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Catalog Data

Medium:
Cast iron
Dimensions:
14 × 1 1/2 in. (35.6 × 3.8 cm)
Style:
Renaissance Revival
Type:
Posts
Date:
ca.1850-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Cast-iron post, possibly a fence or railing baluster. The spindle-shaped post has medallions, scrolls, and beading in the Renaissance Revival Style. The major characteristics of the art, architecture, and decorative arts produced in nineteenth century are historicism, eclecticism, and mixing multiple styles together. Renaissance Revival style was a popular style of the Victorian era in the United States. It emerged as early as the 1840s and experienced renewed interest in 1890s. Renaissance Revival was a continuation of the Neoclassicism of the early nineteenth century and was vaguely related to actual objects from the Renaissance period. Renaissance Revival motifs included scrolling foliage called rinceaux, fruit garlands, masks, satyrs, egg-and-dart decoration, friezes, putti, armorial shields, palmettes, scrolls, grotesques, lions, water plant motifs, anthemia, oval medallions, bosses and strapwork, dolphins, Caryatid figures, and architectural elements such as columns, pilasters, pediments, and cornices.
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. By the middle of the nineteenth century, mass production made cast-iron fencing readily available to the middle class, and it quickly became widely popular. 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. It was placed surrounding cemetery plots, gardens, fields, along railroad tracks, bordering sidewalks, around houses, churches, parks, and public buildings. Iron fences were manufactured in separate components, including posts, pickets, hardware, and finials, in a variety of designs and finishes. 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.
Topic:
cast iron  Search this
posts  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.127
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq46a5e8c79-23dd-4b76-80f8-03cede5e24f1
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1984.127