Firebacks

Petworth lettering series

  1. 584

    petworth_063.jpg
    920 x 860 mm

    Description: Of unique design; quasi-arched rectangular shape; ribbon border, curled on each side of the neck. Symmetrical arrangement of plant tendrils with acorns, oak leaves, pomegranates and other leaves across the rectangular base; above and centrally placed are the date, over which are the initials either side of a crescent moon, surmounted by an earl’s coronet.

    Notes: The initials, H N, are thought to refer to Henry, 9th Earl of Northumberland, and the date to his release from the Tower of London following his 17 years’ imprisonment for alleged involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: H N / 1622

    Manufactured: in 1622 probably at Frith Furnace, Northchapel in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 485698 (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).

  2. 1098

    scm_13, 284, palfrey farm, petworth.jpg
    ~1300 x ~700 mm

    Description: Rectangular shape; indeterminate moulded edging; central initials (A? D M)in triad, between split date (6 reversed).

    Notes: The characters have been derived from an odd assortment: the numbers appear to be a recognisable character set, with the 6 and 9 interchangeable; the 6/9 has also been used, with the same stamp as has been used to form the uprights of the M, to construct a probable capital A (or R); the nature of the stamps forming the M is unclear. Noted in 1939 at Palfrey Farm, Petworth, West Sussex, which from the mid-16th century had been home to the Penycod family, suggesting that the fireback had not been original to the house.

    Inscription: 16 / A[?] D M [triad] / 49

    Manufactured: in 1649 possibly at Frith Furnace, Northchapel in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Smail, H. C. P., April 1939, 'Iron Firebacks' [letter], Sussex County Magazine, 13, 4, p. 284.