Firebacks

Loop edged firebacks

  1. 857

    croft_castle 01.jpg
    790 x 670 mm

    Description: Rectangular with detached pediment linked by S-curves, protruding from each of which is a small scroll; cavetto-moulded edging (top and sides); quartered shield with helm, crest and mantling; initials in top corners.

    Notes: The arms are of Sir Julius Caesar (1558-1636), judge and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1606-13. Blazon: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Gules, three roses argent, on a chief of the second three roses of the first (Caesar); 2nd, argent, two bars sable, on a chief of the second three swans of the first (?Martin); 3rd, gules, three crescents argent (Peryent/Perin). Crest: a dolphin embowed in the sea vert. This example has the additional initials, TC. The style of the carving is the same as on two other firebacks in the same county.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: T C

    Arms: Caesar

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century possibly in the Herefordshire area of England.

    Current location: Croft Castle, Yarpole, Herefordshire, England.

    Museum number: CRO.M.002.1 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  2. 354

    keighley,_east riddlesden hall.jpg
    433 x 463 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped; unique, cavetto moulded edging, which loops upon itself three times. A mythical salamander shown in the flames which legend states it is able to resist; behind is what appears to be a palm tree, on either side of which the date is stamped. Two plank-lines.

    Notes: Whole pattern with added date; one of a series of firebacks where the number ‘1’ is hooked at both ends. A variant, at Lewes, is incorrectly dated 1550.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1650

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, Yorkshire, England.

    Museum number: NT/ERH/M/40 (part of the National Trust museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2007, 'A Godly chimney plate and other firebacks from Brede', Wealden Iron, 2nd ser., 27, pp. 18-26

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

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, 'A Forgery in Iron', Journal of the Iron & Steel Institute, 165, p. 125.

  3. 407

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 041.jpg
    435 x 470 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped; unique, cavetto moulded edging, which loops upon itself three times. A mythical salamander shown in the flames which legend states it is able to resist; behind is what appears to be a palm tree, on either side of which the date is stamped.

    Notes: The fireback has been incorrectly dated 1550 instead of 1650, which Schubert asserted was a forgery claiming indications that a ‘6’ had been erased. Undoubtedly the '6' is more prominent than the other figures though the exact method by which it has been substituted is not clear.

    Inscription: 1550

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: LH000.901 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    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, 'A Forgery in Iron', Journal of the Iron & Steel Institute, 165, p. 125.

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

  4. 409

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 043.jpg
    710 x 560 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape, semi-circular protrusions on top corners; circular loop at top of arch; fillet edging with small twists inside arch, and curls inside and below top corners; a phoenix in flames, its wings displayed and inverted.

    Notes: The use of the loop in the edging draws comparisons with other firebacks, and may indicate the same source.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.061 (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: Schubert, H. R., 1957, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry (London, Routledge), pp. 256-264.

  5. 866

    new_york, met museum 01.jpg
    692 x 597 mm

    Description: Rectangular with a sinuous arch and three simulated loops, one top centre, the other two to each side; two-handled flower vase with gadrooned upper surface and acanthus bas-relief below, trailing fruited vines issuing from top descending through handles to base; lion’s mask at top; date split either side of vase base; ball on each shoulder of the plate; broadened side edges.

    Notes: The simulated loops are seen on a small number of other firebacks, suggesting a common pattern-maker; a variation on a design typical of this period.

    Inscription: 16 77

    Manufactured: in 1677 possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000, Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, United States of America.

    Museum number: 08.81.1 (part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art museum group)

  6. 891

    pimlico,_gifford mead 04a.jpg
    470 x >430 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped; unique, cavetto-moulded edging, which loops upon itself three times. A mythical salamander shown in the flames which legend states it is able to resist; behind is what appears to be a palm tree.

    Notes: Other known variants are dated; this variant confirms that the dates were added to subsequent castings.

    Manufactured: in the mid 17th century possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Pimlico, London, England.

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, 'A Forgery in Iron', Journal of the Iron & Steel Institute, 165, p. 125.

  7. 974

    sheffield,_bishops house 02.jpg
    990 x 962 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape on a plain plinth; scalloped cavetto-moulded edging (top and sides); initials in triad within arch; date split in top corners; unidentified stamp top centre; hound stamp above letter 'R', stag stamp above letter 'A'; annulet stamp repeated inside each half of the date; flat scrolled protuberance on each side of arch; smaller protuberance above each shoulder.

    Notes: The initials are likely to be those of a husband and wife, the stag and hound possibly associated with the husband's occupation. The protuberances are seen in different forms on firebacks on a few firebacks of the same period.

    Inscription: RHA / 16 66

    Manufactured: in 1666 in England.

    Current location: Bishop's House, Norton Lees Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.

    (part of the Museums Sheffield museum group)

  8. 1079

    stoke-on-trent,_ford green hall.jpg
    ?610 x ?560 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape; fillet edging, indented on the inner edge; pictorial representation of a phoenix rising from flames, date split either side of its neck; the lateral edges are wide in relation to the top, from which the arch rises from two loop and is surmounted by a fleur-de-lys; above each shoulder of the plate, a roundel.

    Notes: The looped fillet edging is rarely seen and does not seem to be diagnostic of a particular pattern-maker.

    Inscription: 16 77

    Manufactured: in 1677 possibly in the Staffordshire area of England.

    Current location: Ford Green Hall, Ford Green Road, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

    (part of the Stoke-on-Trent Museums museum group)

  9. 895

    vero_beach, fl.jpg
    679 x 540 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shape, semi-circular protrusions on top corners; cavetto-moulded edging looped at top; two mirrored scrolls inside arch; a phoenix in flames, its wings displayed and inverted; date, in two parts, in top corners; initials in bottom right corner.

    Notes: A variant lacks the date and the initials.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 16 50 / IM

    Manufactured: in 1650 possibly at Brede furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: 492, Old Dixie Highway, Vero Beach, Florida, United States of America.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2014, 'A Seventeenth-Century Sussex Woodcarver: The Evidence of Cast Ironwork', Regional Furniture, 28, pp. 39-48