Firebacks

Armada series

12 results

  1. 914

    abinger,_goddards.jpg
    1180 x 780 mm

    Description: Rectangular shape; twisted rope edging (top and sides) with fillet edging at bottom; cast of a 1598 fireback within a recessed panel, the arch of the original fireback being overlaid with twisted rope and diagonal lengths of rope laid alongside. The original fireback is described as follows: Composite of three elements; central panel has a complex ‘knot’ pattern with a fillet edge; side panel, repeated on either side of the central panel, contains a vase of flowers, possibly stylised thistles, within an arched frame and fillet edge; arched panel above, also with fillet edge, contains the date and inscription; the spandrels of the side panels, and the arched top panel, contain a series of circular motifs comprising concentric rings deepening towards the centre.

    Notes: The central fireback measures 795mm wide by 735mm high and is from a different casting to that seen at Linchmere, Sussex.

    Inscription: 1598 / IM IB

    Manufactured: in the late 16th to early 17th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Goddards, Abinger Common, Abinger, Surrey, England.

  2. 247

    chawton_house 01.jpg
    1185 x 870 mm

    Description: A modified recasting of a variant of the ‘Armada’ fireback, with changed initials, a single anchor panel, and the addition of plain base and borders, the latter each with a twisted rope saltire, upper middle.

    Notes: It is likely that an original four-panel fireback has been used to recast a copy with additional side and base panels. A second fireback at the house, identical but for being 1% smaller all round, has a full-width extension on top bearing four symmetrical rope saltires, the outer two larger than the inner two; the saltires may have apotropaic significance. The reduction in size of the common elements due to shrinkage suggests the first example was used to make the second. It is alleged that John Knight, who built Chawton House, was rewarded with a fireback for contributing £50 to the Crown at the time of the Armada emergency; given that a great many of the gentry and aristocracy made similar contributions, this story is improbable. It seems likely that this putative original was used to make these two subsequent copies.

    Inscription: 1588 / IK

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chawton House, Chawton, Hampshire, England.

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

  3. 1148

    chawton_house 03.jpg
    1178 x 1080 mm

    Description: A composite recasting placing, on a plain background with symmetrical rope saltires, a recast variant of the ‘Armada’ fireback, with changed initials, a single anchor panel, and the addition of plain base and borders, the latter each with a twisted rope saltire, upper middle.

    Notes: It is likely that an original four-panel fireback was used to cast a copy with additional side and base panels. Subsequently this second fireback was used to cast this third fireback with an additional full-width extension on top bearing four symmetrical rope saltires, the outer two larger than the inner two; the saltires may have had apotropaic significance. A reduction in size of 1% of the common elements due to shrinkage at each stage shows that the first example was used to make the second. It is alleged that John Knight, who built Chawton House, was rewarded with a fireback for contributing £50 to the Crown at the time of the Armada emergency; given that a great many of the gentry and aristocracy made similar contributions, this story is improbable. The image of this fireback has been reconstructed by computer, combining photographs of the two fragments into which it had been broken.

    Inscription: 1588 / IK

    Manufactured: in the 17th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chawton House, Chawton, Hampshire, England.

  4. 281

    ellesborough,_chequers 07.jpg
    790 x 690 mm

    Description: This fireback comprises at least four separate elements: the rectangular central panel has an anchor with coiled rope between two fleurs de lys, below which are two roses; the two rectangular side panels each comprise a vertical stem with six grape bunches surmounted by a smaller bunch; above, a semicircular arch contains the initials between two roses as in the central panel, with the date above; where the arch meets the central panel there is an arc across each corner; the top and sides panels are edged with simulated twisted rope.

    Notes: A variant of the well-known ‘Armada’ fireback.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1588 / IFC

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Chequers, Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, England.

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

  5. 430

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 066.jpg
    >517 x 760 mm

    Description: Fragment; to the left, rectangular panel with braid edging, vine standard with six bunches of grapes and a cluster at the top; to the right, rectangular panel with wide fillet edging, arched recess with three flower heads in low relief, four circular depressions in the arch spandrels; on top, a semi-circular panel with fillet edging, within which are the date between the initials, with scattered small rings, below is a pattern of eight linked circles; vestige of another semi-circular panel to the left.

