A large gargoyle for the Dom Tower

Three Gargoyles in Portlandstone

large crocket for the Dom Tower of Utrecht in new Portland stoneWe have now been carving a lot of large finials, crockets and ornaments for the Utrecht Dom Tower. At the top of the tower, at about a hundred meters height, a ring of gargoyles are installed to spit out the rainwater that falls on the roof and the balustrade. At the end of last year we received three of these old limestone gargoyles: an eagle, a stone-cutting devil and a monster that sits on another devil's shoulders. We divided these three gargoyles among the three of us: colleague Serge got the eagle, Jelle got the stonemason and I would make the last one, all three from new blocks of Portlandstone. We just had to wait a little longer for the third gargoyle, because it hadn't arrived yet. If only I'd known what I'd gotten myself into!

ornaments for the Dom Tower in Utrecht

It doesn't fit!

gargoyle 'stone-cutting devil' is sawn from a block of new stone

Jelle's stone-cutting devil on the contour saw

Serge immediately started cutting out the eagle on the contour saw, then Jelle got to work. But when "my own"’ gargoyle arrived, it turned out that this one was 2 metres 60 tall, and I can only handle 195 cm on my contour sawing machine. So it became clear that I had to measure and copy this gargoyle by hand from the block of stone. The other two were just long enough to fit into the machine.

Copying technique

Koen van Velzen copies gargoyle for the Dom Tower in new stoneIf it all doesn't fit in the machine, it has to be done by hand. In this case I put the two pieces on top of each other, to simplify all measuring work. You can then very quickly see whether the shapes match, because they are put so close to each other. With compasses and contour templates it's easy to find the main shapes.

copying the gargoyle 2,6 m in steenOnce the three most important sides were defined, including the stonemasonry parts of the gutter on top of the gargoyle and the hole through the monster's mouth, I put the two blocks upright. And then it turned out that there was also another demon hiding at the bottom. But with each block on its own turntable I could easily compare and copy again, so that in the end a faithful copy emerged.

Video: inspection at the sculptor's studio

In November 2020 local broadcaster RTV Utrecht visited us for a video report of our work on the ornaments. The restoration committee came to judge our first results.

There is an article on the RTV-Utrecht website with a short report (see here the link↑), but if you wait until everything is loaded, the video will also appear, on which we can bee seen from minute 4:50 in the studio. Because I took this job together with my colleagues Serge van Druten and Jelle Steendam, can they also be seen in this video. By the way, the whole video is worth watching.

Video: Jelle is working on a gargoyle

In the meantime, Jelle was working on his own gargoyle, a stone-cutting demon. I made a short video of it.

 

Gallery: work progress on the two gargoyles

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

Follow me on Instagram↑
and Twitter↑
and on YouTube↑

Leave a comment

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * *