This pair of large wrought iron fleur de lys chenets with cross bar were produced in France in the 1900’s. Chenets, or andirons, are used to support logs in fireplaces, ensuring that airflow is optimized. Chenets have been discovered in ancient ruins, such as Pompeii, indicating that they have been used for centuries. Originally made from wood or stone, iron chenets retain heat better than other materials, allowing the fire to burn hotter for a long period of time.
At over three feet tall, the highest point of each chenet is comprised of a fleur de lys with a pierced center. The fleur de lys is adorned with roundels and lineal elements, giving it a leaf-like appearance (the fleur de lys is considered a stylized lily). A square washer with diamond protuberances on three sides separates the fleur de lys from the shaft. The back side of the washer has a hook with a diamond tip which was probably used to hang a cooking rod.
The shaft has a small rectangular panel of a repeating zigzag chevron, known as dancette, with a roundel inset in each triangle. A similar dancette can be seen on the handle that runs through a stylized dog mascaron attached to the front of the shaft (interestingly, chenets are sometimes called chienets, which used to mean “small dogs”). On both sides of the dog head are gentle scrolls that flare outwards in an angular fashion before merging with volute scrolls near the feet. The scrolls are embellished with diamonds jutting out from floret cups. Scrolled hooks with leaf-like motifs, affixed to the bottom of the shaft, hold the crossbar. The cross bar is festooned similarly to the chenet tops: fleur de lys with pierced centers and leaf-like décor.
The andirons are in very good condition and ready to be used in any fireplace.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with buildup and rubs. Minor discoloration to some areas from smoke and embers. Please see photos.