Firebacks

Phoenix firebacks

  1. 154

    hastings_037.jpg
    432 x 597 mm

    Description: Rectangular central panel with bead edging; a phoenix, with wings displayed, rising from the flames; rectangular border with bead edging, flowers and leaves festooned from a central flower; initials split either side of a flower at the base; on top, symmetrical swirled leaves.

    Notes: Although similar to 'Dutch' types made in north Germany, this is probably an English design. A fireback bearing a phoenix was one of three designs ordered by Trubshaw's, ironmongers of London and Birmingham, from George Sitwell's furnace at Foxbrooke, Derbyshire, in the 1660s.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: R (or B) G

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 17th century in England.

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

    Museum number: 952.51.16 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

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

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

    Citation: Riden, P., 1985, George Sitwell's Letterbook, 1662-66 (Derbyshire Record Society vol. 10).

  2. 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.

  3. 585

    petworth_064.jpg
    910 x 756 mm

    Description: Central arched rectangular shape formed of fluted Ionic pilasters supporting a rounded arch, with fillet edging, bearing the date between two flower heads; beneath is a fouled anchor within a circlet of rope gathered into eight loops; a phoenix, its wings displayed and inverted, rises from the flames above the rope; mirrored outside each pilaster, a crouching, naked faun, facing inwards, disgorges a vine with bunches of grapes; above each faun a volute forms the top corner of the plate.

    Notes: The decorative elements of this fireback have yet to be fully interpreted; the vines disgorged from the mouths of the fauns are related to the 'green man' tradition associated with woodland spirits and symbolising resurrection, the latter echoed by the phoenix, though in the form in which they appear on this fireback they may be a purely decorative device. By contrast, the cabled anchor is the badge of the Lord High Admiral who, in 1608, was Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (previously Lord Howard of Effingham). A pastiche of this fireback, dated 1633, is also known.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1608

    Manufactured: in 1608 in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: NT/L/PET/M/117.1 (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).

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

  4. 590

    richmond,_ham house 02.jpg
    685 x 558 mm

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

    Notes: A variant bears the date, 1650, and the initials, IM; a loop normally at the top is absent.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

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

    Current location: Ham House, Richmond, Surrey, England.

    Museum number: NT/HAM/XX/300 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  5. 1082

    skinner_14 aug 2016 lot 226 394x565.jpg
    394 x 565 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel; fillet edging; pictorial scene of a phoenix rising from a fire; above right, a human mask at the centre of a sunburst; arched rectangular border with fillet edging, the date between initials along the bottom; down each side, a floral festoon hanging from a ring; over the arch, the inscription; on top, floral scrolls.

    Notes: The inscription translates as 'out of death, immortality'; the initials NL are likely to be those of the pattern maker. Skinner's, Marlborough, Massachusetts, auction 14 Aug 2016 lot 226.

    Inscription: EX MORTE IMMORTALITAS / N 1696 L

    Manufactured: in 1696 possibly in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location:, United States of America.

  6. 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)

  7. 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