Firebacks

Swan series

  1. 10

    alfriston_clergy house.jpg
    1280 x 540 mm

    Description: Rectangular; rope edging (top and sides); central Tudor royal shield with encircling garter (motto reversed: HONE SOVT QVEY … PEN), separate greyhound and lion supporters, separate crown; a bird, repeated in each top corner, its wings displayed and inverted and its head facing behind and to the left, standing on a scroll; a fleur de lys repeated in the bottom corners; inside the birds is a repeated stamp, half of one similar to a stamp on a fireback in Hastings Museum.

    Notes: The particular form of the Tudor arms and supporters is frequently encountered; the birds (probably swans, a Lancastrian icon) are also seen on other firebacks, as is the distinctive style of fleurs de lys; the combined use of these three groups of stamps suggests a common source.

    Arms: Tudor royal (prob. Henry VIII)

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

    Current location: The Clergy House, Alfriston, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/ALF/M/1 (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).

  2. 855

    chailey,_warren farmhouse 01.jpg
    1320 x 737 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); inner border of repeated strips of undulating vine tendril, inside of which are stamped panels of repeated grape bunches, totalling 27 along the upper edge and 13 down each side; inside them is a further border of vine strips within which are five columns of a swan stamp. each repeated three times, below each of which are three further grape bunch stamps except the middle column, where the grape bunches are above the swans.

    Notes: A complex and well executed design incorporating three stamps found on many other firebacks.

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

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

  3. 996

    goudhurst,_chequer tree farmhouse.jpg
    905 x 695 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular shape (42.5mm wider at the bottom); border formed of strips carved with an undulating vine (top and sides); successive rows of repeated stamps: (from top) 18 'hops' or 'grape bunches' in line, horizontal fillet with line of beads below, line of vine strips, 5 'swans' in line with 'hops'/'grape bunches' at top and bottom of gaps, line of vine strips, line of beads with horizontal fillet below, 17 'hops'/'grape bunches' in line, and line of vine strips (partially obscured by what appears to be the repeated pressing of finger tips into the casting sand to form an extension at the base).

    Notes: One of a series of firebacks incorporating the use of the undulating vine strip, and the 'swan' stamp. This may be a recasting produced by the firm of Charles Wayte & Cheverton, formerly of Edenbridge, Kent, as a similar back was illustrated in their catalogue.

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

    Current location: in private hands, Goudhurst, Kent, England.

  4. 96

    handcross,_nymans 01.jpg
    1515 x 735 mm

    Description: Rectangular; undulating vine tendril edging (top and upper sides); eight circular, fleur-de-lys butter mould stamps alternating (except at left end) with six rectangular, fleur-de-lys and leaf shortbread or gingerbread stamps, in a line along the top; six bird stamps (wings displayed and inverted) alternating with five pairs of butter mould stamps, as above; continuous line of horizontal vine strips; six descending vine strips, interspaced unevenly with eight butter mould stamps, in pairs except for rightmost two.

    Notes: The bird (probably a swan, a Lancastrian badge) and vine strip stamps are encountered on several firebacks. In 1868 this fireback was recorded at Tickeridge, West Hoathly, Sussex.

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

    Current location: Nymans, Staplefield Road, Handcross, Slaugham, West Sussex, England.

    Museum number: NT/NYM/M/23 (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).

    Citation: Stenning, J. C., 1868, 'Notes on East-Grinstead', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 20, 151-2.

  5. 383

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 018.jpg
    970 x 705 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; thin twisted rope edging on top and sides; trailing vine strips frame a row of repeated bird stamps (5) above repeated rose en soleil stamps (5); single bird stamp with two short, slanting vine strips in top arch.

    Notes: Stamps are all common to the same group; a recast plate.

