These andirons, commissioned by Colonel Robert Myddelton Biddulph (d.1872) for the Bow Drawing Room, bear the Myddelton family crest of a 'dexter hand' wreathed by golden boughs and hung on lily-flowered pillars that rise from rose-flowered and triumphal-arched bases. These 'Grand Irons' were designed by the architect A.W.N. Pugin (d.1852) and their bases derive from a French-patterned 'Fire Grate' irons capped by Saxon-crowned swans, which Pugin illustrated in his Designs for Iron and Brass Work in the style of the 15th and 16th centuries, London, 1836 (fig.9). The irons furnished the heraldic chimneypiece designed by Pugin for the South-East Bastion's Drawing Room, and were supplied by the celebrated Birmingham 'Medieval Metalworker' John Hardman (d.1867), whose metal manufactory in Birmingham had been established shortly after his 1837 meeting with Pugin.
Although the specific Pugin/Hardman correspondence concerning these andirons has not apparently survived in the Myddelton papers, a design for an alternative design of andiron (apparently never executed) in Pugin's hand is included with lot 500.
The andirons are clearly visible in situ in the undated late 19th Century photograph of the Bow Drawing Room.