In locksmithing as well as in furniture, bronzes and jewellery, it is the Louis XVI style that seems to have seduced the most exhibitors.
The monumental gate that we are reproducing is exhibited by M. Roy, one of the most remarkable builders of this kind.
It is one of the many examples of fencing in the reserved garden and stands opposite the Dutch farmhouse.
Ironwork has had its distinguished masters, and Mr. Roy proves by his exhibition that he was inspired by their teaching. Supporting and enclosing railings became fashionable in France around 1730. Gardens, terraces, chapels and balconies, as well as all places that one wanted to enclose without obstructing the view, received this kind of ornamentation forged in iron and raised in sheet metal.
An eighteenth-century master, J. F. Blondel, published a chapter in his work De la décoration des édifices, devoted to locksmith's ornaments. The straight lines, the symmetrical orders which were the fundamental character of the previous centuries seemed at that time to be too dry. Blondel recommends not to indulge too much in a free and common design: "It is necessary," he says, "to take care that the contours which compose the ornaments are well linked together by bolts, and to take care to place pilasters of ornaments at reasonable distances to separate the large panels, and to give by means of their uprights solidity to the frames. "
M. Roy is of this school. His monumental wrought iron grille, decorated with hammered foliage, is in the best taste and from the best period of the Louis XVI style. But this exhibitor does not confine himself to the speciality of gates; he is equally successful in the various iron constructions: greenhouses, walkways, crossings, hinges and locks of style.
His workmanship is that of a serious artist and as such deserves our full attention.
©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée