pulley. How was I supposed to get this done?

Fortunately, I found out that my blue stone crane could just reach high enough if I modified it a little… Photos by Bram van der Meulen of the Barneveld newspaper.

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

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