Research & Collections

Whittingham Andirons Reflect American and British Influences

Attr. to Richard Whittingham, New York
Cast Brass and wrought iron, 1805-1835

Each of the thirteen fireplaces on the first and second floors of the mansion had andirons. Larger fireboxes in the public rooms, such as the Drawing and Dining Rooms, featured more ornate cast brass andirons like this set, which has excellent Madison provenance. Attributed to the foundry of Richard Whittingham in New York, these andirons sold at an 1899 Philadelphia auction, the “Final Settlement of the Estate of Dolley P. Madison, Wife of President James Madison....” An affidavit signed by Mary Kunkel, Dolley’s great niece, accompanied each lot in the sale. The feet, spurred legs, and faceted plinth of this style commonly appear on Whittingham andirons, reflecting the maker’s English and American influences.

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Andirons in the Documentary Record

Heating accessories listed on the 1836 "List of articles in the Dining Room at Montpellier" include one "pr. andirons" and "Shovel & Tongs."