Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Yorkshire (made)
    England (cast)

  • Date:

    circa 1150-1170 (made)
    after 1850 (cast)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This capital, carved with four salamaners, is from the north side of the chancel arch at Adel Church, Yorkshire.

Physical description

Capital carved with four salamanders.

Place of Origin

Yorkshire (made)
England (cast)


circa 1150-1170 (made)
after 1850 (cast)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast


Height: 43 cm approximately, Width: 43 cm approximately, Weight: 7.10 kg

Object history note

This capital is from the north side of the chancel arch at Adel Church, which is one of most complete Anglo-Norman Churches in Yorkshire. However, many of the decorations on the chancel arch were recarved in Victorian times.

Historical context note

In the last decade of the 19th century and in the first decade of the 20th century, enthusiasm towards acquiring new plaster casts and electrotypes for the V&A waned. A Report of the Committee of Re-Arrangement, produced by the Board of Education in July 1908, had a section entitled 'The Question of Casts'. In this report, proposals to expand the cast collection to include examples of the development of British architecture were rejected. However, a large donation of casts from sculpture and architecture in British churches and cathedrals was received from the Royal Architectural Museum of the Architectural Association in 1916. This museum had been founded in 1851 by a group of architectural professionals lead by George Gilbert Scott, and by the 1870s included over 4500 casts from English church portals, tombs, and windows. Many of these casts were assembled by John Ruskin (1819-1900) and William Burges (1827-1881), respectively. In the early 20th century, the pedagogical focus of the teachers at the Association changed from Gothic to classicising, and the Royal Architectural collections were deemed to be no longer of use for students. The premises of the Royal Architectural Association Museum were sold in 1917, and the casts were donated to the V&A.

Descriptive line

Capital carved with four salamanders from Adel Church, Yorkshire. 19th century plaster cast after 12th century Anglo-Norman original.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'AA School of Architecture - History.' AA School Homepage. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. .
Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. ' "The Question of Casts" - Collecting amd Later Reassessment of the Cast Collections at South Kensington'. In Frederiksen, Ruth and Marchand, Eckhart (eds). Plaster Casts: Making, Collecting and Displaying from Classical Antiquity to the Present. (Berlin, 2010).
Jenkins, Simon. 'Adel, Yorkshire: St. John the Baptist.' Country Life vol. 193 issue 36 (9 Sept 1999): 180

Production Note

19th century plaster cast after 12th century Anglo-Norman original





Subjects depicted



Architecture; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.