Louis XV-Style Gilt Bronze Chenets With a Poodle and a Hound - a Pair
France, 19th century
11 x 4 x 10 inches
Chenets, also referred to as fire dogs and andirons, are metal supports for logs in the fireplace, usually with two feet at the front and one at the back. They hold the wood above the hearth level allowing the air to pass around it to facilitate burning. Until the beginning of the 15th century they were made of wrought iron, and after this date were made in cast iron or steel, often with decorative embellishments.
The andiron reached its greatest artistic development under Louis XIV of France. From the eighteenth century, fireplaces increasingly had built-in metal grates to hold the firewood, or, increasingly, the coal, up off the floor and in place, thus largely removing the need for andirons. However, andirons were often still kept for decorative reasons, and sometimes as a place to rest pokers, tongs and other fire implements. In older periods andirons were used as a rest for a roasting spit; and sometimes included a cup-shaped top to hold porridge.