from 129 Pitt St...
New York City,
~ I present ~
Sailor Keystone Nr 635
Cast by Randall
SIZE; 25 x 87
CONSTRUCTION COST; $22,000 (1901)
OWNER; L L Richman 89 Bowery
ARCHITECT; Kurtzer & Rohl 190 Bowery
The keystone depicts an atypical figure for these architectural sculptures, typically these depicted mythical or fantasy figures, Gods from Greek and Roman mythology; (Mercury, Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Venus, Pan etc) grotesques, beasts and so forth. This sculpture however is a rarer depiction apparently done from real life portraiture, if not of a specific individual in the sculptors life, then at the very least a compilation of several persons likely known to the sculptor.
The modelling is also slightly deeper than usual, closer to a 3/4 round portrait of the head which is also not typical for several reasons, some having to do with added weight, increased difficulty in pressing the clay into the deeper moulds and so forth.
This most certainly depicted a bearded sailor in the uniform of the era, a portrait of a familiar-to-the-sculptor working man of the sea, ships and docks.
The man this depicted only a hundred years ago worked on wooden ships operated by wind not engines, this keystone was probably made by the major company that supplied much of these to architects in New York City- The Atlantic Terra Cotta Co on Staten Island. It was hand pressed clay, fired in a huge kiln heated by dirty coal, it was then transported to the building by ship up the Hudson River from the factory, and then completed its voyage on the back of a wagon pulled by horses.
Once installed, he looked down on the street for decades, dirty coal soot from coal burning back then quickly permanently stained building facades, especially the unglazed terra cotta like this. Falling ice, hail, or debris during construction often damages the projecting corners of these keystones, and more damage occurs during demolition from falling bricks and lumber.
Some of the minor damage on the original face that I feel detracts from it were temporarily restored for the mold, while the damaged top corners were left as is since this reflects the originals older history and adds interest.
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.