These rare andirons are an exquisite example of the Anglo-Japanese-style work of Thomas Jeckyll, one of the most important English designers of the 19th-century Aesthetic Movement.

Jeckyll was already known for his work as an architect of handsome Norfolk churches and houses when he began experimenting with decorative metalwork. He worked closely with the Norwich foundry Barnard, Bishop & Barnards to create pieces in cast and wrought iron. Among their most innovative collaborations was the pagoda-style pavilion Jeckyll designed for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The railings of the building contained 72 cast- and wrought-iron sunflowers. The sunflower emblem appeared in a number of JeckyllÂ’s designs, including the andirons he patented in 1876. Sets were offered by Barnard, Bishop and Barnards in wrought iron or polished brass. Jeckyll included a pair in his decorations for the London dining room of the shipping magnate Frederick Richards Leyland. James McNeill Whistler retained the andirons when he later transformed the same space into his famous Peacock Room, one of the most celebrated Aesthetic Movement schemes ever completed. Jeckyll spent the last five years of his life in mental asylums, and examples of his andirons are extremely rare. This is the only known pair in brass to survive, and they now provide a worthy complement to the HunterianÂ’s world-famous collection of work by Whistler and other leading Aesthetic Movement figures.


Haslam & Whiteway, London, from whom purchased, in 1985, by the present owner. An Art Loss Register certificate has been supplied.

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