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Catalog Data

Medium:
Wrought iron, paint
Dimensions:
36 × 19 × 26 in. (91.4 × 48.3 × 66 cm)
Style:
Regency
Type:
Chairs
Date:
ca.1850-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Wrought-iron armchair with scroll terminations. The framework of the chair is formed from strap iron, and the supports are composed of thinner iron rods. The side rails of the back extend the length of the chair, also acting as the back legs, and terminate at both ends with an outward spiral. The front legs and outer frame of the seat are also formed from single straps of iron that terminate in an outward spiral. The armrests are low and end in a spiral, which connects to seat. Thin rods connect the side rails of the frame across the seat and back. Similar rods are used as stretchers between the legs on all four sides. The playful scroll terminations of the arms, back, and feet on this design are in the manner of the late-Regency style wrought-iron furnishings of the 1820s and 1830s. Wrought-iron and wire garden seating was popular in the mid-to-late nineteenth century in both Europe and America. These pieces were made by bending thin iron rods and straps into the desired form, which was usually a simple structure. Rod iron was a new material for garden furnishings, available due to the technical advances in the iron industry, which increased the versatility of the material during the Industrial Revolution. Iron could be worked into rods and fine wires and wrought into the intricate and delicate motifs the Victorians desired. The strength and flexibility of the material opened new design possibilities. Bent iron-rod chairs were originally created for the parks, cafes, and public squares of Paris, where chairs were needed that could be rearranged easily and produced simply efficiently and inexpensively. The French excelled at making delicate wrought-iron and wire garden furniture in a wide variety of forms with novel designs. This type of iron furnishing was able to be mass produced cheaply on a large scale, and their manufacture and use spread rapidly in Europe and America. Rod-iron furnishings also found their way into private gardens and terraces. These pieces could also be placed in the cemetery, which was popular in the nineteenth century, when visits to the graves of loved ones was a regular occurrence.
Wrought-iron and wire garden seating was popular in the mid-to-late nineteenth century in both Europe and America. These pieces were made by bending thin iron rods and straps into the desired form, which was usually a simple structure. Rod iron was a new material for garden furnishings, available due to the technical advances in the iron industry, which increased the versatility of the material during the Industrial Revolution. Iron could be worked into rods and fine wires and wrought into the intricate and delicate motifs the Victorians desired. The strength and flexibility of the material opened new design possibilities. Bent iron-rod chairs were originally created for the parks, cafes, and public squares of Paris, where chairs were needed that could be rearranged easily and produced simply efficiently and inexpensively. The French excelled at making delicate wrought-iron and wire garden furniture in a wide variety of forms with novel designs. This type of iron furnishing was able to be mass produced cheaply on a large scale, and their manufacture and use spread rapidly in Europe and America. Rod-iron furnishings also found their way into private gardens and terraces. These pieces could also be placed in the cemetery, which was popular in the nineteenth century, when visits to the graves of loved ones was a regular occurrence.
Label Text:
Garden furnishings, also called outdoor or patio furnishings, are specifically designed for outdoor use. They are typically made of weather-resistant materials such as metal, stone, wood, wicker, and artificial stone. Cast-iron was the most popular material for garden furnishings and accessories from the mid-nineteenth to the early-twentieth century. This was in part due to systems of mass production developed in the Industrial Revolution that allowed outdoor furniture to be readily available and affordable to the public. Throughout the nineteenth century, as leisure activities increased, materials diversified, and technology was embraced, garden furnishings came to be regarded as domestic amenities and reflected changing styles. Outdoor furnishings, such as settees, chairs, fountains, urns, and tables were essential to fashionably appointed lawns, conservatories, parks, cemeteries, and gardens in America.
The garden in the nineteenth century, typical of Victorian style, tended to be excessively ornamental and complex, combining colors, textures, and materials through plants and garden ornaments. Garden furnishings, such as urns, plant stands, tables, and seating, became essential to the overall design. As an extension of the house, the garden required furniture, and outdoor seating found its way onto balconies, verandahs, and porches as well as across lawns and parks. Garden chairs typically had three to four legs, with designs adapted from the most popular styles for garden settees and benches. Armchairs were frequently made with matching side chairs, as well as benches, settees, tables, and consoles all in the same pattern as a suite or furniture for the garden. Designs for garden furniture followed the Victorian taste for eclectic styles and borrowed Classical, Rustic, Gothic, Rococo, Renaissance, and Oriental motifs; or they were chosen to blend with their natural surroundings in Rustic, animal, or botanical forms. Chairs and other furnishings were strategically placed as the focal point or an accessory to create a specific feeling for a setting. Garden furnishings were used on porches and verandahs, as well as throughout the garden, to extend the architecture of the house to the grounds, providing a link between art and nature, manmade and organic. Cast-iron, wrought-iron, and wirework chairs were mostly for use in the garden although some designs were suited for indoor use as well.
Topic:
chairs  Search this
wrought iron  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
outdoor furniture  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1979.020
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq4ac1933e5-71bf-4574-8fb7-0d14d6d5bc8e
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1979.020