Side crockets: Gothic ornaments for the Utrecht Cathedral

Reconstruction of gothic ornaments

weathered old crockets in Ettringer tuff at the cathedral in Utrecht

weathered old crocket in Ettringer tuffstone

The Dom Cathedral in Utrecht is partly covered in scaffolding at the moment. Specifically a large part of its stonework is being overhauled, and part of this project are 16 large tuffstone crockets, so you might say Gothic leaf shapes adorning the frames of the lancet windows. After several centuries of copying there was not much left of their original shape. That was reason enough ask a reconstruction of the form. My colleagues Stide Vos and Serge van Druten have remodeled those crockets and with four sculptors we started sculpting the sixteen flowers in new Weiberner tufa.

Incidentally, just like with the Eusebius Church in Arnhem and St. John's Cathedral in Den Bosch, a captivating, weighty tome recently appeared about the sculptural work of the Utrecht Cathedral: "The Dom Cathedral in Utrecht. Construction Sculpture and building history 1250-1550’.

Weathered tuff

facade of the Dom Cathedral in Utrecht with the old crockets

One of the facades of the cathedral being restored

Not the design, however, prompted their replacement, but the condition of the stone elements. The original flowers were carved somewhere in the middle of the last century, in the infamous Ettringer tuff stone, and they began to crack and lose parts. Everywhere in the Netherlands constructive sculptural works and stonemasonry parts from Ettringer tuff are being replaced for this reason. On this blog I previously wrote an extensive story about the background of these restorations.

Stides model

copying crockets in tuff for Domkerk Utrecht

Stides model and my start in new stone

copying crockets in tuff for Domkerk Utrecht


copying crockets in tuff for Domkerk Utrecht

new large crocket in Weiberner tuff

Stide had sculpted a clay model for some of these crockets, and carved this mainly along with Serge in new tuff. Of these sixteen I've only carved one, because meanwhile a whole lot of work for the Eusebius Church in Arnhem had arrived as well: I had at one point as many as fifty large new stone blocks in my yard. More on that in later articles on this blog. is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well:

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