Firebacks

Shape: canted rectangular

109 results

  1. 897

    arigna.jpg
    737 x 559 mm

    Description: Steeply canted rectangle; no edging; upper centre, square formed of twisted rope lengths inside which are what appear to be two lions passant in pale with a circle and two short sloping lines in inverted V form above; on either side of the square is an O and an R; below the square three lengths of twisted rope extend to the bottom edge, the central one vertically and the the outer two sloping away from the centre; along the bottom is the date, each numeral separated by one of the rope lengths.

    Notes: Alleged to be a representation of the arms of the O'Rourke family, who held sway in Cavan and Leitrim, the initials said to be of Owen O'Rourke. Noted in a cottage at Arigna, County Roscommon.

    Inscription: O O R / 1 6 8 8

    Arms: O'Rourke

    Manufactured: in 1688 possibly at Drumshanbo Furnace in the Leitrim area of Ireland.

    Current location:.

    Citation: Lindsay, J. S., 1927, Iron & Brass Implements of the English House (London, The Medici Society).

    Citation: Meehan, J., 1906, 'The Arms of the O'Rourkes: a metal casting from County Leitrim seventeenth-century foundries', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 36, 2, pp. 123-142.

  2. 1056

    beaulieu,palace_house 01.jpg
    920 x 685 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; moulded fillet edging (top and sides); top line, 'daisy' plant stamp repeated three times, spaced evenly, with 'SOWLY' in a block, a ducal coronet above, between the left two, and '1721' in individual numerals, a ducal coronet above, between the right two; a swirling foliage stamp repeated down each side, a 'daisy' plant below each; initials 'I' and 'B' separately in bottom corners.

    Notes: Sowley was the iron furnace in Hampshire owned in 1721 by the 2nd duke of Montagu, whose coronet is seen in the decoration, and operated by John White of Monmouth. The swirled foliage stamp is seen on other firebacks identified by the letters 'IB' between 1703 and 1721, probably indicating the same founder.

    Inscription: SOWLY 1721 / I B

    Manufactured: in 1721 at Sowley Furnace, Beaulieu in the New Forest area of England.

    Current location: Palace House, Beaulieu, Hampshire, England.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., Autumn 2020, 'A Series of Distinctive Firebacks', Base Thoughts, Newsletter of the Antique Metalware Society, pp. 7-8.

  3. 1229

    bentley_auctioneers_cranbrook_01.jpg
    760 x 455 mm

    Description: Rectangular with canted top corners; twisted rope edging (top and sides); top centre, date formed from a single stamp, over-pressed; monogram below date.

    Notes: Dates formed from a single stamp are uncommon, this series being distinguished by this practice. Formerly at a house in Rochester. Bentley Auctioneers, Cranbrook, lot 889, 4 Jun 2022.

    Inscription: 1630 / HPE

    Manufactured: in 1630 in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Bentley Auctioneers, The Old Granary, Waterloo Road,, Cranbrook, Kent, England.

  4. 1242

    birmingham,_blakesley_hall.jpg
    770 x 560 mm

    Description: Canted rectangular shape; twisted rope edging (top and sides); top centre, date, 1638, with uneven figures (oversize 3), between two fleurs-de-lys; four fleurs-de-lys, lying horizontally, down each side; below date, slender 'T' shape above a slender 'M' shape, with initials 'W' and 'B' separated by the 'T' shape.

    Notes: The distinctive fleur-de-lys has not been noted on any other fireback. Purchased by Birmingham Museums in 1982 at the sale of the contents of the house ‘Hildercroft’ on Highfield Road in Hall Green, Birmingham.

    Inscription: 1638 / W T B / M

    Manufactured: in 1638 in England.

    Current location: Blakesley Hall, Blakesley Road, Yardley, West Midlands, England.

