This glorious Art Nouveau mantel is a faithful copy of a 1905 mantel that was originally installed in a flat at no.1 Sloane Sq in London. It was originally installed with a cast iron "canopy on legs", with two tiled panels which unfortunately did not survive.
We have made our version of the mantel in solid oak wood although the original mantel was made of poplar and was painted white, which was very common at the time. Other woods suitable for fine carving such as lime or chestnut are also available.
The mantel styling is very organic and in common with many Arts and Crafts mantels of the period had no foot blocks, giving the impression that the columns are growing up out of the floor.
The main mantel body has tapered square section pilasters with flared, hand carved capitols that support an ample shelf. The central carving on the frieze is of three fruit trees. The detailing is hand carved by a local craftsman in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Although 1905 was the height of the Art Nouveau period here in England, large wooden carved mantels from the period such as this were fairly rare, especially considering that cast iron fireplace inserts in the nouveau style were so common! The difference is no doubt accounted for by the fact that the mass production methods used for cast iron fireplaces meant that one carving for the mould could be used to produce a thousand fireplaces whereas each wooden mantel like this needed to be hand carved each time.
Although not a common type of mantel, this fire surround could have been found originally in any larger Edwardian home. The people in Edwardian times chose mantels and fireplaces from extensive catalogues that were kept at merchants stores. For those with the money to spend these chimney pieces were chosen purely according to personal taste.
This mantel also came with a similarly carved over mantel mirror, which can be purchased separately