February 19, 2010
A Cast Iron 19th Century Garden Sculpture by J. J. Ducel et Fils
Between the Queen Anne Cottage and the Coach Barn there is a large cast iron garden sculpture of two women holding aloft a basket of fruit and flowers.
It was cast by J. J. Ducel et Fils, in Paris probably in the middle of the 19th century. Ducel produced high quality sculpture, fountains, and decorative pieces such as urns for gardens and public parks. The quality of the iron is exceptional and the Arboretum’s sculpture is in excellent shape although it appears to have been painted at least twice and most of the paint has peeled off.
We are not quite sure what the original surface would have looked like. It may have been painted an off white color.
In the shade of the trees it can be found alongside a path connecting the two buildings. We are considering having the work conserved and moved to a more prominent position. It deserves more attention since the quality of the work is quite remarkably good.
Ultimately known simply as Val d’Osne, the merging of a number of small foundries led to a firm with the unwieldy name Société Anonyme des Hauts-Fourneaux et Fonderies du Val-D'Osne, Anciennes maisons J. P. V. André et J. J. Ducel et Fils. By taking advantage of new iron casting techniques resulting from the industrial revolution and using a sculptors who exhibited at the Paris Salon, the firm was able to produce exceptional works.