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Fireplace

Fireplace

  • Place of origin:

    Falkirk (made)
    London (designed)

  • Date:

    1900-1910 (made)
    1899 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    C. F. A. Voysey, born 1857 - died 1941 (designer)
    Falkirk Iron Company Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast and forged iron

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalind Dallas Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.10:1-4,-2015

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Voysey designed some of the most elegant and austere metalwork of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He was an important member of the English Arts and Crafts movement. He was a founder member of the Design Club, formed in 1909 which included the architect, William Butterfield, Walter Crane, Lewis F. Day Archibald Knox and Ambrose Heal. The club which ran for five years was the forerunner of the Design and Industries Association and the British Institute of Industrial Art, both of which were to have close associations with the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A organised the pioneering exhibition, Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Arts, 1952 which re-evaluated and established this period as a subject worthy of serious academic study. Voysey's work was represented by 17 objects. Subsequently, many of the objects exhibited have entered the V&A collections and have consequently made them one of the most important representations of the English Arts and Crafts movement.

Voysey stands out from most of his fellow architects-designers who joined the Art Workers' Guild and contributed metalwork to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. Instead of setting up his own workshop, he continued the traditional practice of handing over his designs to a trustworthy firm for execution. This encouraged him to ignore the repertory of ornamental techniques used by many metalworkers attached to the Arts and Crafts movement, who habitually embellished their productions with enamels and semi-precious stones. Of Voysey's major contemporaries, only W.A.S. Benson favoured a similar simplicity of form and decoration and Benson, significantly, had his own factory in Hammersmith which was filled with the latest machinery. Unlike Benson however, who increasingly devoted his energies to his metalwork to the exclusion of architecture, Voysey did not design a great deal either for precious or base metals and when he did so it was usually with his architectural schemes in mind. Some of his finest and most characteristic designs for metalwork are the hinges fitted to furniture and doors and the series of cast iron fireplaces of which this is an outstanding example.

Physical description

Fireplace, cast and forged iron. The fireplace surround, a rectangular cast plate supporting a mantelpiece which extends either side of the main panel, comprising of a flat strip of metal with a plain moulded edge and supported on the underside by a moulding with a Cyma profile. The opening for the fire basket which is attached by bolts to the back of the main panel is framed by a plain half moulding and is surmounted by a Palladian arch within a recessed inner, rectangular panel. This panel is surmounted by an extruded moulding , above which are three heart shaped motifs in a straight line across the top of the panel. A removable rectangular plate at the base, edged with a plain moulding, the lower edge attached to a strip of angle iron and with a baluster knob, centrally attached conceals the ashtray (now missing). The front of the grate has a detachable grille of three cross bars, the central two swelling towards the centre, the top a straight rod and the bottom bar a length of angle iron, the back with a concave surface, which rests on the edge of the fixed internal grate. The bars framed by two strips of iron, the lower ends notched and with hooks incorporated on either side to attach the grille to sockets at the front of the fire basket. The fire basket is open at the top, has sloping side walls and a flat back plate and is decorated with a plain moulding running horizontally across, half way down. The base of the basket is a fixed grille. A ratchet, presumably for removing the ashtray, is a flat strip of iron with a hook at one end and a saw tooth edge.

Place of Origin

Falkirk (made)
London (designed)

Date

1900-1910 (made)
1899 (designed)

Artist/maker

C. F. A. Voysey, born 1857 - died 1941 (designer)
Falkirk Iron Company Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast and forged iron

Marks and inscriptions

FALKIRK NO 64
Cast in raised lettering on the reverse of the fireplace.

Dimensions

Height: 131 cm Whole, Width: 85 cm, Depth: 29.5 cm, Height: 15 cm Front panel, Width: 29.5 cm Front panel, Depth: 5.5 cm Front panel, Height: 20 cm Grille, Width: 29.5 cm Grille, Depth: 4.5 cm Grille, Length: 22 cm Ratchet, Width: 5 cm Ratchet

Object history note

This fireplace, designed by C.F.A. Voysey in 1899 was first installed in the master bedfroom of his house, The Orchard, Chorleywood, Buckinghamshire.

Descriptive line

Fireplace, cast iron, made by the Falkirk Iron Company, 1900-1910, designed by C.F.A. Voysey, 1899.

Materials

Iron

Techniques

Casting; Forging

Subjects depicted

Hearts

Categories

Architectural fittings; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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