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Gutter spout

Gutter spout

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Iron, embossed and painted

  • Museum number:

    1210-1872

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval and Renaissance, room 64b, case WS CHAPEL EXP

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Elaborate and whimsical gutterspouts are characteristic of southern German blacksmith's work of the seventeenth century. Decorative ironwork was used to adorn the streets of cities, towns, and even villages, and marked the presence of inns, hostelries and shops of various crafts. Some of the ironwork would stretch well across the roadway and the decorative effect was heightened by the application of colour and gilding. Such decorative embellishments could also take the form of grotesque sheet-iron gargoyles or gutter spouts, projecting far beyond the eaves of a building to ensure that rainwater fell clear. A tradition of ecclesiastical gutter spouts and corbels in the form of exotic beasts and grotesque human faces was well established in Europe in the medieval period and this no doubt informed such secular forms of the object as the present example. Several examples can still be seen in situ, notably on the town hall of Tallin in Estonia.

Physical description

Iron gutter spout, embossed and painted. A devil's head sits on top of the spout, with small wings sprouting at the sides.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Iron, embossed and painted

Dimensions

Height: 120 cm, Width: 64.5 cm, Depth: 40.2 cm

Historical context note

Elaborate and whimsical gutterspouts are characteristic of southern German blacksmith's work of the seventeenth century and the V&A possesses two examples; the present winged devil's head and a dragon (1208-1872). Decorative ironwork was used to adorn the streets of cities, towns, and even villages, and marked the presence of inns, hostelries and shops of various crafts. Some of the ironwork would stretched well across the roadway and the decorative effect was heightened by the application of colour and gilding. Such decorative embelishments could also take the form of grotesque sheet-iron gargoyles or gutter spouts, projecting far beyond the eaves of a building to ensure that rainwater fell clear. A tradition of ecclesiastical gutter spouts and corbels in the form of exotic beasts and grotesque human faces was well established in Europe in the medieval period and this no doubt informed such secular forms of the object as the present example. Several examples can still be seen in situ, notably on the town hall of Tallin in Estonia.

Descriptive line

Iron gutter spout, embossed and painted. A devil's head sits on top of the spout, with small wings sprouting at the sides.

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

Marian Campbell Decorative Ironwork V&A Publications, 1997, p.21

Labels and date

GUTTER SPOUT
Wrought iron
Germany; 17th century

In the form of a devil's head.

Museum No. 1210-187 [07/1994]

Materials

Iron

Techniques

Painted; Embossed

Subjects depicted

Devil

Categories

Metalwork; Architectural fittings; Ironwork

Collection code

MET

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Qr_O125106
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