Both decorative and functional, antique garden furniture brings a touch of 19th-century romanticism to the gardens, lawns and patios of the early 21st century. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Furniture > Feature: Antique Garden Furniture
 


Care for Antiques Garden Furniture

Condition of Garden Furniture

 

Miller's Antiques Price Guide 2002 by Elizabeth Norfolk

Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price List 2002 by Ralph Kovel, Terry Kovel

Antique Garden Ornament: Two Centuries of American Taste by Barbara Israel

The Golden Age of American Gardens: Proud Owners, Private Estates, 1890-1940 by Mac Griswold

Furnishing the Old Fashioned Garden: Three Centuries of American Summerhouses, by May Brawley Hill

 

 
ANTIQUE GARDEN FURNITURE
 
Cast-iron Boston Panel armchairs
Pair of cast-iron "Boston Panel" armchairs, American, ca. 1903-1910

Both decorative and functional, antique garden furniture brings a touch of 19th-century romanticism to the gardens, lawns and patios of the early 21st century.

Originally intended as much for show as for perching upon, these predominantly iron pieces were considered visible emblems of success, as well as a visual focal point in the garden.

They were a bit of whimsy, a sort of outdoor sculpture — and a perfect spot for Scarlet and Rhett to rest on in the garden for a few minutes.

Iron garden furniture remained a relative novelty until the 1840s or 1850s. In 1851, broader awareness was sparked by the Crystal Palace exhibition in London, where a number of firms showcased garden furniture and statuary of cast iron, as well as marble and stone.

 

Cast-iron garden settee
Neo-classical cast-iron
garden settee by
Karl Freiderich Schinkel, ca. 1860

Most of the antique iron garden furniture referred to as 'wrought iron' is actually cast iron.

Cast iron furniture is made in pieces which are then joined together, creating seams at each intersection. A true 'wrought iron' piece would be wrought by hand by a blacksmith at a metal forge, generally all of one piece.

Heavy, yes — comfortable, not particularly.  It can take four men to move an iron bench.

But on the bright side, it's not likely to be stolen.  And these days we have the advantage of having cushions made to make this furniture truly functional.  Historically, people only used it to perch on for a few minutes — perhaps for a wedding proposal.  When you visit England's Blenham Palace, they point out the garden bench where Winston Churchill proposed to his wife.

 

References

 



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Books:

Cast-Iron Furniture:
And All Other Forms of Iron Furniture

by George Himmelheber

Decorative Ironwork: Wrought Iron Gratings, Gates and Railingsby Margarete Baur-Heinhold

Wrought Iron in Architecture by Gerald Geerlings

Wrought Iron (Albums Series Volume 350)
by Richard Hayman

Colonial Wrought Iron, the Sorber Collection
by Don Plummer

The Golden Age of Ironwork
by Henry Magaziner

Garden Ornaments: A Stylish Guide to Decorating Your Garden
by Martha Baker

Decorating Your Garden : Inspired Ways to Use Ornamental Objects and Furnishings Outdoors
by Pat Ross, Editors of Time Life Books

Well Decorated Garden: Making Outdoor Ornaments and Accents
by Laura Dover Doran

Outdoor Decor: Decorative Projects for the Porch, Patio & Yard (Arts & Crafts for Home Decorating Series)
by The Editors of Creative Publishing international

Traditional Garden Décor
by Robin Langley Sommer