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Catalog Data

Manufacturer:
S.S. Bent & Son, American, founded 1843  Search this
Medium:
Cast iron, paint
Dimensions:
37 × 19 × 15 in. (94 × 48.3 × 38.1 cm)
Style:
Renaissance Revival
Type:
Settees
Origin:
Portchester, New York, United States
Date:
ca.1850-1920
Period:
Victorian (1837-1901)
Description:
Cast-iron settee in the “Curtain” pattern. The straight back is tripartite with scrolling lyre designs within the structural framework. This rigid, paneled back shape is reminiscent of the indoor furnishings of the nineteenth century. Each section of the back of this settee is crested by a crocketed flower with finials on either side, which together suggest aristocratic bearing. The side crests feature a large medallion. The armrests form a scroll at the hand rest. The seat is pierced with repeating geometric motifs. Below the seat the apron wraps around the front and sides with a pierced and scalloped pattern. There are arched braces between the front and back legs, which terminate in flattened pad feet. The “Curtain” design had many variations in the motifs, patterns, length, and components, yet the overall form remained constant. The parts of this design were created separately and are bolted together, which further led to deviations in the “Curtain” pattern. The elements of this design are characteristic of 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:
Garden furnishings, also called outdoor or patio furnishings, are specifically designed for outdoor use. They are typically made of weather-resistant materials such as metal, stone, wood, wicker, and artificial stone. Cast-iron was the most popular material for garden furnishings and accessories from the mid-nineteenth to the early-twentieth century. This was in part due to systems of mass production developed in the Industrial Revolution that allowed outdoor furniture to be readily available and affordable to the public. Throughout the nineteenth century, as leisure activities increased, materials diversified, and technology was embraced, garden furnishings came to be regarded as domestic amenities and reflected changing styles. Outdoor furnishings, such as settees, chairs, fountains, urns, and tables were essential to fashionably appointed lawns, conservatories, parks, cemeteries, and gardens in America.
The garden in the nineteenth century, typical of Victorian style, tended to be excessively ornamental and complex, combining colors, textures, and materials through plants and garden ornaments. Garden furnishings, such as urns, plant stands, tables, and seating, became essential to the overall design. As an extension of the house, the garden required furniture, and outdoor seating found its way onto balconies, verandahs, and porches as well as across lawns and parks. Settees, which are two-person seats with a backrest and arms, were a popular feature of the Victorian garden. Most garden settees were designed to be suitable for use with a table and were frequently sold with matching suites of chairs, benches, and tables. Designs for garden settees followed the Victorian taste for eclectic styles and borrowed Classical, Rustic, Gothic, Rococo, Renaissance, and Oriental motifs; or they were chosen to blend with their natural surroundings in Rustic, animal, or botanical forms. Settees and other furnishings were strategically placed as the focal point or an accessory to create a specific feeling for a setting. They were used on porches and verandahs, as well as throughout the garden, to extend the architecture of the house to the grounds, providing a link between art and nature, manmade and organic. Cast-iron, wrought-iron, and wirework settees were mostly for use in the garden although some designs were suited for indoor use as well.
Mark(s):
S. S. Bent & Son, NY
Topic:
cast iron  Search this
outdoor furniture  Search this
settees  Search this
Garden ornaments and furniture  Search this
garden seats  Search this
seating furniture  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
1984.192
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/aq44a95a6b6-1e95-4962-b543-a7152f56efbd
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hac_1984.192