1000mm wide

  1. 1057

    beaulieu,palace_house 02.jpg
    1000 x 685 mm

    Description: Rectangular; moulded fillet edging (top and sides); left justified text in upper case, in two lines: Tunc bonus est ignis cum pendet stiria tignis (Then fire is good when icicles hang from the eaves); below left, 'SOWLY' in a block; below right, '1721' in individual numerals; a swirling foliage stamp repeated down each side; initials 'I' and 'B' separately in bottom corners.

    Notes: The source of the inscription is 'A Dictionarie in English and Latine for Children' by William Clark (London, Thomas Purfoot, 1602), p. 13. Sowley was the iron furnace in Hampshire owned in 1721 by the 2nd duke of Montagu 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.


    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.

  2. 1025

    ~1000 x ~807 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular shape; top, crowned robed statuary figure holding a book, repeated three times, interspersed with a naked child statuary figure playing a flute; bottom, shield and coronet to left, small shield, helm and crest to right, all between a crude dog figure repeated on each side; the whole plate dotted randomly with a repeated small gadrooned bead stamp.

    Notes: The figures are from wall-mounted statuary. The shield and coronet are those of the Duchy of Lorraine prior to 1538; blazon: Quarterly, 1. barry of eight gules and argent (Hungary) impaling azure semy-de-lis Or a label gules (Naples); 2. argent a cross potent and four crosslets Or (Jerusalem) impaling Or four pallets gules (Aragon); 3. azure semy-de-lis Or a bordure gules (Valois-Anjou); 4. azure crusilly fitchy, two barbels addorsed Or (Bar); overall an inescutcheon Or a bend gules three alerions argent (Lorraine). The figure holding the book is that of St Catherine of Siena (see von den Driesch, pp. 220, 222).

    Arms: Duchy of Lorraine

    Manufactured: in the early 16th century in the Lorraine area of Germany.

    Current location: not known.

    Citation: Driesch, K. von den , 1990, Handbuch der Ofen-, Kamin- und Takenplatten im Rheinland (Cologne, Rheinland-Verlag).

  3. 323

    higher_bockhampton, hardys cottage.jpg
    ?1000 x ?700 mm

    Description: Canted rectangle; simulated rope edging; otherwise plain.

    Copies of this fireback are known.

    Manufactured: in the mid 20th century in England.

    Current location: Hardy's Cottage, Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England.

    Museum number: 426390 (part of the National Trust museum group)

  4. 1144

    norton,_norton manor a.jpg
    1000 x 670 mm

    Description: Composite; arched rectangular shaped, armorial fireback, cavetto edging, with Stuart Royal arms, garter, supporters, crown and motto, and 1662 date above crown; this overlies a rectangular plate with fillet edging; top centre in the space each side of the central shield, an initial letter - A to left, B to right - each above a fleur-de-lys, its stem terminating in a small buckle.

    Notes: Several firebacks have incorporated the same Stuart royal shield, which probably originally dated to 1619, but with the date altered. A similar fireback, but without the initials and fleurs-de-lys, dated 1661, and reputed to have come from the Totsey, the old guildhall at the market cross in Gloucester, is illustrated in Ames, 1980, 23; possibly the same fireback was reported by the late David Bick to be at The Grange, Minsterworth, Gloucestershire (demolished in the late 1960s).

    Inscription: 16 62 / [Garter motto (illeg.)] / A B

    Arms: English Stuart royal

    Manufactured: in 1662 possibly in the Forest of Dean area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Norton, Wiltshire, England.

    Citation: Ames, A., 1980, Collecting Cast Iron (Ashbourne, Moorland Publishing).

    Citation: Badeni, J., 22 Sep 1983, 'Whose Fireback?' [letter], Country Life, 174, 4492, p. 772.

  5. 1091

    thornbury,_the freeth.jpg
    ~1000 x ~700 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape; twisted rope edging (top and sides); date in arch; initials in triads in top corners.

    Notes: A fireback at Cotehele House in Cornwall, dated 1647 and bearing the initials AA, which may have come from Longden Hall, south-west of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, and was purchased by the National Trust from Longden Parish Council in the early 1970s, is similar in both its shape and style

    Inscription: 1655 / RWA [triad] / RWA [triad]

    Manufactured: in 1655 in England.

    Current location: The Freeth, Thornbury, Herefordshire, England.

    Citation: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, 1932, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 2: East (London, HMSO).