Firebacks

Manufactured in the mid to late 16th century

81 results

  1. 912

    heathfield,_heathfield house.jpg
    1120 x 540 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); impression of the end of a firedog repeated three times, one upright in centre, two diagonally inverted with feet angled towards top centre; a large saltire of twisted rope in each top corner, a small saltire, of twisted rope and dowel, on either side of top of central firedog; cross of twisted rope below right hand corner saltire; lower centre, two angled rope lengths either side of central firedog. At the bottom, and outside the feet of the central firedog, two excrescences formed by the pouring of the metal.

    Notes: A well-preserved example with an unusual arrangement of the firedog stamp; formerly (c.1886) in the Warbill-in-Tun inn, Warbleton, Sussex.

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

    Current location: in private hands, Heathfield, East Sussex, England.

    Citation: Balcomb, J. T., Nov. 1886, 'An Extinct Sussex Art', The Art Journal, pp. 337-340.

  2. 191

    helston,_godolphin house 01.jpg
    770 x 640 mm

    Description: Arched rectangle; cavetto moulded edging; Tudor royal shield, Garter and crown, with crowned lion and dragon supporters; motto along bottom; Tudor rose to left of crown, portcullis to right.

    Notes: This painted fireback is reputed to have been a gift from King Henry VIII to the second Sir William Godolphin, who was present at the Siege of Boulogne in 1544 with a party of Godolphin tin miners.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: HONI SOIT QVI MAL E PENSE / DIEU ET MON DROIT

    Arms: Tudor royal (Elizabeth I)

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

    Current location: Godolphin House, Helston, Cornwall, England.

    Museum number: 169480 (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).

  3. 334

    huddington_court 02.jpg
    607 x 498 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular; twisted rope lengths along top and sides; centre top, unidentified quartered shield between two vertical carved stamps of a billet with five oval shapes; the same billet is repeated horizontally below between two irregular twisted rope saltires.

    Notes: 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 at South Warnborough, Hampshire.

    Arms: Wriothesley

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

    Current location: in private hands, Huddington, Worcestershire, England.

    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: Starkie Gardner, J., 25 May 1907, 'Old Wealden Ironwork at Warnham Court', Country Life,

  4. 836

    ipswich,_christchurch mansion 07.jpg
    730 x 670 mm

    Description: Rectangular with triangular arch; ovolo-moulded edging (top and sides); small stamp of a quartered shield with helm, crest and mantling above the date '1571, initials split either side of shield, repeated six times in two lines of three, the middle stamp of each line higher than the other two.

    Notes: The arms may be of the family of Humberston quartered with another; the stamp would have been made specially for the fireback, the date and initials being carved with the arms.

    Inscription: I H / 15 71 [repeated 6 times]

    Arms: Humberston family

    Manufactured: in 1571 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

    (part of the Colchester & Ipswich Museums Service museum group)

    Citation: Traill, H. D. and Mann, J. S., 1902, Social England vol. III, (London, Cassell), p. 732

  5. 1083

    lethaby_1a.jpg
    735 x 525 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; fillet edging (top and sides); twisted rope cross in centre of arch; fillet-edged square below arch containing initials of uneven size; along the top, a line of five quatrefoils on each side of the initials; below, two symmetrically carved roundels and associated spandrels, each with a central flower.

    Notes: The quatrefoils and roundels are likely to have been part of a redundant, probably medieval, furniture panel, perhaps from a chest. The life-size drawing is by W. R. Lethaby. The fireback was formerly property of the artist John Callcott Horsley RA (1817-1903) at Wilsley Green, Cranbrook, Kent.

    Inscription: PC

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

    Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, London, England.

    Museum number: 3267-1932 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Lethaby, W. R., 1 Oct 1926, 'English Cast Iron - I', The Builder, 131, no. 4365, pp. 537-8.

  6. 370

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 005.jpg
    >590 x >560 mm

    Description: Fragment; left side only; twisted rope edging to left, canted moulded batten above; left hand print with dividers to its right.

    Notes: An unusual combination of edging. The dividers may refer to the occupation of the person for whom this fireback was cast.

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

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

    Museum number: LH000.798 (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., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

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

    Citation: Starkie Gardner, J., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.

  7. 371

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 006.jpg
    1170 x 770 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging on top and sides; approximately symmetrical arrangement of repeated stamps formed from Gothic tracery cresting (5), fleurs de lys (12 - one over-stamped by a Gothic tracery stamp), butter mould stamps (3), crowned butter mould stamps (3), and rope patterns.

    Notes: Many of the stamps employed on this fireback are seen, with other stamps, on a wide variety of firebacks, suggesting a common source; similar gothic tracery stamps can be seen as pierced cresting on a rare late-Medieval, wooden Easter sepulchre at the redundant church of St Michael at Cowthorpe, North Yorkshire. Correspondence with stamps used on side panels cast with other examples point to this fireback being cast at Pounsley Furnace, Sussex.

    Manufactured: in the mid to 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: LH000.940 (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).

  8. 372

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 007.jpg
    920 x 500 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging all round except on bottom; three impressions of two circular wafering irons: the central one with invected edge, a heart surmounted by a cross beneath which scroll-work is arranged symmetrically, inscription around edge; the two outer stamps comprise a central motif of four hearts arranged in a cross shape, their points facing the centre, within two concentric bands decorated with lace-like patterns. Above each of the two outer stamps is a simple four-pointed cross shape formed from short lengths of twisted rope.

    Notes: The use of wafering irons or butter prints as stamps in casting firebacks is infrequent.

    Inscription: ...N:YOU:NOT: REIVE:MY:HERT:IS:YOURES / [?]1562

    Manufactured: in 1562 in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.048 (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).

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., 1955, 'Old English Firebacks', Country Life, 117, 21 April, pp. 1056-60.

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., May 1940, 'Old English Firebacks', Apollo, 31, 185, pp. 117-120.

  9. 374

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 009.jpg
    >870 x >470 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); a length of twisted rope stamped six times to form a saltire and two crosses across the width of the plate; surplus iron extends from all sides.

    Notes: The surplus iron resulted from over filling of the mould. The crosses are likely to have Christian significance.

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

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.037 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., May 1940, 'Old English Firebacks', Apollo, 31, 185, pp. 117-120.

  10. 375

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 010.jpg
    1035 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); central rope carbuncle with eight arms, with a rose between each of the top six pairs of arms; a fleur-de-lys repeated six times in two triads (2-1) in each top corner; a letter E rotated clockwise repeated 8 times along the top between the fleurs and roses, and twice down each side; four additional Es, one to the left of the carbuncle and three to the right.

    Notes: All the stamps can be seen on other firebacks associating them with the same source; The Es are identical to those seen on the John Harvo armorial fireback.

    Manufactured: in the mid to 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: 1944.24.076 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Hughes, G. B., May 1940, 'Old English Firebacks', Apollo, 31, 185, pp. 117-120.