Metalware - Iron


Spit Dogs or Andirons 

English, c.1680

How nice to see 17th-century andirons wrought by the local blacksmith and not cast in a professional foundry. You can see his simple decorations on the base, and we love the square, totally unnecessary, knop on the shafts. The brass ball-finials are his posh touch -- they must have been bought from a brazier, probably in Birmingham.


Details and more photos. 



Small Medieval Tongs 

French, 16th century

A stunning piece of early French ironwork -- the French smiths were considered the best in Europe. Not quite sure of their use: they're too small for pipe tongs, the finger rings are ladies' or children's size, and the best grip is at the tips of the birds' beaks (don't you love those birds?) For tapestry, or needlework? Whatever. Just look at the form and the decoration, and you'll realize you're looking at a top quality piece of late medieval ironwork.


Details and more photos. 



Tripod Cauldron 

Scottish, c.1800

Signed "Edingtons" for Thomas Edington of Glasgow (1742-1811) owner of the Phoenix Foundry, and founder of the firm Thomas Edington & Sons. A 17th-century form still being made in the 19th century, showing that hearth cooking in cottages continued long after the invention of stoves. Old, untouched surface. The highly visible casting marks give it character (as well as keeping the cost down)!


Details and more photos. 



Medieval Bone-Handled Knife and Sheath 

English, 114th/15th c.

We try not to overuse the word "rare" but it is truly justified here. The knife is a fine example of the cutler's art: two slivers of bone riveted on either side of the steel handle with tiny rivets. Its main use would have been for dining; the pointed tip is designed for spearing morsels of meat -- when forks appeared some 2 or 3 centuries later, knife ends were rounded. The sheath shows it was carried by an individual, not provided by the host. From a major English collection; excavated from the Thames foreshore in 1971.


Details and more photos. 



Medieval Pryck Spur 

English, 11th/13th c.

Any equestriennes out there? Notice how little spurs have changed in almost 1,000 years. It may be too good to hang in your harness room, but it'll be a talking point wherever you display it. From a major English collection, excavated in London in 1980, and privately held since then.


Details and more photos. 


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