Firebacks

  1. 429

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 065.jpg
    523 x 552 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with symmetrical floral scrolls on top; three horizontal plank lines; ovolo moulding all round edge of main panel; inscription along top edge of panel; central figure of a bearded man wearing knee-length coat, belted at waist, and holding a sledge hammer in his right hand, his left arm akimbo; both feet pointing to his right; various ‘tools’ of his trade arranged about him; (clockwise from top left) shield, the quarters containing a masonry hammer, a firedog, a weight, and a pair of pincers; the date split on either side of his head; a floral console supporting a shelf bearing a flagon, a tankard and a goblet; a fireback bearing the letters RL and a diamond shape; from the top of the fireback a dog leaping up at its master; between the man’s legs a long-handled ladle, a weight and a cooking pot; a ringer, used to pull slag off molten iron; part of the elevation of a blast furnace, with wooden framework, casting house, and flames issuing from the top; an ore basket, wheelbarrow and a charcoal clamp

    Notes: The ‘Lenard’ fireback; a much-copied plate. Items relating to the founder's working life are displayed to the left of the figure, those to the right reflecting his domestic life. Its individualistic design and naïve figuration are the key to identifying a distinct group of firebacks, all probably made at Brede.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: RICHARⱭ LENARⱭ FOVNⱭER AT BREⱭ FOVRNIS [each D is reversed] / 1636 / RL

    Manufactured: in 1636 at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: LH000.906 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Anon., 30 Dec 1911, 'Sussex Backs and their Story', The Ironmonger.

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2007, 'A Godly chimney plate and other firebacks from Brede', Wealden Iron, 2nd ser., 27, pp. 18-26

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

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2014, 'A Seventeenth-Century Sussex Woodcarver: The Evidence of Cast Ironwork', Regional Furniture, 28, pp. 39-48

    Citation: Starkie Gardner, J., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.