Firebacks

  1. 247

    chawton_house 01.jpg
    1185 x 870 mm

    Description: A modified recasting of a variant of the ‘Armada’ fireback, with changed initials, a single anchor panel, and the addition of plain base and borders, the latter each with a twisted rope saltire, upper middle.

    Notes: It is likely that an original four-panel fireback has been used to recast a copy with additional side and base panels. A second fireback at the house, identical but for being 1% smaller all round, has a full-width extension on top bearing four symmetrical rope saltires, the outer two larger than the inner two; the saltires may have apotropaic significance. The reduction in size of the common elements due to shrinkage suggests the first example was used to make the second. It is alleged that John Knight, who built Chawton House, was rewarded with a fireback for contributing £50 to the Crown at the time of the Armada emergency; given that a great many of the gentry and aristocracy made similar contributions, this story is improbable. It seems likely that this putative original was used to make these two subsequent copies.

    Inscription: 1588 / IK

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chawton House, Chawton, Hampshire, England.

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