Firebacks

In the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group

103 results

  1. 427

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 062.jpg
    390 x 570 mm

    Description: Rectangular with three sem-circular arches on top, the middle arch higher and wider than the others; ovolo-moulded edging (top and sides); top centre, equestrian figure stamp; six small stamps of iconic figures down the side,s arranged in two columns.

    Notes: An unusual fireback with stamps about 90mm high; the stamps are likely to have been cast from brass or iron mantelpiece ornaments, popular in the Victorian period.

    Manufactured: in the 19th century in England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.089 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

  2. 428

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 064.jpg
    1085 x 1255 mm

    Description: Rectangular, with low curved top and stepped concave corners; suspended floral-chain border on top and sides; alternate small and large rings along the bottom; plain panel at base. Arms of Webster, baronet, of Battle: Azure, on a bend argent, cotised Or, between two demi-lions ermine, a rose gules, barbed and seeded proper, between two boars’ heads couped sable.

    Notes: Sir Thomas Webster was created baronet in 1703; he was succeeded by his son, Whistler, in 1750. A pair of matching, cast-iron side plates form a set with this fireback.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Arms: Webster of Battle

    Manufactured: in the early 18th century possibly at Robertsbridge furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Barbican House, High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 39.52/LH000.986 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

  3. 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.

  4. 430

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 066.jpg
    >517 x 760 mm

    Description: Fragment; to the left, rectangular panel with braid edging, vine standard with six bunches of grapes and a cluster at the top; to the right, rectangular panel with wide fillet edging, arched recess with three flower heads in low relief, four circular depressions in the arch spandrels; on top, a semi-circular panel with fillet edging, within which are the date between the initials, with scattered small rings, below is a pattern of eight linked circles; vestige of another semi-circular panel to the left.

    Notes: Potentially a fragment of a large fireback, the vestage of a second semi-circular arched panel on top offers the possibility that several other panels originally existed further to the right. The two surviving panels combine elements from two separate sub-groups of firebacks that were moulded from individual, interchangeable panels, indicating that the sub-groups originated from a common source.

    Inscription: I 1598 R

    Manufactured: in 1598 in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.083 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

  5. 431

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 067b.jpg
    1215 x 560 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); undulating vine strip repeated in a line four times along the top, and four times vertically on each side of central inscription panel, with shorter vine strip repeated below vertical strips on each side.

    Notes: One of several firebacks that re-use the memorial inscription to 'Ane Forster' (Anne Foster) of Crowhurst, Surrey. The vine strip stamp is seen on other firebacks. The excrescence obscuring part of the text was probably the result of clumsy pouring of the iron during casting which displced some of the sand mould.

    Inscription: HER:LIETH:ANE:FORST / R:DAVGHTER:AND: / HEYR:TO:THOMAS: / GAYNSFORD:ESQVIER / DECEASED:XVIII:OF: / IANVARI:1591:LEAVYNG / BEHIND:HER:II:SONES: / AND:V:DAVGHTERS

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly at Pounsley furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hall Place, Bexley, Kent, England.

    Museum number: LH000.904 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2018, 'The Anne Forster Firebacks', Surrey Archaeological Collections, 101, 99-114.

  6. 432

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 068.jpg
    850 x 653 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging; top centre, inscription panel.

    Notes: One of several firebacks that re-use the memorial inscription to 'Ane Forster' (Anne Foster) of Crowhurst, Surrey. Formerly in the John H. Every collection, for which it was purchased in 1921 in Broadway, Worcs., having allegedly come from Billingshurst, Sussex.

    Inscription: HER:LIETH:ANE:FORST / R:DAVGHTER:AND: / HEYR:TO:THOMAS: / GAYNSFORD:ESQVIER / DECEASED:XVIII:OF: / IANVARI:1591:LEAVYNG / BEHIND:HER:II:SONES: / AND:V:DAVGHTERS

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly at Pounsley furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: Shoreham 92/1900 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2018, 'The Anne Forster Firebacks', Surrey Archaeological Collections, 101, 99-114.

  7. 434

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 072.jpg
    533 x 590 mm

    Description: Damaged; rectangle, flanged edging; two vertical panels, each with a row of lancet arches along the top: on right, robed figure with a crown, head tilted to left, left hand raised in benediction, right hand holding a chalice, standing on a bracket; on right, similar figure facing forward.

    Notes: Stoveplate. Similar plates suggest these may be two of the Magi.

    Manufactured: in the early 16th century in the Eifel area of Germany.

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

    Museum number: LH000.795 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

  8. 435

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 075.jpg
    1206 x 545 mm

    Description: Rectangular (damaged top left corner); plain plate; centre top, a circle of twisted rope enclosing a shield, indented at the top, charged with a bird upon a branch; on each side, a cross of twisted rope above two splayed lengths of rope.

    Notes: The rope design is likely to be apotropaic; the heavily pitted reverse of this fireback shows the use of poor quality iron cast at a relatively low temperature; the bird shield stamp has been seen on another fireback with clear French provenance.

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in France.

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

    (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.

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

  9. 436

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 076c.jpg
    918 x 628 mm

    Description: Rectangular; carved moulding edging; centre, inscription panel; undulating vine strip stamp repeated thirteen times to form an inner border along each side of the inscription panel.

    Notes: The only fireback of the Anne Forster series to have edging formed from wooden moulding probably from dismantled furniture. Given to the Sussex Archaeological Society in 1850 by Sir Henry Shiffner Bt., of Coombe Place, Hamsey, Sussex. A former occupant of his burnt-out estate cottage, where it had been found, was said to have been a Miss Forster.

    Inscription: HER:LIETH:ANE:FORST / R:DAVGHTER:AND: / HEYR:TO:THOMAS: / GAYNSFORD:ESQVIER / DECEASED:XVIII:OF: / IANVARI:1591:LEAVYNG / BEHIND:HER:II:SONES: / AND:V:DAVGHTERS

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly at Pounsley furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2018, 'The Anne Forster Firebacks', Surrey Archaeological Collections, 101, 99-114.

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

    Citation: Lower, M. A., 1852, 'Monumental iron slab of Anne Forster', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 5, pp. 202-4

  10. 437

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 077a.jpg
    960 x 695 mm

    Description: Sub-rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); centre, straight length of twisted material (rope or metal) stamped eight times to form an octagram, and twice on each side to form saltires.

    Notes: The octagram has magical symbolism, allegedly providing protection against evil.

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

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.038 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Mercer, H. C., 1961, The Bible in Iron (3rd ed. Doylestown, The Bucks County Historical Society).

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