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Catalog Data

Cast iron, paint
7 × 17 1/2 in. (17.8 × 44.5 cm)
Rococo Revival
Bases (furniture components)
Victorian (1837-1901)
Cast-iron base for table or plant stand. The base has three ornate feet with Rococo Revival motifs. In the center of the base, four holes of various sizes would be used to secure a post section. The major characteristics of the art, architecture, and decorative arts produced in nineteenth century are historicism, eclecticism, and mixing multiple styles together. Rococo Revival style was the most popular style of the Victorian era in the United States. It emerged as early as the 1830s and continued to be seen into the 1900s. This style was modeled after eighteenth-century French designs, yet the revival of the style pushed elements further. Rococo Revival objects tended to be highly ornamental, with more substantial, less delicate forms, and visually dense decoration. This style is defined by its sense of movement and its delicacy, as well as curvaceousness, asymmetry, and curvilinear forms. Rococo Revival motifs included floral imagery, abundant swags of fruit and foliage, shell-like waves, ‘S’ & ‘C’ scrolls, rocaille decoration, serpentine curves, frozen water forms, volutes, acanthus leaves, and cabriole legs.
Label Text:
In the nineteenth century, cast iron manufactories were able to achieve a high enough temperature to produce fluid iron that was poured into intricate molds of compressed sand. Once the iron had cooled, it was removed from the mold. Rough places and sharp edges were then filed away before the piece was bolted together. It would then be painted, varnished, galvanized, or bronzed several times to prevent rust. Since cast iron pieces were made in components and bolted together, numerous combinations were possible. Customers had the ability to select from a broad range of different finishes, components, and design motifs. Designs followed the trends of the time with natural forms, ornamental motifs pulled from historic revival styles, and complicated shapes.
Cast iron tables were popular both in and out of doors in the nineteenth century. Tables could be varied with the addition of a different section on the legs or a different top. The table bases might consist of center column support coming out of three feet or legs, usually three to four. The bases could be sold separately or with an optional table top. Foundries usually sold the table bases with all options of cast iron, wood, or marble tops available for sale. A matching suit of chairs and settee was available in some designs.
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Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.104.a, b
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens