History of Stone House
The Stone House represents an important piece of work not only in Kutná Hora but in context of the whole Czech architecture.
The Stone House exceeding by its importance and its floor plan scale of a standard urban house is unique example of patrician architecture of late Gothic style, an era when right here in Kutná Hora all the artistic branches from architecture to utility art mingled. It was called “stone” at first in 1660. Its present appearance is result of several building stages. To the original pre-hussite ground plan (documented nowadays by cellars and parts of the ground floor) two more floors and a gable were added in around 1489 when the house was owned by a significant burgher Prokop Kroupa. Its facade became a bearer of cohesive sculptural program (probably by Master Brikci) created after 1491 that till now gives an evidence of the importance of the building. The inner disposition was noticeably altered by reconstruction in 1839. Puristic reconstruction led by Ludvík Láber on the turn of the 19th and the 20th century tried to restore the original disposition before 1839. On the facade majority of the medieval sculptures was replaced with replicas by J. Kastner, J. Čapek and J. Uzel. Nowadays, from a distance, when the work of Josef Mocker starts to be valued, the Stone House is worthy example of restoration methodology of the turn of the centuries in a perfect realisation.
At present, the house is propriety of the town and since the beginning of the 20th century it serves as a seat of the Museum. From 1997 – 1999 an extensive reconstruction of the monument took place in two stages: reconstruction of the shell and of the interior.
The shell of the building was in a very dismal state. It was raining in, windows were unfunctional and mouldered, glass disc filling heavily damaged. Plasters of the side walls partly missing, the front including sculptures degraded. The intention was to renew the roof, truss, plaster, windows and stone carvings. In 1998, restoration of the interior of the Stone House started by reconstruction of totally unfunctional wiring and heating. Inner plasters were repaired, original flooring and stone-cutting decorations were restored. Also festive lighting was included in the finishing work.
The finished building was handed back to the Museum in autumn 1999 and installation of a new exposition started.
After several years of reconstruction notable exhibition rooms of the Czech Museum of Silver were again made accessible to visitors. In the halls on three floors a new permanent exposition focused on earlier history of Kutná Hora and especially on handcraft of Kutná Hora in the 17th – 19th century is set. Foundations of the exposition is formed primarily by new, until now unpresented exhibits from collections of the Museum that have undergone demanding preservation and restoration in recent years. The exposition in theme sections representing life of Kutná Hora townspeople introduces Kutná Hora that after exploitation of its silver mines changed from an important royal mining town into a provincial one. Part of the exposition dedicated to guilds introduces visitors with crafts organisation until the middle of the 19th century, presents guild items, documents and works of local masters. Arranged bourgeois salon and equipped kitchen evokes the atmosphere of life of a well-to-do artisan’s or clerk’s household. Furnishings of a peasant’s farm house presents indispensable farm base of the town. The spiritual life of the town connected to the baroque art is sketched by pictures, carvings and old prints in a part of exposition dedicated to the activity of church orders in Kutná Hora. Cultural progress of society in the beginning of the national revival is introduced in figures that had important influence on the social development.