Summer 2008
Volume 13
inside this issue:
$39,000,000 Restoration
The Russian Gates
• Cast Iron Balconies and Statuary
• The English Gates
• J. Scott Howell
Restoring a gilded age - The Nemours Mansion - truly remarkable ironwork!
$39,000,000 Restoration
On May 1st the restored English Gates were thrown open and the public invited in to see the results of a five year refurbishment of the Nemours Mansion and Gardens near Wilmington, Delaware. Built by Alfred I. duPont in 1910 it is one of the grandest buildings ever constructed in the state and includes the largest formal French garden in North America. The prestigious New York architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings designed the home with the duPonts sparing no expense to furnish it in appropriate style with new as well as important historic ironwork. With an approaching 100th birthday in 2010 a complete restoration of the house and grounds was deemed imperative. This issue is devoted to the extraordinary work completed by our firm on this single project.

read more plus photos

The Russian Gates

The Nemours project began with the restoration of The Russian Gates. Surmounted by a crest containing the Russian Imperial Crown these ornate wrought iron gates honor Catherine II (the Great). Her birth, 1729 and death, 1796 are picked out in gilt letters on either side of her initials -CII. It is almost twenty feet to the top of the crest while the gates themselves are almost ten feet across. Attributed to Jean Tijou, a French designer of ironwork, they are thought to have been made around 1700 when Tijou was completing his work at Hampton Court Palace. Extraordinary details include the Lion's Head pulls as well as the many floral elements that seem to unfurl everywhere across the surface.

more photos

Cast Iron Balconies and Statuary

A distinctive feature decorating the limestone façade of the mansion, these balconies were most certainly designed in 1910 by the architects, Carrere and Hastings in the style of Louis XVIth. Heavily gilt garlands of laurel festooned with flowers surrounding a stylized urn express the influence of French Chateaux. Historic photos of the mansion were used to recreate the original gilding scheme.

read more plus photos

The English Gates

At the entrance to the property are The English Gates. Made in England during the eighteenth century they were purchased at auction by Mr. duPont and installed to greet one and all as they approach the mansion. They consist of a vehicular gate in the center flanked by a pedestrian gate on either side. Tall gate posts with lanterns support a crest reworked to feature an "N" in honor of Mr. duPont's great-great-grandfather, Pierre Samuel duPont de Nemours. Side panels rest atop kneewalls extending to either side. The impression is one of delicate sophistication made even grander by the richly gilt decoration.

read more plus photos

J. Scott Howell

Scotty Howell, Vice President and General Manager of Robinson Iron guided every aspect of this important project from the assessment of existing conditions to the removal and installation of restored materials. Scotty launched Robinson Iron in 1975 as a spin-off of Robinson Foundry Inc. A graduate in Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Scotty holds a Masters in Business Administration from The University of Chicago and is part owner of Robinson Iron. He actually learned the foundryman's craft from the bottom up so that he would be familiar with the requirements of each demanding job. Over the past 33 years his resume of distinguished projects has included such iconic landmarks as The Raffles Hotel in Singapore, The White House in Washington, DC, Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama and others too numerous to mention.

read more plus photos

Click here to sign-up for our Quarterly Newsletter