Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: A Wrought Iron Ornament, 1851

Wrought Iron Ornament
English, 1851
The Victoria & Albert Museum
One thinks more of wrought iron as a decoration from the 1970’s than from the 1850’s, but we can see that the objects which graced our groovy coffee tables had their roots in far more attractive places. This wrought iron ornament takes the form of a six-flowered lily and combines Naturalismand neo-Gothic elements.

It is clearly inspired by Thirteenth Century English ironwork—such as might be found in Westminster Abbey. A.W.N. Pugin (1812-1852)m designer of Westminster Hall, was a proponent of decorative ironwork and helped usher it into common popularity.

This was made for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and was the work of Frederick Crook. Curiously, Crook wasn’t a traditional artist. He was, instead, a caterer and manufacturer of cooking equipment who tried his hand at design. Clearly he did a good job of it since he was awarded a bronze medal for this piece.

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