Monday, April 27, 2015

W = Wrought Iron French Style, French Faves - A to Z Challenge

French wrought iron is one of the most decorative and finely made elements used for architectural interest.




French Wrought Iron and Cartier Store on left,  Paris, by DG Hudson


W = Wrought Iron

Ironwork can be any weapon, artwork, utensil or any architectural feature made of iron which is used for decoration. There are two main types: wrought iron and cast iron.

From medieval times, ironwork has flourished as decoration on doors, windows, balconies, and funereal monuments, and to offer security against robbers or raiders. Ironwork was used in Notre Dame de Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals.

During the Baroque and Rococo periods of the 16th century, ironwork became ornate, elevating it from its more common uses and establishing it a desired architectural addition.


Eiffel Tower Wrought Iron at Dusk by DG Hudson

Wrought iron is quintessential Paris, but also appears in other cities in Canada (in Montreal) and the USA (in New Orleans). 

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Conformity and Cleanup

The street plans and distinctive appearance of buildings and wrought iron railings seen in the center of Paris today is largely the result of Georges-Eugène Haussmann's renovation of Paris, which was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III between 1853 and 1870. 


Wrought Iron Railing on Window, Paris Apartment, by DG Hudson

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Architect and Designer of Wrought Iron

Hector Guimard (1867 - 1942), a French architect and designer, is now the best known representative of the Art Nouveau style of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its application to architecture and ironwork.

The building shown below is a work of French designer Hector Guimard, signed in stone.

Hector Guimard's building, WC*


The curious, inventive Guimard was also a precursor of industrial standardization, insofar as he wished to diffuse the new art on a large scale. His greatest success in France – in spite of some scandals – was his famous entrances to the Paris Metro.

The entrance of the Porte Dauphine metro station in the 16th arrondissement of Paris is shown below.


An Entrance to Paris' Metro, by Hector Guimard - WC*

Guimard's fear of war forced him into exile in 1938 and he died, his past accomplishments unheralded.  He is buried in New York City.

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Do you like the look of wrought iron embellishing buildings? Have you seen any cities with extensive wrought iron details on its architecture? Did you know the lower edge of the Eiffel Tower had such intricate styling?


Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

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The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!



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References:


Wiki on Ironwork
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironwork

Hector Guimard
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Guimard 

Haussmann's Renovation of Paris
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haussmann's_renovation_of_Paris


Image credits

Hector Guimard building

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Porte Dauphine metro station 

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. From Wikimedia Commons.

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20 comments:

  1. Hi DG - love these photos and explanations ... and it's fascinating to see how 'rulers' influenced the architecture of cities (and presumably towns) for years to come as in Napoleon III. Country copied country. There was a documentary on Paris/France Art Nouveau which included a lot of buildings, including that Metro entrances and the buildings themselves ... I'm not sure if Guimard was mentioned - but I'd have thought he would have been. I love that signature ...

    Great W .. wrought iron protecting us, giving us light, and making sure we can stand strong ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I'm quite fond of Art Nouveau and have a book of Aubrey Beardsley's drawings. He's a favourite since someone said when I was at art school that some of my drawings reminded them of his. Link:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey_Beardsley
      (Born an Englishman)
      It's too bad that some artists and the like have to die before they become famous. I like your last sentence of your reply!!

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  2. I do love wrought iron work. San Francisco has a lot of similar metal work on gates in front of apartment buildings or around little gardens/courtyards and they are beautiful, but not sure how much is specifically wrought iron. Many have Chinese symbols for luck and prosperity.

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    1. I remember what I thought was wrought iron in Frisco, JoJo, but I couldn't remember how widespread its use was, nor if it was European related. So I didn't mention it. Savannah Ga is supposed to have quite a bit of wrought iron too, but I haven't been there.

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  3. I know of a blacksmith group who has an annual retreat here in our town and they have some beautiful iron work. Great photography! Enjoyed your post.
    A to Z blogger

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    1. How nice is that! I didn't know blacksmiths did such things, but iron work is to be admired, IMO. Nice to meet you.

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  4. I've always thought French style and architecture was beautiful. I mean look at the things they can do with wrought iron. Amazing!

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    1. I was so surprised at the detail and curves on the supporting 'legs' of the Eiffel Tower, and loved the windows on buildings embellished with the railings.There were also huge gates made of wrought iron on the Champs Elysees.

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  5. Replies
    1. I do too, Alex, it adds a flourish of creativity to a plain building.

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  6. A few of the houses around here have French wrought iron railings on their balconies. I think it's a beautiful touch. It's the kind of sight that makes me want to see someone walk out onto their balcony and start reciting a poem for the entire neighborhood. :)

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    1. Yes, it kind of does have the atmosphere of Romeo and Juliet. But you do need that audience or at least one person to recite back or applaud.

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  7. Wrought iron is beautiful. I've been looking at wrought iron garden furniture recently.

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. In the right garden, wrought iron can add that vintage touch. But it might be heavy. . .

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  8. Beautiful pictures. Wrought iron rocks!

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  9. You know I never thought of 'wrought iron' as being French o for that matter of the Eiffel Tower being 'wroght iron', DUH!

    You pictures, especially the one of the Eiffel Tower are gorgeous, as usual, and this post was both informative and a pleasure to read. I shall forever look at 'wrought iron' differently and with a French accent.

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    1. They call the pattern of the iron, 'lattice' work design. It is breathtaking in person (or at least it was to me) I was taking that close-up on the way up in the elevator of the Eiffel Tower.

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  10. I appreciate wrought iron a lot more after having read your post. I usually equate wrought iron with eerieness, probably because scary film like to play up wrought iron fences in cemeteries or spooky houses.
    Take 25 to Hollister
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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    1. You're right, old Victorian houses with wrought iron fences are used a lot in horror movies. I'm just showing the elegant side of wrought iron. . .

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