Urban Archeology To Decorate A Personal History


In just 17 days, for an as-yet-unknown sum, you could take ownership of an iron gate. Not just any iron gate, mind you. A work of whimsy and commitment. Starting bid? $35,000. Estimated to go for $70,000-$90,000. Not overpriced, in my opinion.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Wrought Iron Gates

Where’s this being sold?  Guernsey’s Urban Archeology auction.  And my goodness, look at what else is on the block. More wrought iron, here avec bunny.

Wrought Iron Avec Bunny

If you’ve no need for a balustrade, surely you want a lantern. No additional details available beyond the metal thorns and flowers.

Urban-Archeology-Lantern

 

 

But you might want to switch eras, might prefer industrial lighting.

Industrial-Lighting-Fixture

 

Or to travel overseas, to Place de la Concorde. For a mermaid.

Mermaid from the Place de la Concorde

Archeological artifacts feel far more historical to me than furniture or even art. As though stuff affixed to the ground carries time like dirt on its feet. If I were to build that imaginary house in Napa – the modern one of plywood and concrete and glass – I’d install St. Patrick’s iron gates at the entry. Imagine them against lavender, and a plain wooden front door up a hill.

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22 Comments

  • That gate is magical. And I mean that when I look at it, I am reasonably sure that when you pass through it, you are transported to somewhere that is not of this world. Or at least not of mine.

    03/10/15
    8:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @Tragic Sandwich, Such a lovely thought! Like all the fictional magical worlds we’ve loved over the years.

  • I remember coming across a magical property in London a few years — stopped to take photos, as it was brimming over with architectural pieces for sale — from a broad range of architectural eras, origins from the residential to the industrial, materials in metal, stone, wood . . . all imbued with whatever memories they might lend their new abode from their old. So cool. . . a time travel machine built right in! (I’d opt for the bunny, of course — irrestible! — although that mermaid on my terrace, gazing at the ocean . . . )

    03/10/15
    8:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, I can see the mermaid, keeping you and your morning cup company.

  • Those gates are magical, and seemed imbued with history and humanity and a sense of place. Or perhaps that is just how I view architectural elements. I too would love them installed in an otherwise simple modern house… certainly worth imagining, isn’t it?

    03/10/15
    8:57 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, I love to imagine these things – just the idea cheers me.

  • The gate is stunning but I especially love the idea of juxtaposing it with modern architecture in Napa!

    03/10/15
    9:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Leslie, Thank you:).

  • Fabulous gates to a magical kingdom. Wouldove the mermaid in my entryway. Makes no sense but being beautiful.

    03/10/15
    9:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sandra Sallin, And beautiful is a great deal of sense.

  • I love the wrought iron pieces, and that mermaid. I wonder where these things came from? It’s great that they were saved.

    03/10/15
    9:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Marie, If you click through to the auction site, some information is available. The gates were originally on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York City, and the mermaids on the Place de la Concorde, in Paris. No info is up yet, at least that I could find, on the other pieces.

  • Oh those are fabulous. I’ll take the lantern, please. And maybe the mermaid. :-)

    03/10/15
    5:07 pm
    Lisa said...

    @déjà pseu, OK, I’ll ask that they be gift-wrapped;).

  • Absolutely yet to the gates – what a statement piece they’d make.

    I adore trolling salvage yards and they’ve come in handy for the little things I’ve been looking for, such as brass escutcheons to replace those that somehow got lost somewhere in our home’s 90 year history. There are some great places in Berkeley with all manner of things, including some wonderful gates from Buenos Aires of all places, at least they were there when I last visited a couple of months ago.

  • Oops, that would be “yes” not YET to the gates – drats!

    03/10/15
    5:08 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, If you ever want me to edit your comment just let me know. And there are places in Berkeley? Ooh, how fun!

  • I inherited a wrought iron something-or-other in a half circle shape from my mother-in-law. Lord only knows where you acquired it, they had a Foreign Service stint and one perk was free shipping of household items– which made bringing something like that home a possibility.

    It is not that big, but is very heavy. After she moved out of their home it sat in our garage for a number of years and recently I got it hung on my front porch. Talk about a production! It required a drill bit to go into brick, huge hangers, then husband and sons to hoist it up onto the hooks.

    Bid on the gate if you love it, but be sure you’re planning on staying put for years, moving it around will is a big deal.

    03/10/15
    5:09 pm
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, How funny! No clue what your object was for? And unfortunately, fading family fortune to blame, no house in Napa is planned at the moment;).

