Bronze and ormolu, cast
Italy, possibly Venice
Museum no. 3553A-1856
This firedog and its identical pair once stood guard over a fireplace to prevent the logs from falling out. With its asymmetrical form it is an excellent example of Rococo bronze work.
Ormolu is a form of gold-coated bronze, giving a highly reflective surface to firedogs, mirror frames, lighting and furniture. Powdered gold is mixed into a paste with mercury and painted onto the surface. The mercury is then burned off.