Andiron thumbnail 1
Andiron thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 70, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

Andiron

ca. 1670 (made), ca.1820 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Andirons, or fire dogs, supported the logs in a fireplace. They were normally made of brass or iron, and silver ones were a great luxury. It is not known who originally owned this example (one of a pair), but in the 19th century they belonged to the Duke of Sussex, brother of George IV. He altered their design and added the lions at the bottom.

Large sculptural objects for display had long been an important feature of aristocratic and princely silver. But in Restoration England many commented with disapproval upon the extravagance of the latest fashion (imported from France) for massive silver furniture, chandeliers, wine cisterns and other heavy types of plate. Impressive and monumental Baroque silver of this kind had a particular appeal for Arthur Gilbert.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Raised, cast, chased, tooled and engraved silver and carved wood.
Brief Description
Raised, cast, chased, tooled and engraved silver and carved wood, London, ca.1670 with additions circa 1820.
Physical Description
Each andiron base is formed from a double volute, with two paw feet. The front of the base is chased with rosettes, scrolling foliage, and a floral swag on a matted ground. The lower part of the baluster plinth above is decorated with applied foliage calyx, like the sides. The plinth is fluted above and surmounted by a standing draped female figure. The couchant lion at centre on the base, along with the royal cipher of CR at the centre of the base, were added later when the andirons were owned by the Duke of Sussex, brother of George IV. A plain silver plate attached to the back is engraved with the crests of Brownlow and Cust and an earl's coronet.
Dimensions
  • Height: 46.4cm
  • Width: 24cm
  • Depth: 13cm
  • Weight: 3200g
Updated with measurements taken 14/08/08
Marks and Inscriptions
Mark: CG in cypher (Unidentified, Jackson, p.141)
Gallery Label
(Gallery 70, case 4) 12, 14. Pair of andirons About 1670 Andirons, or firedogs, supported logs in a fireplace. Normally made of brass or iron, silver versions were a great luxury. The Duke of Sussex, brother of King George IV, acquired these firedogs in the 19th century. He altered their design and added the lions at the base. Probably London, England Silver Museum nos. Loan:Gilbert.613, 614-2008(16/11/2016)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: H.R.H. Augustus Frederick, duke of Sussex, sale, Christie's, lot 85, June 22, 1843. John, first earl Brownlow, Belton, Lincolnshire. By descent to the Rt. Hon. Lord Brownlow, sale, Christie's, lot 23, May 29, 1963. Sir Charles Clore, sale, Christie's, lot 48, November 28, 1985. Purchased from S.J. Phillips, Ltd., London, 1986.



This pair was on loan to the National Maritime Museum between 1979 and 1983 when they were on display in the Queen's House. That museum has a similar pair http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/3448.html described as Pair of silver firedogs from the collection of King Charles II. Each has a base of scrolling pedestal form, supported by two paw feet with a seated lion projecting beneath. The pedestal is decorated with chased leaf and floral work, and the applied cypher 'CR' below a royal crown. Each is surmounted by a different fully-modelled draped female figure, mounted on a classical urn. An inscription inside the plain silver backplate reads: 'July 12th 1827. Two plates, two lions two figures made weighing 89 oz to screw on two vases of unknown assay'.The silver part has been mounted on an iron bar to hold logs in the fireplace. The firedogs are said to have been presented by Charles II to an ancestor of Sir Piers Mostyn Bart, and in 1938 they were sold at Christie's in the dispersal of the W. R. Hearst Collection.



Production
Maker's mark CG in Cipher (Jackson, p.141). This is believed to be the mark of Gerard Jean Cooqus, son in law of Christian van Vianen. The tips of the acanthus leaves on the upper side of the scroll support were let in to the chased surface and original stood proud in silhouette.
Summary
Andirons, or fire dogs, supported the logs in a fireplace. They were normally made of brass or iron, and silver ones were a great luxury. It is not known who originally owned this example (one of a pair), but in the 19th century they belonged to the Duke of Sussex, brother of George IV. He altered their design and added the lions at the bottom.



Large sculptural objects for display had long been an important feature of aristocratic and princely silver. But in Restoration England many commented with disapproval upon the extravagance of the latest fashion (imported from France) for massive silver furniture, chandeliers, wine cisterns and other heavy types of plate. Impressive and monumental Baroque silver of this kind had a particular appeal for Arthur Gilbert.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Associated Object
Bibliographic References
  • Christie's Review of the Year 1962-1963. London: Constable [et al.], p. 57
  • Grimwade, Arthur. 'Two Great Royal Silver Sales'. Christie's Review of the Season 1975. London: Hutchinson [etc.], pp.199-200
  • Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 24, pp. 109-11. ISBN.0875871445
  • Plate at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, London, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, 1960
Other Numbers
  • SG 226B - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.959 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • SG 122B - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.907 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.614-2008

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record createdJune 19, 2008
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