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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Decorative Metal Curtain Fixtures



THE Spanish vogue, coupled with growing interest in the artistic possibilities of wrought iron, seems to be responsible for the decorative metal curtain fixtures now appearing. First seen in Western homes of Spanish architecture, the wrought iron fixtures have come rapidly into wider use, and now not only are they displayed in interiors of Spanish and Italian taste-frankly as ornamental features-but they are also being adapted in designs for use in furnishings of other periods and in informally furnished rooms. Treatments in black iron, steel finish, polychrome effects in the Italian metal work style, or in the gilt of the Early Republic days, adapt this drapery aid to many interiors.

In rooms having a Spanish or an Italian air, perhaps with rough plastered walls and a beamed ceiling, the rods ending in the delicate fleur de lis design so often used in Spanish iron work, are appropriate. If the room is in the style of the Italian Renaissance, the more delicate flower designs, especially in polychrome or colored iron work, may well be chosen. Acorn finials, halberd' heads and the arrow head or arrow feather forms are other motifs reminiscent of differing decorative periods.

Almost every room may use the wrought iron drapery fixtures-over windows, doorways, French windows, or for the support of wall hangings. They are particularly effective with Spanish hangings where the black or steel colored metal, frankly exposed above the fabric, creates a formal setting for the hanging.

The use of wrought iron rods with curtains permits the additional ornament gained by showing the metal rings, which often are large and oval in shape. And the curtain, arranged on the metal pole, is usually placed several inches from the metal end, thus allowing the finial as well as the ornamental supports of the rod to be seen. The undisguised display of rod, supports and finials is characteristic of the use of these wrought iron fixtures. 'Sometimes, where the rod supports a divided curtain, a wrought iron ornament is placed on the rod between the two curtains.

With the metal rods are used, of course, metal tie-backs in various fine designs. Many are based on the flower, leaf and spray forms traditional in the ironworker's craft; some are hammered bands, carrying on their surface the embossed design of leaf or flowers; others use the vines as a decorative motif or a flower spray a delicate open-work pattern making the tie-back light in weight and allowing the fabric of the curtain to show through it. The tie-back should, of course, harmonize with the rod decoration.

There is also developing the employment of iron work as a decorative heading, placed above or in front of the iron curtain rods. These slender curving pieces of iron, with hammered leaves and flower blossoms springing from a central conventionalized basket design, may be quite elaborate and call out all of the craft of the metal worker. The more delicate iron work in the Italian tradition, often touched with color, is used in these fixtures. Sometimes, to obtain an unusual effect of simplicity, the iron may be treated to simulate the rust of age.

With the modernists in decoration using considerable wrought iron, it is natural that some of the curtain decorations should reflect that mode. These designs, often characterized by long and extremely slender tendrils of iron in new scrolls and curves, seem to fit most naturally into the genius of the metal. In rooms where wrought iron screens or doorway gates have been used these metal curtain decoration are particularly effective.

The most individual designs in wrought iron curtain rods are, of course, those made to order by the ironworker, who, working with the householder or decorator, produces a special design to go with the room. Sometimes, for example, instead of having a simple finial, the end is developed into a curving spray of leaves and flower forms which curve gracefully downward over the upper corner of the curtain. Or, in the hands of a master craftsman, improvisations on the traditional Latin motifs in wrought metal work are created.

Rosettes of beaten metal in these special patterns may be used to embellish the end of the rod, in addition to the ornamental finial, as at one time rosettes of glass were used. Elaborate developments of the rod support may be specially designed, or another ornamental touch achieved by a pattern of apparently heavy crudity, simulating a country blacksmith's work. Because of the wealth of designs already available, the home decorator necessarily gives careful thought to the selection of a pattern to harmonize with the decorative ensemble of the room in which the wrought iron is employed.



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