Cast Iron Garden Bench, 1880
Cast iron garden seat, the back with elaborate Aesthetic Movement medallions depicting the four seasons, the wooden seat with scroll arms on five scroll legs.
The design for this bench originated in England in 1870, where it was first produced by the important Coalbrookdale Foundry. It soon made its way to America where it was in production by 1875. Often called the "Season Settee", the medallions depict the agrarian labors of the Four Seasons: The Sower, The Hoer, The Reaper and The Harvester.¹
The Arts and Crafts Movement grew from the earlier Aesthetic Movement and this bench sports elements from both styles. The elaborate scrolls and organic motifs are Aesthetic in design. The medallions, on the other hand, illustrate the Arts and Crafts tenet that idealized labor: where we'd historically see female depictions of the Four Seasons, here we see men at work.
¹ Barbara Israel, Antique Garden Ornament- Two Centuries of American Taste (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1999), 175.
America c. 1880
72" long x 28" deep x 35½" high
This beautiful bench was recently painted. The seat boards and bolts are new. The front right leg has been repaired. The center rear leg doesn't quite sit on the ground and requires a 1" shim.
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