Firebacks

675mm tall

  1. 888

    cowden,_crippenden 01.jpg
    660 x 675 mm

    Description: Triple arched rectangular shape, centre arch higher; each arch supported by pilasters; within centre arch, cloaked, bearded male figure wearing a crown and carrying a ewer and what appear to be a pile of plates; in left arch, above first half of date, a clothed female figure carrying a goblet and possibly a candle on a staff; in the right arch, above the second half of the date, a clothed female figure holding a distaff and a length of wool; there is a narrow panel at the bottom; on the outside of the arches are scroll-shaped protusions.

    Notes: The shape of this fireback is relatively uncommon, and the significance of the figures may relate to a particular narrative.

    Inscription: 16 28

    Manufactured: in 1628 possibly in the Eifel area of Germany.

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

  2. 41

    cuckfield_park 02.jpg
    765 x 675 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; rope edging (top and sides); Tudor royal shield, garter, crown and supporters (crowned lion and dragon); date above crown; empty motto compartment with initials below.

    Notes: Identical arms can be seen on fireback formerly at Baynards Park, Cranleigh, and in private hands at Maresfield, but without the motto compartment; minor variations in the position of individual elements indicate that the garter and shield, crown, and each supporter were separately stamped; the initials are likely to be those of Henry Bowyer, ironmaster (d.1588), the fireback perhaps being made in his memory.

    Inscription: 1588 HB

    Arms: Tudor royal (Elizabeth I)

    Manufactured: in 1588 possibly at Pounsley furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

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

  3. 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).

  4. 88

    hampton_court 02.jpg
    800 x 675 mm

    Description: Rectangular with triangular arch; stepped fillet edging; eleven columns of fleurs de lys, maximum seven in column, but varied according to space, with fleurs alternated for spacing.

    Notes: Whole pattern with five vertical planklines; a field of small fleurs de lys, France Ancient in royal heraldry, might suggest a continental origin.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the late 16th to early 17th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hampton Court, Richmond, Greater London, England.

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

  5. 472

    lower_2.jpg
    ~910 x ~675 mm

    Description: Rectangular with central triangular arch; twisted rope edging (top and sides); in arch, on top, a small cross with fleur terminals, above a rose and crown with dragon and lion supporters, above two crowned shields each bearing a small fleur-de-lys; text across top half, split by the crowned shields, each word separated by two fleur terminals; across the lower part, four crowned shields each with a fleur-de-lys; fleur crosses at ends of first and third lines; bottom left, I; bottom right, A.

    Notes: No record of Thomas Unstead or his wife has been found, to date; illustrated in Lower, 1849 p. 189; formerly at Misfield [Miswell], Worth, Sussex. One of a series of distinctive firebacks cast in 1582, most with inscriptions relating to individuals.

    Inscription: THOMAS VNSTE / ADIS : FILD AND DINIS / HIS : WIF: ANO : DOMINO: / 1582 / I A

    Manufactured: in 1582 possibly at Pounsley furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

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

    Citation: Lower, M. A., 1849, 'Iron Works of the County of Sussex', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 2, pp. 169-220 (esp. pp. 188-9).

  6. 864

    ludlow_museum.jpg
    980 x 675 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; double fillet edging (top and sides); top centre, date; initials in triad, repeated on each side, with a fleur-de-lys between; three fleurs-de-lys evenly spaced below initial groups.

    Notes: The initials are likely to be those of a husband (E) and wife (I/J) whose surname begins R.

    Inscription: 1688 / ERI ERI [both triads]

    Manufactured: in 1688 possibly in the Shropshire area of England.

    Current location: Castle Square, Ludlow, Shropshire, England.

    (part of the Ludlow Museum museum group)

  7. 1036

    maidstone_museum 18.jpg
    845 x 675 mm

    Description: Canted rectangular shape; no edging; lower centre, carved pattern panel of Stuart Royal arms: shield, garter, crown, motto, supporters and initials, RI separated by crown; lion statant guardant stamp repeated five times, three across top, one each side feet to left.

    Notes: The impression of the decorative elements is irregular, with the achievement of arms under-pressed and the three lion stamps along the top over-pressed; the distinctive feature of the unicorn's horn in front of the initial R has been seen on a small number of other firebacks. From a photograph in the J. Starkie Gardner Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2014/8).

    Inscription: I R

    Arms: English Stuart royal - James I

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

    Current location: Maidstone Museum, St Faith's Street, Maidstone, Kent, England.

    (part of the Maidstone Museum museum group)

  8. 859

    terry_sparks 01.jpg
    970 x 675 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (to and sides); top centre, shield bearing a lion rampant with two heads, between split initials.

    Notes: The heraldic charge of a lion rampant with two heads is rare, the only documented family with which it is associated being that of Mason, of Yorkshire, to whom this shield does not seem to apply.

    Inscription: TS

    Manufactured: in the early 16th century in England.

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

  9. 703

    tiverton_castle 03.jpg
    838 x 675 mm

    Description: Rectangular; cavetto moulded edging; pictorial scene of the siege of Bethulia, with Judith placing the severed head of Holofernes into the bag held by her maid; in the lower panel are the top parts of four knightly figures.

    Notes: The design is after one by the pattern-maker, Philipp Soldan, and derived from a woodcut of an engraving by Israhel van Meckenhem; it illustrates scenes from the Apocryphal book of Judith.

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century in the Eifel area of Germany.

    Current location: Tiverton Castle, Tiverton, Devon, England.

    Citation: Driesch, K. von den , 1990, Handbuch der Ofen-, Kamin- und Takenplatten im Rheinland (Cologne, Rheinland-Verlag).