A Massive French Anvil dated 1793

A Massive French Anvil dated 1793

Built according to the ancient procedure described in some ancient treatises and illustrated in the chapter Forge des Enclumes of Diderot et D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, this majestic and fascinating anvil belongs to the typical French, Swiss and Austrian typology, featuring a clear formal and decorative pattern: a massive body with a protruding, shaped and decorated front (chest) that develops over a double blind arch with a central pillar and a stepped base; the rectangular worktop (face), typically ending on one side with a round horn and on the other with a square one, here features a square horn on each side and a third round one on the back. A hardy hole through the top is as always present, to house additional small tools.

The anvil is decorated on the chest with a tree of life in the center, the manufacturer’s hallmark, mixtilinear perimetral decorations and the date 1793 engraved in large numbers. The central pillar rests on a protruding overturned shield with both a decorative and a structural role, as it guarantees additional solidity to the base.
The sophisticated aesthetics of this tool certainly recalls the shapes of medieval cathedrals, but high quality and large-sized anvils like this were made only from the late 16th century onwards: before that time it was technically impossible to forge iron blocks of such large size.
It is no coincidence that other similar anvils, preserved in public and private collections, are almost always dated or datable to the 17th and 18th centuries, a sort of ‘golden age’ of these tools which, in addition to their many symbolic values, emanate a special magnetic charm, certainly linked to their strong sculptural power.

antiques, wotks of art, iron, anvil, france, sculpture, tools, antiquariato, oggetti d'arte, ferro, incudine, francia, scultura, utensili

Wrought, carved and engraved iron
Dated 1793
Cm 44 x 30 x 31 h.

Published in: AA.VV., TOOLS-UTENSILI, Beyond hands towards beauty, Cesati e Cesati, Milan 2013, n° 21.

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