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Catalog Data

The Stewart Iron Works  Search this
Wrought iron, paint
46 × 59 in. (116.8 × 149.9 cm)
Gothic Revival
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Victorian (1837-1901)
Cast- and wrought-iron fence with piers. The fence sections are composed of wrought-iron vertical rods--alternating short and tall--capped with spear-point finials. At the end of each panel is a four-sided pier with a corner pier connecting the sections of fence. The pier on the end of the short piece appears to have hardware to attach to a gate. The finials on the piers and balusters of the fence are reminiscent of Gothic spires. The major characteristics of the art, architecture, and decorative arts produced in nineteenth century are historicism, eclecticism, and mixing multiple styles together. The Gothic Revival style was one of the major styles of the Victorian era and reached the height of its popularity from 1840-1870; however, designs continued to be produced into the 1900s. This style adapted Gothic architectural forms and ornaments found in the churches and castles of Medieval Europe. Gothic Revival motifs included pointed arches, quatrefoils, trefoils, lozenges, pinnacles, crockets, trefoils, rosettes, tracery, and cluster columns.
Label Text:
In the nineteenth century, fences around the home and garden provided many benefits; Not only did fencing clearly delineate one’s property, it provided protection for everything within its walls. Fences kept crops and plants from being trampled or eaten by loose animals, confined its occupants from wandering away, served as an impetus to theft, and offered privacy. By the middle of the nineteenth century, mass production made cast-and wrought-iron fencing readily available to the middle class, and it quickly became widely popular. Coming in tasteful forms with decorative motifs, fences made from iron were still able to be thinner and less obtrusive than those constructed from other materials, yet it could provide a sufficient structural barrier. It was placed surrounding cemetery plots, gardens, fields, along railroad tracks, bordering sidewalks, around houses, churches, parks, and public buildings.
Iron fencing was adapted to suit the needs of city or country properties in strength, design, and height, which generally ranged from three to seven feet. Iron fences were manufactured in separate components, including posts, pickets, hardware, and finials, in a variety of designs and styles. Fences followed the trends of the time with natural forms, ornamental motifs pulled from historic revival styles, and complicated shapes. Numerous combinations were possible, the most successful mixtures corresponded stylistically with the other elements, as well as the accompanying gates. The Victorian love of ornament saw many posts capped with finials or decorative motifs applied to the surfaces. Special orders for monograms or subject matters could also be had, in addition to many recognizable themes.
The Stewart Iron Works, Cincinnati Ohio
fences  Search this
gates  Search this
wrought iron  Search this
finials  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
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Usage conditions apply
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Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens