Firebacks

55 results

  1. 826

    burwash,_little broadhurst farm.jpg
    910 x 655 mm

    Description: Canted rectangular shape with moulded edging (top and sides) overlain by a length of twisted rope repeated six times; central vertical line formed of twisted rope, crossed with rope upper centre, with rope laid in a diamond pattern around the cross; lower centre, two irregular v-shapes formed of rope, one on each side of the vertical; shield shaped stamp with a fleur de lys repeated twice each side, upper left and right.

    Notes: The twin V arrangement may have apotropaic significance and the cross above them having a Christian symbolism; the base board appears to have had a moulded edge, with rope lengths applied over part of the moulding after the board had been pressed into the casting bed; a sketch of this fireback was made by J. Starkie Gardner c.1891 and is in his collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2014/8).

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Burwash, East Sussex, England.

  2. 247

    chawton_house 01.jpg
    1185 x 870 mm

    Description: A modified recasting of a variant of the ‘Armada’ fireback, with changed initials, a single anchor panel, and the addition of plain base and borders, the latter each with a twisted rope saltire, upper middle.

    Notes: It is likely that an original four-panel fireback has been used to recast a copy with additional side and base panels. A second fireback at the house, identical but for being 1% smaller all round, has a full-width extension on top bearing four symmetrical rope saltires, the outer two larger than the inner two; the saltires may have apotropaic significance. The reduction in size of the common elements due to shrinkage suggests the first example was used to make the second. It is alleged that John Knight, who built Chawton House, was rewarded with a fireback for contributing £50 to the Crown at the time of the Armada emergency; given that a great many of the gentry and aristocracy made similar contributions, this story is improbable. It seems likely that this putative original was used to make these two subsequent copies.

    Inscription: 1588 / IK

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chawton House, Chawton, Hampshire, England.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  3. 1148

    chawton_house 03.jpg
    1178 x 1080 mm

    Description: A composite recasting placing, on a plain background with symmetrical rope saltires, a recast variant of the ‘Armada’ fireback, with changed initials, a single anchor panel, and the addition of plain base and borders, the latter each with a twisted rope saltire, upper middle.

    Notes: It is likely that an original four-panel fireback was used to cast a copy with additional side and base panels. Subsequently this second fireback was used to cast this third fireback with an additional full-width extension on top bearing four symmetrical rope saltires, the outer two larger than the inner two; the saltires may have had apotropaic significance. A reduction in size of 1% of the common elements due to shrinkage at each stage shows that the first example was used to make the second. It is alleged that John Knight, who built Chawton House, was rewarded with a fireback for contributing £50 to the Crown at the time of the Armada emergency; given that a great many of the gentry and aristocracy made similar contributions, this story is improbable. The image of this fireback has been reconstructed by computer, combining photographs of the two fragments into which it had been broken.

    Inscription: 1588 / IK

    Manufactured: in the 17th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chawton House, Chawton, Hampshire, England.

  4. 39

    cranbrook_museum.jpg
    805 x 640 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped with cavetto canted top corners; fillet edging; two V-shaped arrangements of laths, one inverted and superimposed over the other, in centre of plate; date split on either side; initials in triangular arrangement above laths.

    Notes: The shape of the fireback is very similar to firebacks at Knole, Sevenoaks, of similar date, and may be the product of the same furnace; the 'X' shapes may have apotropaic significance.

    Inscription: 17 RSL 28

    Manufactured: in 1728 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Cranbrook Museum, Cranbrook, Kent, England.

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  5. 1113

    crowborough,_luxford house 04.jpg
    840 x 570 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular with a three-facetted arch; top centre, left hand print; around each shoulder, M W mirrored.

    Notes: The likelihood is that the M and W are formed of a double-V (virgo virginum) intended to symbolise the Virgin Mary and have an apotropaic (evil-averting) purpose. It may be of significance that hand prints seen on firebacks are always of the left hand.

    Inscription: MW WM

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Crowborough, East Sussex, England.

  6. 1115

    crowborough,_luxford house 06.jpg
    >935 x 470 mm

    Description: Fragment; canted rectangular; twisted rope edging (topand sides); central cross of twisted rope.

    Notes: Sections missing at both ends.

    Manufactured: in the 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Crowborough, East Sussex, England.

  7. 871

    east_grinstead, gullege 02.jpg
    895 x ~590 mm

    Description: Canted rectanular shape, with stepped fillet edging (top and sides); upper centre, horizontal ?leather twist above an inverted ?leather twist 'V'; on each side, a shield-shaped stamp repeated twice, the upper one of each being angled so its side is parallel to the canted edging.

    Notes: The design on the shield is not recognisably heraldic in form, and appears to incorporate a possible pictorial element although this is not clear; the inverted 'V' shape may have apotropaic significance.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century in England.

    Current location: in private hands, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England.

    Citation: Lloyd, N., 1925, 'Domestic Ironwork I', Architectural Review, 58, pp. 58-67.

  8. 66

    fernhurst,_vanlands 01.jpg
    905 x 755 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape; twisted rope edging on top and sides of rectangle, and separately around arch; the rope ends extend beyond both ends of the top edge; vertical rope lengths, to full height, inside left and right edges; rope crosses in arch and in upper centre of rectangle.

    Notes: Probably an early vernacular example of a design mimicking the ‘Palladian’ style. The crosses suggest Christian significance.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Fernhurst, West Sussex, England.

  9. 69

    freshfield,_town place.jpg
    ~1305 x 675 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); twisted rope lengths parallel to top and both sides and crossing at corners, with shorter rope lengths across inside angles; shorter rope lengths arranged in three crosses across middle of plate, the middle one higher than the other two.

    Notes: A particularly large and elaborate arrangement of rope lengths. The crosses suggest Christian significance.

    Manufactured: in the 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Freshfield, East Sussex, England.

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  10. 78

    guildford_museum 03.jpg
    715 x 440 mm

    Description: Sub-rectangular; twisted rope edging; lengths of twisted rope arranged to form two 'V' shapes and an 'I' overlapping to forma possible monogram.

    Notes: The 'monogram' comprises different length pieces of rope and may have an apotropaic significance, the double 'V' referring to the Virgin Mary.

    Manufactured: in the 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Guildford Museum, Guildford, Surrey, England.

    Museum number: G.488 (part of the Guildford Museum museum group)

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.