Firebacks

Firedog stamp firebacks

  1. 166

    hastings_049.jpg
    910 x 450 mm

    Description: Rectangular; plain plate with three stamps of an iron firedog with a twisted design on the neck, a primitive face on the terminal and a shield bearing initials RW.

    Notes: The letters RW are said to relate to Richard Woodman, ironmaster and Protestant martyr, who resided at Cralle Place, and who operated Cralle furnace. A near-identical firedog was discovered at Bridge Cottage, Uckfield, Sussex.

    Inscription: RW

    Manufactured: in the mid 16th century probably at Cralle furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 909.94 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Butterfield, W. R., 1916, 'Old Wealden Firebacks', The Connoisseur, 46, pp. 197-209.

    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).

  2. 912

    heathfield,_heathfield house.jpg
    1120 x 540 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); impression of the end of a firedog repeated three times, one upright in centre, two diagonally inverted with feet angled towards top centre; a large saltire of twisted rope in each top corner, a small saltire, of twisted rope and dowel, on either side of top of central firedog; cross of twisted rope below right hand corner saltire; lower centre, two angled rope lengths either side of central firedog. At the bottom, and outside the feet of the central firedog, two excrescences formed by the pouring of the metal.

    Notes: A well-preserved example with an unusual arrangement of the firedog stamp; formerly (c.1886) in the Warbill-in-Tun inn, Warbleton, Sussex.

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

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

    Citation: Balcomb, J. T., Nov. 1886, 'An Extinct Sussex Art', The Art Journal, pp. 337-340.

  3. 378

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 013.jpg
    >500 x 700 mm

    Description: Fragment (left end only); prob. rectangular; twisted rope edging; slightly angled stamp formed of the end of a firedog with semi-circular feet, and shields at the base and top of the pilaster; V-shaped arrangement of a length of twisted rope stamped twice, the point touching the left edge of the plate and one end touching the top.

    Notes: Likely to have been a triple arrangement of firedog impressions.

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

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

    Museum number: LH000.911 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Schubert, H. R., 1957, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry (London, Routledge), pp. 256-264.

  4. 393

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 027.jpg
    910 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging all round except base: plain plate with two stamps of an iron firedog with twisted neck and shield bearing letters HN and crossed staples; firedogs have columnar capitals; fleur de lys stamp repeated six times, singly at each end, in star pattern in middle; stamps have twisted wreaths.

    Notes: The initials HN probably refer to Henry Nevill, the crossed staples being a badge of the Nevill family. Henry Nevill occupied Mayfield furnace from about 1585 until 1599. Other firedogs in a versimilar style are known.

    Inscription: HN HN

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly at Mayfield furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: LH000.902 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

    Citation: Anon., 30 Dec 1911, 'Sussex Backs and their Story', The Ironmonger.

    Citation: Dawson, C., 1903, 'Sussex Iron Work and Pottery', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, pp. 1-54.

    Citation: Starkie Gardner, J., 1898, 'Iron Casting in the Weald', Archaeologia, 56, 1, pp. 133-164.

  5. 457

    lewes,_sussex arch soc 097.jpg
    >432 x 620 mm

    Description: Fragment; right part, prob. rectangular; twisted strip edging (top and sides); stamp of firedog with semi-circular feet, and with shields at top and bottom of shaft, the lower with quartered arms, the upper with diagonal bar over a rectangle (gate?); horizontal twisted strip length to left of firedog.

    Notes: The twisted lengths clearly show the flattened form of a strip of material (poss. leather).

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

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

    Museum number: LH000.914 (part of the Sussex Archaeological Society museum group)

  6. 1015

    rogate,_fyning manor.jpg
    1760 x 940 mm

    Description: Rectangular with two-stepped top; twisted rope edging (top and sides); twisted rope extensions enclosing intermediate step with rope continued parallel to sides; central rope octagram with reversed date above between repeated inverted shield shapes off-set (left higher than right); the shield blazon: barry wavy impaling quarterly, overlaid with a small bird stamp and an indistinct ?bird shape in the top left quarter as viewed; within the rope, a roughly parallel arrangement of 23 double-loop-patterned stamps, with the faint impression of an additional stamp in the top right corner of the arrangement; outside the loop stamps and partially overlying the vertical rope extensions, the impressions of two classically designed firedogs with Ionic capitals and fluted pilasters, bearing the date 1594, but with the '1' missing; the fluting on the pilasters has been overlaid by the repeated impression of a turned peg.

    Notes: A large and remarkably elaborate fireback: the octagram, a device seen as uncommonly on continental firebacks as on English ones, suggests an apotropaic purpose; the impression of the firedogs was clearly made after the laying of the rope lengths and impressed less deeply as the rope impression has not been obliterated by the firedog on the left side. A fireback with the same loop stamps bears the same date using the same numerals but impressed the correct way round. Currently obscured behind a wood stove.

    Inscription: 4951 [951 reversed] / 594 594

    Manufactured: in 1594 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Fyning Manor, Rogate, West Sussex, England.

  7. 742

    va_18.jpg
    900 x 510 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging all round except base: plain plate with two stamps of an iron firedog with twisted neck and shield bearing letters HN and crossed staples; firedogs have columnar capitals; fleur de lys stamp repeated six times, singly at each end, in star pattern in middle; stamps have twisted wreaths.

    Notes: The initials HN probably refer to Henry Nevill, the crossed staples being a badge of the Nevill family. Henry Nevill occupied Mayfield furnace from about 1585 until 1599. Other firedogs in a versimilar style are known.

    Inscription: HN HN

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century possibly at Mayfield furnace in the Weald area of England.

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

    Museum number: 11.1900 (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).

  8. 797

    wisborough_green, idehurst.jpg
    1247 x 653 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top and sides); three impressions of an ornate firedog, each incorporating lionís legs, above it a pedestal with a lionís head, surmounted by a caryatid, a shield shaped cartouche over its lower trunk, and with a floral vase headdress. The dog impressions are not evenly stamped, the middle one lying to the right.

    Notes: The firedogs are much more elaborate than those customarily used as stamps on firebacks and indicate a later date; they probably included brass elements and were possibly French.

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

    Current location: in private hands, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, England.

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