Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; ovolo-moulded edging (except base); top centre, cherub face and wings; below, date separated by initials in triad on either side of which a stag statant on a chapeau.
Notes: The cherub is similar, but not identical to those on a fireback, of 1713, from Ashburnham, and the layout and edging are also similar.
Inscription: 17 ICI 30
Current location: in private hands, Cuckfield, West Sussex, England.
Description: Carved wooden fireback pattern. Rectangular shape with fillet edging; pictorial scene with three nymphs playing cymbals and tambourine, and dancing in the shade of two trees, with three satyrs play pipes behind; a jug stands on a pedestal; in the foreground a putto fills a jug from a barrel.
Notes: From the Fonderie Salan, Dammarie-sur-Saulx (Meuse).
- Attached to series:
Description: A rectangular field with a central circle containing a fouled anchor, the rope gathered in eleven loops around it; in the top spandrels the initials HH, on the left, and IH, on the right; below the circle, the initials IM inset in a square; on each side, a strapwork Ionic pilaster formed of alternate hollow squares, with a pyramidal infill in low relief, and hollow circles; outside each pilaster, a crouching stylised humanoid figure, facing inwards, disgorging a fructed vine; above the figures two opposed volutes, forming part of the edging; above the central field, a semi-circular compartment containing a bird, its wings inverted, and three hollow diamond shapes irregularly arranged; the date above the bird; protruding from the edging above each pilaster is a small, inward-facing scroll. Three vertical plank lines can be discerned, one in front of the right-hand figure, one through the I of the initials IH, and one to the right of the second H of the initials HH. The whole design is in low relief.
Notes: This is a reworking of a design seen on a fireback of 1608 (see Phoenix Firebacks no. 585) though intentionally stylised. The decorative elements have yet to be fully interpreted; on the 1608 version the figures are fauns, the vines disgorged from their mouths being related to the 'green man' tradition associated with woodland spirits and symbolising resurrection, the latter echoed by the bird which, on the earlier version is a phoenix. However, in the form in which they appear on both firebacks they may be purely decorative devices. By contrast, the cabled anchor is the badge of the Lord High Admiral but in 1633 the office was vacant. The initials IM indicate that this is an early work by a prolific fireback pattern-maker more usually associated with the eastern Weald.
Inscription: 1633 / HH IH / IM
Current location: Pound Farm, Common Road, Dunsfold, Surrey, England.
Description: Arched rectangular shape; ‘egg and dart’ ovolo moulding visible on top and sides; shield, helmet, crest, mantling and supporters of the Mohun family.
Notes: Cast from a finely carved pattern, the supporters denote these are the arms of a peer. The crest is: Gules, a maunch ermine, with a hand proper holding a fleur de lys or. Egg and dart moulding is rare and examples (at Maidstone and Burwash) may be the work of the same pattern maker. From Sidney Farm, Alfold, Surrey; Reginald Mohun of Dedisham, Rudgwick, Sussex, was husband of Elizabeth Blounte of Dedisham c.1636. Bottom missing due to corrosion.
Arms: Mohun family, barons of Okehampton
Current location: Guildford Museum, Guildford, Surrey, England.
Museum number: G.7106 (part of the Guildford Museum museum group)
- Attached to series:
- Personal armorial firebacks
Description: Rectangular joined to pediment by symmetrical scrolls; fillet edging with embattling inside; shield, helm, crest, supporters and mantling of the city of Bristol; date split by bottom of shield; inscription in an oval cartouche below shield.
Notes: The use of embattling inside the edge and the form of the numbers ‘1’ and '6' in the date suggests that this fireback may be the work of the pattern maker identified on other firebacks as ‘RN’; both '3's have been substituted, indicating an earlier original. The pattern-maker was also responsible for carving royal coats of arms in three West Country churches.
Copies of this fireback are known.
Inscription: 16 33 / [ARMES] BRISTOLL
Arms: City of Bristol
Current location: Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England.
Museum number: 88278827 (part of the English Heritage museum group)
Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2017, 'Church Armorials and Firebacks: Evidence of an Early 17th-Century Woodcarver', Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 135, pp. 213-223.