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Catalog Data

Medium:
Cast iron
Dimensions:
17 1/4 × 29 1/2 in. (43.8 × 74.9 cm)
Style:
Naturalism
Type:
Legs (furniture components)
Date:
ca. 1850-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Cast-iron settee or bench leg in the “Bleeding Heart” pattern. The cabriole leg is formed from scrolling leaves, vines, and bleeding heart flowers. The bleeding-heart flower was introduced to America and Europe in the nineteenth century. It was popular because of the fanciful blooms and decorative leaves and quickly became a garden staple of the Victorian era. The leg terminates in a block foot with splayed out leaves above it. These floral and foliate motifs appealed to the Victorian love of nature. Naturalism, the realistic reproduction of the beauties of nature, was a popular style in the Victorian era. Though it appears as early as the 1840’s in America, naturalistic designs continued to the 1900s. This was in part due to the influence of the natural sciences, and interest in nature and gardening, which spread through the upper and middle classes in the nineteenth century. Naturalistic designs incorporated floral, foliate, fruit, vegetal, and animal forms into furnishings and decorative objects for the home and garden. Popular subjects included grapes, cornstalks, ferns, Solomon seal or laurel leaf, passion flowers, lilies of the valley, morning glories, oak leaves, acorns, vines, and roses.
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. Settees and benches were cast multiple sections, which were then assembled and bolted together. 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. Numerous combinations were possible, and pieces could be varied with the addition of a different leg, seat, arm, or back section. Ends could be attached to cast-iron backrests and seat grates, wood panels, or boards.
Topic:
cast iron  Search this
components  Search this
legs and leg components  Search this
benches  Search this
outdoor furniture  Search this
settees  Search this
tables (support furniture)  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.112
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq4f99c8025-9aa8-40d0-b438-aa342c413a8b
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1984.112