Pair of Doors thumbnail 1
Pair of Doors thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64b, The Simon Sainsbury Gallery

Pair of Doors

1200-1300 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

One of the commonest medieval uses of ironwork was for the protection of wooden doors, such as these, and chests. Both of these object types required strengthening for durability and security, and so elaborate hinges were designed to cover much of the surface and act as both a hinge and a guard. Hinge scrollwork could be extremely elaborate, and was often stamped with dies or chiseled for further embelishment. Iron was expensive in the Middle Ages, and these substantial doors are likely to have come from an important building. The hinge-work on the present doors represent a remarkable survival.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oak with wrought iron
Brief Description
A pair of oak doors, four wrought iron crescent hinges with strapwork, made in Gannat, 13th century
Physical Description
A pair of large oak doors with iron hinge straps. The straps, which have been scored with a chisel, terminate in scrolls with angular folliage and are accompanied by a horse-shoe shaped strap in each corner.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.56m
  • Width: 1.83m
  • Depth: 12cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Gallery Label
DOOR HINGES (Mounted on the original door) Wrought iron France (Gannat, Auvergne); 13th century From the Fitzhenry Collection M.396-1924 Four crescent hinges with strapwork (ornament of interlaced bands). The handle and lock are of later date.(07/1994)
Object history
From the Fitzhenry Collection.



Historical significance: The history of iron work has been obscured by the corrosive effects of rust, which particularly affects ironwork in contact with the weather. Many of the examples which survive are badly decayed. The hinge-work on the present doors therefore represent a remarkable survival.
Historical context
One of the commonest medieval uses of ironwork was for the protection of wooden doors and chests. Both of these object types required strengthening for durability and security, and so elaborate hinges were designed to cover much of the surface and act as both a hinge and a guard. Hinge scrollwork could be extremely elaborate, and was often stamped with dies or chiseled for further embelishment.



Towards the end of the twelfth century a new style of ironwork emerged in parts of the Auvergne in France, characterised by the repetition of the Greek honeysuckle or palmette and a tendency to geometric arrangement. The present doors provide a good example of this type however the scoring of the ironwork with a chisel is more common in earlier work.
Summary
One of the commonest medieval uses of ironwork was for the protection of wooden doors, such as these, and chests. Both of these object types required strengthening for durability and security, and so elaborate hinges were designed to cover much of the surface and act as both a hinge and a guard. Hinge scrollwork could be extremely elaborate, and was often stamped with dies or chiseled for further embelishment. Iron was expensive in the Middle Ages, and these substantial doors are likely to have come from an important building. The hinge-work on the present doors represent a remarkable survival.
Bibliographic References
  • Campbell, Marian. An Introduction to Ironwork. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1985. 48 p., ill. ISBN 0112904157p.33, fig.36
  • Starkie Gardner, J., revised by Watts, W.W., Ironwork: Part I. From the Earliest Times to the End of the Mediaeval Period, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1896 (1978 edn), p. 68, pl. 9.
  • Opie-Smith, P. Sickle Hinges. Architectural Review. Mar. 1929. pp.151-158.
Collection
Accession Number
M.396-1924

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record createdOctober 13, 2006
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