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Personal Effects: Cast iron lady is ‘smashing’

BY JERRY SAMPSON

Community columnist

Personal Effects Cast Iron Lady April 2021

Question: Hi Jerry, what can you tell me about my little bust? I think that it’s bronze and a magnet sticks to it. No marks that I can find and it’s very heavy, almost 9 pounds! It stands about 10 inches high.

I don’t think that it’s gift shop stuff. Anything you can tell me is much appreciated. Thank you!

Answer: Well,the first thing we can rule out is that it’s not bronze. A magnet won’t stick to gold, silver copper, brass, aluminum or bronze.

Based on that and its weight, I’ll establish that it’s cast iron.

Cast iron sculptures like this were considered a step below the luxurious bronze castings, that many serious artists preferred. Still, that doesn’t mean that it’s an inferior piece. Far from it.

I can tell from the casting and finishing that it’s a nice quality piece. By the way this piece is not painted, it’s had an applied oiled finish.

Dating is kind of hard. I wager that it’s coming from the early 1900s or earlier. Modern pieces

just won’t have this quality, weight or finish.

Pieces like this were deemed suitable for gardens, sun rooms and green houses. I think in an open environment, even with care and paint, that it will rust. So I can’t recommend that. But it would be smashing on a porch or even in a more formal setting.

I imagine at a high end antiques shop this young lady would be priced for about $150.

Thanks for sharing it with us.