Pair of large neoclassical andirons in brass and iron, which could have been made in either Philadelphia possibly by Daniel King (1731-1806), working 1760-1800, or London where they could be attributed to the partnership of London braziers and ironmongers, Edward Farmer Taylor and Thomas Bailey, working 1784-1797. A similar pair consigned by Tayor and Bailey in the cargo of the ship "Castle Douglas," bound from London to Charleston in 1785, was described as: "very neat large make d[ou]ble Fire dogs with neat Eng[raved] Princes metal obelisk pillars Claw Feet vase heads." Donald Fennimore notes that is is difficult to distinguish between English and American andirons and fire tools since they are so rarely marked, and American founders used the latest English patterns. For example, the engraving on these andirons could have come from the English designers William Ince and John Mayhew in "The Universal System of Household Furniture," London print and map dealer Robert Sayer's (1725-1794) "Genteel Household Furniture," or the Scottish architect, Robert Adams's designs for architecture, furniture, and other household furnishings used circa 1750-1800. Fennimore describes Philadelphia andirons as having an internal iron rod peened at the top to hold the multipart brass uprights in place; individually cast legs brazed to a solid plinth block, on which the plinth rests separately. Philadephia andirons are also known for their ball and claws having well-defined knuckles, separated and vertical Philadelphia claws; molded legs at the point where they engage the plinth; and a drop-angle billet bar, all of which are found on these examples. These andirons have a large acorn-topped urn finial, over a tapered section, over an obelisk-shaped shaft and rectangular plinth; over two cabriole legs with outside legs spurs and terminating in ball-and-claw feet; and a drop-angle iron billet bar. The sections are decorated with bright-cut engraved swags, wreaths, stars, flower baskets, and trophies. The andirons were purchased by the Hursts from antiques dealer, Willoughby Farr, Edgewater, NJ, in 1933.
Link to share this object record: