Firebacks

Date & initials firebacks

161 results

  1. 1023

    coombes,_old rectory.jpg
    975 x 610 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; hatched fillet edging (top and sides); initials in triad to the left; fleur-de-lys stamp repeated seven times across top; date and initial pairs below; full width, horizontal hatched fillet below inscription; zig-zag formed of short, hatched fillets down each side below horizontal fillet; space within bordered by squared cross stamp repeated 12 times horizontally and six times on each side.

    Notes: The distinctive squared cross and fleur stamps are seen on other firebacks; the initials in triad may relate to a husband and wife, the pairs of initials to their children; an almost identical fireback seen at Smith's Funeral Services, close to the site of Elmbridge Furnace, at Newent, Gloucestershire, differs only in the alignment of the left-hand column of squared crosses.

    Inscription: AHE [triad] 1671 WH MH

    Manufactured: in 1671 possibly at Elmbridge Furnace, Newent in the Forest of Dean area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Coombes, West Sussex, England.

  2. 1035

    country_life 03a.jpg
    ? x ? mm

    Description: Rectangular with furniture-derived mounding (top and sides); double-loop 'lens' pattern stamp repeated inside the moulded edging nine times along the top and three times down each side; top left, initials RBD in triad; right of top centre, date 1602; top right, initials RB split between two repeated dog stamps; four other dog stamps in pairs below, and one below date; becapped human figure stamp, with his left arm raised to his head and his right arm akimbo, repeated four times below initial triad and two singly, one below lone dog stamp and one centre right; top centre, stamp of a crest formed of a stag 'lodged' (i.e. sitting) upon a wreath, in this instance only with pseudo legs drawn below, also repeated six times in two rows of three left of lower centre, with one to the left of the six; 'renaissance' shield bearing an 'IE' monogram with continuous loop between the letters, repeated lower left and right with a third bottom centre impressed partially over the centremost stag crest.

    Notes: Acquired in 1900 by Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson for Charlton House (Country Life, 23 April 1904, from whence has come the illustration); several of the stamps have been noted on two other firebacks, both dated 1617, and suggesting by their location an origin in the Horsham area of the Weald.

    Inscription: R B D [triad] 1602 R T / IE IE / IE

    Manufactured: in 1602 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: not known.

    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.

    Citation: Gardner, J. S., 30 Apr 1904, 'An old fire-back' (letter), Country Life, p. 647.

    Citation: S. M. W. [Spencer Maryon-Wilson], 23 Apr 1904, 'An old fireback' [letter], Country Life, p. 611.

    Citation: Shuffrey, L. A., 1912, The English Fireplace, London, Batsford.

  3. 968

    cowden,_basing 01.jpg
    890 x 645 mm

    Description: Rectangular; truncated egg and dart moulded edging on top and left side; top right of centre, date in individual over-pressed stamps; initials in over-pressed stamps centred below date.

    Notes: A rare use of egg and dart moulding used as separate edging, presumably derived from redundant domestic moulding or furniture.

    Inscription: 1637 / H V

    Manufactured: in 1637 possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Cowden, Kent, England.

  4. 969

    cowden,_basing 02.jpg
    600 x 573 mm

    Description: Cavetto-canted rectangular shape; astragal edging (top and sides); letters in triad between separated date.

    Notes: The modest size of this fireback reflects the decreasing size of fireplaces in the 18th century.

    Inscription: 17 TRS [triad] 31

    Manufactured: in 1731 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Cowden, Kent, England.

  5. 887

    cowden,_crippenden 03.jpg
    1470 x 800 mm

    Description: Rectangular; stepped fillet edging (top and sides), ending short of bottom of plate; rose and crown stamp repeated three times across top of plate, with initials 'IT' followed by a rose stamp to left, and a rose stamp followed by the date to right (1 or I crossed in both cases); concentric roundel stamp between each pair of rose and crown stamps; lower down, five small inverted fleurs-de-lys between four concentric roundels; below left, initials FED in triad; below right, FRD in triad (D reversed).

    Notes: An alleged connection with the Tichborne family who lived at Crippenden in Cowden, Kent, may be justified if the initials, IT, refer to John Tichborne, the last of his family in the village, who died in 1708. The identities of those whose initials form the two triads is not known. The style of rose and crown is similar to that used in gun founding in the Tudor period, suggesting that the furnace that was the source of this fireback may have been used for that purpose.

    Inscription: IT 1699 / EFD [triad] RFD [triad]

    Manufactured: in 1699 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Crippenden Manor, Cowden, Kent, England.

  6. 38

    cowfold_cottage tandoori.jpg
    1145 x 595 mm

    Description: Rectangular; fillet and astragal edging; initials between date in one horizontal line, upper half of plate.

    Inscription: 16 ES 57

    Manufactured: in 1657 possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Cowfold Cottage Tandoori, Cowfold, West Sussex, England.

  7. 1210

    cowper,_hawkshead_1899.jpg
    ~1130 x ~1285 mm

    Description: Individually designed quasi-arched rectangular shape; astragal edging; central portico with framed doorway and sloping roof, in which stands a male figure dressed in contemporary style; above the roof, the date, and above that, the initials TKM arranged in triad and around a flower head, this inscription enclosed within a five-sided ribbon compartment held at the top corners by a pair of mirrored dancing cherubs each of which holds in their outer hand a wand surmounted by a fleur-de-lys; below them are mirrored vine designs terminating in a grape bunch, and below each of them a mirrored swirled snake, its head reversed; towards the outer side of these snakes are a pair of mirrored birds within a curved cartouche of slightly raised relief that is associated with a swirl on each side of the fireback that terminates the astragal edging on each side and which ascends via a step surmounted by a miniature urn on each shoulder of the back to the top which is surmounted by an acorn shape; above the ribbons held by the cherubs, is a stylised crown between the initials AR; the above features are limited by a horizontal astragal, though the portico descends below it, and which is supported at each end by a simple Doric column enclosing the bottom panel which is otherwise plain.

    Notes: The initials AR are of Anna Regina - Queen Anne. Finely cast but of naïve design, another fireback of the same design but with different inscriptions and dated 1723 is Bowness on Windermere. Illustration from Cowper, 1899, p.179.

    Inscription: A R / TKM [triad] / 1714

    Manufactured: in 1714 possibly at Backbarrow Furnace in the Furness area of England.

    Current location: Low Graythwaite, Hawkshead, Cumbria, England.

    Citation: Cowper, H. S., 1899, Hawkshead: its History, Archaeology, Industries, Folklore, Dialect, etc., etc. (London, Bemrose).

  8. 1039

    cranbrook,_branden.jpg
    1070 x 767 mm

    Description: Canted rectangular shape; twisted rope edging (top and sides) in short lengths; top centre, initials above date.

    Notes: The initials are likely to be those of Richard Holden, clothier of Cranbrook, who inherited Branden near Sissinghurst in 1623 and who was living there in 1659.

    Inscription: RH / 1659

    Manufactured: in 1659 probably at Biddenden Furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Cranbrook, Kent, England.

    Citation: Holden, E. S., 1897, 'The Holden Family of Cranbrook, Kent, England', New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 51, pp. 214-218.

  9. 884

    cranbrook,_george hotel.jpg
    1343 x 614 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; stepped fillet edging (top and sides); twisted rope lengths parallel to top and parallel to each side, forming six compartments; side compartments: seven double fleurs-de-lys in vertical line; top corner compartments: one double fleur-de-lys angled parallel to canting; top compartment: date in centre, initials repeated at each end, three fleurs between date and initials, centre fleur perpendicular to others; main compartment: one fleur in each top corner, line of beads inside rope line, semi-circular at corners.

    Notes: The arc shape and use of repeated beads suggests a common source with other firebacks of the same period.

    Inscription: RR / 1688 / RR

    Manufactured: in 1688 in the Forest of Dean area of England.

    Current location: The George Hotel, Stone Street, Cranbrook, Kent, England.

  10. 39

    cranbrook_museum.jpg
    805 x 640 mm

    Description: Quasi-arched rectangular shaped with cavetto canted top corners; fillet edging; two V-shaped arrangements of laths, one inverted and superimposed over the other, in centre of plate; date split on either side; initials in triangular arrangement above laths.

    Notes: The shape of the fireback is very similar to firebacks at Knole, Sevenoaks, of similar date, and may be the product of the same furnace; the 'X' shapes may have apotropaic significance.

    Inscription: 17 RSL 28

    Manufactured: in 1728 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Cranbrook Museum, Cranbrook, Kent, England.

    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).