Hall Stand, 1864,1886
William Kerr Thomson
Cast iron, marble
This hall stand is an English design of 1864 by Henry Tomlinson of the Bath's Foundry, Rotterdam, Yorkshire. However leading Melbourne iron merchants, James Mc Ewan and Co imported the basic structure. They changed the applied decoration from cherubs and European motifs to Australian motifs such as Aboriginal heads encircled by ferns, trophies of game, fish and native weapons, a cockatoo, a kookaburra, fern trees and pairs of emus and kangaroos.
The Australian ornamented parts were registered in 1886 by William Kerr Thomson and Samuel Renwick (trading as James Mc Ewan and Co.) under the Colonial Copyright Act of 1869. This antipodean modification was based on the rise of Australian nationalism in the late nineteenth century. During this time there was an increased taste and demand for items decorated with images symbolising Australia such as native flora and fauna. Several examples of this hall stand are in public collections around Australia.
The Fund collection also has these reproduction fire dogs based on the 19th century design used for the hallstand and produced in the 1970s from Federation era moulds. The emu and kangaroo are both represented on the Australian Coat of Arms. The emu and kangaroo embody a forward facing nation as neither animal can walk backwards.