English Brass Flowerpot
15" x 14"
A 19th-century flower pot, decorated using the repoussé method. Derived from the French pousser, or “to push forward”, the repoussé technique has been used throughout the history of metalworking, and was particularly popular in Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. This artistic style is done on malleable metal, which can be shaped by hammering or punching from the back or inside of the object, creating a design in low relief. That design can then be completed by adding additional definition and detail on the front of the artwork, often created using engraving methods. Many metals are suitable for repoussé work, ranging from gold, to steel, to pewter. This English flower pot is covered in repoussé work, hammered into the brass body of the object. It features symmetrical floral motifs, which surround the entirety of the flower pot’s exterior – from base to lip. A great example of the tactile nature of repoussé metalwork, this flower pot is waiting to be surrounded by real life flowers, to compliment its own design.
At this time in England, the Chimney Sweepers and Chimney Regulation Act (1840) was passed. At the time, boys as young as six years old were being sent up chimneys to perform cleaning duties, a dangerous and sometimes lethal job. The Act prohibited anyone under the age of 21 to perform the task. This first parliamentary foray into chimney sweep protection was strengthened with the Chimney Sweepers Act (1875), which ensured all chimney sweeps were registered with the police, and required actual supervision of their work.