Known as a garde corps (“body guard”) in French, this wrought iron balcony gate would have been affixed to the side of a French building in the 1700’s. Based on the length of the original anchors and the bombe shaped front, the railing would have been used on a balconet, or faux balcony. Balconets were popular in Southern Europe and designed to mimic a full balcony. They are sometimes called “Juliet balconies”.
As with most period Louis XV pieces, the railing features significant movement and life. The curved frontage embellishes the highly curved lines of the ironwork. A central fleur de lys is encircled by pierced volute C-scrolls. The entire cartouche is surrounded by a series of C- and S-scrolls that emanate from a radial volute in each lower corner. Additional elements include a closed leaf on each side, located just below a looped circle.
With retrofitting, this lovely and versatile gate could serve, once again, as a balcony gate, a garden gate, a frontage for a console, a fireplace gate frontage, wall art and many other uses depending upon your needs and imagination. Pair it with a hanging planter flush with trailing flowers and you have a beautiful addition to any style home. It could also be used inside, at the top of a flight of stairs or below a courtyard window. Today, these hand wrought gates are difficult to construct or copy because of the time it takes and the artistic ability.
CONDITION: The railing is structurally sound, despite wear commensurate to age and outdoor use. Most of the original painted finish has been lost, leading to buildup and oxidation. The central fleur de lys element has a slight bend to it, as well as remnants of an old repair. Old wire helps affix the fleur de lis to the center.