Iron can be wrought into the most delightful staircase balustrades. John Goodall chooses some favourites from Country Life’s outstanding archive.

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staircases

The staircase at 42, Cheyne Walk, London SW3, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1933 for Guy Liddell and his wife, the Hon Calypso Baring. Lutyens delighted in abstracted visual figures that created repeatable patterns and the effect of continuous movement


staircases

The forecourt of High Head Castle, Cumbria, in 1921 with its ironwork of the 1740s. The building was devastated by fire in 1956


staircases

The spectacular inlaid staircase of Claydon, Buckinghamshire, designed after 1757 by Luke Lightfoot


staircases

The pulpit stair at Lichfield. Skidmore’s virtuosic ironwork for the cathedral of 1859–63 is strikingly coloured. The quality and interest of church ironwork is often overlooked


staircases

The head smith and his boy at Thornham, Norfolk, in 1900. Country Life published a feature on this Arts-and-Crafts enterprise, which produced fine wrought iron for Sandringham


staircases

The black-and-white staircase hall of Gledstone Hall, North Yorkshire, in a photograph of 1935. The house was built in 1923–26 for Sir Amos Nelson by Sir Edwin Lutyens


staircases

Soane’s balustrade at Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire, 1809–11, is lent interest by restrained asymmetry. It encloses an oculus that lights the central tribune of the house


staircases

Maison Jansen of Paris created this stair in an 18th-century French manner at Craigengillan, Ayrshire after 1901


staircases

Detail of the stair at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, probably by the local smith Robert Bakewell


staircases

A detail of the stair at Weston Park, added in 1899 by the practice of John MacVicar Anderson


staircases

Strong lighting artfully amplifies the effect of the ironwork in the British Embassy in Washington D.C., USA, by Sir Edwin Lutyens in this photograph of 1939. The pattern is probably adapted from an eccentric Georgian chair-back design


staircases

This 1931 photograph shows Rex Whistler’s paintings for Capt Euan Wallace in Hill Street, W1. The foliage in the balustrade echoes the outdoor setting of the paintings