Firebacks

822mm tall

  1. 98

    handcross,_nymans 03.jpg
    604 x 822 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead edging; naked figure of Mercury/Hermes with winged helmet (petasos), holding a snake-entwined staff (caduceus); he is sitting astride a pair of bellows and blowing a straight trumpet; a twice-bent trumpet lies at his feet; the bellows are pumping air into an organ; to the right of his head is the word, AER (air - Latin); above is a swag of drapery; 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 firebacks symbolising the four elements.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: AER

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century in England.

    Current location: Nymans, Staplefield Road, Handcross, Slaugham, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/NYM/M/33 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  2. 571

    pet-m-62.jpg
    592 x 822 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead-on-fillet edging; pictorial scene of the interior of the stable at Bethlehem with a stone arched doorway and a hay stall in the background; in the left foreground the seated figure of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus, and Joseph behind; behind Joseph a donkey, and to the left of the child a seated ox; to the right, three figures, one kneeling and another holding a hat; in front of the kneeling figure a basket; arched rectangular border with fillet edging and a repeated leaf pattern; on top, a scallop shell between two dolphins.

    Notes: The scene is of the Adoration by the Magi - Matthew 2: 11.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

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

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

    Museum number: NT/PET/M/62 (part of the National Trust museum group)