These Napoleon III brass andirons feature fluted urns and garland motifs in the Louis XVI style. The extensions are pierced and embellished with a horizontal leaf motif and leaf finials. When the andirons are placed close together so that the extensions meet, they form a fender. 14.75L x 1.25W x 5T iron bars anchor the andirons and provide support for logs. 19W x 14D x 12T. From France.Historical BackgroundNapoleon III (1808-1873) was the president of the French Second Republic and the ruler of the Second French Empire. Elected president by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'etat in 1851, becoming dictator before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on December 2, 1852, the 48th anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation. He ruled as Emperor of the French until September 4, 1870, and holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France. He is primarily remembered for renovating Paris. Louis XVI style is predominately neoclassical. It is characterized by restraint and simplicity. Geometric forms were widely used, and classically inspired shapes such as urns and vases were popular. Ornamentation was divided into panels, with motifs derived from classical art and arcitecture for example, fluting, repeated spiral scrolls, palmettes (based on the fan-shaped palm leaf), anthemions (based on the acanthus flower), frets, husks, and arabesques.The forerunners of the fire basket and also known as fire-dogs, andirons comprise a pair of iron rests that stand in a hearth to lift wood up off the bottom surface of the fireplace to allow air to circulate around the wood for better burning. The decorative vertical guard secures the wood and prevents it from rolling out of the fireplace. When ornamental, their front edges are often fashioned from brass, polished steel, or more rarely, paktong or silver.