Andrew Jones' Guide to Identifying Iron Work in the Village
Take a look at Andrew's guide to iron stoop railings of the Greenwich Village Historic District.
The goal of this guide is to discuss several distinct styles of iron railings in the Greenwich Village Historic District from 1825-1865.
Andrew Jones' Guide
Dating Buildings by their Iron: A building may be earlier than its ironwork, but seldom later. Iron patterns in the Village can be dated in some cases with as low as a 2 year margin of error simply by looking at the design. This fact generally allows the viewer to easily determine the latest date that a building could have been constructed.
Influences: Ironworkers not only followed architectural pattern books, but they also were influenced by other decorative arts of their period.
Wrought vs. Cast Iron: “Wrought” refers to iron that is shaped by being beaten while heated. “Cast” refers to iron components made in molds. Most railings are a combination, but as the nineteenth century progressed, cast elements dominate.
Examples Chosen: The examples below focus on the West Village and represent the most common forms. Around Washington Square and towards the East Village, there are more unique and grand examples; however, they cannot all be represented in a short overview.
Themes of the Paintings: Themes presented in the New York stoop paintings of Andrew Jones include:
- Admiration for the ironworker’s craft
- Understanding of aging artifacts as witnesses to time, connecting us with the past
- Portrayal of the stoops and railings as the “ruins” of old New York, ravaged by time
- Depiction of change through the metaphor of light - as the sun changes through the day and with the seasons
- Creation of historical documentation of our moment in time
- Transformation of historic material into contemporary art