Firebacks

820mm tall

  1. 947

    unknown_71a 600x820.jpg
    600 x 820 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead edging; naked figure of Poseidon/Neptune holding a a trident in his raised left hand, his right arm extended; he is sitting on a bridge over a flowing stream; to his right a merman, half immersed, blows a shell trumpet; above centre, is the word AQUA (water - Latin); above is a swag of drapery enclosing a scallop shell; outside the panel is a narrow border of the same shape with fillet edging; the fireback is surmounted by a scallop shell between two outward-facing sea serpents.

    Notes: One of a series of four designs of the classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: AQUA

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century possibly in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location:.

  2. 760

    va_36.jpg
    600 x 820 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel; bead-on-fillet edging; wickerwork Garden of Holland (Hollandse Tuin) within which is seated a berobed female figure holding a cap of freedom on the end of a long pole; before her is the crowned heraldic lion of the States General of the Netherlands, clutching a sheaf of arrows in its left front paw; above are the words, Pro Patria; arched rectangular boreder with fillet edging, and foliage draped from the top; on top, a pomegranate to which ascends a serpent on each side, with a further pomegranate on each shoulder of the plate.

    Notes: An overtly patriotic theme with symbols of Dutch nationhood.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: PRO PATRIA

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century in the Siegerland area of Germany.

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

    Museum number: M.1411-1926 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

  3. 920

    wigmore,_chapel_farm_01a.jpg
    800 x 820 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging; top centre, quartered shield between four 'imp' figures, left facing, one with right arm raised, one of each on each side; below each pair of figures, a rope cross above an inverted V in rope, with an 'imp' figure, arms lowered, below the shield; along the bottom, eight 'imp' figures, alternately arms raised and lowered.

    Notes: The 'imp' figures are common on a group of firebacks, the rope designs having a probable apotropaic significance. The arms are probably of Thomas Wriothesley, who was Henry VIII's last Lord Chancellor and created Earl of Southampton in 1547; he married c.1533 so the arms could date to before then, but the same arms are displayed on his enamelled stall plate in St George's Chapel, Windsor, of 1545, and in stained glass in a window in the parish church at South Warnborough, Hampshire. The same armorial stamp has been noted on at least two other firebacks. A candidate for the earliest English fireback with an example of personal arms.

    Arms: Wriothesley (Earl of Southampton)

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

    Current location: in private hands, Wigmore, Herefordshire, England.