    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: LH000.941 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

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

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

  6. 854

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 105.jpg
    >690 x 810 mm

    Description: Sub-rectangular fragment; undulating vine tendril strip repeated twice vertically from left edge with a bird stamp repeated three times between, interspersed with a grape cluster stamp repeated seven times; vine tendril stamp repeated twice horizontally at right angles to rightmost vertical strip, three bird stamps between strips and two above, interspersed with seven grape cluster stamps.

    Notes: This fragment incorporates common elements from a large series of firebacks.

    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: LH000.924 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

  7. 469

    lloyd_004.jpg
    ~817 x ~393 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular; edging formed of repeated bordered strip with undulating vine with fruit and leaves; horizontal line of two uneavenly repeated vine strips dividing the plate into two compartments, the upper comprising a grape bunch repeated eighteen times, the lower comprising a swan, its head turned to its left and one visible wing displayed and inverted, repeated five times with a grape bunch repeated twelve times at the ends and between each swan on the top and bottom of the compartment.

    Notes: The vine strip, swan and grape bunch stamps feature on many firebacks indicating a common source. Illustration from Lloyd, 1925.

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

    Current location:.

    Citation: Lloyd, N., 1925, 'Domestic Ironwork I', Architectural Review, 58, pp. 58-67.

  8. 620

    ripley_034.jpg
    920 x 750 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with rounded corners; ovolo within fillet moulding all round; oval Tudor royal shield with garter surrounding, topped with a royal crown; dragon and greyhound supporters; initials split by crown; inscription on a fillet between legs of supporters, behind garter finial; motto on an Ionic plinth at bottom; two rectangular side panels, each with a bird stamp above a vine strip stamp repeated three times vertically.

    Notes: One of two known variants of the John Harvo fireback incorporating extension panels with vine strips and 'swans'; the positions of the swans vary slightly between the two variants.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: E R / HONY SOIT QUE MAL Y PAYNCE / Made in Sussex by John Harvo / DU ET MOUN DROI

    Arms: Tudor royal - prob. Edward VI

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

    Current location: Mark Ripley Forge & Fireplaces, Northbridge Street, Robertsbridge, East Sussex, England.

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

  9. 848

    unknown_40 850x640.jpg
    ~920 x ~750 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with rounded corners; ovolo within fillet moulding all round; oval Tudor royal shield with garter surrounding, topped with a royal crown; dragon and greyhound supporters; initials split by crown; inscription on a fillet between legs of supporters, behind garter finial; motto on an Ionic plinth at bottom; two rectangular side panels, each with a bird stamp above a vine strip stamp repeated three times vertically.

    Notes: One of two known variants of the John Harvo fireback incorporating extension panels with vine strips and 'swans'; the positions of the swans vary slightly between the two variants.

    Inscription: E R / HONY SOIT QUE MAL Y PAYNCE

    Arms: Tudor royal - prob. Edward VI

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

    Current location:.

  10. 735

    va_11.jpg
    740 x 630 mm

    Description: Rectangular; three birds turned to the left, their heads facing right, and their right wing extended; vine pattern strips, one horizontal along the top, 14, of varied length, vertically across the rest of the fireback; seven ‘pineapple’ shapes with criss-cross markings, arranged in three groups — 3-1-3 — adjacent to the birds.

    Notes: The same vine strips are found on several firebacks, including some of the ‘Anne Forster’ series; the birds are also seen on a number of firebacks; the ‘pineapple’ shapes may be the same as those on the ‘Anne Forster’ graveslab in Crowhurst church, Surrey. John Starkie Gardner and later writers attributed the birds to an association with the Fowle family; this is unlikely to be correct as the Fowles came to prominence in the iron industry towards the end of the sixteenth century and had their own distinctive decorative emblems. Formerly in the collection of Lady Dorothy Nevill.

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

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

    Museum number: M.120-1914 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

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

    Citation: Faraday, L., Feb 1939, 'Sussex Firebacks in the Victoria and Albert Museum', Sussex County Magazine, 13, 2, pp. 100-103.

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

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

    Citation: Straker, E., 1931, Wealden Iron (London, Bell)