Firebacks

Abraham & Isaac firebacks

  1. 139

    hastings_021.jpg
    535 x 790 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shaped central panel with bead-and-pellet edging; figure of Abraham, a scimitar in his raised right hand, which is being restrained by an angel emerging from a cloud; Isaac is kneeling to Abraham's left and a ram is caught in a bush to the left of the plate; the initials are in the top corners; arched rectangular shaped border with fillet edging, and swags of leaves suspended from flowers; on top, symmetrical foliate swirls.

    Notes: The design is an adaptation of an engraving by Adriaen Collaert (1555-1623) of a painting by Maarten de Vos (1532-1603), Plate 5 of The Story of Abraham. In the 'Thesaurus sacrarum historiarum veteris testamenti', published in Antwerp by Gerard de Jode (1509-1591) in 1579, 1585 and, subsequently, by Visscher in 1589. One of a small group of firebacks, all of similar shape, some with biblical designs, others mythological, all dated around 1700 and bearing the letters GK.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: G K / 1700

    Manufactured: in 1700 in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 052.51.37 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

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

  2. 413

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 047.jpg
    360 x 605 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel with bead edging; standing figure of Abraham about to sacrifice a kneeling Isaac, Abraham's raised right hand holding a sword is retrained by an angel; behind Abraham is a ram; initials are placed in a triangle above behind and in front of the group; arched rectangular border with fillet edging and descending floral and fruit bunches on a ribbon, hanging from rings, foliate swirls at base; vases on rectangle shoulders and at top, between two putti

    Notes: The initials appear to have been added subsequently.

    Inscription: B / E A

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century possibly in the Siegerland area of Germany.

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

    Museum number: LH000.946 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

  3. 577

    pet-m-68.jpg
    488 x 763 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel with bead-and-pellet edging; pictorial scene of Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac, the former's hand being stayed by an angel, a ram in an adjacent thicket; arched rectangular border with fillet edging; arrangement of sunflowers linked with festoons of leaves; at bottom, swirled foliage; on top, a scallop shell between mirrored swirled foliage.

    Notes: The scene is from the Old Testament - Genesis 22: 12; a popular subject on firebacks.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century possibly in the Siegerland area of Germany.

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

    Museum number: NT/PET/M/68 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  4. 669

    rottingdean_grange 02.jpg
    560 x 475 mm

    Description: Rectangular; reversed cavetto-moulded edge on top and sides; pictorial scene depicting Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac; Abraham is on the left, holding the top of Isaac’s head with his left hand, his right hand holding a sword; in the middle stands a pyre; above and to the right an angel emerges from the clouds, while below a ram stands beside a bush; the inscription is above and to the left.

    Notes: The scene is drawn from Genesis 22: 11; And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham”: and he said, “Here am I”. The subject and the naïve figuration is similar to a fireback incorporating two other Old Testament scenes.

    Inscription: ABRAHAM ABRAHAM [Genesis 22: 11]

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

    Current location: Rottingdean Grange, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England.

    (part of the Rottingdean Preservation Society 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., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

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

  5. 94

    westerham,_squerryes court 01.jpg
    960 x 750 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; ovolo moulded edge all round; the fireback is divided, unequally, into three Old Testament scenes. Centre left: Joseph is pushed into a well shaft by one of his brothers; above, six other brothers, wearing cloaks and sober puritan hats, look on; below, one of Joseph’s brothers presents Jacob with Joseph’s coat; Joseph utters the words, ‘Ah it is my son’s coat’ in a speech bubble above. Top right: Isaac kneels on a wooden pyre; behind him, Abraham holds Isaac’s head with his left hand, and raises a cleaver above his head with his right hand; above Abraham, an angel stays his hand; to the right of Isaac a ram stands beside a bush. Bottom right: beneath a pergola Jacob lies on his deathbed; his twelve sons gather round his bed.

    Notes: The scenes depicted are derived from, respectively, Genesis 38: 20-24 & 32-33, Genesis 22: 6-13, and Genesis 49. The distinctive pictorial subject, the naïve figuration, as well as a number of minor features, such as the use of an ‘S’ scroll, draw parallels with the Lenard fireback, and the pattern may have been the work of the same wood carver, suggesting that it may share the same source. Another, probably contemporary, example is at Hampton Court.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: AH IT IS MY SONES COT [Genesis 38: 33]

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

    Current location: Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent, England.

    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: Robertson, W. A. S., 1886, 'Squerryes Court, the Camp and the Pictures', Archaeologia Cantiana, 16, pp. 134-141.