University of Sussex
Twomey, Samantha Jane.pdf (31.13 MB)

Decorative wrought iron in England, Wales and Scotland from 1660 to 1720: the Continental influences

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posted on 2023-06-09, 06:39 authored by Samantha Jane Twomey
The study investigates the continental influences upon the development of decorative wrought iron in England, Wales and Scotland from 1660 to 1720. The research explores the influence of ornament prints, and the work of blacksmiths and patrons in response to the social, cultural and political ideals of the time. The study analyses the role and effects of the new continental, transmutable designs upon technical practices. It explores the changing role of the architect in the design process and the implications of this for the blacksmith’s craft. It examines the complex network of influences upon the evolution of English taste and demonstrates how a variety of different commissions, such as the designs for ecclesiastical, private and public buildings, created an entirely different language of decorative ironwork. The study focuses largely upon ironwork of the finest quality and innovation, located in exterior and interior sites. The physical setting of decorative ironwork is examined. In particular, the diversity and artistic innovation of Jean Tijou’s work at St Paul’s Cathedral is analysed in terms of the sources of continental influence. It is significant to note that the work at this cathedral spanned twenty of Tijou’s twenty-four-year career in Britain. The thesis challenges conventional interpretations of stylistic change, whereby new styles replace old, arguing for an increased awareness of diversity in design styles and a high degree of liberalism in the creation and composition of new designs, until around 1710. The thesis argues that the early part of the period from 1660 to around 1690 was influenced predominantly by the French with antecedents in Italian style whereas the work from around 1690-1710 illustrates the significant impact of Louis XIV’s French court style, typified by the work of Jean Tijou, and more restrained Dutch designs. A shift in patronage from royal and aristrocratic commissions to sobre public and academic buildings was reflected in a more restrained and linear style which responded to prevailing notions of English taste. Appendix I provides a catalogue of Continental and English ornament designers who created ironwork ornament prints during 1660-1720 and Appendix II summarises the period’s achievements in wrought iron by collecting together for the first time a list of work by British blacksmiths of the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries.


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  • eng


University of Sussex

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