The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Andiron
  • Workshop of Niccolo Roccatagliata
  • Venice, Italy
  • c. 1600
  • Andiron
  • Bronze
  • Height: 28.48 cm
    Height: 26.32 cm, without modern addition at top
    Depth: 15.94 cm
  • S80
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Previously catalogued as candlestick bases, S80 and its pair S81 are in fact probably middle sections from a pair of fire dogs (andirons), large metal supports which would stand in front of fires and on which logs could be laid. They are very close in design to the middle sections on a pair of firedogs in the Bargello Museum in
    Florence, which are attributed to the Venetian sculptor Niccolò Roccatagliata and which consist of three sections, a wide base constructed from fantastic dragons, the middle sections, and standing figures of winged boys (putti). The Venetian Republic’s large armaments industry, based in and around the shipyards in the Arsenal, led to the establishment of numerous bronze foundries. The skills required for the casting of cannon and other ordinance could easily be applied to the design and fabrication of sculptures in bronze, not only figures but also large and small functional objects such as candlesticks. These objects make use of a debased classicising style employing motifs including small children (putti), swags, shells, rams’ and satyr heads. Many of the designs continued to be used over several generations, making the date of casts difficult to determine in most cases.