"OAK & SERPENT" GARDEN SEAT
Cast Iron and Wood
Victorian, Q3 1800s
W 138cm (4' 6") H 78 cm (30.5") D 58 cm (23")
The "Oak and Serpent" pattern was created c 1845 by John McDowall of McDowall Robertson, the specialist Glasgow iron foundry (later, McDowall Stephen & Co, 1862 - 1890). His exceptional design was much admired and soon copied by several other leading foundries including Coalbrookdale. This example has oak seat slats and backrest (versions with these parts in iron figured with twigs, leaves and acorns were notoriously knobbly to sit on !). Depicting two serpent pairs entwined around branches, the scenes (sometimes also referred to as "Twig and Serpent") combined the early Victorian fashion for "faux bois" with a somewhat mixed message of the serpents' presence in a peaceful garden while being inexplicably attracted to eating acorns. Close inspection reveals the quality of casting in the delicate detail of the serpents' scales below the paint.
The ironwork's original paint and the unpainted oak cross members are overlaid with lichens throughout. The whole seat is tight, stable and sturdy with both iron and oak in excellent condition.
Stock No. 1991