Rare Sunflower Andirons now on display at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow
The Hunterian is now (6 October, 2016) home to a pair of exceptionally rare gilded brass andirons designed by English architect and designer Thomas Jeckyll.
The Sunflower Andirons were purchased by The Hunterian with the assistance of the Art Fund and National Fund for Acquisitions and are now on display in the Hunterian Art Gallery.
Described as ‘one of the most important creations of Anglo-Japanese metalwork*’ the Sunflower Andirons, or metal holders for fireplace logs, are of great significance because of their artistic importance, rarity and relevance to The Hunterian collections.
The distinctive pair were designed by Thomas Jeckyll in c. 1876 and are considered to be a masterpiece of the art of wrought-iron and cast-iron metal work. Their distinctive sunflower design is also widely accepted as an icon of the English Aesthetic Movement.
Examples are extremely rare and this set is one of the finest surviving pairs. They are the only known pair made in the higher quality medium of brass and the only pair in a public collection outside North America.
The Sunflower Andirons have direct links with the American-born artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and his outstanding work of art, the interior, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, for which The Hunterian owns the impressive cartoon, The Fighting Peacocks.
They have been incorporated into The Hunterian’s permanent Whistler display alongside key works such as the Peacock Cartoon, Butterfly Cabinet and Screen with Old Battersea Bridge, providing a new focus for research and teaching.
Director of The Hunterian, Professor David Gaimster, said:
‘We are delighted to add these extremely rare items to The Hunterian collections. The Sunflower Andirons are particularly significant because of their links to Whistler and the Aesthetic Movement. I am grateful to the Art Fund and National Fund for Acquisitions for their support in securing them.’
The Hunterian Art Gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm. Admission free. Admission charge for The Mackintosh House and some exhibitions.
*Quote from In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement, Metropolitan Museum and Rizzoli, New York, 1986.
Hunterian Art Gallery
University of Glasgow
82 Hillhead Street
Glasgow G12 8QQ
- Woodlands Artists Residency Weekend
- The Art of Words, Thistle Gallery, 14 June, 2018
- Examination Paper, Creative Writing Event/Installation, Scotland Street School
- Limited Edition Art Sale, The Store Interiors
- Light Stream, Lynn Howarth and Peter McNair, Lillie Gallery
- The Art of Words, Thistle Gallery, 7 June, 2018
- Liquid Light by Vic Rodrick, First Solo Exhibition, Veneer, Glasgow
- A Day Out, The Lighthouse
- Jot and Tittle Expo, citizen M Glasgow
- RE:search Glasgow Science Festival
- Lost Glasgow, More Than Memories Exhibition, Arlington Baths
- E. Jane / Hardeep Pandhal Opening GI Festival, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
- Nnena Kalu, ProjectAbility, Glasgow
- Transatlantic connections – Hunterian exhibition brings Harvard’s historic treasures to Glasgow
- Woodlands Arts Survey & Artist Network Lunch Woodlands Workspace
- Fresh Work Springs Eternal at Thistle Gallery
- Cross-feed Night School with Dr David Luke
- ‘Spring: the music of open windows’ at Thistle Gallery
- Dr Yupin Chung: Tea Under A Willow Tree, Glasgow Art Club
- 150th Anniversary Talks: Joanne Laird & Norman Walker Scotland Street School