Style Other / Ref.12451
LARCHEVÊQUE, Pair of large Viking-inspired wrought-iron andirons
Width: 22'' ⅞ 58cm
Height: 46'' 117cm
Depth: 32'' ⅝ 83cm
France, end of the 19th century
The Larchevêque were a family of art metalworkers, in a small French town Mehun-sur-Yèvres. Their work is unfortunately not that much studied, we only know that we owe them the realization of the railings of the Bourges cathedral and that they received Emile Robert (1860 – 1924), who lived in the same town, for his apprenticeship during two years when he was only 13 years old, after the death of his father.
They're mentionned in the book L'architecture published in 1898 in the G. Delarue editions where we learn that they won the medal of the industrial art :
« La médaille des industriels d'art (fondation Sédille) a été cette année attribuée à M. Larchevêque, entrepreneur à Mehun-sur-Yèvres. Je devrais plutôt dire à la famille Larchevêque, car de générations en générations, l'habileté professionnelle, l'amour du Beau, se sont perpétués dans cette famille, non pas de serruriers, le terme serait trop faible, mais de ferronniers. » (The medal of the Industrial art (fondation Séville) was attributed this year to Mr Larchevêque, business man in Mehun-sur-Yèvres. I should rather say to the Larchevêque family, because from generation to generation, the professional skill, the love of the Beautiful, were carried on in this family of, not locksmith, the word would be to weak, but metalworkers).
Our andirons are original thanks to their important dimension allowing its decor inspired by the viking esthetic. It depicts a mix of a multitude of snakes and dragons that are adorning the totality of the andiron front part. They climb along the twisted support, finished by a dragon head holding in its mouth a snake. The artist brought a special attention to the richness of the details by chiseling the entirety of the bodies with scales motif and by adding plants in the decor.
This viking style also called « dragon style » or « drakstill » is a north version and more precisely from Norway, of “Art & Craft” movement of the end of the 19th century. It promotes a return to the past in architecture and furniture by choosing shapes that remind the viking ornaments such as the organic scrolls, snakes, or dragons, a repertoire supplied by the archeological discoveries of the viking boats between 1867 and 1903.
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