    Notes: Potentially a fragment of a large fireback, the vestage of a second semi-circular arched panel on top offers the possibility that several other panels originally existed further to the right. The two surviving panels combine elements from two separate sub-groups of firebacks that were moulded from individual, interchangeable panels, indicating that the sub-groups originated from a common source.

    Inscription: I 1598 R

    Manufactured: in 1598 in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.083 (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).

  6. 439

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 079.jpg
    >660 x 795 mm

    Description: Fragment; left part only; this fireback comprises at least four separate elements: the rectangular central panel has an anchor with coiled rope between two fleurs de lys, below which are two roses; the rectangular side panels each comprise a vertical stem with six ‘grape bunches’ surmounted by a circular grape cluster; above, a semicircular arch contains the initials between two roses as in the central panel, with the date above; where the arch meets the central panel there is an arc across each corner. The side and top panels are edged with simulated twisted rope; to the left and botoom, a plain extension has been added before casting.

    Notes: Because of its date and the use of the anchor motif, this much-copied plate is often referred to as the Armada fireback. No other connection with the sea battle is known. Other firebacks have been cast using some of the separate elements described.

    Inscription: 1588 / IFC

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 1944.24.060 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

  7. 475

    lynchmere,_shulbrede 03.jpg
    795 x 750 mm

    Description: Composite of three elements; central panel has a complex ‘knot’ pattern with a fillet edge; side panel, repeated on either side of the central panel, contains a vase of flowers, possibly stylised thistles, within an arched frame and fillet edge; arched panel above, also with fillet edge, contains the date and inscription; the spandrels of the side panels, and the arched top panel, contain a series of circular motifs comprising concentric rings deepening towards the centre.

    Notes: ‘Knot’ patterns were popular in gardens of the period. The garden theme is continued with the side panels. A version of the same design, recorded in a photograph of 1904 at Willesden, London, is a different casting, the top panel with the date and initials, being straight not slightly askew as in this example.

    Inscription: 1598 / IM IB

    Manufactured: in 1598 in the Weald area of England.

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

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

  8. 822

    mayfield,_yeomans.jpg
    1030 x 680 mm

    Description: Repeated rectangular panels each bearing an anchor with coiled rope between two fleurs de lys, below which are two roses and a grape bunch beneath; the two rectangular side panels each comprise a vertical stem with six grape bunches surmounted by a smaller bunch; above, a semicircular arch contains the initials between two roses as in the central panel, with the date above; where the arch meets the central panel there is an arc across each corner; the top and sides panels are edged with simulated twisted rope.

    Notes: The bottom panel is absent from this variant.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1588 / IFC

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

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

  9. 847

    unknown_39 430x430.jpg
    430 x 430 mm

    Description: Originally rectangular; two identical panels, each with braid edging, a vine standard with six bunches of grapes and a cluster at the top.

    Notes: A single panel repeated, confirming the ‘modular’ assembly of the ‘Armada’ type of fireback; fire-damaged, hence the distorted shape. Recovered from the fire at Nymans, Handcross, Sussex.

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location:.

  10. 736

    va_12.jpg
    1030 x 890 mm

    Description: Other examples indicate that this fireback comprises at least four separate elements: the rectangular central panel has an anchor with coiled rope between two fleurs de lys, below which are two roses; this arrangement is repeated alongside; the two rectangular side panels each comprise a vertical stem with six ‘raspberries’ surmounted by a circular berry cluster; above, a semicircular arch contains the initials between two roses as in the central panel, with the date above; where the arch meets the central panel there is an arc across each corner; on the rectangular base panel, on a stippled ground, is a central six-pointed star and a four-strand root system beneath each of the stems in the side panels. The top and sides panels are edged with simulated twisted rope.

    Notes: Because of its date and the use of the anchor motif, this much-copied plate is often referred to as the Armada fireback. No other connection with the sea battle is known. Other firebacks have been cast using some of the separate elements described above.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Inscription: 1588 / IFC

    Manufactured: in 1588 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London, England.

    Museum number: M.77-1957 (part of the Victoria & Albert Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2012, 'Pre-Restoration Iron Firebacks', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, 20, pp. 2-15

    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.