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Brass Decorative Panels

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    Posted 2 years ago

    (1 item)

    Two rectangular shaped, door size, extremely heavy brass decorative panels were found stored in my deceased father's warehouse yesterday. I was unable to move them from their location behind a shelving unit because of their weight, but was able to tilt one of them for the photo's. They appear to be composed of solid brass, but there is some of the bluish-green tarnish typical of copper. The fourth picture shows the back of the panel. My father was an art collector, but these are unique.
    They are approximately 78" tall, 32" wide and 5/8" thick (max). The plate itself is 1/4" thick.
    Does anyone have any idea what these are?

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    1. ydnar6, 2 years ago
      More like 28" wide
    2. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 2 years ago
      They are INCREDIBLE, ydnar6!! WOWZERS!!! (yes I know that comment doesn't answer your question at all, sorry...) Anyway, I'd wonder if they could have been part of fancy elevator doors someplace. If not that, maybe part of old brass bank gates/cages/vaults??

      Total wild-a** guesses there, but that's what occurred to me after first glance at your showing, right after the wide-eyed OMG look at THOSE moment...? ;-) :-)
    3. ydnar6, 2 years ago
      Got a kick out of your comments AnythingObscure! I had the same WOW moment on discovering them. Your thoughts on what they are seem very plausible. Anxious to hear what others think...
    4. keramikos, 2 years ago
      ydnar6, I have no idea what these panels were used for originally, but they are very beautiful.

      That blue-green color is probably ordinary oxidation, because brass is a copper alloy:
    5. ydnar6, 2 years ago
      I’m told these are Bronze not Brass.
    6. MMNJ MMNJ, 2 years ago
      I agree with AnythingObscure’s opinion- those are Art Deco elevator doors. Beautiful hippocampus motif. Great find!
    7. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 2 years ago
      One more possible observation (and a question) that might back up my 'elevator door theory' the pics I can't see any evidence that they've ever been fitted with a doorknob/hinges/hardware like would be typical of a more ordinary door or gate. That might not be a dealbreaker though, if they were first simply decoration to an otherwise larger conventional door those holes/etc could have been on a surrounding frame/portion of which that's now gone. And I agree with you BTW that they're likely bronze, that being a sturdier metal alloy than actual brass or copper making it more suitable for such usage.

      Now the question: any chance that the much smaller thing mostly hidden from view in the lower RH side of your pic1 could be the backside of another panel originally fitted around an UP/DOWN set of buttons (those two holes visible on it make me wonder) that might have been mounted on a wall beside the theoretical elevator doors...??
    8. dav2no1 dav2no1, 2 years ago
      Great find, cool pieces! And fyi..brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is copper with tin added to make it maleable... flexible.
    9. ydnar6, 2 years ago
      I’ll look into the holes next time I can get to the warehouse. Great observation!
      Cherub riding Hippocampus is a Roman and Greek theme, often associated with Neptune. Perhaps the male figurehead is Neptune.
    10. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 2 years ago
      Dolphins, Griffons, Cherubs, Pan!! Amazing piece!
    11. ydnar6, 2 years ago
      Ran this by an established architectural firm in Detroit. Here’s part of their response:

      Thank you for your email. What a find! Those are certainly gorgeous panels.

      We aren’t sure exactly where those panels are from or if they are elevator panels. However, these show a similar pattern to what we have at the Fisher Building, though without the human figures. Here’s a photo online of the elevator doors in the main lobby:
      We measured the doors here and the opening is 48 inches wide – so slightly larger than what you have.

      If I had to guess, I would date these before 1930 and suggest they were designed by Anthony Di Lorenzo, out of New York. He was a very famous architectural sculptor and worked on many of the opulent buildings, such as the Fisher Building.
    12. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 2 years ago
      That's VERY COOL information ydnar6, especially from a true expert in such things!! Thanks for the update, and WAY TO GO!!! <applause>
    13. keramikos, 2 years ago
      ydnar6, Wow, that IS cool. :-)

      Here's that Pinterest link broken out from the rest of the text so that it's clickable:

      And the underlying source:

      About the Fisher building:

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