Description: Arched rectangular shape; ovolo moulded edge all round; the fireback is divided, unequally, into three Old Testament scenes. Centre left: Joseph is pushed into a well shaft by one of his brothers; above, six other brothers, wearing cloaks and sober puritan hats, look on; below, one of Joseph’s brothers presents Jacob with Joseph’s coat; Joseph utters the words, ‘Ah it is my son’s coat’ in a speech bubble above. Top right: Isaac kneels on a wooden pyre; behind him, Abraham holds Isaac’s head with his left hand, and raises a cleaver above his head with his right hand; above Abraham, an angel stays his hand; to the right of Isaac a ram stands beside a bush. Bottom right: beneath a pergola Jacob lies on his deathbed; his twelve sons gather round his bed.
Notes: The scenes depicted are derived from, respectively, Genesis 38: 20-24 & 32-33, Genesis 22: 6-13, and Genesis 49. The distinctive pictorial subject, the naïve figuration, as well as a number of minor features, such as the use of an ‘S’ scroll, draw parallels with the Lenard fireback, and the pattern may have been the work of the same wood carver, suggesting that it may share the same source. Another, probably contemporary, example is at Hampton Court.
Copies of this fireback are known.
Inscription: AH IT IS MY SONES COT [Genesis 38: 33]
Current location: Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent, England.