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Decorative Railing Support, c 1880:
This cast-iron support, originally washed in bronze, came from a mezzanine in the west wing's top floor, now the Luce Center for American Art.
In 1877 a disastrous fire gutted the top floors of the west and north wings, collapsing the roofs and destroying 87,000 patent models. Washington architect Adolf Cluss rebuilt these galleries -- and the south hall, now called the Great Hall -- in then-popular high Victorian style, in contrast to the austere classicism of the rest of the building. Cluss's decorative features, including this railing support, were characterized at the time as "Modern Renaissance."
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