About Georgian & Victorian Cast Iron Fireplaces
The Georgian period, including the Regency at its end, lasted from 1714 to 1820. It was a time of massive wealth creation for the middle and upper classes as the industrial revolution took hold, which resulted in some of Great Britain’s grandest and best known stately homes. The development of cast irons that could be cast at thinner and thinner sections successfully and the relative cheapness compared to marble or hand carved hard wood led to cast iron being used for fireplace designs from the grandest stately home downwards. Some of these designs, based on classic Greek mythology from architects such as Inigo Jones and William Kent were epic in scale and can be found in places such as Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. One use of cast iron, popular further down the social ladder, was to have it painted to resemble a much more expensive marble or hard wood.
The later 1700’s was the age of Robert Adam and his brother James who provided smaller, highly detailed designs, often in marble, that were copied by cast iron fireplace manufactures. The later Georgian period, more correctly known as the Regency, saw a simplification of fireplace design and the change from mythological and naturalistic scenes to classical linear and geometric patterns, a change which ideally suited cast iron. The Victorian period, which followed on from the Georgian and Regency periods, lasted from 1837 to 1901. Queen Victoria was on the throne for such a long time that it is impossible to look at it as one design period. Designs changed significantly and incorporated elements from the preceding Regency with the Arts and Crafts movement along with Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences. The massive increase in an affluent middle class and the resultant housing boom, coupled with better production methods for cast iron saw an increase in the use of cast iron for fireplaces as a mass market for cheap, decorative fireplaces emerged. Gone were the days from the preceding periods when fireplaces were individually designed and made to order. Call Durham Foundry on 0114 249 4977 to discuss your Cast Iron Fireplace project.