Firebacks

In the Saffron Walden Museum museum group

  1. 673

    saffron_walden museum 01.jpg
    513 x 805 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel and bead edging; pictorial scene probably showing the annunciation of the Virgin Mary; Mary sits beneath a canopy on the left, to which an angel descends, behind two figures seated on a stepped dais; above, two figures sit above a cloud, a curtain to the right; arched rectangular border with fillet edging, containing twisted ribbon; palm fronds gathered with a ribbon along the bottom. On top, two vases, one on each shoulder of the border, with swirled foliage descending from a central scallop shell.

    Notes: Probably a pastiche of a Dutch design.

    Manufactured: in the late 17th century in England.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 2819 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

  2. 674

    saffron_walden museum 02.jpg
    705 x 968 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead edging; pictorial scene of a seated female figure resting against a hurdle, holding an anchor, a child on each side of her, the one on the left standing clutching corn stalks, the one on the right sitting also holding the anchor and a circular object; a bird sits on a post; arched rectangular border with fillet edging; at the top of the arch a cartouche from which are suspended two ribbons, each held by a putto, from which cascade flowers and fruit, each lower part hung from a ring; two putti are on each side, one climbing on the suspended ribbon, the other at its foot; at the bottom, an empty cartouche between two clusters of flowers each suspended on a ribbon tied to a scroll; on top, two descending cornucopiae.

    Notes: The figure represents Hope. The theft in 1699 from a Thames-side warehouse of several firebacks, including '3 of Hope with an Anchor' may refer to this type (Post Boy 11-14 Nov. 1699).

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 1889-9 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

  3. 675

    saffron_walden museum 03.jpg
    302 x 470 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape; fillet edging; centre, fluted flower vase containing a variety of flowers, with a plant growing on each side, all within an arched rectangular bead-and-pellet border with looped top corners; on each side, a festoon of bell flowers, with a putto blowing a trumpet above; over each of their heads a single rose; top centre, a sunburst; bottom, an animalís face between mirrored swirled foliage.

    Notes: One of a small group of firebacks with similar outlines.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 18th century in England.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 1897-03 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

  4. 676

    saffron_walden museum 04.jpg
    386 x 650 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel; bead-and-pellet edging; scene showing a semi-naked figure holding a trident in his right hand and a sheaf of corn in his raised left hand; standing on ground, with swagged drapery and tassels above, and an anchor behind right; arched rectangular border with fillet edging; on top, scallop shell symmetrical descending arrangement of swirled fronds and shells, which continue on the bottom; monogram at bottom centre; on top, mirrored stylised sea monsters.

    Notes: The figure is Neptune, one of a set of 'Eight Deities' engraved by Hendrick Goltzius (1592), after Polidoro da Caravaggio; the fireback is one of a large group bearing the same initials, which probably denotes the pattern maker. Other groups may have been the work of the same carver or workshop. The execution is rather crude.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: SHR

    Manufactured: in the late 17th to early 18th century in England.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 1889-35 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

  5. 678

    saffron_walden museum 06.jpg
    298 x 485 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular main panel; fillet edging; nude female figure standing on shield and holding a wind-blown sheet, upon a ground; suspended floral garlands with swirled foliage above; on top, a scallop shell between two symmetrical sea serpents

    Notes: The figure is of Fortune. The theft in 1699 from a Thames-side warehouse of several firebacks, including '5 iron Chimney-Backs cast in the figure of Fortune standing naked on a Conchus in the Sea' may refer to this type (Post Boy 11-14 Nov. 1699).

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century possibly in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 1901-39 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

  6. 679

    saffron_walden museum 07a.jpg
    897 x 748 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; cavetto moulding all round; spreading oak tree, with leaves and acorns, filling the whole plate; three royal crowns, one at the top of the tree, the other two symmetrically on the ends of branches towards the top corners; initials CR towards the bottom corners, the remaining inscription on a scroll across the base.

    Notes: The design is derived from the celebrated occasion when Charles II evaded his pursuers by hiding in an oak tree at Boscobel House, near Wolverhampton, following the final Royalist defeat at the battle of Worcester in 1651. This popular fireback has been copied frequently.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: C THE ROYALL OAK R

    Manufactured: in the mid 17th century in England.

    Current location: Saffron Walden Museum, Saffron Walden, Essex, England.

    Museum number: 1899-2 (part of the Saffron Walden Museum museum group)

    Citation: Butterfield, W. R., 19 Jan 1935, 'Charles II Fireback', Hastings and St Leonards Observer.

    Citation: Butterfield, W. R., 1916, 'Old Wealden Firebacks', The Connoisseur, 46, pp. 197-209.