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A mid-Victorian cast iron hall stand,
the pierced backplate cast with fruiting vines and acanthine foliate scrolls, centred with a putto hanging on to the vines, and lower down, a mask of a turbanned man, the five coat-and-hat hooks above the wrythen retaining bar and the leafy scalloped drip-tray,
This hallstand demonstrates the virtuoso casting that Coalbrookdale were capable of. It is rare to find one of these full height hall stands but very rare to find one complete with the retaining bar for the sticks and umbrellas. That we discovered this hallstand in an Oxfordshire garden propping up a fence, where it had been for many years makes its condition - without any losses - even more remarkable. It was thick with paint which seems to have preserved it; it has restored beautifully.
The Coalbrookdale foundry was established in 1709 by a Quaker, Abraham Darby (1678-1717). His family were to maintain control of the works at Coalbrookdale, on the River Severn in Shropshire, for the next 150 years. Coalbrookdale continually broke new ground with its casting techniques, producing the first rails in 1769 and their famous and unprecedented bridge in 1799, seen as an historical benchmark for the Industrial Revolution.
The works expanded enormously throughout the nineteenth century and as well as architectural projects was to devote much of its energies to fine art castings to meet demand for ornamental furnishings: for fireplaces and garden ornament. By 1855 Coalbrookdale, who had carried off the prestigious council medal at the Great Exhibition four years earlier, were producing two thousand tons of finished iron a week. The catalogue of 1875 was a staggering illustration of the firm's output, in terms of the quantity and variety of designs.