Firebacks

Loop stamp (early) series

  1. 1015

    rogate,_fyning manor.jpg
    1760 x 940 mm

    Description: Rectangular with two-stepped top; twisted rope edging (top and sides); twisted rope extensions enclosing intermediate step with rope continued parallel to sides; central rope octagram with reversed date above between repeated inverted shield shapes off-set (left higher than right); the shield blazon: barry wavy impaling quarterly, overlaid with a small bird stamp and an indistinct ?bird shape in the top left quarter as viewed; within the rope, a roughly parallel arrangement of 23 double-loop-patterned stamps, with the faint impression of an additional stamp in the top right corner of the arrangement; outside the loop stamps and partially overlying the vertical rope extensions, the impressions of two classically designed firedogs with Ionic capitals and fluted pilasters, bearing the date 1594, but with the '1' missing; the fluting on the pilasters has been overlaid by the repeated impression of a turned peg.

    Notes: A large and remarkably elaborate fireback: the octagram, a device seen as uncommonly on continental firebacks as on English ones, suggests an apotropaic purpose; the impression of the firedogs was clearly made after the laying of the rope lengths and impressed less deeply as the rope impression has not been obliterated by the firedog on the left side. A fireback with the same loop stamps bears the same date using the same numerals but impressed the correct way round. Currently obscured behind a wood stove.

    Inscription: 4951 [951 reversed] / 594 594

    Manufactured: in 1594 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Fyning Manor, Rogate, West Sussex, England.

  2. 919

    singleton,_weald and downland open air museum 03.jpg
    826 x 686 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; rope edging (top and sides); undulating floriate design across top of rectangle, below which are alternating roses (4) and ?crowned cross stamps (5); the same cross and rose stamps decorate the arch, three crosses on each side of a rose at the top; at the base of the arch is a row of four stamps formed of a double figure-of-eight joined by opposed concave curves; the same stamps (3), rotated 90 degrees, are arranged in a row down the left side of the plate.

    Notes: Similar undulating floriate designs have been seen on late-medieval and sixteenth century stools, suggesting a possible source. A fireback with the same loop stamps bears the same date using the same numerals but impressed in reverse. Unusually, the decoration down the left side is not repeated down the right side.

    Inscription: 1594

    Manufactured: in 1594 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, West Sussex, England.

  3. 1090

    ticehurst,_authentic reclamation 03.jpg
    >440 x >630 mm

    Description: Fragment; probably originally arched rectangular shape with twisted rope edging (only the arch and a section below surviving); below arch, band of repeated short stamps with undulating vine decoration, randomly impressed so that the undulations do not join consistently; above the band, line of ?crowned cross stamps repeated five times; above them, the date (the 3 uncertain) between two vertically-aligned stamps formed of a double figure-of-eight between opposed concave curves; above, a rose stamp between two vertical rectangular stamps of indeterminate design, with a ?crowned rose stamp above; below the band, a line of alternate rose and ?crowned cross stamps, three of each; below, a ?crowned cross stamp and a rectangular stamp.

    Notes: Most of the stamps have been seen on a small group of firebacks of the 1590s concentrated in the western Weald.

    Inscription: 1593[?]

    Manufactured: in 1593 in the Weald area of England.

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