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Window shutter mounts

Window shutter mounts

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg, Germany (probably, made)
    Flanders (region), Belgium (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1550 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak and wrought iron

  • Museum number:

    2452-1856

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval and Renaissance, room 62, case SCREEN2, shelf WW

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German blacksmiths in the 15th and 16th centuries were renowned for their complex and sophisticated wrought iron hingework, which was both functional (for security) and decorative. During the Renaissance period bronze gradually replaced iron in southern Europe as the favoured material for strengthening doors and windows and hingework generally became concealed. In the north, however, visible iron door or window mounts such as this highly ornate set of window shutters retained popularity.
Most window shutters of this period were designed to open in two or four leaves so that light could be regulated in the absence of blinds.

Nuremberg was a centre for ironwork throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, with sources of iron available in the nearby Upper Palatinate (and later from Styria in Austria) and vast supplies of charcoal on hand from its surrounding forests.

Physical description

Elaborate pierced, wrought (hammered) iron hinges, latches and handles riveted to a (later?) panel ensemble of four square oak shutters set in a square oak frame. Each shutter is hinged to the frame on its outside vertical edge and additionally hinged down a central vertical. At the opposite side to each shutter is a lifting latch and handle set into an elaborate pierced escutcheon plate which secures it to the frame. Additional sprung catches, handles and wrought iron plates strengthen and decorate the central vertical of the frame.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg, Germany (probably, made)
Flanders (region), Belgium (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1550 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Oak and wrought iron

Marks and inscriptions

Unmarked.

Dimensions

Height: 114 cm, Width: 125.5 cm, Depth: 10 cm

Object history note

The Museum registered description made in 1856 states this set of shutter mounts was bought for £10 and brought to the Museum from a house in Nuremberg.

Historical context note

15th and 16th century German ironsmiths were renowned for their complex and sophisticated wrought iron hingework, which was both functional (for security) and decorative. During the Renaissance period bronze gradually replaced iron in southern Europe as the favoured material for strengthening doors and windows and hingework generally became concealed. In the north, however, visible iron door or window mounts such as this highly ornate set of window shutters retained popularity.

Most window shutters of this period were designed to open in two or four leaves so that light could be regulated in the absence of blinds. Starkie Gardner states that the hingework would have been on the inside surface of the shutter, i.e. visible from inside the house, and suggests that the bright metal must have reflected back any artificial light in use, such as candles.

Nuremberg was a centre for ironworking throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, with sources of iron available in the nearby Upper Palatinate (and later from Styria in Austria) and vast supplies of charcoal on hand from its surrounding forests.

Descriptive line

Window shutter mounts, wrought iron and oak, Germany (probably Nuremberg), or possibly Flanders, about 1550

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Starkie Gardner, J. Ironwork, 3 vols., London: printed under the authority of the Board of Education, 1927-30, vol II: Continental Ironwork of the Renaissance and Later Periods, revised and enlarged by W.W. Watts, 1978, pp. 52-3, plate 22.
Craft of the Ironsmith. 1908. p. 10, fig. iii.
The Art Journal. 1869. p. 221

Labels and date

WINDOW-SHUTTER MOUNTS
Oak mounted in wrought steel
Germany; c. 1550

Shutters of this type, fixed to the inside of windows, with panels which could be opened individually, were widely used in Germany and the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries, and were often applied with decorative iron hinges. They often covered the lower half only of the window, and eliminated the need for curtains. This example comes from a house in Nuremberg, renowned for high quality metalwork of all kinds. great skill was needed to produce such ornate mounts. The steel had to be first hammered flat, the cut and pierced, and finally burnished to create the shine. They would have been made by a specialized workshop, possibly one which produced locks, since the sprung catches are similar to those used in the complex lock mechanisms on chests and caskets also made in Nuremberg. See the Armada Chest (Museum No. 4211-1856) in this Gallery

Museum No. 2452-1856 [07/1994]

Production Note

Thought to be from a house in Nuremberg, but ascribed to Flanders by Starkie Gardner (see References).

Materials

Wrought iron; Oak

Techniques

Piercing

Categories

Furniture; Metalwork; Architectural fittings; Ironwork

Collection code

MET

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Qr_O117877
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