A beautiful example of period Louis XVI architecture, this French wrought iron balcony railing is from circa 1785, during a time when Neoclassical motifs were paramount. After the discoveries of Herculaneum and Pompeii (1709 and 1763, respectively), French laborers became inspired by the excavations of ancient Roman art and architecture, while keeping with the prevailing trend of elements based on nature.
On the front is a central cartouche that consists of a pair of crossed arrows (symbolizing a fortification) above the monogram “LS”. The monogram is encircled by a bound laurel wreath above a Greek key pattern. Stylized three string lyres above interlaced C-scrolls can be seen at the ends of the front, flanking the repeating interlaced key that is dotted with large florets. The areas above and below are filled with a lozenge lattice and open roundels flanking a quadrilateral, respectively. Both lyres are topped by a ring of open roundels surrounding a much smaller floret that is mirrored by another small floret at the base of the lyre strings. The sides feature more of the lattice and geometric borders, with three arrows bound by a crinkled ribbon bow in between.
Our Louis XVI wrought iron balcony railing is of a soft gray coloration, but the paint has developed a fabulous mottled oxidized patina. Small ball feet at the corners give the railing some added height. Another potential use could be as the base for a console, pairing it with a glass or marble top. The delicate details, superb color, and great age of this French railing, also known as a “garde corps”, set it apart from the majority of railings which come to market.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and exposure to the elements, including buildup and a mottled patina. Some elements are loose, yet secure, and there are losses to the crinkle ribbon and arrow fletching on the right side. The center foot has become detached but could be welded to the bottom of the railing.