Description: Rectangular; cavetto-moulded edge; a snake rises from a fire and bites the middle finger of the hand of a sleeved left arm that descends from a top right corner cloud; left and right, ‘S’ scrolls appear strapped to the edge of the fireback; the date, top left of centre; initials, bottom right corner.
Notes: An illustration of the New Testament episode (Acts 28: 3) when St Paul, shipwrecked in the island of Malta, was putting sticks on a fire and a viper bit him. The distinctive shape of the ‘1’ in the date and the initials, ‘IM’, together with the ‘S’ scrolls, parallel such features in other firebacks. The design is an adaptation of an illustration in 'Devises Heroiques' by Claudius Paradin (1557) which was translated into English by Geoffrey Whitney as 'The Book of Emblemes' (1586).
Copies of this fireback are known.
Inscription: 1649 / IM
- Decoration tags:
- rectangular (shape)
- cavetto (edging)
- whole carved pattern
Manufactured: in 1649 possibly at Brede Furnace in the Weald area of England.
Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.
Museum number: M.119-1984 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)
Citation: Hamling, T., 2010, Decorating the 'Godly' Household (New Haven, Yale), pp. 251-2.
Citation: Hamling, T., 2015, 'Seeing Salvation in the Domestic Hearth in Post-Reformation England' in J. Willis (ed.), Sin and Salvation in Reformation England (Farnham, Ashgate Publishing), 223-44.
Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).
Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2014, 'A Seventeenth-Century Sussex Woodcarver: The Evidence of Cast Ironwork', Regional Furniture, 28, pp. 39-48.
- Attached to series:
- IM series
- Hooked '1' series
- New Testament firebacks
- Brede group