The casting of Iron for useful objects goes back thousands of years. We are all familiar with our grandparent's heavy iron pots and pans. However the range of pieces made is endless, from beautiful garden benches to lattice window frames for the country house Gatekeeper's Lodge,
The casting of iron produced many decorative items. One is the fire-back with intricate coats of arm or a date on. One of the most popular designs in the 17th century restoration period was the 'Royal Oak', this depicted an oak tree with either a figure or a crown amongst the leaves. telling the story of the young King Charles II hiding from Cromwell's 'Roundheads'. The Sussex Weald was a well known area for the production of cast and wrought iron. 'Batemans' the home of the writer Rudyard Kipling in Sussex was originally the home of an Iron Master, in the fireplace of the hall is a fire-back depicting a Wealden Iron Master at work.
The 19th century produced the most decorative door-stops, with every conceivable design, from classical Sphinxes to baskets of flowers. In early 19th century Germany filigree pieces of jewellery were cast from iron in the Berlin area, along with many decorative small items and even the garden furniture for Royal Palaces.
The collecting of cast iron objects can be very interesting, many pieces can be seen in pattern books of the time. The name, number and logo cast into the humble flat iron illustrated becomes a work of art. So when you next see a piece of cast iron have a close look.
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