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- Cast Iron Urban Americana West Side Highway Rou...
Cast Iron Urban Americana West Side Highway Roundel Medallion Seal
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Own a piece of history!
It would make for a great table top!
These (18") Eighteen-inch historic and modern New ... moreOwn a piece of history!
It would make for a great table top!
These (18") Eighteen-inch historic and modern New York City seals were once strung along the guardrails of the West Side Highway.
The story of the creation and the rescue of the Cast Iron Seals which once graced the West Side Highway reflects both the historical development of New York City and the development of the Art-deco period of American Art and Architecture.
In order to insure the beautification of the West Side Highway as a scenic drive, the Art Commission of the City of New York commissioned the preparation of reproductions of five City Seals for use as architectural ornaments on the Highway. Each of the reproductions reflected an official seal of the City adopted at a particular time in its development. They were to be mounted at regular intervals and in a particular ordered pattern along the exterior walls of the Highway. The architectural firm of Sloan & Robertson was selected for the project.
Preliminary designs of the Cast Iron Seals were approved by the Art Commission on April 27, 1928, with approval of the final models on July 30, 1930. In the same year, The Art Commission approved specially-mixed paint to bronze the seals-- "...a mixture of yellow ochre and raw umbre"
While each Cast Iron Seal conforms to the original adopted seal, the reproductions bear the unmistakable imprint of their sculptor, Rene P. Chambellan, and the sweep and flow of his technique are evident. His work, which includes the outstanding sculptures of "Law & Justice", "Arms of The City", and "Enlightenment" on the Criminal Courts Building at 100 Centre Street, is now greatly prized.
The modeling and casting of the Seals were executed in the sculptor's studio. Each seal pattern was designated by a letter of the alphabet - A, B, C, D, and E - which was cast in the back of the seal to insure its proper placement when installed.
On February 5, 1937. The West Side Elevated Highway, running from Canal Street to 72nd Street, was officially opened. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia officiated, with many dignitaries in attendance, including Robert Moses, who is credited with the completion of the overall Highway project.
When demolition of the Highway became necessary in the 1970s, the Art Commission acted to preserve as much of the decorative detail as possible. On February 14, 1977, the Commission directed that 25 sets of the Seals be preserved and stored for possible future use, and that, before disposing of the balance, the Commissioner of Highways offer sets of the Seals to the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of the State of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. The remaining Seals were to be disposed of "...in such manner as would best assure their preservation..." and not be sold as scrap metal.
Historical documents recording their development, and photographs showing the Seals in place, are in the archives of the Art Commission of The City of New York. A complete history of each of the City's Official Seals (reproduced in this cast iron set) can be found in "American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, Twentieth Annual Report, 1915.
This seal is marked "C" on the back and is The Province of New York Seal.
When the English took over in 1664 the seal underwent a radical revamp. King Charles II gave New York (and other lands) to his brother James, then Duke of York, who issued two seals: one for the Province and one for the City of New York. This is the provincial seal; the city seal is apparently lost to history.
The Province of New York extended over "all the land from the west side of the Connectecutte River to the East side of De la Ware Bay.'" The coat-of-arms in the center belongs to the House of Stuart, and the small crown (a coronet) is emblematic of James, then a Duke. The inner circle, HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE, translates as "Evil to him who thinks evil." The outer ring, SIGILL PROVINCE NOVI EBORAC says "seal of the Province of New York."
the Municipal Building pays tribute to the House of Stuart.
Diameter - 18"
Depth - 2 1/4 "
Weight - 60 lbs.
The holes in the back measure 3/8" in diameter.
The roundel has been professional sandblasted and powder coated. less
- 18ʺW × 18ʺD × 2ʺH
- Cast Iron
- Condition Notes
- Excellent - Minor wear consistent with age and history Excellent - Minor wear consistent with age and history less
Christopher Campanaro in Bethel, CT
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