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Bellows

Bellows

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870-1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mahogany, with brass nozzle and gilt brass mounts, the bellows section in dark green Russia leather

  • Museum number:

    471-1892

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Before the advent of central heating, warmth was provided by open fires, braziers or solid-fuel stoves in the main living rooms of a house. To maintain a fire all day demands a certain level of skill - knowing when to add more fuel, when to poke the fire and when to leave it alone - and a range of specialist tools. Bellows like these were designed to add oxygen to a smouldering fire, encouraging it to burn more fiercely.

The design of these bellows reflects that of the most fashionable French furniture of the last quarter of the 18th century but they were probably made in England in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the styles of France in the 18th century were particularly fashionable and were frequently reproduced. In particular, the neo-classical style, associated with the French Queen Marie Antoinette, whose life ended on the guillotine, was wildly popular and frequently reproduced.

Physical description

A pair of bellows of varnished mahogany, with trapezoidal panels and shaped handles, the upper panel set with gilt-brass mounts of trailing foliage, forming two heart-shapes, the nozzle of brass.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1870-1885 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Mahogany, with brass nozzle and gilt brass mounts, the bellows section in dark green Russia leather

Marks and inscriptions

8173 F
The number stamped on the inside of one handle, with an incised F and an incised, closed crown. The stamped number may be a pattern number (an inventory number would not be stamped, even if the mark for the house were). It may be that the use of the crown and F was intended to suggest a provenance from Fontainebleau but this was not claimed in the acquisition papers.

Dimensions

Length: 17.75 in, Width: 5.4 in

Object history note

This pair of bellows was purchased in May 1892 for £5 from Mr A. Joubert, 152 Kings Road, Chelsea. They were described as 'rosewood ornamented with ormolu'. The acquisition Registered File (Nominal File: Joubert, A., MA/1/J837) records no further information about their history and does not mention the inventory mark.

Descriptive line

A pair of bellows of varnished mahogany, with trapezoidal panels and shaped handles, the upper panel set with gilt-brass mounts of trailing foliage, forming two heart-shapes, the nozzle of brass.

Materials

Mahogany; Gilt bronze; Brass; Leather

Techniques

Casting; Gilding

Categories

Household objects

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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