    (part of the Birmingham Museums Trust museum group)

  5. 1228

    bishop_and_miller,_23_feb_2023_lot_250_1570x760.jpg
    1570 x 760 mm

    Description: Canted rectangular shape; possible twisted rope edging; top centre, date; initials, SP, repeated in top corners; a fleur-de-lys below each pair of initials and the date; between the initials and the date, a flower head, with two more flower heads arranged vertically on each side below the initials.

    Notes: The style of the fleurs-de-lys, and the distictive form of the number '8', indicate that this fireback is one of a small series. Bishop & Miller auction, Stowmarket, Suffolk, 25 May 2022, lot 292 & 23 Feb 2023 lot 250.

    Inscription: SP 1689 SP

    Manufactured: in 1689 possibly in the Shropshire area of England.

    Current location: Bishop & Miller Auctioneers, 19 Charles Industrial Estate, Stowmarket, Suffolk, England.

  6. 204

    blanchland_church.jpg
    686 x 559 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; twisted rope edging (top and sides); Tudor royal shield and Garter with crown above, between lion and unicorn supporters; initials separated by crown; a small ring and bar are placed to the left of the unicorn’s mouth.

    Notes: The Tudor shield and crown feature on many Wealden firebacks, and have here been reused with Jacobean supporters; their stamps are derived from standing models.

    Inscription: I R

    Arms: Tudor royal

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century possibly at Pounsley Furnace, Framfield in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: St Mary's Abbey, Blanchland, Northumberland, England.

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

  7. 205

    bonhams,_chester, lot 567 8 sep 09 650x720.jpg
    650 x 720 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; simulated rectangular chain link moulded border, with bead edging inside (top and sides); Tudor royal shield surrounded by circular inscription with fillet edging; above, an English royal crown.

    Notes: The unconventionality of the motto may indicate a particular purpose, e.g. thanksgiving; the edging is not known on other firebacks. Bonhams sale, Chester, 8-9 September 2009, lot 567.

    Inscription: VIVAT·REGIN··A·DIV·:·PA CE [Long live the Queen ... peace]

    Arms: Tudor royal

    Manufactured: in the late 16th century in England.

    Current location:.

  8. 876

    bradford-on-avon,_westwood manor 03.jpg
    730 x 530 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; complex moulded edging (top and sides); rectangular incised initial stamp repeated ten times 3-4-3.

    Notes: The use of an incised stamp is uncommon.

    Inscription: RTI [repeated 10 times]

    Manufactured: in the 17th century in England.

    Current location: Westwood Manor, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England.

    Museum number: 222509.1 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  9. 875

    bradford-on-avon,_westwood manor 04a.jpg
    1300 x 760 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; double fillet edging (top and sides); repeated 'X' stamp parallel to edging, horizontally across centre, and in two parallel lines from top to centre, dividing top half of plate into three sections; 'daisy' stamp approximately in middle of top left and right sections, repeated four times in triad in top middle section, and thrice along top of bottom section; small roundel stamp repeated 3-3-1 in top left section, and 3-1-3-1 in top right section; date split between top left and right sections; initials split in top centre section.

    Notes: An arrangement with several elements likely to have been repeated on other firebacks.

    Inscription: 16 D[reversed] B 81

    Manufactured: in 1681 in the Forest of Dean area of England.

    Current location: Westwood Manor, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England.

    Museum number: 222490 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  10. 208

    bray,_ockwells manor 03.jpg
    1420 x 440 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; twisted rope edging (top and sides); quasi-symmetrical arrangement of four fleurs-de-lys in star, top centre, two fleurs each side along top edge, single fleurs beneath outer top fleurs; short rope length in vertical and inverted 'V' shapes each side between top fleurs; ?dagger handle irregularly positioned centre left and right.

    Notes: The style and shape of the fleurs-de-lys is unique to a particular series of firebacks, suggesting the same source; the 'V' shapes may have apotropaic significance. A sketch of this fireback c.1891 is in the collection of J. Starkie Gardner's sketch books at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2014/8); at the time of drawing it was stated to be in the ownership of one Simmons, a furniture dealer of Lewes.

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

    Current location: in private hands, Cox Green, Berkshire, England.

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