Firebacks

Bird shield series

  1. 1195

    christy_1908_fig5.png
    ~756 x ~453 mm

    Description: Rectangular shape; no edging; top centre, cross formed of two lengths of twisted rope, with a flattened saltire of the same below; top right, a shield, indented at the top, charged with a bird upon a branch, below which is an indeterminate semi-spherical feature; on each side of the cross, a stylised fleur-de-lys in low relief; top left, an inverted shield with indeterminate decoration (suggested by Christy to be IC).

    Notes: The cross and saltire will have had an apotropaic purpose. Illustration from Christy 1908, who stated it was in Buxted, East Sussex.

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Christy, M., 30 May 1908, 'The Old Flat Hearth and its Appliances, III - The Fire-back', The Crown, The Court and County Families' Newspaper, XCIX, Vol. 8, No. 9, pp. 383-6.

  2. 1199

    framfield,_gate_house.jpg
    1155 x 740 mm

    Description: Rectangular, plain plate; top centre, cross probably formed of a repeated length of dowel helically wrapped with a leather strap; top right, a buckle impressed four times, the top two with their prongs inclined towards each other, and the bottom two with prongs vertical and parallel; left of the cross, a shield, indented at the top, charged with a bird upon a branch, to the left of which is a 'renaissance' style shield stamp with a 'PL' monogram above two [?]bougets.

    Notes: The four buckles suggest a connection with the Pelham family whose badge it is. The protrusion low on the right edge of the fireback is probably the stub of a runner through which the cast iron was run into the mould from a temporary basin formed in the casting sand. The given width dimension assumes the crack across the fireback is closed.

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

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

  3. 435

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 075.jpg
    1206 x 545 mm

    Description: Rectangular (damaged top left corner); plain plate; centre top, a circle of twisted rope enclosing a shield, indented at the top, charged with a bird upon a branch; on each side, a cross of twisted rope above two splayed lengths of rope.

    Notes: The rope design is likely to be apotropaic; the heavily pitted reverse of this fireback shows the use of poor quality iron cast at a relatively low temperature; the bird shield stamp has been seen on other firebacks.

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

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

    (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Easton, T. & Hodgkinson, J. S., 2013, 'Apotropaic Symbols on Cast-Iron Firebacks', Jnl. of the Antique Metalware Soc., 21, pp. 14-33.

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

  4. 1109

    tottenhill,_the antiques emporium a.jpg
    940 x 527 mm

    Description: Rectangular; plain edging; asymmetrical arrangement of stamps: top right, three 'renaissance' style shield stamps with a 'PL' monogram above two [?]bougets, in a triangular arrangement bases uppermost; top centre, a shield, indented at the top, charged with a bird upon a branch; top left, crowned shield of France Modern between two inverted 'PL' monogram shields above a bird shield; to the right, a broad bladed dagger, point uppermost.

    Notes: The dagger is of the cinquedea style, introduced from Italy in the early-16th century, length approx. 38cm; the bird shield stamp has been seen on other firebacks.

    Inscription: PL [in five shields]

    Arms: 'France Modern'

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:, England.