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Catalog Data

Cast iron, paint
13 × 26 1/2 × 1 in. (33 × 67.3 × 2.5 cm)
Rococo Revival
Victorian (1837-1901)
Cast-iron table or bench end component. The hourglass shape is formed from ‘S’ and ‘C’ scrolls in a symmetrical design. A base section and flat seat or tabletop would have been attached to two such bench ends and stabilized with iron rods. This design is characteristic of the Rococo Revival style. 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.
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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