1. 174

    1219 x 495 mm

    Description: Rectangular; plain plate with central crossed-square rope pattern with crosses at the corner and top; on each side a rectangular stamp with swirled tendril, serpent and demi-cup decoration.

    Notes: The crossed square was an alchemistic symbol for iron vitriol (i.e. ferrous sulphate or copperas), but the crosses at the extremities may indicate other symbolism or none; similar patterns are found on other firebacks of a group that may have been associated with Pounsley furnace, Sussex. The repeated panel at the top appears to have been formed using a mould for a section of a plasterwork frieze, resulting in an intaglio impression (approx 395 x 142mm or 15½ x 5½ in.) as opposed to the normal bas-relief; this is very unusual on a fireback. The style of the mould dates from the Elizabethan or Jacobean period. The stubs on the bottom edge are likely to have been the remains of runners where the molten iron entered the mould. Recovered from a property in Burwash, Sussex, in 1910.

    Manufactured: in the late 16th to early 17th century possibly at Pounsley Furnace, Framfield in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, John's Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: HASMG: 1910.26.1 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Baines, J. M., 1958, Wealden Firebacks (Hastings Museum).

    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).