29th March 2016
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A rare pair of late Victorian Aesthetic period cast brass 'Sunflower' andirons, designed by Thomas Jeckyll, circa 1878-1884, manufactured by Barnard, Bishop & Barnard, the stylized flowerheads formed from dual layers of petals, raised on naturalistic stems, each issuing four leaves and buds, above a spherical knop, cast in relief with a band of sunflowers, raised on downswept shaped feet and a cast iron scrolling rear support, height approx 82cm, width approx 30cm, depth approx 55cm (some repairs). Note: these andirons are of significant importance and are icons of the Arts and Crafts movement. They are one of only a few known pairs to exist in brass. A similar pair in gilt bronze grace the Peacock Room, the dining room of the shipping magnate F.R. Leyland's London home, which Jeckyll designed and which was later overpainted and decorated by James McNeill Whistler. The room and all its contents were later transported to Washington D.C. and installed in the Freer Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The sunflower motif on these andirons was adapted from Jeckyll's design first used on the railings of the Japanese Pavilion at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Produced by the Norwich manufacturing firm Barnard, Bishop & Barnard, these andirons proved to be quite popular and similar examples were used to furnish the library of textile manufacturer David L. Einstein and the Long Island residence of Samuel P. Hinkley. They were also displayed at the 1878 Paris Exposition. Illustrations of similar examples can be seen in the 1884 catalogue of Barnard, Bishop & Barnard and in 'Nineteenth-Century Design: From Pugin to Mackintosh' by C. Gere and M. Whiteway, London 1993, page 160, plate 198.
Hammer price: £31,000
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