Wrought Iron and Ironwork artistry
from battlefields to art galleries
The history of Ironwork artistry and wrought iron is basically the history of human civilization. Today you might mostly associate designer railings, gates, and wrought iron compositions with hi-end real estate or art galleries. However, the art of making iron, not just practical but also beautiful and aesthetic, roots back in the days of conquests, great geographic discoveries, and legendary royal interiors.
Back in the day, ironwork was fighting battles, building and destroying kingdoms, created the greatest architecture masterpieces, connected people through railroads, and set the foundation of classic fine art as we know it today. Once a part of everyday life, today wrought iron is more of a way of self-expression for property owners or a respectful craft for sophisticated artists.
The ancient material that has built our present
Today a blacksmith is mostly an artist. For instance, you may always install standard iron railings at your property and benefit from their durability, low-maintenance, and safety. Still, once you want to add a touch of sophistication to your landscape, decorate your house or make a statement from the very first impression of your real estate, you will address one of the modern blacksmiths – artists who keep this ancient craft alive.
However, back in the day, a blacksmith was a pretty ordinary profession. And an extremely respected one. An ancient blacksmith might be compared to a doctor at his significance. Of course, unlike ancient doctors, blacksmiths actually knew what they were doing.
Humanity simply could not survive back in the day without the art of ironwork. From horseshoes to fortifications, blacksmiths were making things move, operate, and last. And, of course, the aesthetics of things was as important for ancient people as their durability. That is why until today, we admire those ironwork masterpieces in the armory, architecture, and monumental art.
And those of us who also want to leave some legacy, make a statement, or simply turn their property into a family seat, address modern ironwork artists for an unconventional and personalized approach to seemingly ordinary things like gates and iron railings. Introducing the elements of wrought iron to your property, you guarantee that one day your offsprings will admire your taste and style just like today we look up to architecture masterpieces from the past.
When did Ironwork appear?
The earliest examples of ironwork that we know today date back as far as 3500 BC and can be found in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia’s architecture and art. Ironworks were introduced to the armory around the 8th century BC by Mycenaean Greeks and Hittites.
Before that, armies all over the world used bronze in the best-case scenario. Although it was one of the most available materials back in the day, hardly can bronze be named to most durable and safe material to be used on the battlefield. However, it took humanity almost three centuries until the word about efficiency and versatility of iron was spread all over, and ironwork became an integral part of the armory.
And just like it often happens to all military innovations, iron has soon enough become a popular material for civil needs also. Soon enough, people realized that once iron is so good for soldiers, it can protect them also from raiders and conquerors. So they start putting iron plates on their door and windows. However, civil life always requires a certain level of aesthetics; that is why blacksmiths have soon enough learned to bend iron railings into singular shapes imitating tree branches, lianas, or even flowers.
So technically, if you have already installed custom iron railings on your property or just think about outlining your character with some practical architecture decorations, you should be grateful to our long-gone ancestors, who, just like modern consumers, wanted their safety solutions to be also aesthetically appealing.
The flourish of ironwork art and wrought iron had started in the 16th century when European architecture started to adopt some sophistication. The world-famous French and Italian balconies made with ironwork railings, beautiful staircase handrails of mansions and castles, and of course, the window railings that look more like vines are still the example and inspiration for artists worldwide.
Around the 18th century, ironwork’s art has come to London and from there – to the United States. You may witness examples of the earliest Europe-inspired ironwork examples in the architecture of New Orleans.
Practical Americans have soon enough realized that the durability, safety of iron, and its ability to take various shapes while keeping its practical features could be used in all aspects of the household. That is why, while the demand for iron has been pretty understandable during the Civil War, ironwork has instantly become a part of civil life. The gates and stoves, home decorations, locks, and various household items were made out of iron or decorated with sophisticated ironwork. Thanks to this fashion today, we can fully witness and admire the Victorian style’s sophistication and authenticity.
The timeless traditions of Ironwork live today and continue developing thanks to the dedication and hard work of numerous artists and designers worldwide. Once you decide to decorate your property or restore it, you have a wide choice of designs and concepts – from the traditional classic silhouettes to modern, edgy hi-tech designs. Since the introduction and combination of metals in interior designs are becoming the hottest trend, ironworks and wrought iron are associated with outdoor designs. Still, they surely enter our everyday life, becoming its integral part. Therefore, the art of ironwork will never be lost. It will evolve and develop with humankind just like it did throughout history until now.