I am mulling about the idea of modelling a horsehead keystone in the manner of those I’ve seen on the facades various former stables in NYC and elsewhere. There’s at least half a dozen in NYC I’m aware of, one is at 129 Charles Street in Greenwich Village. A 3 story 1897 brick building which has in it’s later years been used as a garage and then converted into a residence.
The little building sold a few years ago for the insane sum of $7 million, the property taxes on this little building last year were $26,000 and projected to increase to $31,000 next year (2014)
I have seen some CAD work of a proposed renovation into a residence proposal on an architect’s site along with some details on the building. The facade parapet cornice it originally had is long gone, probably removed or fell down due to wind and/or corrosion, the proposal and CAD drawings show the proposed renovation was to including reconstructing an appropriate period style replacement cornice, it’s obvious this restoration was not done.
The terracotta horsehead keystone exists over one window on the 2nd floor, center;
The keystone is considerably wider than was typical, even though the window is not any wider than typical window openings, no doubt to accomodate the design of the horse head. Most keystones were approximately 6″ wide at the bottom while this one appears to be closer to about 10″ wide at the bottom, widening to about 16″ at the top;
One issue with this design which actually applies to each and every one of these extant originals is the very long, thin fragile projecting ears were very prone to being chipped or broken from things such as falling ice or large hail. I can’t think of any of these extant pieces off the top of my head that doesn’t have at least one or both of the ears damaged, this includes a salvaged example at the Brooklyn Museum’s sculpture garden whose ears had clearly been broken off and subsequently repaired with a slightly lighter colored red material.
The design’s flaws with the ears can easily be solved in my model by the addition of a projecting cornice on top connected to the backs of the ears to give them strength, I’ll have to see how much larger/heavier this will make casts of such a model.
These extant designs would have been far more practical cast in cast-iron not terra cotta or carved stone, so far I have only seen one example of a cast-iron horsehead on a facade.