Firebacks

Manufactured in the mid to late 18th century

  1. 1080

    boston,_museum of fine arts.jpg
    686 x 641 mm

    Description: Cast-iron fireback consisting of a panel with an arched top and scrolled ears. Decorated with reliefs, foliate borders at the sides, and in the centre with a coat of arms consisting of a shield, three castles separated by a chevron with an open compass, and with crest of a bird with a leafed branch in its beak, all elaborated with foliage. Motto along arched crest; motto in scroll below arms; maker’s name along bottom.

    Notes: The arms are essentially those of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, granted in 1717, differenced by the motto; the Massachusetts Lodge was founded in 1733; the blazon is an adaptation of the arms of the Worshipful Company of Masons. Joseph Webb was a Boston ironmonger and chandler; his 1765 trade card was designed by fellow Freemason Paul Revere, who may also have cast the fireback.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: THE • FREE • MASONS • ARMS / FOLLOW • REASON / SOLD • BY • JOSEPH • WEBB • BOSTON

    Arms: Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Freemasons

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 18th century probably at (Boston) North End furnace in the Massachusetts area of United States of America.

    Current location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

    Museum number: 1982.618 (part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts museum group)

  2. 933

    christies_3-07-02 730mm x 730mm.jpg
    730 x 730 mm

    Description: Carved wooden fireback pattern. Arched rectangular shape with fillet and cavetto-moulded edging; a canopy with swagged drapery descending from ribbon bunches, beneath which stand two figures: behind, a female angelic figure, right breast exposed, blowing a trumpet held in her left hand and holding an arched rectangular shield in her right hand; in front, a classically dressed male figure wearing a face mask; slatted extensions to the side and bottom; two battens to the rear of the pattern, visible at the top.

    Notes: The significance of the scene has not been identified. Christie's auction 3 Jul 2002 lot 160.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 18th century in France.

    Current location:.

  3. 362

    lamberhurst,_scotney castle 04.jpg
    559 x 507 mm

    Description: Rectangle; no edging; date just above centre; initials above date.

    Notes: The disparity between the quality of the stamping of the date and initials may be because the date has been stamped from a single block. There are stylistic similarities with the memorial plate to John and Ann Luck, dated 1771, in Wadhurst church porch, Sussex.

    Inscription: I H / 1776

    Manufactured: in 1776 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Kent, England.

    Museum number: NT/SCO/oc/M/190 (part of the National Trust museum group)

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

  4. 555

    pet-m-47.jpg
    540 x 858 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel with overlapping leaf edging; pictorial scene of Poseidon/Neptune holding a trident in this right hand, and grasping the reins of two hippocampi in his left hand; beneath his feet a scallop shell, and to his lower left a putto blowing a horn; suspended above him an assemblage of shells; stepped-arched rectangular shaped border with scalloped fillet edging; top centre, scallop shell with a descending arrangment of seashells and seaweed; on top, a scallop shell between two putti and below them, two dolphins.

    Notes: An uncharacteristically elaborate version of the usual 'Dutch' style of fireback, suggesting a later date, or possibly a pastiche.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 18th century in Germany.

    Current location: Petworth House, Petworth, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/PET/M/47 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  5. 1044

    salisbury,_anthony west.jpg
    600 x 610 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with sloped spandrels; stepped fillet-moulded edging; pictorial scene of a behatted woman and a girl standing behind a kneeling cloaked figure of a man wearing a pointed cap and holding an open book, with a cross above it; to the left a cottage with trees and ground; to the right the frame of a building.

    Notes: The scene is entitled 'Frère Luce', copied from an engraving by Nicolas Larmessin III (1656-1725), of a painting (now lost) by Nicolas Vleughels (1668-1737), from 'Suites d'Estampes Nouvelles pour les Contes de La Fontaine' (c.1736-43).

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 18th century in France.

    Current location: in private hands Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

    Citation: Carpentier, H., 1912, Plaques de Cheminées, Paris.

  6. 988

    unknown_89 910x760.jpg
    910 x 760 mm

    Description: Complex quasi-arched rectangular shape with astragal and fillet edging; within a parallel border and a rococo cartouche an oval shield (argent, a lion rampant sable, crowned, armed and langued gules), surmounted by a ducal coronet, and a bishop's mitre and crozier; above, a bishop's hat with trailing tassels; below, a compartment semie with diamond shapes.

    Notes: Henri-Louis-René de Nos (1717-93) was abbot of Saint-Sauveur de Redon in 1747 and later, successively, Bishop of Rennes and of Verdun.

    Arms: Henri-Louis-René de Nos

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 18th century in France.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Palasi, P., 2014, Plaques de Cheminées Héraldiques (Paris, Éditions Gourcuff-Gradenigo)

  7. 781

    west_hoathly, priest house 02.jpg
    537 x 777 mm

    Description: Rectangular with arched, mirrored, scrolls on top, surmounted by the winged face of a cherub; fillet edging continued into mirrored scrolls over the top; on either side, scrolled stylised seed pods; central scene of King David beneath a baldachin standing on a plinth, playing a harp to his left; to his left a child plays the violin, to his right another plays a trumpet, both stand on low plinths; at the bottom, a rectangular panel with an oval within a cartouche between swirled foliage.

    Notes: An untypical religious-inspired subject with notably rococo design elements.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

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

    Current location: Priest House, West Hoathly, West Sussex, England.

    (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).