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Catalog Data

Medium:
Cast iron, wood, paint
Dimensions:
30 × 20 × 40 in. (76.2 × 50.8 × 101.6 cm)
Style:
Gothic Revival
Type:
Settees
Date:
ca.1850-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Cast-iron and wood “Child’s” bench. The backrest is composed of two wooden panels and the seat is made from wooden slats. The curvature of the seat and back was designed for added comfort. The cast-iron bench ends have Gothic Revival motifs. The horizontal stretcher between the front and back legs have a quatrefoil motif in the center of the bars. Additional X-shape stretchers between the front and back legs have a leafy motif between the bars creating a medallion design. The legs terminate in a flattened trifed foot. 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.
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:
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. Settees, which are two-person seats with a backrest and arms, were a popular feature of the Victorian garden. Most garden settees were designed to be suitable for use with a table and were frequently sold with matching suites of chairs, benches, and tables. Designs for garden settees 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. Settees and other furnishings were strategically placed as the focal point or an accessory to create a specific feeling for a setting. They 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 settees were mostly for use in the garden although some designs were suited for indoor use as well.
Topic:
cast iron  Search this
outdoor furniture  Search this
settees  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
garden seats  Search this
seating furniture  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.016.001.a, b
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq40b6ac460-740b-43f6-a8ec-60cb83c7f77d
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1984.016.001.a__b