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When it was founded by Abraham Darby in 1707, the Coalbrookdale foundry was no different from any other in solely pouring its smelting energies into the mechanisation of British industry, but from the end of the 18th century, with the mass growth of horticulture, the foundry became associated with “naturalistic” garden ornaments and seating furniture, the popular apotheosis of which was the “Fern and Blackberry Settee”, registered by Coalbrookdale at the London Patents Office in 1858.

During the 1860s and 1870s, interior design furnishings became a preoccupation of the Coalbrookdale Company, beginning with the Victorian entrance hall and a typically late 19th century, quintessentially middle-class furnishing – the umbrella stand.

This Coalbrookdale pair of blue, green and cream painted cast iron bowfront display cabinets, measuring 3ft 61/2in high by 22in wide (1.08m x 56cm) and bearing a patent registration mark for February 6 1882, consigned from the garage of a North Kent property to the Tenterden salerooms of Lambert and Foster on March 18, shows how the foundry had copied most decorative forms of wood furniture by the last quarter of the 19th century.

Compared with around 1000 designs for firegrates, only about 100 different designs were produced for display cabinets and it appears as though very few remain extant: “We have seen two or maybe three display cabinets over the past decade,” said John Powell, librarian of the Museum of Iron at Coalbrookdale.

In spite of some damage and wear, this pair was underbid by the London trade before selling above estimate to a private buyer at £7600 (plus 10 per cent premium).