Fragment of a Firedog (or Andiron)

ca. 1570 (made)

de Levis, Giuseppe

Height: 11.25 in, Depth: 11 in, Width: 4.5 in

2454-1856 SCP

Fragment of a firedog, bronze, possibly from the workshop of Giuseppe de Levis or Andrea di Alessandri, Italian, ca. 1570

Bronze figure of a cupid or child standing on a dragon, probably a fragment of a fire-dog.

Lost-wax casting was an expensive and highly skilled process. It usually required collaboration between a sculptor and a foundry. Despite the careful finishing of the work, the bronze often retains traces of the casting process. Giorgio Vasari, writing in the 1550s, described how the craftsmen made ‘a core of clay’ and ‘while kneading it to make it soft, they mix [in] horse dung and hair’. The sample of core shown here is taken from inside the firedog and would have probably been made to a similar recipe.

Location: Sculpture, room 111, case 4

View this object on the V&A website