Wrought Iron

Wrought iron played a crucial role in the decorative arts of England and Europe from the 18th through the 20th century, as the material’s malleability and durability made it a preferred choice for many decorative and functional items.

18th Century:

The 18th century, often referred to as the Golden Age of blacksmithing, saw wrought iron used extensively in both architectural and decorative applications. In architecture, it was used for elements like gates, railings, and balconies, featuring intricate designs often influenced by the prevailing Rococo and later Neoclassical styles. Decoratively, wrought iron was fashioned into various items such as furniture, fireplace tools, and lighting fixtures. One notable example from this period is the beautiful wrought iron screens, known as the Iron Screen or the King’s Screen, in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral.

19th Century:

The 19th century saw a greater industrialisation of ironworking processes, which affected the use of wrought iron in decorative arts. Despite this, the Victorian era continued to appreciate wrought iron for its aesthetic and structural qualities. The period’s Gothic Revival style spurred the creation of intricate wrought ironwork in architecture, resembling medieval ironwork designs. The century also saw the rise of ‘bent iron’ furniture, popularised by companies like Thonet in Europe.

20th Century:

The use of wrought iron in the decorative arts changed significantly in the 20th century with the advent of new materials like steel and aluminium. However, wrought iron continued to be appreciated for its rustic charm and durability. In the early decades, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements inspired new, stylised uses of wrought iron. Later in the century, it was often used in outdoor furniture and fixtures due to its resistance to environmental elements.

Through these centuries, the craft of wrought ironwork held a prominent place in the decorative arts, with skilled blacksmiths turning this tough material into works of art that combined elegance with utility. Today, many of these historic wrought iron pieces are treasured for their beauty, craftsmanship, and the glimpse they offer into the past.


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