ironwork, ornamental

ironwork, ornamental.

The shaping of wrought ironiron,
metallic chemical element; symbol Fe [Lat. ferrum]; at. no. 26; at. wt. 55.845; m.p. about 1,535°C;; b.p. about 2,750°C;; sp. gr. 7.87 at 20°C;; valence +2, +3, +4, or +6. Iron is biologically significant.
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, used almost exclusively until the 16th cent., is primarily an art of the blacksmith, who must work with the metal while it is at the desired stage of heat and flexibility. Methods and tools used in modern hand-wrought work are similar to the early ones. However, much modern work is accomplished by mechanical means, with the pneumatic hammer and the acetylene or electric torch. A variety of stock pieces are currently available that the early smith had to fashion laboriously from crude ingots. Iron was used ornamentally in classical times. Because of rusting and the decay of the material, little survives of very early work. Door hinges, generally C- or S-shaped, still exist from the 12th cent. In the 13th cent. vine scrollwork on hinges and grilles replaced the earlier patterns. In succeeding periods, wrought-iron designs assumed the forms of other architectural decoration: Gothic tracery, plant forms, classical motifs, rococo broken curves, and delicate neoclassical work. In Spain the iron grillegrille,
in architecture, a system of bars, usually of decorative metalwork, forming an openwork barrier or enclosure. In its usual materials of wrought iron or bronze, it has been favored for decorative treatment in all periods.
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 attained a high development (see rejeríarejería
, the art of making iron screens and grilles, developed in Spain from the Romanesque period through the Renaissance. It employs chiseled and hammered metal as well as wrought iron.
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). In France in the mid-17th cent. a vogue developed for iron balconies, stair railings, and monumental fences and gateways, rich with scrollings and bold foliations. This style was transplanted to England c.1700 by Jean TijouTijou, Jean
, fl. 1689–c.1711, French designer of ironwork, known exclusively by his works in England. He arrived in England c.1689 when William and Mary, his lifelong patrons, began their reign.
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. In American work of the 18th cent. simplicity and restrained ornamentation prevailed. Cast iron was rarely used prior to the 16th cent., when it came into demand for andirons and firebacks. For architectural embellishment and for garden furniture it became common in the early 19th cent. It was used extensively for fences and railings in the S United States. Since cast iron is cheaper and more rigid than wrought iron and is less affected by corrosion than any other cheap commercial iron, it has been widely used during the last three centuries. Modern sculptors who have worked in iron include Julio GonzálezGonzález, Julio
, 1876–1942, Spanish sculptor. The son of a goldsmith and sculptor, González went to Paris in 1900. There he met Picasso and taught him techniques of iron welding and was in turn influenced by certain of Picasso's cubist ideas.
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, Picasso, and David SmithSmith, David,
1906–65, American sculptor, b. Decatur, Ind. He arrived in New York City in 1926 and studied painting at the Art Students League. In the 1930s he began experimenting with sculpture and after 1935 he worked primarily in this medium.
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.

Bibliography

See G. K. Geerlings, Wrought Iron in Architecture (new ed. 1957); F. Kühn, Wrought Iron (2d ed. 1969); T. Menten, Art Nouveau Decorative Ironwork (1981).

References in periodicals archive ?
Only steps from Central Park, Manhattan Avenue is lined with historic townhouses dating from the 1880's to the early 1900's, whose beautifully detailed stone, brick and ironwork, ornamental iron gates and rails, terra cotta plaques, and bay windows evoke turn-of-the-century New York.