Lot 36 (Garden, Design & Natural History, 20th May 2014)

Sold for £18,000

Lot details
A pair rare of Val d’Osne foundry cast iron term figures of a boy and girl, circa 1870, 160cm.; 63ins high by 25cm.; 10ins diameter. A Herm was originally a representation of the head of Hermes rising from a pedestal. In gardens the word is used loosely to signify any head on a pedestal which is either rectangular or tapers downwards. It is often interchangeable with the word Term which originally represented the Roman god Terminus, used in classical times to mark boundaries. Herms/Terms are often found opposite each other in rows such as the Kentian ones at Chatsworth and Chiswick. The Val d’Osne foundry was established by J.P.Andre in 1835 and based at the Val d’Osne, in the Haute-Marne region of France. Over the coming decades the company took over rival firms such as Barbezat, J.J. Ducel and Durenne, becoming far and away the largest manufacturer of cast iron in France The company exhibited at the Great Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862 as well as the Chicago Great Exhibition of 1893. In 1889 the Societe Anonyme des Hauts Fourneaux and Fonderes du Val’Osne published a mammoth 3 volume catalogue of engravings illustrating thousands of cast iron pieces across a huge spectrum, from railings and lampposts to sculpture urns and fountains. This extremely rare pair of herm figures are illustrated on plate 626, Nos 214 & 215. (See engraving)