As the 'Saving Dora House' restoration continues, Clare Burnett, President of the Royal Society of Sculptors, is back where it all started on the roof where some of the stone elements were collapsing. This month, we join Clare to look at the work carried out on site by the stone carver replacing the capitols that had cracked. Our new learning resource is inspired by classical architecture that you can download below and shows you how to cast your own columns.


An article in "The Builder" dating from 1886 - shortly after the façade was added - commented on the "overdone" character of the "twisty-twirly" gables, the projecting curls of which look like they would chip off some day. The work cost £3,000 and the stone carving was done by a Mr. MacCulloch.

Saving Dora House - All about Stone

The ornate façade was added in 1886

Stone work

Once the scaffolding had been erected and we could take a closer look, we discovered that the gables at Dora House had cracked dangerously and the capitols needed replacing. Stone carver Sam Kelly managed to extract the damaged ionic capitols intact which enabled  him to create replacements as close to the original as possible. With the exception of the balconies built in York stone,  Bath stone had been used across the façade and this may have been the reason for the damage as it is a very soft stone.

Saving Dora House - All About Stone

Stone carver Sam Kelly working on site at Dora House

Get Hands On

Cast Columns

Be inspired by the ongoing restoration of Dora House to create architectural stone effect casts using plaster and paint. This resource is inspired by the ornate pillars and columns associated with classical architecture.



Download instructions to cast columns

Build your own cast columns inspired by classical architecture

Build your own cast columns inspired by classical architecture