Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Cast iron
Renaissance Revival
ca. 1850-1920
Victorian (1837-1901)
Cast-iron fragment with a guilloche band and acanthus leaf motif 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:
The advances of the nineteenth century, made cast iron readily available, cheap, durable, and able to be formed in any desired shape beginning in the 1830s in the United States, though it was well underway sooner in Europe. Cast iron manufacture became one of the most important American industries of the mid-nineteenth century, effecting transportation, decorative arts, and technology. While the strength and durability of cast iron made it well suited to garden furnishings, which faced changing weather and heavy use, cast iron’s weak tensile strength made it fracture rather than bending or distorting.
cast iron  Search this
fragments  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens