The latest phase of 'Saving Dora House' is focused on the restoration of our signature wrought iron balconies and the original sign which hangs above the entrance. Find out about our visit to the blacksmiths and gain an insight into the specialist repairs required. And then after all that inspiration, try your hand at making foil relief sculptures of your own.
Dora House & Metal
Dora House is known for its decorative balconies, which are a fine example of Victorian craftsmanship. The organic, tapering scroll shapes are of particular note. The balconies were in such a poor state that they needed to be removed and sent to a specialist repairer. George James & Sons is a family-run, traditional blacksmiths based in Northamptonshire. After sandblasting them, the team completely dismantled the balconies and began restoring them to their original beauty. They also made good the Royal Society of Sculptors sign which stands proud above the front door.
Restoring the balconies
Delving into the history
During the restoration, the blacksmiths discovered that the original maker was Alfred A Newman and Company. We don't know much about the company at this stage but are excited to see that their work is recorded in a 1884 catalogue titled 'Wrought Iron Work Suggestions' which is held in The Met Collection in New York.
Decorative Foil Sculptures
Be inspired by the restoration of Dora House and its balconies to create decorative relief sculptures. For young children, simple decorative motifs and shapes can be modelled, whilst older children and adults can build up complex patterns and symmetrical designs.
Create your own decorative foil sculptures