Antique cast iron fireplaces and other metal example fireplaces, in a range of different period styles, including Georgian, Baroque, Victorian and Art Nouveau cast iron fireplaces.
Antique Cast Iron Fireplaces: A History
Prior to the 18th century the majority of fireplaces were carved out of wood, marble and stone. Due to the expense of these materials and the labour involved to carve them, they were the preserve of the wealthy.
However, during the industrial revolution, casting methods progressed to such an extent that intricate and decorative fireplaces could be created out of cast iron in large numbers.
Although for the rest of the 18th century cast iron fireplaces remained too expensive for most, in the 19th century, manufacturers began to produce cast iron fireplaces that were both decorative yet affordable. To create the impression of grandeur, cast iron fireplace surrounds were originally painted to imitate their more expensive marble and wood counterparts.
Popularising Victorian Cast Iron Fireplaces
Foundries such as Coalbrookdale and Carron were some of the first companies to create affordable fireplaces and even sold their products in catalogues. For the first time the middle class were able to indulge in the joy of an ornate roaring fire.
Being generally smaller than their grander counterparts, cast iron fireplaces were favoured for their ability to suit rooms of a more modest size and ceiling height, making them suitable for a city flat or a small village terrace.
Due to the length of Queen Victoria’s reign (from 1837 – 1901), fireplaces from this period reflect two main style groups, the early-to- mid Victorian and the late Victorian.
The detail on many early Victorian cast iron fireplaces tends to draw inspiration from flora and fauna. This decoration reflects the architectural style of the Victorian period, where classical proportion was merged with naturalistic detail.
Many reproduction fireplaces have - and continue to take inspiration from this popular ornate floral style. The pretty features lend themselves to any room where you wish to add a little more charm.
Towards the latter half of the Victorian period, the fireplace industry started to move away from opulent designs in favour of something far simpler, aligning with the style of the Arts and Crafts Movement, placing an emphasis on simple, well-made objects displaying the skill of the craftsman over the supremacy of the machine. If you’re interested in late-Victorian fireplace design, these styles compliment modern / industrial inspired interiors that require something simple and stunning.
Is An Antique Metal Fireplace Right For You?
The versatility of design and size, in addition to their generous shelves, has kept Victorian fireplaces popular to this day.
Some cast iron fireplaces have an integral grate, so they are both the surround and the interior. This all-in-one option is very easy to install, and can accommodate different types of fuel, whether solid fuel or gas.
Antique cast iron fireplaces are a wonderful option for anyone looking for a beautiful, affordable and efficient antique fireplace.
If you’d like to find out more about our antique metal fireplace collection, please don’t hesitate to contact our team who would be delighted to help you.