Firebacks

  1. 424

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 059.jpg
    590 x 920 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel with bead edging terminating at the top in two loops, gather drapery and a scallop shell; two figures to the right, both bearded, the one kneeling wears cavalry armour, a cloak and a crown, the other stands behind; to the left is a sacrificial pyre on which an ox carcass burns, and above an angel carrying a sword in his right hand and a skull in his left; around this is an arched rectangular border with fillet edging and a repeated leaf pattern; on top is a scallop shell between two dolphins.

    Notes: The scene illustrates the visitation of the pestilence on Israel described in 2 Samuel 24, and the sacrifice of an oxen by King David; the skull borne by the angel represents the death of those struck down by the plague. A slightly different version has the face of David looking down.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

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

    Current location: Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 1944.24.070 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry (London, Routledge), pp. 256-264.