Firebacks

510mm tall

  1. 30

    burwash,_poundsford.jpg
    917 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular, with canted top corners; twisted rope edging on top and sides; fillet-edged rectangle top centre, enclosing date between initials; seven shields of Ayloffe impaling Sulyard; Ayloffe: sable, a lion rampant Or, collared gules, between three crosses formy of the second; Sulyard: argent, a chevron gules between three pheons inverted sable.

    Notes: William Ayloffe (c1535-1584) of Hornchurch, Essex, Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, married (c1560) Jane, dau. of Sir Eustace Sulyard, of Runwell, Essex. A large number of variants use the same shields. The possibility that 'CT' was the founder Charles Tyler (d.1629/30) is reinforced by the fact that Poundsford Farm, Burwash, was owned by his grandson, also Charles, and subsequently by the latter's widow, Mary. The back was first noted at Poundsford in 1869.

    Inscription: C 1629 T

    Arms: Ayloffe impaling Sulyard (William Ayloffe of Hornchurch)

    Manufactured: in 1629 possibly at Hawkhurst furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Poundsford Farm, Burwash, East Sussex, England.

    Citation: Cowper, H. S., 1911, 'A Series of Kentish Heraldic Firebacks and the Identification of the Arms', Archaeologia Cantiana, 29, pp. 40-6.

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

    Citation: Hodgkinson. J. S., 2018, 'A series of Kentish firebacks and the possible identification of their founder', Archaeologia Cantiana, 139, pp. 312-15.

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

  2. 85

    hadlow_down antiques 01.jpg
    800 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging; twisted rope arranged to form inscription across upper half of plate.

    Notes: The double 'v' may have an apotropaic significance, invoking the Virgin Mary.

    Inscription: +W+

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

    Current location: in private hands, Hadlow Down, 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.

  3. 123

    hastings_013.jpg
    560 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular; top panel with bearded face between symmetrical horizontal scrolls, and faces at either end; scrolls are repeated below, on either side of the date, all above a horizontal double fillet; below, a pair of arches with guilloche decoration between fillets, and toothed on the underside, are supported on each side by Tuscan columns, also with guilloche decoration; this is repeated in symmetrical rectangular panels on either side; at the centre base a bulbous nozzle protrudes.

    Notes: This is a smith's forge fireback, the nozzle being the tuyere directing the air into the fire from bellows behind. Stylistically similar to the Lenard and other firebacks of the same period, the carved elements above the nozzle may have been cast from a pattern inspired by the back of a joined 'wainscot' chair, with the date inserted. The back may have been used for forging non-ferrous metals as there was a trade in pot-founding in bronze as well as iron at some ironworks in the Weald.

    Inscription: 1655

    Manufactured: in 1655 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 952.51.62 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

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

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2014, 'A Seventeenth-Century Sussex Woodcarver: The Evidence of Cast Ironwork', Regional Furniture, 28, pp. 39-48

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

  4. 376

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 011.jpg
    540 x >510 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; fillet edge on top and sides. Shield, helm, crest and mantling of the Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers.

    Notes: Blazon: Gules a Chevron Argent between in chief two pairs of Compasses extended at the points and in base a sphere Or. On a chief of the second a pale Azure between two Roses of the field barbed and seeded proper, the pale charged with an Escallop of the second; Crest: a demi Savage proper wreathed about the head and waist with Leaves Vert holding in the dexter hand over the shoulder a Tilting Spear Or headed Argent; arms granted 1571.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Arms: Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers

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

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

    Museum number: LH000.938 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

  5. 384

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 019.jpg
    775 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edge on top and sides; crowned Tudor royal shield between fleurs de lys arranged in a four-pointed star shape on left, in a three-pointed star shape on right, and three singly in a line below.

    Notes: The crowned shield is identical to those above, indicating that the fireback was a product of the same furnace.

    Arms: Tudor royal arms of England

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

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.034 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

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

  6. 393

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 027.jpg
    910 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging all round except base: plain plate with two stamps of an iron firedog with twisted neck and shield bearing letters HN and crossed staples; firedogs have columnar capitals; fleur de lys stamp repeated six times, singly at each end, in star pattern in middle; stamps have twisted wreaths.

    Notes: The initials HN probably refer to Henry Nevill, the crossed staples being a badge of the Nevill family. Henry Nevill occupied Mayfield furnace from about 1585 until 1599. Other firedogs in a versimilar style are known.

    Inscription: HN HN

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

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

    Museum number: LH000.902 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Anon., 30 Dec 1911, 'Sussex Backs and their Story', The Ironmonger.

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

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

  7. 614

    ripley_026.jpg
    730 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular; cavetto-moulded edging; English royal Stuart shield, garter, crown, crowned lion and unicorn supporters, and motto; initials split by crown.

    Notes: A bold, well-sculpted pattern.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: I R / HONI SOIT QVI MAL Y PENSE / DIEU ET MON DROIT

    Arms: English Stuart royal - James I

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century in England.

    Current location: Mark Ripley Forge & Fireplaces, Northbridge Street, Robertsbridge, East Sussex, England.

  8. 683

    sevenoaks,_absaloms farm 01.jpg
    1040 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); top left and right, Tudor rose surmounted by a crown (separate stamps); right of centre, irregular pentagram formed of a repeated length of twisted rope enclosing a Tudor rose; on either side of top point of pentagram, a triple-loop stamp irregularly spaced.

    Notes: The pentagram has both Christian and occult symbolism. The fleur and the rose and crown have been seen on another fireback.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

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

    Current location: in private hands, Sevenoaks, Kent, England.

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

  9. 742

    va_18.jpg
    900 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging all round except base: plain plate with two stamps of an iron firedog with twisted neck and shield bearing letters HN and crossed staples; firedogs have columnar capitals; fleur de lys stamp repeated six times, singly at each end, in star pattern in middle; stamps have twisted wreaths.

    Notes: The initials HN probably refer to Henry Nevill, the crossed staples being a badge of the Nevill family. Henry Nevill occupied Mayfield furnace from about 1585 until 1599. Other firedogs in a versimilar style are known.

    Inscription: HN HN

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

    Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.

    Museum number: 11.1900 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

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

  10. 805

    yapton_metal co.jpg
    760 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging (top and sides); top centre, date formed from a single stamp, over-pressed; monogram below date.

    Notes: Dates formed from a single stamp are uncommon, other examples coming from the 16th century.

    Inscription: 1632 / HPE

    Manufactured: in 1632 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Yapton Metal Co., Yapton, West Sussex, England.

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