696? x ? mmImage subject to copyright
Description: Arched rectangular central panel with nutshell edging on a broad fillet; pictorial scene of a standing, winged male figure draped with a cloth, holding a staff in his left hand, above a ground, and with drapery over; arched rectangular border with fillet edging; alternating acanthus leaves with swirled tendrils; on top, two mirrored sea serpents.
Notes: Presumably intended to represent an angel; similarities in the design and execution of the pattern suggest the work of the pattern-maker identified as ‘N’ (q.v.); the missing segment had been filled with a piece from another fireback (removed in this photo).
Current location: Nash's House, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
(part of the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust museum group)
Description: Rectangular; cavetto-moulded edge; a snake rises from a fire and bites the middle finger of the hand of a sleeved left arm that descends from a top right corner cloud; left and right, ‘S’ scrolls appear strapped to the edge of the fireback; the date, top left of centre; initials, bottom right corner.
Notes: An illustration of the New Testament episode (Acts 28: 3) when St Paul, shipwrecked in the island of Malta, was putting sticks on a fire and a viper bit him. The distinctive shape of the ‘1’ in the date and the initials, ‘IM’, together with the ‘S’ scrolls, parallel such features in other firebacks. The design is an adaptation of an illustration in 'Devises Heroiques' by Claudius Paradin (1557) which was translated into English by Geoffrey Whitney as 'The Book of Emblemes' (1586).
Copies of this fireback are known.
Inscription: 1649 / IM
Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.
Museum number: M.119-1984 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)