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Roses & Rue Antiques

Victorian Cemetery Fence Salvage

Victorian Cemetery Fence Salvage

Regular price $550.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $550.00 USD
Sale Sold out

A remarkable piece of antique salvage, this cast iron ornament would have been part of a cemetery fence. The form dates to around the 1850s and was used right throughout the 19th century be observed in cemeteries across the country, including Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. I have also seen it in the UK. The design includes a weeping willow above a lamb, both familiar symbols in Victorian mourning and funerary art.

It’s important to note that no cemetery was vandalized or robbed to acquire this piece. New and uninformed collectors see salvage like this and presume that things came to market through dishonest means. In fact, cemeteries frequently remove and replace worn out materials as a part of regular maintenance- including headstones! The fence at Green-Wood with this motif is actually NEW: Replaced with care to match the original ironwork exactly, as noted on their website. In addition, many American cemeteries donated fencing and whatever other metal material they could spare during WWII, when resources were needed. Finally, deadstock from foundries is also available to buy.

This particular piece I would categorize as salvage rather than deadstock: Its surface is worn with rust and flaking, indicating it was outside for a long time. I did my best to remove as much of this as I could and leave it up to its new owner to decide whether further cleaning is needed. Personally, I would leave it as is. Handle with care, as the edges can be sharp and the piece is extremely heavy. Measures about 27” tall and 11” wide. There is a remnant at the bottom that causes this one to sit slightly askew- best recommended for the garden or mounting.

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