from an office building at 90 West St
New York City,
~ I present ~
Cass Gilbert 90 West St winged dog Nr 90
The original terra cotta sculpture used for a visual reference idea is one of four of this design on the Cass Gilbert landmark 1906 building at 90 West Street, in New York City. The back of the model is open just like the original is on the building, and is designed to be placed against the wall.
The building which sits opposite the former World Trade Center site was extensively damaged on it's North facade when the South tower collapsed.
The entire North facade had to be removed to the steel frame, some 7,000 units of terra cotta which included about 100 gargoyles, griffins and others had to be replaced.
Happily, contacts I have took some excellent photos of some of the ornaments, while other resources provided additional photos. My reduced scale model was inspired by these designs but is also about a foot shorter to keep the size and weight down while still providing an imposing sculpture.
The observant will notice the animal's paws have only 3 toes on each- not an oversight on my part, the originals had 3 toes and it caught me by surprise, all the times I looked at the photos it wasn't obvious untill I started modelling the toes and referred to one photo I have and it clearly showed 3 not 4 toes as I had started laying out in the clay. Four toes would be typical for many animals, 3 suggests a bird influence in the design which makes sense, then again maybe it was done to enable the toes to be larger and more dramatic by not crowding 4 in.
What the original designs' intent was insofar as the type of animal the piece depicts is anyones' guess, it could have been a lioness, or even someones' dog was used for the idea. The head and ears have a sort of dog-like look to me, and the massive paws with their deep toes and claws remind me of some of the Mastiff breeds.
The closest I've come to matching a mythological animal to the design is the Armenian Aralez or Aralezner - The oldest gods in the Armenian pantheon, Aralez are dog-like creatures with powers to resuscitate fallen warriors and resurrect the dead by licking wounds clean.
There is also a winged dog in slavic mythology, both Armenians and Slavic immigrants as well as many other Europeans came to the United States in the 19th century, they brought their art, cultures, mythology and more to us, an Armenian artist or laborer certainly would have worked in a terracotta production factory and would have had some influence on a design like this in the modelling department.
The toes on the original number and odd three per paw as my model does too, why three toes? I have a theory that the original artist decided to accentuate the strength of the claws and toes to give it strength and power, that's supported in part too by the muscles in the forelegs, the massive power of the paws are the first thing that draws the eye on this, to fit four toes on each paw they would have had to have been modelled smaller, and closer together, the impact of that would have been significantly reduced.
The two photos below are courtesy of, and used with kind permission of fellow flickr member Mark;
Mark's extensive photo collection includes numerous- as in hundreds- of gargoyles, grotesques and other facade creatures in their extant locations, when you are done here check out his flickr photo collection here;
Note that the terracotta is ONLY available in brick red and ONLY on a limited selection- the designs in the TERRACOTTA category, not to be confused with the red terracotta FINISH! which is on cast-stone only.
Prices include shipping and are shown on each sculpture on the CART PAGES.
I use FEDEX ground service for all shipments in the lower 48 states. I do not ship outside the USA.
If you are looking for something for the garden or to build into a wall, I offer a growing number of hand-pressed, kiln fired red terracotta works. for many reasons, concrete is no longer available.
All of my interior sculptures have a heavy wire embedded on the back to hang them on the wall.
These hand sculpted models are created from scratch by Randall in water based clay, and typically take an average of 20-30 hours to set up, layout and sculpt each master model.
When the clay master models are finished, they are permanently captured with silicone mold compounds which can pick up even a fingerprint and faithfully transfer it to a cast made in it. From the molds, interior cast-stone as well as a growing number of kiln fired terracotta sculptures are made available for clients to purchase.
Existing savaged pieces are limited to what happens to be for sale at high prices, often damaged, rarely found in pairs and being typically large in scale (meant to be seen from the street from 5 floors below) they are difficult to display in today's smaller homes and apartments. Instead of making molds of these pieces, Randall creates new original models based on authentic 19th century and early 20th century Victorian, Art Deco and Louis Sullivan style architectural sculptures. While I do have a small number of older designs directly molded from antique pieces, these are being phased out over time as I create my own original models.
By no means! keep in mind- your walls weigh thousands of pounds and support the roof. HOWEVER- do not use plastic or self adhesive picture hangars of any kind, or try to simply put a screw into the thin sheetrock-these will not hold, and are not designed to.
Install your mounting hooks or other hangars into the solid wood STUD inside the wall, these are spaced 16" apart. You should use an anchor rated to hold at least twice the shipping weight of the sculpture.
To show what a sheetrock wall can hold, here is a photo of two shelves I installed on my bedroom wall for original sculptures that I couldn't mount any other way, the brackets are screwed into the wall studs with 3" screws. The weight for the stone and terra-cotta shown-the top shelf; 175# and 125# for the lower shelf- 300# total.