1. 920

    800 x 820 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging; top centre, quartered shield between four 'imp' figures, left facing, one with right arm raised, one of each on each side; below each pair of figures, a rope cross above an inverted V in rope, with an 'imp' figure, arms lowered, below the shield; along the bottom, eight 'imp' figures, alternately arms raised and lowered.

    Notes: The 'imp' figures are common on a group of firebacks, the rope designs having a probable apotropaic significance. The arms are probably of Thomas Wriothesley, who was Henry VIII's last Lord Chancellor and created Earl of Southampton in 1547; he married c.1533 so the arms could date to before then, but the same arms are displayed on his enamelled stall plate in St George's Chapel, Windsor, of 1545, and in stained glass in a window in the parish church at South Warnborough, Hampshire. The same armorial stamp has been noted on at least two other firebacks. A candidate for the earliest English fireback with an example of personal arms.

    Arms: Wriothesley (Earl of Southampton)

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Wigmore, Herefordshire, England.