  • That light reminds me of the one we had on the deck of our 1957 Chris Craft Constellation! I would happily take that mermaid and place her in the garden….

    03/10/15
    5:09 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, I loved your boat:).

  • What a wonderful link! I quite agree that these artifacts somehow carry more historical weight than art. It is things like this; beautiful pieces of history, that provoke my (thankfully rare) moments of ‘I wish I were rich’. I’m pretty sure those banisters/balustrades would be worth building a house around. The mermaids I would put in the pool; they look as though they would like to be damp!

    03/10/15
    5:09 pm
    Lisa said...

    @IonaK, Oh, a mermaid in the pool? How amazing that would be.

  • These pieces are amazing. Those gates feel like the would lead somewhere magical & the lantern kind of gives off a Narnia feel to me, if only it were black. I like the industrial light too – in my mind, it would look very much at home aboard a ship, or in a nautical-inspired space.

    As IonaK said, here’s just something about historical objects that give them more weight & always makes me wonder about former owners & how they originally used them. Or maybe it’s the history degree/theater prop-person in me talking. :)

    03/11/15
    10:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @m, These do have some of the same emotional weight as theater props, I can see the similarity. Like the prop room of history.

  • Oh, that gate, that gate. It reminds me of the Philip Simmons gates found in Charleston. Simmons was called a poet of ironwork and surely the craftsman that created “your” gate was a poet also. I love the mystery and presence that old things bring to a place.

    03/11/15
    10:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @Town and Country House, Oh, exactly! Mystery and presence.

  • Pretty cool, for those collectors out there. But after a grand total of 17 moves (including different houses in the same town…It’s not cheating to count them…you still have to move all of your stuff, even if it’s across town!) i no longer have a “collector spirit.” I have announced to my husband that I’m not going anywhere else until retirement. I think he finally agrees with me. It can’t get any better than by the ocean.

    03/11/15
    10:40 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, The ocean would be as good as a pair of beautiful ornate gates – no question;).

  • I look forward to pictures of the gate in YOUR home!

    03/11/15
    10:40 am
    Lisa said...

    @Margy Houtz, Ha! Can you imagine if I put these up in front of my little suburban ranch? Kind of like erecting the Watts Towers!

  • It is good to know that these treasures of craftsmanship from our past are still valued though you need a deep purse to own them . In my local city -York- they are constantly repairing the local mediaeval Minster ( cathedral) , recarving gargoyles etc & to raise funds there are annual auctions of the stones taken out . They make wonderful garden ornaments, not too expensive but very heavy

    03/11/15
    10:41 am
    Lisa said...

    @Wendy, What a wonderful idea. I’d love to have stones from the local medieval anything in my garden.

  • Architectural elements are beautiful. I did use them in ways that they weren’t originally meant for when I used to do interior and architectural design. Low gates as the front of a vanity in a powder room for example. I’ll take the mermaid too, something so magical about her.

    03/11/15
    10:41 am
    Lisa said...

    @kathy, I think the mermaid would love to be surrounded by your paintings.

  • These fabulous architectural elements deserve to be preserved, even if to be reused in a different manner. Some of the most beautiful gates I have ever seen were the custom gates in Kahala on Oahu – amazing works of metal art.

    03/11/15
    2:03 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, Oooh, I’m going to Google that.

    03/11/15
    6:53 pm
    Jane said...

    @Jane, Try Googling “custom gates in Kahala, Oahu” – there’s an article titled The Art of Gates in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with photos.

  • We have a favorite salvage yard north of Aix, Matériaux Ancien. A delight to walk through…just blogged recently about it and imagined what we’d do with the obelisks, the gates, the cupids, the fountains…

    03/11/15
    2:04 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Anne Woodyard, Will go and read, thanks.

  • The gate is spectacular. Do tell, when will it be installed at your home? Very European…where many have a gate and a walled garden. Lovely. I also share a love for modern combined with old world — a very nice combination. Susan

    03/11/15
    2:04 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Susan Williams, Oh gosh, I wish! No, I’m only installing this in my imaginary house:). But I am glad you appreciate my taste, even if I can’t afford it…

  • Brings back fond memories of going with my parents to Bay Area salvage yards! Our 50’s ranch house a Victorian door with oval beveled glass window & wrought iron fencing on the front porch. I know the current owners kept the front door, but I don’t know what happened to the wrought iron fencing–these days, it would have to be attached really well or it would get stolen & sold for scrap–or is that a problem in the Bay Area these days? (It is in the greater Seattle area, unfortunately.)

    03/13/15
    9:27 am
    Lisa said...

    I’m going to have to look these up!