Firebacks

450mm tall

  1. 949

    gardner,_beecroft gallery 01.jpg
    ~900 x ~450 mm

    Description: Rectangular; low-relief moulded edging along top, then down sides; double-looped 'lens' pattern stamp repeated six times across the top, inside the edging and, rotated, three times down each side; becapped human figure stamp, with his left arm raised to his head and his right arm akimbo, repeated in each top corner; between these, 'IE' monogram with continuous loop between the letters repeated five times, two in line above and three below, the centre one slightly raised; the date between the top two; a lifting handle on each side.

    Notes: Said to have been at Horsham, Sussex; on another fireback, at the Old Manor, Upper Beeding in Sussex, cast with the same stamps, and also dated 1617, the monogram stamp is clearly carved on a 'renaissance' shield, indicating that in this instance the stamps were not impressed as deeply. Drawing by J. Lewis André in the J. Starkie Gardner Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2014/8). Possibly the fireback referred to by Lewis André in 1882 as belonging to a Miss Alman, of East Street, Horsham (Sussex Archaeological Collections XXXII, p.76).

    Inscription: IE 1617 IE / IE IE IE

    Manufactured: in 1617 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Gardner, J. S., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.

    Citation: Gardner, J. S., 30 Apr 1904, 'An old fire-back' (letter), Country Life, p. 647.

  2. 166

    hastings_049.jpg
    910 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular; plain plate with three stamps of an iron firedog with a twisted design on the neck, a primitive face on the terminal and a shield bearing initials RW.

    Notes: The letters RW are said to relate to Richard Woodman, ironmaster and Protestant martyr, who resided at Cralle Place, and who operated Cralle furnace. A near-identical firedog was discovered at Bridge Cottage, Uckfield, Sussex.

    Inscription: RW

    Manufactured: in the mid 16th century probably at Cralle Furnace, Warbleton in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, John's Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 909.94 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Butterfield, W. R., 1916, 'Old Wealden Firebacks', The Connoisseur, 46, pp. 197-209.

    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).

  3. 186

    hastings_070.jpg
    610 x 450 mm

    Description: Plain rectangle with cavetto moulded edging (top and sides); pediment with same moulding.

    Notes: Three identical backs, but with various stamps, indicate that this fireback came from the same source as a distinct series of Tudor heraldic backs.

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

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, John's Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 952.51.47 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

  4. 338

    huddington_court 06.jpg
    607 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular with pediment; ovolo moulded edging inside top of pediment and inside top and sides of rectangle; centre top, four-petal rose and crown with fleur de lys below; at either end, stamps made from two parts of a wreath (the middle section missing) enclosing a fleur de lys.

    Notes: The wreaths from which the stamps have been disassembled can be seen complete on two other firebacks, and the rose and crown is a common stamp on a large series of early firebacks.

    Inscription: ?I T

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

    Current location: in private hands Burford, Oxfordshire, England.

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

  5. 375

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 010.jpg
    1035 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); central rope carbuncle with eight arms, with a rose between each of the top six pairs of arms; a fleur-de-lys repeated six times in two triads (2-1) in each top corner; a letter ‘E’ rotated clockwise repeated 8 times along the top between the fleurs and roses, and twice down each side; four additional ‘E’s, one to the left of the carbuncle and three to the right.

    Notes: All the stamps can be seen on other firebacks associating them with the same source; The ‘E’s are identical to those seen on the John Harvo armorial fireback. The elaborate central rope array may be an interpretation of the escarbuncle, which was the principal heraldic charge on the arms of the Duchy of Cleves, possibly associating this fireback with the brief marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. Formerly part of the J. H. Every collection.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century possibly at Pounsley Furnace, Framfield in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 1944.24.076 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., May 1940, 'Old English Firebacks', Apollo, 31, 185, pp. 117-120.

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., Sep 1929, 'Old English Firebacks in the Collection of Mr John H. Every', Old Furniture, 8, pp. 28-32.

  6. 559

    pet-m-53.jpg
    715 x 450 mm

    Description: Arched rectangle with crude scalloping around the edges; elaborate strapwork frame, a bunch of grapes hanging from the top, and the head and forelegs of a goat climbing through.

    Notes: The strapwork, a distinctive feature of Elizabethan design, was probably derived from redundant furniture. Marks round the edge of this fireback suggest that it may have been reduced from a larger size.

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

    Current location: Petworth House, Petworth, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/PET/M/53 (part of the National Trust museum group)

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

  7. 689

    slaugham,_furnace pond cottage 01.jpg
    615 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular with pediment; ovolo moulded edging inside top of pediment and inside top and sides of rectangle; centre top, four-petal rose and crown with three fleurs-de-lys below; at either end, stamps made from two parts of a wreath (the middle section missing); in the pediment a cross.

    Notes: The wreaths from which the stamps have been disassembled can be seen complete on two other firebacks, and the rose and crown is a common stamp on a large series of early firebacks.

    Inscription: I T

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

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