From the 1800’s, this very tall forged iron lantern holder is from the city of Poitiers, France. Its form is graceful and flowing with C-and S-Scroll iron rods adorned with an abundance of acanthus leaves. The Grand’Goule is the name of the large mouthed dragon that is attached to the uppermost scroll of acanthus leaves. He is holding a rod in his mouth from which a lantern once hung.
The Grand’Goule is a legendary beast of the Poitiers area and is one of its main symbols. According to legend, the dragon lived 1,500 years ago and resided under the Clain River. On stormy nights, the dragon would venture into the flooded labyrinthes beneath the town and access basements of buildings. It is St Radegonde who finally put an end to the dragons run of bad behavior. Each year on August 13th, during St Radegonde day, the people of Poitou make a procession carrying a statue of the beast, which is on display in the St Croix Museum.
There is a large iron support which has a finial at the top and bottom, and this is what would have been attached to the wall or building. Decorative iron lantern holders from France, of this scale and provenance are rare.
CONDITION: Rusting to iron, very minor losses to motifs. One lower leaf attached temporarily via silver wire (see photos).