Italian Housemaid's Icon
A most unusual piece, this is actually a cast iron, ‘box’ or ‘charcoal’ clothes iron which has been converted into a religious icon. An Italian iron, iron icon.
Inside the iron is a coloured picture of the Catholic Saint, Zita who lived in Lucca, Tuscany from 1212 to 1272 and who was canonized in 1696. Zita is the patron saint of maids and domestic servants, so it’s quite poignant that a clothes iron was used as the basis for this icon. The saint is also called upon to help when keys are missing or when crossing rivers or bridges.
A coloured picture of the saint has been attached to the inside of the iron which has the words ‘Santa Zita Virgine’ and candles have been burned on the underside of the iron’s lid leaving a rainbow of coloured wax.
The iron itself dates to the mid to late 19th century and was originally called a ‘box’ or ‘charcoal’ iron. Hot coals from the fire were inserted into the box in the body of the iron which enabled the irons to keep hot for much longer than their predecessors which were solid cast iron and just placed in the flames to heat.
The handle of the old iron has been removed and replaced with a wooden cross and enabled this antique to be transformed into a religious icon. A little bird which is original to the clothes iron still acts as a lever to open and close the lid.
A touching antique which poses the question: Who made this and why?
Product Code : 1243
Weight : 2.5kg